If you come to the Philippines for a vacation, did you know that you can drive without need of obtaining a Philippine Driver’s License? It’s true. As long as you have a license from your home country, you may drive here using that license. That, however, is only good for 90 days from the time you enter the country. If you intend to stay longer than 90 days, and intend to drive after that 90 day “grace period” then you will need to obtain a Philippine Driver’s License.
So, if you have decided that you need to (or want to) get a Philippine Driver’s License, what steps should you follow? Let’s have a look:
- You need to first go to the LTO (Land Transportation Office) in the City where you will be applying for your license. By the way, like when you visit the Bureau of Immigration, you should wear long pants (not shorts) when you go to the LTO.
- When you go to the LTO, you should bring the following items:
- Your original driver’s license from your home country.
- Your original passport.
- A good photocopy of your driver’s license.
- A good photocopy of the photo page of your passport.
- A good photocopy of the Philippine entry stamp for your latest entry to the Philippines in your passport.
- A good photocopy of your latest visa extension stamp in your passport (if applicable).
- A report from your LTO approved medical exam (the medical exam will cost you around P100).
- A report from your LTO approved drug test (the drug test will cost you around P150).
When you go to the LTO with these items, you will have to wait, generally between 1 hour and 8 hours. All of your original documents will be compared against the photocopies to ensure the accuracy of the photocopies. Once that is checked out, the originals will be returned to you.
Next, you will have a photo taken for the driver’s license.
You will pay a fee of just over P300, and then you will be given your license. If you are applying in a small town, they will give you a paper receipt for the license, and the actual laminated license will be sent from Manila. This can take anywhere from 3 months to a year for you to receive it. The paper receipt will serve as your temporary driver’s license while you are waiting for the actual license to arrive.
For the medical exam and the drug test, as you see listed above, these services are generally available at small booths located just outside the LTO office. They are quick, easy, and painless! For the medical exam, they will generally take your blood pressure, ask you a few questions, and give you the results form. For the drug test, you will be required to urinate in a cup, it will be analyzed, and you will be on your way in only a few minutes. In my experience, the medical and drug tests are accomplished at the same office.
Now, your next challenge is to learn how to drive in the Philippines. It’s not quite the same as back home!