Driving a car for the first time? You need to have a license to drive legally in the Philippines. But before you can qualify for a driver’s license, you have to apply first for a student license at the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Here’s an informative guide to help you with your LTO student permit application.
What is an LTO Student Permit?
An LTO student permit, sometimes called student license or student driver permit, is an official document that authorizes the holder to drive a vehicle in the Philippines in the presence of someone with a professional or non-professional driver’s license.
The student permit is valid for one year from the issue date, which is enough time to learn road traffic signs and rules, improve driving skills, and get ready for LTO driving exams (taken during a driver’s license application). This document cannot be revised, modified, or renewed.
LTO Requirements for Student Permit
To qualify for a student permit, you need to meet the following conditions:
- Filipino citizens: At least 16 years old
- Foreign residents: At least 18 years old and living in the Philippines for at least one year, with proof of stay for at least six months
- Physically and mentally fit to operate a vehicle
- Can read and write in Filipino or English
- Have accomplished the LTO’s 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course
- No unsettled traffic violations
- Must have a valid email address
Now, prepare these requirements for a student license application:
- Filled out driver’s license application form you can get from the LTO website
- Electronically transmitted medical certificate issued by any LTO-accredited medical clinic and registered physician. This must include one photocopy of the original medical certificate.
- Original and photocopy of birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
- For married women: PSA-issued marriage certificate
- For applicants below 18 years old:
- You must submit one parent’s consent or consent from a person having custody or supervision over the minor applicant, authorizing the applicant to apply for an LTO student permit.
- Additionally, submit one original and one photocopy of any valid government-issued ID of the parent or guardian, with photo and signature.
- One original and one photocopy of any government-issued ID with photo and signature of the applicant
- Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN), if applicable
- One original and one photocopy of Certificate of Completion of the 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course (this should be electronically transmitted to the LTO by the accredited driving school, LTO DEC, or TESDA training center)
- For foreigners, please provide:
- One original and one photocopy of passport with entry date of at least one month and visa duration of six months from date of application
- If born in the Philippines: one original and one photocopy of birth certificate authenticated by the PSA
*Since January 2019, the LTO has been requiring online submission of medical certificates for student permit and driver’s license applications. But no need to worry about this. The clinic will be the one to transmit your medical exam results to the LTO IT system. The clinic will give you a hard copy of your medical certificate, which you must submit to the LTO for validation.
How to Get a Student License from LTO
To get started with your student license application, you need to take the mandatory 15-hour theoretical driving course. You can either take the course at any LTO Driver's Education Center for free or get your TDC at your nearest LTO-accredited driving school for an additional fee.
As of January 2021, LTO has suspended online TDCs indefinitely. This means you have to take a face-to-face class if you’re planning to complete your TDC. Take note that these sessions don’t involve actual driving. Instead, it focuses on the non-practical aspects of driving like traffic laws, driving etiquette, and others.
Steps to Getting a Student Driver License
- Visit any LTO licensing center or district/extension office (if you’re in NCR, here’s the list of LTO branches in Metro Manila) and fill out the Application for Driver’s License (ADL) form.
- Proceed to the customer service window to get a number.
- Submit the student license requirements once they call your number. The receiving personnel will check if they’re complete and will then turn over your documents to an evaluator who will assess your qualifications. If you’re qualified, your application will be encoded in the LTO system and forwarded to the approving officer.
- After your application is approved, your name will be called for photo and signature taking.
- Pay the fees for your student license application at the cashier. Keep the official receipt issued to you.
- Proceed to the releasing counter and present your receipt to claim your student permit card. You’ll also be issued an LTO driving exam reviewer for driver’s license issuance.
- Write your name and sign the release form.
One month after getting a student permit, you can apply for a non-professional driver’s license. If you want to get a professional driver’s license, you can do so after at least six months of having a student license.
LTO Student Permit Online Application
Students may now apply for their LTO permit online via the LTO web portal. This is the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) public portal that you can access on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
How to Apply Online
1. Visit https://portal.lto.gov.ph and click ‘Register Now’ if you don’t have an account yet. Click Log In if you have already registered on the site.
2. Read the Terms of Agreement, then click ‘Yes, I accept’. Encode the security code before proceeding to the next step. When you’re done, click ‘Next’ on the lower right hand corner of the page.
3. Choose your registration type. Select ‘Enroll as an Individual’ and proceed to the registration form.
4. You’ll be asked if you have an existing driver’s license. Select No as you’re applying for a student permit. (If you have an existing driver’s license, you’ll need to enter your driver’s license number, its expiry date, and your answer to the security question.
5. Next, provide your personal information, including your email address, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and contact details.
6. Check your email and click the verification link. Make sure to verify your email within 24 hours. Otherwise, your account will be automatically deleted.
7. After verification, create a secure password (at least 8 characters, alphanumeric, with uppercase and lowercase letters).
8. Now sign in to your account using your login details.
9. Click ‘Licensing’ on your dashboard and complete your online application form.
10. On the service list, select the type of service you want to avail. In this case, select ‘Student’s License.’
11. Complete your application form by filling in your desired application schedule and your preferred LTO office. You can also submit your medical certificate and process payments using the LTO website.
Tips for Student Permit Applicants and Holders
Keep these tips in mind to avoid any hassle when applying for a student permit and driving as a student license holder.
1. Undergo Medical Exam at an LTO-Accredited Clinic
An important requirement for student permit applications, the medical certificate will serve as the proof of your physical and mental fitness to drive. If you have a certain health condition that will affect your driving capability, the doctor will indicate it in the medical certificate.
However, the LTO accepts only medical certificates issued by its accredited clinics and registered physicians. You can find LTO-accredited clinics near the LTO office. Don’t waste your time and money getting a medical certificate from a non-accredited clinic and doctor.
2. Bring Enough Cash for the Medical Exam and Student License Fee
The cost of getting a student permit includes not just the student license fee. You also have to factor in the medical exam cost, which ranges from PHP 350 to PHP 500. Prepare enough money for these LTO fees.
To save money on the medical exam fee, you may try using your HMO or health card to cover the cost.
3. Apply for a Driver’s License Before Your Student Permit Expires
The LTO doesn’t accept expired student permits from driver’s license applicants. To get a driver’s license, you must submit your student permit before the end of its one-year validity period.
Remember: You can apply for a non-professional license between one month up to a year after your student permit issue date. For a professional license, you can apply between six months up to a year after they issued your student permit.
LTO Student Permit FAQs
1. What is the difference between a student permit and driver’s license?
The student license is different from professional and non-professional driver’s licenses. It’s issued to first-time drivers, allowing them to learn and practice driving with the guidance of a qualified licensed driver before they can get a driver’s license.
In contrast, the LTO issues the non-professional driver’s license to people (previously issued a student permit) who will drive a vehicle with a gross weight of less than or equal to 4,500 kg. Professional driver’s license holders are authorized to drive heavier and bigger vehicles.
2. Is the LTO student permit a valid ID?
Strictly speaking, the student permit is only a temporary permit and not meant to be a valid identification number for different transactions with government offices and banks, according to this post from the LTO Makati District Office.
However, several government agencies such as the DFA and SSS still accept the student permit as a valid ID. For example, you can submit your student permit (in orange card format) to the DFA for your passport application or renewal. For SSS transactions, you can submit your student permit along with its official receipt.
3. How much is the student license fee?
The total cost of a student permit application is PHP 317.63, consisting of these fees:
- Student permit fee: PHP 150
- Application fee: PHP 100
- Computer fee: PHP 67.63
4. What government IDs are accepted for LTO student permit application?
Here's a comprehensive list of government IDs that you can use to apply for an LTO student permit:
- Philippine Identification (Phil ID) Card
- Social Security System (SSS) Card
- UMID Card
- PhilHealth ID
- TIN Card
- Postal ID, Voter’s ID, Barangay ID
- Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID
- Senior Citizen ID,OFW ID, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ID
- National Council of Disabled Affairs (NCDA) ID
- Solo Parent ID
- Voter’s Certification
- Government Services and Insurance System (GSIS) e-Card
- Seaman's Book
- Government Owned and/or Controlled Corporations (GOCC) ID
- Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) ID
- Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Certification
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) ID
5. What’s the validity of the LTO student permit?
The student permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance. After that, you can no longer use the permit to accomplish the practical driving course. If you have completed the driving course within the validity period, you may already apply for a non-professional driver’s license.
Important note: The LTO has extended the validity of all licenses (student permits, driver’s licenses, and conductor’s licenses) as well as medical certificates from October 31, 2021 to February 28, 2022.
6. Can I renew my LTO student permit?
Yes, you can renew your expired LTO student permit. Here’s how:
- Fill-out the Application for Permits and License (APL) e-Form.
- Submit a copy of your student driver’s permit.
- Electronically submit your medical certificate from any LTO-accredited medical clinic. You must issue one original and one photocopy of the medical certificate.
- If your student permit was issued before August 3, 2020: Present one original and one photocopy of Certificate of Completion of the 15-hour TDC.
7. Can I drive with a student permit only?
Student drivers are required by law to be accompanied by a licensed driver when driving a vehicle. This means you can’t drive alone if you have a student permit only. The LTO fine is PHP 3,000 for those who violate this rule.
Getting your driver's license is an exciting milestone, so make sure you do it right to avoid the delays and the hassles. As such, securing an LTO student permit is the first necessary step to your driver’s license application. Read up and take your driver's education seriously so you can move on to becoming a full-fledged driver.
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-  LTO student permit to require 15-hour lecture starting April 6 (TopGear, 2020)
-  Forms Pages from LTO
-  Suspension of Online TDCs advisory
-  Student Permit Not a License (LTO Makati District Office Facebook page, 2019)
-  Extension of Validity of Student Driver's Permit, Driver's License, and Conductor's License (LTO, October 2021)