Philippine Driver's license
Contents

A driver’s license is the essential document you need to be able to drive a vehicle in the Philippines. It applies to both trucks and cars and serves as proof that you’ve undergone the proper training and that you know how to drive a vehicle.

What is a driver’s license?

A license is a government-issued document that allows an individual to operate a motor vehicle. The sole issuing body for a license in the Philippines is the Land Transportation Office (LTO). It applies to both trucks and cars and serves as proof that you’ve undergone the proper training and that you know how to drive a vehicle. It also acts as a government-issued ID for when you are required to submit proof of your identity. 

Types of driver’s licenses

In the Philippines, there are three kinds of licenses with each one restricting the individual to driving under certain conditions. Their differences mainly lie in the requirement and purpose of the license.

  1. Student Driver Permit - This type of license allows the individual to drive a vehicle as long as they are accompanied by a professional or non-professionally licensed driver. This permits the user to learn how to drive under the tutelage of an instructor or licensed individual.
  2. Non-professional license - This type of license allows the individual to drive a vehicle for personal purposes or for private use only.
  3. Professional license - This type of license allows the individual to drive vehicles for a living or for a paid purpose. This commonly applies to those who have to drive large commercial vehicles for a living.

Philippine International Driving Permit (PDIP) 

  • Otherwise referred to as an international driver’s license, it exists for the purpose of allowing an individual to operate a motor vehicle in another country.
  • Issued by the Automotive Association of the Philippines (AAP), which is the only organization authorized to issue such a document.  
  • To acquire this license, you must already have a valid Philippine driver’s license issued by the LTO, two pieces of a 2-inch by 2-inch ID picture with a white background, and a processing fee of P3,920. Renewal for the PDIP needs the same requirements.
Philippine Driver's License

A driver’s license has two faces. The front face contains the picture of the driver as well as his or her credentials. These include the name, age, nationality, weight, height, home address, license number, expiration date, blood type, eye color, and restrictions. It also contains the signature of the driver as well as that of the assistant secretary. Safety features can also be found such as the holographic seal of the Land Transportation Office (LTO). 

Philippine Driver's license back

At the back of the license, there are a few items printed at the back, these include the legend of restriction codes, legend of conditions, the serial number, the indication if you are an organ donor. Your emergency contact is also listed at the back of the card in case, and there is a barcode that can be scanned for identification purposes. Other details include a small black and white image of you, and a serial number. Apart from that, you also get security tape at the back as well. 

Restrictions and Conditions  

As per the LTO restriction and condition codes, there are several that need to be complied with if an individual with said codes and conditions will have to pilot a motor vehicle. During your application process, make sure that you are applying for the right restriction and indicate any condition that you may need to meet while in the seat of a vehicle. 

Philippine Driver's license restrictions and conditions

Under the old restriction code system, which are still in effect for many license holders in the country, the codes are as follows: 

  1. Motorcycles/Motorized Tricycles 
  2. Vehicles up to 4,500 kg in gross vehicle weight
  3. Vehicles above 4,500 kg in gross vehicle weight
  4. Vehicles with automatic clutch up to 4,500 kg in gross vehicle weight 
  5. Vehicles with automatic clutch above 4,500 kg in gross vehicle weight 
  6. Articulated vehicle 1,600 kg gross vehicle weight and below 
  7. Articulated vehicle 1,601 kg up to 4,500 kg gross vehicle weight 
  8. Articulated vehicle 4,501 kg and above in gross vehicle weight

To shed more light on the topic, you can have multiple restriction codes on your license. For example, you can have restriction codes 1, and 2, which means that you can pilot both a motorcycle or a car that is 4,500 kg and below, which is a common combination of restrictions in the Philippines. 

Note that you cannot drive a vehicle whose restriction code does not appear on your license. So if you don’t have restriction code 1, you cannot pilot a motorcycle. 

Conditions outline the equipment, scenarios, and person/s that need to be present while one is piloting a motor vehicle these include,

     1. Wear corrective lenses

     2. Drive only with special equipment for upper limbs 

     3. Drive customized motor vehicle only  

     4. Daylight driving only 

     5. Hearing aid required 

Conditions are more for people that have sensory and physical disabilities. Conditions must be set in place for the safety of everyone around the person with a disability (PWD). 

The old condition codes were revised and now are denoted by numbers instead of letters. 

Philippine Driver's license new restriction codes

New Restriction Codes

In January of 2021, the LTO overhauled the format of the restriction code system. A combination of the codes will state what the license holder can and cannot drive.  It can be broken down into three parts: 

  • Driver's license code 
  • Vehicle category 
  • Driver's license classification 

Driver's license code

  • A. Motorcycle 
  • A1. Tricycle 
  • B. Up to 5,000 kg gross vehicle weight/8 seats 
  • B1. Up to 5,000 kg gross vehicle weight/9 or more seats 
  • B2. Goods less than or equal to 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight 
  • C. Goods greater than 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight 
  • D. Bus greater than 5000 kg gross vehicle weight/9 or more seats 
  • BE. Trailers less than or equal to 3,500 kg
  • CE. Articulated goods greater than 3,500 kg combined gross vehicle weight. 

Vehicle Category 

Motorcycle

  • L1 - two wheels with a maximum design speed not exceeding 50 km/h 
  • L2 - three wheels with a maximum design speed not exceeding 50 km/h
  • L3 - two wheels with a maximum design speed exceeding 50 km/h

Tricycle/Quadricycle etc. 

  • L4 - motorcycle with sidecars with a maximum design speed exceeding 50 km/h
  • L5 - three wheels symmetrically arranged with a maximum speed exceeding 50 km/h 
  • L6 - four wheels whose unladen mass is not more than 350 kg with maximum design speed not exceeding 45 km/h
  • L7 - four wheels whose unladen mass is not more than 550 kg with maximum design speed not exceeding 45 km/h

Cars, trucks, busses, and trailers 

  • M1 - vehicles that go up to 5,000 kg gross vehicle weight with not more than 8 passenger seats 
  • M2 - vehicles up to 5,000 kg gross vehicle weight with more than 8 passenger seats  
  • M3 - Vehicles above 5,000 kg gross vehicle weight with more than 8 passenger seats 
  • N1 - vehicles up to 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight for carriage of goods
  • N2 - vehicles exceeding 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight for the carriage of goods 
  • N3 - vehicles exceeding 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight for the carriage of goods 
  • 01 - Articulated vehicle in either manual or automatic vehicle not more than 750 kg gross vehicle weight
  • 02 - Articulated manual or automatic vehicle exceeding 750 up to 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight 
  • 03 - Articulated vehicle manual or automatic exceeding 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight 
  • 04 - Articulated vehicle manual or automatic exceeding 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight 

Driver's license classification 

  • NPL - Non-professional driver's license
  • PL - Professional driver's license 

Clutch restriction code 

  • AT - Automatic transmission 
  • MT - Manual Transmission 

If you are looking for a standard license to drive a car and motorcycle, then these are the codes you want if you can drive both automatic and manual transmission vehicles: 

A: L1, L2, L3 - NP - AT/MT - (Condition code) 

B: M1, M2, N1 - NP - AT/MT - (Condition code) 

The condition code will depend on if you need sensory aids or physical aids to operate a motorized vehicle. 

Restriction code conversion 

If you're renewing your license, your old restriction code will be converted to the new restriction code by the LTO. You will have to dictate what kind of code you will get, and then apply for the specific code. 

Obtaining a student permit

Before you can even apply to get a student permit you will need the following qualifications and documents ready.

  • Must be 17-years old or above to avail of a student permit
  • Must be physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • Must also be literate in both English and in Filipino
  • Must have completed the mandatory 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) seminar at an LTO accredited driving school that serves as a Practical Driving Course (PDC)

When it comes to the requirements for getting a student permit you will need the following:

  • A completed student permit application form
  • Birth Certificate and Marriage Contract (for married women) 
  • Original and one photocopy of any issued ID with photo and signature of the applicant 
  • Electronically transmitted medical certificate from an accredited LTO clinic
  • Electronically transmitted Certificate of Completion for 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) issued by LTO Driver's Education Centers (DECs) or any LTO accredited driving schools
  • A Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Once you have completed all of these requirements and documents then you can apply for a student permit. Here are the following steps that you will need to take in order to obtain your student permit

  1. Head to your preferred LTO licensing center
  2. Get a copy of the student permit form and fill in the required information
  3. Wait for your number to be called as you will be assigned one with the form
  4. Submit your paperwork when called including your other required documents
  5. Wait for your picture to be taken and prepare to give your signature as well
  6. Head to the cashier for payment and receive your official receipt (OR)
  7. Wait again for your name or number to be called then head to the releasing area
  8. Present your OR and receive your student permit.

Obtaining a non-professional driver’s license

When it comes to applying for a non-professional driver’s license you will need the following qualifications beforehand.

  • You will need to be at least aged 18 years or above to apply
  • Physically and mentally fit
  • Literate both in English and Filipino
  • Must hold a valid student permit for at least 30 days prior to application

For a non-professional driver’s license, the actual requirements are pretty straightforward.

  • A completed driver’s license application form
  • A medical certificate from an accredited LTO clinic
  • Electronically transmitted Practical Driving Course (PDC) certificate 
  • A valid student permit
  • A certificate of completion for the 15-hour seminar

Once you have met all the qualifications and have your required documents ready you can now proceed to get your non-professional driver’s license. These steps will be similar to that of getting a student permit with a few extra steps.

  1. Head to your preferred LTO licensing center of choice
  2. Get a copy of the non-professional driver’s license application form and fill up the required information
  3. Wait for your number to be called and submit all of your completed paperwork
  4. Wait again as you will be called to have your picture and signature taken
  5. Once this is done head to the cashier for payment and make sure to get your OR
  6. Wait for your name to be called as this will be done by batch for the written examination for the Basic Driving theory test
  7. Once done, wait for your name or number to be called for the practical driving exam
  8. Wait again for your name or number to be called as you will head to the claiming area to get your non-professional driver’s license

It is important to note that if your card is not ready yet within the day you may have to return on a separate day to receive your physical license. In the meantime make sure to hold on to your OR as you will need it in order to claim your license at a later date.

Obtaining a professional driver’s license

To obtain a professional driver’s license you will need to meet the following qualifications:

  • You need to be aged 18 or older in order to apply for a professional driver’s license
  • Physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle
  • Literate in both English and Filipino
  • Must also not be charged with 2 or more counts of reckless driving during the current validity of your existing license
  • For those applying for Restriction Code 1,2,4, and 6 - You must be a holder of a valid student permit issued at least 6 months prior to your professional license application.
  • For those applying for Restriction Code 3,57, and 8 - You must be a holder of a valid non-professional driver’s license for at least one year prior to your application

If you meet all of the criteria mentioned above, you can now ready your requirements for a professional license. 

  • A completed driver’s license application form
  • A medical certificate proving that the applicant is fit to drive a motor vehicle or otherwise stating the applicant’s impairment. This must be taken from LTO accredited clinics.
  • Valid student permit
  • Electronically transmitted Practical Driving Course (PDC) certificate 
  • Clearance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that the applicant has not been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude or reckless imprudence resulting from reckless driving.
  • For those applying for Restriction Code 1,2,4 and 6, you will need a valid student permit that was issued at least 6 months before your application.
  • For those applying for Restriction Code 3,5,7, and 8 you will need to be a holder of a valid non-professional driver’s license for at least 1 year prior to application.
  • If the applicant wishes to apply for Restriction Codes 3,5,7 and 8 is already a holder of a Restriction Code 1,2,4, and 6 professional driver’s license this must be valid for a period of at least 6 months prior to application. 

Once all of these documents and requirements have been met, you can now apply for a professional driver’s license. The steps to getting a professional driver’s license will be similar to that of a non-professional.

  • Head over to your preferred LTO licensing center
  • Get a copy of the professional driver’s license application form
  • Fill up the necessary information and wait for your name or number to be called as you will be submitting all the paperwork needed along with the requirements.
  • You will then need to wait again for your picture and signature to be taken.
  • Once your picture and signature have been taken, proceed to the cashier for your payment and get your official receipt. 
  • Wait for your batch to be called as you will be taking the written exam in the form of the Basic Driving Theory Test. The results for the exam will be produced immediately after your batch has been finished
  • Next, you will need to wait again for your turn to take the practical driving exam.
  • Once your practical exam has been completed and you have passed, you may then claim your license at the releasing area. Make sure to present your official receipt when claiming your license.

In the event that your license is not yet ready on the day itself, make sure to keep your official receipt in a safe place so that you can claim your Professional License at a later date.

Student permit

Application fee:                          P100

Computer fee:                           P67.63

Student Permit fee:                   P150

Birth certificate:                        P330 (fee may vary)

Medical Certificate:                   P450 (fee may vary)

Driving course/driving school:  P4,500 or Free (fee may vary)

Estimated total:                        P5,447.63

Non-Professional Driver’s License

Application fee:                        P100

Computer fee:                          P67.63

License fee:                             P585

Additional computer fee:        P67.63

Medical certificate:                 P450 (fee may vary)

Estimated total:                      P1,270.26

Professional Driver’s License

Application fee:                      P100

Computer fee:                       P67.63

License fee:                           P585

Additional computer fee:       P67.63

Medical certificate:                P450 (fee may vary)

Estimated total:                    P1,270.26

(Driving course and school fees vary depending on the school) 

Just like most documents, a period of validity ensures that records are true and kept up to date by the bearer. A license will be valid for 3 years from the date of issue if registered before October 2021. Law-abiding citizens that don’t get any demerit points will be able to enjoy a license validity of up to 10 years starting October 2021. 

Republic Act (RA) No. 10930 lengthens the validity of a Philippine driver’s license from 3 to 5 years starting October 2021, and it also includes demerit points that will allow motorists to enjoy a 10-year validity period provided the holder doesn’t incur any demerit points. 

Your license will expire three (3) years from the year of issuance, and the expiration date will be your date of birth or birthday. If you were born on the 1st of January and was issued a license in the year 2020, the license will be valid all the way until January 1, 2023. 

You may renew your license if you are nearing the expiration date. You can renew your license within 1 month before expiry, but not more than 2 years after the expiration. If you are with a license more than 2 years expired, then you would have to apply for a license again because that will be classified as a dormant license. 

Fees for renewal 

License fee:                                   P585

Computer fee:                               P67.63

Application fee:                             P100

Additional  computer fee:              P67.63

Estimated total without penalties:  P820.26

Other fees:

Penalty fee for one day to one year expired                      P75

Penalty fee for more than 1 year to 2 years expired           P150

Penalty fee for more than 2 years expired (re-exam)         P225

These fees may be added to your total estimate if you are late in renewing your license. 

Fees for a dormant Non-professional and Professional Driver’s license

These fees only apply if your license has become dormant and has not been renewed for over 2 years.

Application fee:                 P100

Computer fee                   P67.63

License fee:                      P585

Penality                            P225

Additional computer fee    P67.63

Estimated total:                P1,045.26

If your license ever gets lost or misplaced, you may get it replaced for a fee. First, secure an affidavit of loss, bring another government-issued ID then head to your nearest LTO branch. The process will be similar to license application. 

In the event that you have lost or had your license stolen these are the fees, you should expect to pay.

Replacement fee:        P225

Certification fee:         P100

Clearance fee:            P30

Duplicate fee:            P50

Computer fee:           P67.63

Estimated total:        P472.63

Under RA 4136 only the Land Transportation office has the authority to confiscate your driver’s license. However, the government offices can deputize certain individuals to confiscate your license if you have committed a traffic violation. These authorized individuals have their respective mission orders which consist of their area of responsibility, time of duty, official function, and an indication of whether they are authorized to issue tickets or to confiscate licenses.

It is important to note that these deputized officials have temporary operators’ permits that they can issue which is used as a receipt that a driver’s license was confiscated.

Recovering your confiscated license

In the event that your driver’s license has been confiscated, the LTO authorized officer will tell you where you can recover your license which will likely be the nearest city hall or your home city hall. This will vary from area to area depending on where you committed the violation. 

The apprehending officer or deputy will issue you an Official Violation Receipt (OVR) which will also act as a temporary license that will have a validity period of about a week. You may claim your license at least 1 working day after the OVR was issued. 

Requirements to recover your license:

  • Official Violation Receipt (OVR)
  • Affidavit of Loss (if you lost your OVR)
  • Resolution (optional if your violation is adjudicated)

From this point forward the steps to reclaiming your license will vary, however, you should be able to get it back within the day. 

As for the locations where you can apply and renew your license in the National Capital Region, check this list to see if there is an office near you. Take note that DRLOs stand for Driver's License Renewal Office and that's the only service that these offices provide. 

  1. LTO NCR East Regional Office
  2. Quezon City Licensing Cemter
  3. QCLC Renewal Section
  4. San Juan Licensing Center
  5. Taguig Licensing Extension Office
  6. Valenzuela Licensing Extension Office
  7. Diliman District Office
  8. La Loma District Office
  9. Mandaluyong Extension Office
  10. Marikina District Office
  11. Novaliches District Office
  12. Pasig District Office
  13. Pateros Extension Office
  14. Quezon City District Office
  15. Quezon City Extension Office
  16. San Juan District Office
  17. Taguig Extension Office
  18. Valenzuela District Office
  19. North Motor Vehicle Inspection Office
  20. Public Utility Vehicle Registration Center
  21. LTO NCR West Regional Office
  22. Kalookan Licensing Extension Office
  23. Kalookan District Office
  24. Las Pinas District Office
  25. Makati District Office
  26. Malabon District Office
  27. Manila East District Office
  28. Manila Licensing Center
  29. Manila Licensing Renewal Section
  30. Manila North District Office
  31. Manila South District Office
  32. Manila West District Office
  33. Muntinlupa District Office
  34. Navotas Extension Office
  35. Paranaque District Office
  36. Pasay City Licensing Center
  37. Pasay District Office
  38. Public Utility Vehicle Registration Extension Center
  39. South Motor Vehicle Inspection Center

DLROs available: 

  1. Ali Mall DLRO
  2. Choice Mall DLRO
  3. Eastwood DLRO
  4. Ever Gotesco DLRO
  5. Fairview Center Mall DLRO
  6. Fishermall DLRO
  7. Robinsons Galleria DLRO
  8. Robinsons Metroeast DLRO
  9. Robinsons Novaliches DLRO
  10. Shaw Mall Center DLRO
  11. SM North EDSA DLRO
  12. SM Novaliches DLRO
  13. Tiendesitas DLRO
  14. Ayala MRT DLRO
  15. Robinson’s Las Pinas DLRO
  16. Araneta Square Mall DLRO
  17. SM Manila DLRO
  18. SM Mall of Asia DLRO
  19. Robinsons Place Manila DLRO
  20. Alabang Town Center DLRO
  21. Metropoint Pasay DLRO
  22. Lucky Chinatown Mall DLRO
  23. Guadalupe DLRO

Latest Features

View More Articles

Popular Articles