12 Tips for a Quick and Stress-Free Driver’s License Renewal

Published: March 15, 2018 | Updated: April 22, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Government Services

driver's license renewal

Driver’s license renewal is no fun in the Philippines. But it’s a lot more bearable than applying for a new driver’s license, as you won’t have to take driving exams at the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Is your driver’s license up for renewal? Make the process quicker and less stressful. Just keep these driver’s license renewal tips in mind.

1. Settle Any Past Traffic Violations

Before you go to an LTO branch to renew your license, make sure you’re cleared of any traffic violations and you’ve paid all fines. Otherwise, you can’t proceed to the next step of your driver’s license renewal. Settling the penalty fees on the day of your renewal can delay the process.

2. Renew Your License Sooner Than Later

LTO driver's license renewal

Instagram photo by @raynandolarte

Don’t wait until the expiration date of your license—renew it at least one month in advance so that you won’t have to pay a penalty fee. You can renew your driver’s license as early as 60 days before on its day of expiration. Late driver’s license renewal can cost you as much as PHP 225. If more than two years have elapsed since your license expiration, you’ll be paying PHP 1,045.26 to renew your dormant license.

Set a schedule for your LTO license renewal. It could take as fast as 20 minutes to as long as 4 hours, depending on how efficient the LTO branch is. Better do it on a free day (some renewal centers are open on Saturdays) rather than sneak out during your office lunch break. Take a leave of absence from work, if you must.

3. Call LTO Before Renewing Your License

Isn’t it a bummer when you’ve allotted an entire day for your license renewal and braved the monstrous traffic to get to an LTO office, only to find out that the branch is closed or doesn’t process renewals?

Make sure that scenario won’t happen to you. Call the nearest LTO branch to check if it’s open on the day you plan to renew your driver’s license. If it’s not available on your renewal day, ask for the closest branch that can process your renewal.

Some LTO driver’s license renewal centers have their own Facebook page where they post updates on their schedules and the services they provide. Check the FB page of your LTO branch of choice at least a day before you go there.

4. Have Your Medical Exam in Advance

Instagram photo by @adriancruz20

Instagram photo by @adriancruz20

A medical certificate[1] is one of the driver’s license renewal requirements. If you’ll apply for a driver’s license renewal at a busy LTO branch (especially at the main office in Diliman, Quezon City), you can save a great deal of time by undergoing a medical checkup prior to your renewal day instead of doing it on-site.

5. Fill Out the Application Form Beforehand

Instagram photo by @prettytec

Instagram photo by @prettytec

An accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL) form[2] is one of the requirements for driver’s license renewal. Fill it out in advance. This way, you can save time at the LTO branch and move on to the next step of your renewal.

If you forget to do so and will fill out the form at the driver’s license renewal center, bring your own pen.

6. Bring Your Old License

Instagram photo by @rye_noleal

Instagram photo by @rye_noleal

Don’t forget to bring your current driver’s license—it’s one of the most important driver’s license renewal requirements. Also, bring the official receipt (OR) that came with it, just in case the LTO staff asks for it.
Have you lost your driver’s license? You’ll need to submit an Affidavit of Loss and a valid ID to the nearest LTO regional office (not the ones in malls because they don’t process driver’s license replacements) to replace your lost driver’s license[3].

7. Bring Enough Cash for the Driver’s License Renewal Fee

Instagram photo by @kim0fthew0rld

Instagram photo by @kim0fthew0rld

Get your payment ready before you leave home for your driver’s license renewal. Know how much you’ll be paying to renew your license[4]. If you do it before your license expires, prepare at least PHP 652.63 (PHP 585 license fee + PHP 67.63 computer fee) for the driver’s license renewal fee.

Prepare a higher amount if you’re applying for license renewal past the expiration date. Here are the penalty fees that LTO charges for late renewals:

  • One day to one year expired: PHP 75 (Total: PHP 723.63)
  • Over one year to two years expired: PHP 150 (Total: PHP 802.63)
  • Over two years expired: PHP 225 + PHP 100 application fee + PHP 67.63 additional computer fee (Total: PHP 1,045.26)

8. Bring Snacks and Water

You’ll be hungry and thirsty while waiting in line. Spare yourself the trouble—bring food and water during your driver’s license renewal.

9. Have Your Driver’s License Renewal at an LTO Mall Outlet

LTO driver's license renewal office

Instagram photo by @ronstipated

LTO has set up driver’s license renewal centers at selected Robinsons, SM, Gaisano, and other malls all over the Philippines. They open at 10 AM and close at 6 PM.

Obviously, malls are far more convenient and comfortable than the typically crowded and disorganized LTO offices. You can finish your license renewal in less than an hour (versus 3-4 hours at an LTO office) and have plenty of time for your other errands at the mall.

So if you live near a mall with an LTO branch, have your license renewal processed there. It will save you from the hassle compared to suffering from long lines, bad air conditioning, and heat of the sun in an LTO office.

10. Come Early

Be at the LTO branch at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before it opens. LTO offices open at 8 AM, while those inside malls open at 10 AM. You’ll be the first in line if you go there really early.

11. Know the Right Procedure

Instagram photo by @edesoloc

Instagram photo by @edesoloc

When you get to the driver’s license renewal center, the first thing to do before or while lining up is to look for LTO’s signage with instructions on how to renew your license. Note the correct window numbers you will go to for each step, so you won’t waste time staying in a wrong queue.
Here are the steps to renew your driver’s license:

  1. Submit your driver’s license renewal requirements.
  2. Have your picture and electronic signature taken.
  3. Pay the driver’s license renewal fee to the cashier.
  4. Wait and claim your new driver’s license card and OR.

12. Just Say No to Fixers!

You can quickly complete your driver’s license renewal on your own without help from anybody. Dealing with fixers is an added cost, not to mention that it’s encouraging corruption in one of the most corrupt government agencies. You also don’t want to end up being hassled with a fake driver’s license[5], right?

Final Thoughts

Driver’s license renewal in the Philippines can drive you nuts if you don’t plan it well and manage your expectations. Any government transaction leaves much to be desired in terms of efficiency—the LTO is no exception. But with the right strategies (except for doing business with a fixer, of course), you can make your renewal a lot faster and easier.