3/31/2010

OBTAINING A PHILIPPINES DRIVING LICENCE

Visitors from the European Community can officially use their National driving licence up to 90 days (if you intend to rent a car, a 1 year international driving licence is better).

If you are staying more than 90 days in the country you need to obtain a Philippines driving licence. First pass a call to the main Land Transportation Office, LTO, to have the nearest local LTO. There are a number of these offices around the Country so you should find whichever is the most convenient for you.

You will have to complete a short application form and will select the box for transferring to what they call a non professional driving licence Nº 2. Nº 1 is for motorcycle and Nº 3 is for professional (trucks, buses, taxis and passengers jeepneys) and stating your home address in the Philippines.

The LTO are always very crowded because they handle so many different things, including vehicle registration (renewal every year) and licence renewal (every 3 years). Arrive early and prepare yourself to spend almost the whole day.

Fill up the licence application and give it back to the counter staff with the following documents: your driving licence, 2 X 2 ID photos, copy of your passport and birth certificate or ACR 1 (Alien Certificate of Registration if available) smartcard. They will review the different documents and enter the information to their computer.

To test your familiarity with local driving laws they will ask you to complete a multiple choice test (very simple and someone can help you). This completed you will pay the required fee. The official charge is around P. 650 (10€), but some people apparently pay a little extra when LTO staff are particularly helpful.

You will wait until you will be call over for a drug test. This involves providing a urine sample and having your photography taken. There will be again a small fee, around 200 pesos this time.

You will wait again until you will be called to a window, to have another photo taken and then eventually to the original window to collect the driving licence. Usually they deliver you a six month temporary paper driving licence, which will be replaced by a plastic card when you renew it. If your wife is a Filipina and applying for a student (learner) licence she will need to bring your marriage certificate.

Being a Foreigner at the LTO (and in almost all officials' agencies and offices) is probably to your advantage although, if your grasp of Filipino is limited, I would strongly recommend you to have the support of a native speaker.

Living in Ternate, province of Cavite I have at least two LTO in my area: Tanza, about 35 km and Tagaytay 50 km.

Land Transportation Office: LTO Main Compound, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon-City, Tel (632) 920 5869 / (632) 921 9072. http://www.lto.gov.ph/

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