A Guide for Foreigners: Philippines Driving License Conversion
Moving into another country is quite an adventure. You are uprooting your life from your comfort zone to be in another place, usually in the hope of greener pastures. But this needs preparation—and a lot of it. You will go through a major change and experience disruption before fully settling in. Of course, you have to make sure you have your passport and clearances submitted.
However, if you wish to drive your own car in the country you are immigrating to, you have to be able to comply with the regulatory requirements when it comes to your driver’s license. Remember that every country has its own laws you should follow, and you should know them before moving in. You do not want to get into trouble after spending a lot of time and money immigrating to another country.
It is also the same case for the Philippines driving license conversion. Foreigners should be able to abide by the guidelines, so they will be allowed to drive in the country. There are requirements and steps they should adhere to, so there will be no problems in processing their Philippines driving license conversion.
An Overview of Driving in the Philippines for Foreigners
In the Philippines, if you are a foreigner with a valid driver’s license issued by your local road authority, you are allowed to drive for up to 90 days upon arrival. This is permitted if your license is English. If not, you should request an official English translation from the local embassy of your home country where you got your driver’s license.
If you intend to drive and stay longer than the said period, you should process your Philippines driving license conversion to avoid worries. You should reach out to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to secure a local driver’s license.
LTO is an agency under the Department of Transportation in the country. It was established through Executive Order 125 and 125A released on April 13, 1987, and Executive Order 226 issued on July 25, 1987. This government agency is tasked with the following duties:
- official registration of motor vehicles
- issuance of licenses and permits of drivers and conductors
- enforcement of transportation laws, rules, and regulations
- adjudication of apprehension cases
Requirements for Philippines Driving License Conversion
To be fully prepared, let us enumerate the following requirements you have to secure prior to the Philippines driving license conversion. Here they are:
- Prepare the original and photocopy your valid foreign license. If it is in a non-English language, you must submit an official English translation of the document from the local embassy of your issuing country.
- For temporary residents in the Philippines, present the original and photocopy of your visa and stamp or alien certificate of registration, which is available at the Immigration Office.
- Present your valid passport. It should bear the arrival date in the country.
- Present medical certificate and negative drug test result. The procedures should be done via drug testing centres or hospitals that the LTO or Department of Health accredits.
- Fill out the driver’s license application form.
- If the applicant is employed, they should also present the taxpayer’s identification number following Executive Order 98 and MC ACL-2009-1251.
Please note that if the applicants have an expired foreign driver’s license, they need to undergo both written and practical examinations for the Philippines driving license conversion. If the applicant’s issuing country has no embassy in the Philippines, they are not eligible for a Philippines driving license conversion.
How to Convert a Non-Filipino License
For Philippines driving license conversion, you should do the following steps to ensure processing:
- Locate the nearest LTO licensing centre in your area. Proceed to the customer service counter to get a driver’s license application form and fill it out.
- Get the list of the processing requirements and the queue number from the customer service counter. Wait until it is your turn.
- When it is your turn, proceed to the evaluator counter to submit your requirements. The representative will check your submission if it is complete and authentic.
- The next step involves taking your photo and signature.
- Pay the application fee to the cashier’s counter.
- There is a lecture room dedicated to the lecture and written exam. Proceed to this room after paying the fees.
- After passing the practical exam, go to the waiting area. The cashier will alert you when you need to pay for all the fees required to have an official receipt.
- Go to the releasing counter after to claim your professional driver’s license. Present the official receipt as proof.
- As you can see, Philippines driving license conversion is pretty much straight forward. Just make sure you do everything mentioned above so the processing will be done smoothly.
Qualifications for Philippines Driving License Conversion
There are qualifications that you also have to take into account:
- Applicants must be at least 18 years.
- Applicants must be physically and mentally stable to drive a motor vehicle.
- Applicants must know how to read and write in English or Filipino.
- Applicants must have been residing in the country for at least one month and intend to stay for at least a year.
Fees for Philippines Driving License Conversion
If you are converting a valid foreign driver’s license to a non-professional driver’s license, you have to pay for the following:
- The license fee of P585
- Application fee of P100
- Computer fee of P67.63
- The conversion fee of P100
But if you opt to convert to a professional driver’s license, which has written and practical driving examinations, you would have to pay an additional computer fee of P67.63 on top of the above-mentioned expenses.
Before stepping into an LTO centre, prepare your money right away. You would not want to go there without the right amount of money.
After getting your foreign driver’s license converted, you can now drive through the roads of this country. The next step you have to do is to know all the traffic regulations, which can vary depending on which city you stay in. Take note of the following rules so you will avoid apprehensions. More importantly, drive safely to protect yourself, your passenger, and the people around you.