When you arrive in the Philippines you will probably hold an International Driving License (also known as an IDL), which is valid for 90 days. After that you will need to apply for a Filipino driving licence. There are two ways of getting the licence - you can decide to get a completely new one or you can convert your own license into a Filipino one.
First of all, you will receive a provisional drivers license (you must be at least 16 years or older) for over a month. This is necessary as it shows your ability to drive.
After this month you can get a professional (18 years or older) or a non-professional (17 years or older) drivers license. With a professional one, you can drive a jeepney, taxi, or other vehicle for money. With a non-professional one, you can drive private vehicles, which is what most expats go for.
Either way, you have to go to the Land Transport Office (LTO). Before you go, there are a few requirements:
- you must be physically strong enough to drive
- you must not be a drug user or an alcoholic
- you need to be fluent in English (or in Tagalog)
- make sure you dress smartly when you go to the LTO
Once you are there, the customer service counter will check all of your documents. You will need:
- fully completed application form
- proof of identity - original and a copy of your passport. Sometimes an original birth certificate with photocopy or an NSO authenticated birth certificate with official receipt and photocopy, and a joint affidavit of two disinterested persons who know you and who can attest to your identity are required.
- Taxpayer's Identification Number (TIN)
- any official document that proves your age (passport)
- original ACR (Alien Certificate of Registration) and a copy - available at the Immigration Office.
- a visa allowing you to stay in the country for at least five months and proof you have already been in the country for at least one month. A contract from your work is advisable as well.
- medical certificate
- negative drug test result
If you decide to convert your foreign license, bring the original and a copy of your foreign license. If it is not in English, it must be translated by the embassy or consular offices.
For a breakdown of the costs please check the Land Transportation Office website.