Published: June 30, 2020 | Updated: April 1, 2021 | Posted by: Moneymax | Government Services
As a new driver, there’s this indescribable mix of excitement and anxiety to take your car for a spin for the first time. But before you can drive, you’ll need a driver’s license. Driving without a valid license is illegal in the Philippines, and you will be fined PHP 3,000 for that violation.
The process of license application in the Philippines can be quite confusing for first-timers. Check out this guide so that you know what to do and what to expect when you apply for a license.
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A driver’s license is an official document that authorizes the cardholder to drive a motor vehicle in the Philippines. This identification card also functions as a valid ID for various transactions in the government and private sectors.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO), a frontline government agency under the Department of Transportation, issues driver’s licenses. The agency is responsible for driver licensing and motor vehicle registrations in the Philippines.
The LTO has three classifications of licensing: student permit, non-professional driver’s license, and professional driver’s license.
A student permit is a prerequisite for both professional and non pro driver’s licenses. Also called student driver’s permit, this LTO-issued document is a basic license authorizing a person to drive a vehicle accompanied by a licensed driver (whether with a professional or non pro license).
Having a non-professional driver’s license allows you to drive private vehicles only. You may apply for a non pro driver’s license one month to one year after the issue date of your student permit.
As the name implies, a professional driver’s license allows you to drive a vehicle for a living. Apply for a professional license if you’ll drive any public utility vehicle (PUV) such as a taxi, transport network vehicle service (TNVS), jeepney, tricycle, bus, etc.
All driver’s licenses in the Philippines (except for student permits, which are valid for one year) are valid for five years. How your validity period is determined depends on whether your license is issued before or after your birthday.
If you get your license before your birthday, the current year is included in the validity period. For example, if you get your license on July 10, 2020 and your birthday is on July 15, the year 2020 is included in the validity period (counted as 2020-2021-2022-2023-2024). Your license will then expire in 2024.
But if your license is issued after your birthday, the current year is not included in counting the validity period. For example, if you get your license on July 10, 2020 and your birthday is on July 5, the counting of your validity period starts the following year (counted as 2021-2022-2023-2024-2025). In this case, your license will expire in 2025.
Under Republic Act 10930, a 10-year driver’s license validity will be given to non-professional and professional license holders who have never violated any traffic law, rule, or regulation within the five-year period. However, according to the LTO, it will start implementing the 10-year license validity by October 2021.
To become eligible for a non pro or professional license, you should accomplish a student permit first from the LTO.
This driving permit is issued to qualified Filipinos and foreigners who wish to learn how to drive. When testing your driving skills on the road on your first few tries, you’ll need to present this permit to authorities who might issue you a ticket.
A student permit will cost you around PHP 300 for around an hour of processing at the LTO office. The one-year validity of your student permit is your time to practice and improve your driving skills.
To get a license, you need to go through a medical exam (which will cost around PHP 500) from an LTO-accredited clinic.
You need proof that you’re physically and mentally fit to drive. If you get clearance from the doctor, your medical certificate will be submitted online to the LTO.
Although the LTO continues to accept walk-in applicants, your license processing will be much faster and easier if you schedule an appointment first through the LTO online portal. You won’t have to line up and spend hours in an LTO branch to secure a license.
The LTO launched in May 18, 2020 an online service called the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) where you can process your driver’s license application from home.
The LTMS portal allows you to complete the following steps:
To use the LTO online portal, you have to register for an account first. Registration in the LTMS involves filling out an online form and verifying your email address.
Once your user account has been created, log in to the LTMS portal, click on “Licensing,” enter and verify your medical certificate number, select “New” as your application type, and proceed with your online driver’s license application.
4. Complete Your License Processing
On your scheduled date and time, go to the LTO office where you booked an appointment online. You need to personally appear to have your fingerprints scanned and your photo taken for your license. You’ll also take a theoretical and a practical driving exam at the LTO office.
Within minutes after your biometrics capture, the LTO will issue your driver’s license card to you.
Note that the LTO implements the following health protocols in all its offices under the general community quarantine (GCQ), which everyone is expected to observe:
One to 12 months before expiry, you should apply for the renewal of your professional or non pro license.
The procedures for license renewal is almost the same with a new license application, starting with the medical exam. To renew your license through the LTO online portal, select “Renewal” as your application type.
For license holders in the Philippines:
For Filipinos living abroad:
Driver’s license application and renewal have become more efficient nowadays because you can do most of the procedures online. Take advantage of the convenience and safety that the LTO online portal offers.
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