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How to get a Philippine Driver’s License

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Today we have another edition of the Expat Answerman!

Today we feature several questions from readers.

49 Ways to Make a Living in the Philippines

First, we have a follow up from Henry. You may remember a couple weeks back Henry called in with a question regarding his 13A Visa. His visa was cancelled due to the death of his Filipina spouse. Now, Henry has more troubles with that issue, but Bob has answers to help him out!

Second we had a call from Steve. Steve has questions about getting a Driver’s License in the Philippines. The procedure for getting a driver’s license changed a couple years back, so be sure to find out the latest! Steve had a follow up question as well. He is thinking of moving a Baby Grand Piano to the Philippines, but Bob has good reason why such a move might not be a good idea! Watch the show to see why!

So, that is this week’s episode of the Expat Answerman Show. Watch for a new episode next week!

Do You Have a Question?

If you want to send a question for inclusion in a future Podcast, just use the app below, click on the button below, where it says “Start Recording”.

Questions submitted by eMail will no longer be answered, you must submit through the voice message above.

Thanks again for listening, everybody!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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steve baker
steve baker
3 years ago

I came here in November 2016 after applying for my 13A visa in the US. After being examined at the quarantine office, and delivering my “sealed” medical file, I went to the main immigration office in Manila and applied for my ACR card. After about 2 weeks I had my ACR card. During this time, I used my US driver’s license until February, when I went to the LTO, ACR card in hand, and applied for a Philippine Driver’s license. Let me tell you nothing is easy at the LTO! haha. It took a couple of weeks. What I did… Read more »

Bob - Expat Answer Man
Reply to  steve baker

It used to be that you got DL (plastic) or License plates quickly, bur for maybe 5 or 6 years now it takes forever. My last DL took about 6 to 8 months to get the plastic card. The paper one works fine, but would be nice to get the plastic “real” license quicker, for sure.

Don Keahey
3 years ago

I have a great question about this so in April I tried to get my DL in Davao city and they said I could not get a DL and I needed to get a 1 year visa ( I don’t know of a 1 year visa) or I needed an international DL from an Insurance company in the US I’m so confused about this and yes I’m there on a tourist visa

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

If you are on a tourist visa is it no longer easy to get a DL. You need some kind of resident visa to get a DL now, since they changed the rules a few years back. Sorry for the bad news.

Don Keahey
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

O man it’s so bad omg I really wanted that DL, can I still use my California DL for the first 3 months that I am there than I will have to start using my international DL?

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

You can use your CA DL for 90 days only, not after that, unless you leave the country and return. As I said specifically on the video, an International license is of no value… it is not issued by a government agency, International DL is nothing but a money making scam, they hold no weight.

Don Keahey
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

So besides leaving the country and besides getting an international DL what can I do and no I’m not ready to get married hahahahahahaha

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

Please understand…. an “International Driver’s License” is of NO value. It is only a plastic card that gives you no rights. If you have a resident visa you can get a DL here with no problems.

Peter Fitzgerald
Peter Fitzgerald
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

Bob – This is alarming information. Confusing. AAA is authorized by the U.S. State Department to issue International Driving Permits – I get one every year – and the Phillipines is a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention, which recognizes foreign-issued driving permits. I have been stopped by the Philippine police who examined my IDP and sent me on my way. You have demonstrated that you know your way around the intricacies of Philippine law, but this one has me scratching my head.

Bob - Expat Answer Man

Hi Peter – I am sorry the information is alarming to you. Your US driver’s license is fine here for 90 days, might be better to just use that.

Good luck.

Don Keahey
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

Sig2 kuya bob but don’t I need to get married to get a resident visa?

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

You can get a resident Visa without marriage if you go for an srrv Visa, or a quota Visa.

Don Keahey
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

I’ll have to look in to the quota visa, I know I don’t qualify for the SRRV visa I’m not old enough

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

If you are older than 30 years old you qualify for a SRRV. Maybe you are younger than I thought, though.

Don Keahey
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

I qualify for everything except for the Age I’m only 27

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Keahey

I see… give the quota a try! Good luck.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago

The easiest thing thing I ever did in the Philippines, was get a local D.L. Florida wanted me to fly from San Diego to Tampa Bay to take an eye test, goodbye Florida, Hello Philippines. As a merchant marine you want your name on nothing in California unless .you desire to pay their taxes.

Bob - Expat Answer Man
Reply to  Paul Thompson

So absolutely true about California. A while back Feyma told me she was thinking of working in California… I told her to forget that! California will chase you down for the rest of your life no matter where you work claiming that you owe them taxes!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago

Bob; The Navy moved me to California, I was told to protect myself with the Solders Sailors Federal Civil Relief Act of 1947. Military stationed in California during WW-II were gone after by the patriotic California State Government for back taxes, thus requiring a law to protect the US military from greedy democrats. We were required to keep our car and DL registered in another state. As a seaman in the 1990’s, my main office was in California and I had a mail drop box (Address) in Washington State. Then they (CA) sued me for back taxes and I told… Read more »

Bob - Expat Answer Man
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Yep, much of California gives sanctuary to illegal aliens, yet they chase down honest people who have no reason to owe taxes to the state. I told Feyma we don’t want anything to do with that. I would rather work in some other place for half the pay than work in California and spend decades “avoiding” them! I did not know about the law for Military people stationed there, but that is sure a good thing!

PapaDuck
PapaDuck
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul, Bob Ohio is doing that to me right now. I use my parents address in Ohio as my mailing address only. My pension is from Florida. Ohio thinks I should file taxes in Ohio because I have an Ohio mailing address. This has been going on since 2015. I’ve sent paperwork to Ohio Dept of Taxation 3 times proving I did not live in Ohio. They say I owe over $2,000 in back taxes. They garnished my 2016 Federal Tax Return. They wanted me to show proof I lived in Florida and or Philippines in 2014. I just sent… Read more »

Bob - Expat Answer Man
Reply to  PapaDuck

Yes, if California were to leave the union, I pay it would probably be a blessing for the rest of us.

Cordillera Cowboy
Cordillera Cowboy
3 years ago

The drivers license process was easy and fast for me. I went to the LTO well before my 3 months were up with the completed form for the conversion in hand. The guy at the window asked for the form, my Stateside license, and my passport, and copies, front and back of all of those. Then he sent me to a med station a couple blocks away. Nice lady there asked some questions, took my blood pressure, signed a form for me, and sent me back. Guy Number 1 took the med form, and sent me to the other waiting… Read more »

Bob - Expat Answer Man

Yep, as long as you have a resident visa it is very easy and quick. Glad it worked out for you, Pete.

Rich Brightbill
3 years ago

All I know is it cost me $50 usd and a half hour of time …. Anything is possible in the Philippines ….. Seem the Asawa has Relatives with connections

Bob Martin
3 years ago

You said the magic words, anything is possible in the Philippines. That is completely 100% true.

Robert Murphy
3 years ago

You can get an International Driver’s License from the AAA in the US.
Just bring in your US driver’s license to any AAA place of business.
It takes just a few minutes and is good for either 1 or 2 years depending on where you picked it up.

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Murphy

An international driver’s license is worth nothing. It has no legal standing. AAA is not a government agency and has no right to issue a license. Believe what you want, but if you get pulled over and pull out an international license you will have no standing with the police.

Gary Neil Dadds
Gary Neil Dadds
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

An international drivers license is just a transcript of you countries licence into a language acceptable to the country you are travelling to. So a US license in english does not need translating as english is spoken in the Philippines. If you came from the Middle East or Pakistan say, you would need an international license ie an english translation of you home license.

Robert Murphy
3 years ago

Elisabeth Murphy — i’m not sure if ANY of this apples to you.

hgb
hgb
3 years ago

It may have been said and I just missed it but “Beware of Fixers” at the Tagbilaran City LTO on the island of Bohol. They were supposed to stop the fixers from scamming people. However, I see they are still outside the LTO.

Bob - Expat Answer Man
Reply to  hgb

All LTO offices across the country are actively trying to prevent the use of fixers now.

Bruce Cinader
3 years ago

Enjoyed the information, but could not help but notice the use of the green screen caused an effect where you could see the background thru your eyes, you must have green eyes. I remember a news woman that wore a green dress and had the same effect.

Bob Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Cinader

Wow, I didn’t notice that. Actually my eyes are blue, and the screen I was using was it kind of a neon lime green. I’ll take a second look at that.

Scott Michaelis
3 years ago

I have had a regular Ph license since 2012. when I renew will I have to go through this new process?

Bob Martin
3 years ago

I can’t really say for sure if you’ll have to do it or not. This is the Philippines, and as we all know, nothing is ever the same, it’s always different depending on the office or the person you’re dealing with. The only way you can know for sure is if you go give it a try. Good luck to you.

Scott Michaelis
3 years ago

thats very true.. thanks Bob!

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