by Venus Zoleta, on category "Government Services"
March 12, 2018
Want to know the best way to get a driver’s license faster in the Philippines? First things first: never do business with a fixer at the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Yes, it can be tempting to pay someone to complete your license application quickly, but it can cost you twice to four times the price of doing it legally. And if your license is found to be fake, you’ll be charged a fine and banned from getting a real license for two years.
There’s no shortcut in legally applying for a driver’s license in the Philippines. Just like other government transactions, expect long queues, slow service, and lots of frustrating situations. You’ll have to devote a whole day for your driver’s license application, even if it means taking a leave of absence from work.
With enough preparation and a few tricks, though, you can get your license in 3 to 4 hours, or even earlier, barring any IT or system error at the LTO. Here are nine things you can do prior to your application to speed it up and save time.
A medical certificate is one of the driver’s license requirements, so you can’t skip taking a medical examination. In the past, applicants need to take a medical exam in any of LTO-accredited clinics or government hospitals near the LTO office during the day of license application. Sometimes, these facilities are unavailable or closed.
Good thing, LTO now accepts medical certificates issued by any licensed and practicing physician, making it possible to get a driver’s license faster.
To speed things up, take a medical exam at least one day up to 15 days before applying for a license. LTO accepts medical certificates issued within 15 days prior to driver’s license application. You can download a copy of the medical certificate from the LTO website.
Be sure that your medical certificate has the following information:
Get a driver’s license faster by making sure you have all the required documents ready before heading to an LTO branch.
Click on one of the applicable links below to check the LTO driver’s license requirements:
You may need to allot a week or more to secure all the document requirements for a driver’s license.
Regardless of the license type you’re applying for, LTO requires you to submit an accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL) form. You can download it from the LTO website and fill it out in advance, so you won’t spend time doing it during the actual application.
Ample preparation can help you get a driver’s license faster. This includes practice driving in your own car to ensure you pass the practical exam during your application at the LTO office. This will also familiarize you with basic driving protocols.
Failing the LTO exams is a waste of time because you won’t be issued a license. Flunk one of the tests twice, and you won’t be allowed to apply for a license in one year. If you fail for the third time, you won’t be able to get a license for the next two years.
Aside from driving practice, be aware of the conditions that automatically lead to failing the practical exam: hitting another vehicle or the gutter and incorrect actions that cause collision. Also, listen carefully to the instructions given to you before you take the practical driving exam.
Know how much money you’re supposed to bring for the driver’s license fees. If you don’t bring enough cash, you’ll have to line up (again) at the nearest ATM, which means your application will take longer.
It also helps to bring loose change instead of paying PHP 1,000 or PHP 500 bills. You’ll be paying several fees to separate cashiers, so pay the exact amount to get a driver’s license faster. Know the exact fees to pay beforehand:
LTO requires driver’s license applicants to be “clean, neat, and presentable” during photo-taking and examinations. That means you aren’t allowed to wear just an undershirt or sleeveless short (for men), sports shorts, and slippers. Dress appropriately to avoid hassles and delays in your driver’s license application.
Bring enough baon that will keep you from getting hungry and thirsty while lining up and waiting for your turn. In doing so, you won’t have to leave your queue and step out of the LTO office just to buy snacks or water.
Yes, you can ask the person standing behind you to reserve your spot on the line. But what if your name gets called while you’re buying food outside? So better have your food and drinks ready while queuing up.
Is it better to bring your car or leave it at home? It depends on your priority.
Most LTO branches have limited parking space, and you might spend some time looking for an available slot elsewhere. If you prefer to get a driver’s license faster, you’ll be better off commuting or having a family or friend drop you off.
On the other hand, bringing your own car during your driver’s license application could help raise your chance of passing the practical driving exam. Because you’re already familiar and comfortable with your car, so you won’t need to adjust and be stressed. You also won’t have to spend over two hundred bucks for renting a car at the LTO office.
Just like any government office, LTO offices are jampacked with driver’s license applicants every day, especially during peak hours and days.
But you can avoid long lines by being strategic about the time and day you arrive at the LTO office. To be among the first people on the line, come as early as 7AM (or even earlier.)
If your schedule allows it, go to the LTO office on a non-peak day (usually from Tuesday to Thursday.)
Avoid any delay—know what to expect during the driver’s license application. Here are the basic steps you need to know before you apply for a driver’s license:
You don’t want to waste time lining up at the wrong window. So check with the LTO personnel to know the right window you’ll transact with for every step of the application process.
In 2017, LTO announced that it’s working on creating an online system to help Filipinos get a driver’s license faster and easier. Until that project is completed, Pinoy drivers have to make do with the manual process of applying for a driver’s license.