First-Timer’s Guide To Getting A Driver’s License

by Mylene Mendoza   |  Dec 5, 2019
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Traffic in the country may suck the life out of us, but knowing how to operate a vehicle is still a good ~adulting~ skill to have. If you’re thinking of learning how to drive, the first thing you need to obtain is a student permit, which is relatively easier and cheaper to get. Student permit holders, however, are only allowed to operate a vehicle when they are accompanied by someone who holds a valid driver’s license.

If you’ve had a valid student permit for a month or more, you are now eligible to apply for a driver’s license. There are two kinds: non-professional driver’s license and professional driver’s license.

The main differences between a non-professional driver’s license and professional driver’s license. are the requirements and restrictions. Those who wish to get a professional driver’s license are allowed to operate bigger and heavier vehicles, but would first need to have a valid non-professional driver’s license for at least one year or a valid professional driver’s license with RC 1,2, 4, and 6 for at least six months before being eligible to apply for one. Here's a list of restrictions by Top Gear Philippines. If you're a newbie driver, it is recommended that you first apply for a non-pro license. Here's how:


What are the qualifications for application?

According to the LTO website, these are the qualifications for driver’s license application:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle
  • Must be able to read and write and Filipino, English, or applicable local dialect
  • Must have had a valid Student Permit for at least 30 days prior to application

What should I prepare and bring with me to LTO?

Here are important things you’ll need to bring on the day you’re applying:

  • Accomplished Application Form for Driver’s License (ADL)
  • Valid Student Permit
  • Medical exam certificates
  • A pen for the written exam

Now that I'm at my chosen LTO branch, what do I do?

Step 1: Submit your requirements at the receiving area.

Step 2: Wait for your photo and signature to be taken.

Step 3: Pay the fees at the Cashier.

The fees you’ll need to pay include the Application Fee (P100), Computer Fee (P67.63), License Fee (P585), and another Computer Fee (P67.63) for a total of P820.26.

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Step 4: Take the written exams.

For applicants of non-professional driver’s license, the exam has 40 items and you’ll need a minimum score of 30 to pass. For applicants of professional driver’s license, the exam has 60 items and you’ll need a minimum score of 45 to pass.

You have the option to take the written exams in either English or Tagalog (Friendly tip: It’s highly suggested that you take the written exams in Tagalog as it is easier to comprehend than the the English version.) There are available reviewers for both languages on LTO’s website. Aside from this, you will have to familiarize yourself with the different road traffic signs as they will be part of the exams, too.

The exams are multiple-choice and there's no time limit. You’ll also be informed of your score on the same day.

Step 5: Take the practical driving test.

In the event that you pass the written exams, you’ll immediately be asked to take the practical driving test. Should you fail the written exams, you will have to wait for another month before you can apply again.


Step 6: Get your receipt and license card.

Once you pass your practical driving test, you will be issued the official receipt as well as your driver’s license. If you fail the practical driving test, you may come back and re-apply after a month.

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Mylene Mendoza
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