How to Apply for a Driver’s License in the Philippines

Words by Nicole Andrea Simbulan of Eugenio Lopez Jr. Center for Media Arts Senior High School

Jumping in your car and just driving anywhere is something we all want to do. A getaway is a great way to destress and relax. But before you get the luxury of doing this, there are responsibilities you should know and attend to. One of them is getting a driver’s license (and nope, not the Olivia Rodrigo song!).

You have to remember, driving without a license is illegal in the Philippines and you have to pay a hefty fine of PHP 3,000 if you violate this. So, to avoid that, scroll down and we’ll walk you through the steps on how to apply for one.

What is a driver’s license?

A driver’s license is a government-issued document that authorizes an individual to operate a motor vehicle. It is issued by the Land Transportation Office (LTO). There are different kinds of permits and licenses that you can apply for depending on what you need. They are the following:

Student Permit

Obtaining a Student Permit is a must to get a Professional or Non-Professional Driver’s License. This type of license permits an individual to drive a vehicle, but only in the presence of someone who has a Professional or Non-Professional Driver’s License.

You can apply for it if you:

  • are a Filipino or foreign citizen who is 16 years old and above
  • are a holder of a driver’s license which has expired for 10 years
  • are able to read and write in English, Filipino, or any applicable local dialect
  • are physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • have attended at least 15 hours of theoretical driving lessons from any LTO-accredited driving school.

What you need are:

  • Valid ID
  • Birth Certificate
  • Medical certificate issued and submitted online by an LTO-accredited clinic
  • For minors, a notarized parent’s consent to secure a student permit and valid ID of the parent or guardian
  • For married, applicants, a marriage certificate

Non-Professional License

 This license will allow an individual to drive a private vehicle only.

 You can apply for it if you:

  • are a Filipino or foreigner aged at least 17 years old
  • are a holder of a Student Permit issued at least 31 days before the Non-Professional License application
  • are able to read and write in English, Filipino, or any applicable local dialect
  • are physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • have a minimum of eight hours of practical driving lessons given by an LTO-accredited and TESDA-certified driving school
  • have passed the required written and practical exam

What you need are:

  • Medical certificate issued and submitted online by an LTO-accredited clinic
  • Original valid student permit
  • Birth certificate (for Filipinos) / Passport and visa (for foreigners)

Professional License

This license allows you to drive a vehicle for a living. With this license, you can drive any public vehicle such as taxis, jeepneys, tricycle, etc. depending on the category you apply for.

You can apply for it if you:

  • are a Filipino or foreigner aged at least 17 years old
  • are a holder of Non-Professional Driver’s License for at least a year
  • are able to read and write in English, Filipino, or any applicable local dialect
  • are physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • have completed a minimum of eight hours of hands-on driving lessons given by an LTO-accredited and TESDA-certified driving school

What you need are:

  • Medical certificate issued and submitted online by an LTO-accredited clinic
  • Original valid student permit
  • NBI Clearance or Police Clearance
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
  • Birth certificate (for Filipinos) / Passport and visa (for foreigners)

How to apply for a driver’s license online?

Last year, LTO launched an online portal allowing motorists to apply or renew their licenses from the comfort of their homes. Here are the steps to apply for a driver’s license to this online portal, without going through so much hassle.

1. Go to the LTMS portal and click “Register Now” if it’s your first time using the portal, or click the “Login” button if you already have an account.

2. Read and accept the terms of the agreement. After reading and agreeing to the terms of the agreement, encode the security code in the blank box provided and then click “Next.”

3. Select what you want to enroll in to proceed with the registration. The portal provides a way to register either as an individual or a company.

4. Answer the question on whether you have an existing license or not. You will then answer questions concerning your license.

5. Answer the question regarding your nationality.

6. Provide your personal details.

7. Provide your contact details.

8. After filling in the required details, click “Create Account” to proceed.

9. Click the link sent to your email address to verify your account.

10. Create your password. Once you’ve created your password, click “Set Password for Log-in.”

11. Sign in to your account using your new password.

12. Select “Licensing” on your dashboard. There are four buttons you can click, but since you’re applying for a driver’s license, click “Licensing.”

13. Complete your online application form. After you finish answering the form, click “Apply Changes.” You will then be redirected to the dashboard. Click “Licensing” again. Read the Terms of Use and click “Accept.”

The next steps will ask you to select the type of license, the type of application that you want to complete (whether it’s for a new application, renewal, etc.), the appointment schedule you prefer, and the LTO office where you want to process the application.

Before you get your hands on the steering wheel and your foot on the accelerator, make sure you have a driver’s license with you. And together we’ll sing: “I got my driver’s license last week”!

Apply for your driver’s license here.






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