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Step-By-Step: How To Apply For A Philippine Driver's License

Some processes have slightly changed due to the pandemic.
driver's license application
PHOTO: ILLUSTRATION BY CYRILLE CALDERON
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Starting to drive can be one of the most exciting things you will ever experience while ~adulting~. But before you start getting on that driver's seat and hitting the road, you obviously need a driver's license—yes, like the one Olivia Rodrigo talked about in her viral song, LOL. 

What is a driver's license and who can apply for one?

ICYDK, a driver's license is a government-issued document that can be used as a valid ID around the world. It authorizes you to drive a motor vehicle in the country you applied in. For you to be eligible, the Land Transporation Office (the government institution responsible for issuing driver's licenses), listed the following qualifications:

  • Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle
  • Must be literate in either Filipino, English, or a local dialect
  • Must be neat and presentable, and
  • Must pass the written and practical driver's examination
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If you fit these requirements, then there are the three kinds of licenses you can apply for: a student permit, a non-professional license, and a professional driver's license.

Student permit

Before you get a non-professional or professional driver's license, you need to apply for a student permit first. A student permit allows you to drive a motor vehicle when you're with someone who holds a non-professional or professional license. Its validity lasts for only one year, and it cannot be modified, revised, or renewed. You can apply for a student permit as early as 16 years old.

Below are the requirements you'll need to get a student permit:

  • An original and photocopy of your birth certificate
  • filled-out application for driver's license (ADL)
  • Employed applicants must provide a taxpayer identification number (TIN), while minor applicants need a parent or guardian's written consent plus a photocopy of their guardian's valid ID
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Heads up! The LTO also implemented a new protocol last August 2020 announcing that applicants who are applying for a student's permit must attend at least 15 hours of theoretical driving lessons from an LTO-accredited driving school.

Non-professional driver's license

If you're already 17 years old or above with a student permit for at least one month, you can apply for a non-professional driver's license. This license allows you to drive a private motor vehicle such as SUVs, sedans, minivans, and pickup trucks, with a gross weight of 4,500 kilograms or less. This license is valid for five years. The requirements for applying for a non-professional license are generally similar to the student permit, but it's important to take note of some additional documents.

Here's what you'll need to process your non-professional driver's license application:

  • An original and photocopy of your birth certificate
  • filled-out application for driver's license (ADL)
  • Employed applicants must provide a taxpayer identification number (TIN), while minor applicants need a parent or guardian's written consent as well as a photocopy of their guardian's valid ID
  • A valid student permit
  • A medical certificate from an accredited clinic, and
  • A negative drug test result from a Department of Health accredited testing center and/or government hospital
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Of course, you have to pass both your written and practical driver's tests!

driver's license application - model of professional driver's license
Here's a model of the professional and non-professional driver's license. FACEBOOK/LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE - PHILIPPINES

Professional driver's license

On the other hand, if you're planning to drive any kind of motor vehicle whether private or public, and if you've had a valid student permit for at least five months, you can apply for a professional driver's license. Just like the previous type, a professional driver's license is valid for five years.

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These are the requirements needed for a professional driver's license:

  • An original and photocopy of your birth certificate
  • filled-out application for driver's license (ADL)
  • Employed applicants must provide a taxpayer identification number (TIN), while minor applicants need a parent or guardian's written consent as well as a photocopy of their guardian's valid ID
  • A valid student permit
  • A valid non-professional driver's license
  • A medical certificate from an accredited clinic, and
  • A negative drug test result from a Department of Health accredited testing center and/or government hospital
driver's license application - model of professional driver's license
This is another model of the professional and non-professional driver's license. FACEBOOK/LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE - PHILIPPINES
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How much does a driver's license application cost?

The application fee for any kind of license is P100. If you are granted a student permit, you need to pay P317.63. For a non-professional or professional driver's license, you need to pay P585. However, you will also have to shoulder additional costs depending on the kind of license you are applying for. Be prepared to shell out money for other expenses such as securing a medical certificate, enrolling in driving school, and the like. For student permits, it's best to have around P3,000 to P4,000 that will cover all your fees including a training course. For non-professional or professional licenses, you can prepare around P5,000 to P7,000. Again, this might vary depending on the type of license you are applying for. To give you a better idea of your estimated expenses, click here.

Like many things disrupted by the pandemic, the process of applying for a driver's license has slightly changed to adhere to the health and safety protocols in place. Lucky for you, we listed down a short guide on the processes you'll have to go through.

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Here's a step-by-step guide on how to process your Philippine driver's license application.

  1. Go to the Land Transportation Management System portal and click on Register Now if you are a new user.
  2. Accept the Terms of Agreement and enter the code in order to proceed with your application.
  3. Click on "enroll as an individual", then fill out the necessary details. It will be asking you if you already have an existing license, your nationality, personal information, and contact details.
  4. When you're done filling out the details, a link will be sent to your email address. Click on the link to verify your account.
  5. Create a password, then sign in to your account.
  6. Click "Licensing" on your dashboard, then complete your online application form. After this step, you will be asked to select the type of license you are applying for, the type of application, your preferred appointment schedule, and the LTO office where you want to process your application.
  7. You'll be given the option to pay the fees online.
  8. Go to your preferred LTO office, as stated on your appointment schedule.
  9. Submit your complete requirements for application to the receiving personnel. Once they assess your application, they will inform you if you are qualified for the next step.
  10. If you're applying for a license, you will either take the Basic Driving Theory Test for Non-Professional Driver's License or the Professional Driver’s License Basic Driving Theory Test. Depending on the LTO office, this will be done either through a computer or a written test. Don't worry, you'll get your results right away!
  11. Once you pass the written exam, you will proceed to take the practical driving test.
  12. If you get through both exams, the Approving Office will approve your application.
  13. Wait for your name to be called, then proceed to get your photo taken and affix your signature.
  14. If you haven't paid the necessary fees online, then proceed to the cashier to pay for your balance. Important: Keep the receipt with you!
  15. Proceed to the releasing counter and wait to receive your permit or license. You will be asked to write your name and affix your signature on the release form.
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You're usually supposed to receive your driver's license within the day, but this may vary depending on the office. Good news: Starting October 2021, you can enjoy a longer license validity for as long as 10 years as long as you have a spotless record! The process might seem quite daunting, but it will all be worth it when you get that ID. So go ahead and good luck on that driver's test. ;) We're rooting for you!

To know more, you can visit LTO's official website or contact them at their telephone number (632) 922-9061 to 66. You may also send them an email at clientcare@lto.gov.ph.

MORE ADULTING GUIDES YOU MIGHT NEED:

Everything You Need To Know About Registering For A National ID

Step-By-Step: How To Apply For A Philippine Postal ID

Want To Renew Your Passport? Here's What You Need To Know

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