Foreign drivers licenses are valid until the 90th day of arrival in the Philippines. After these three months, a foreigner should have a Philippine drivers license. The problem is how to get one. LTO, the Philippine department for issuing drivers licenses, has a lot of offices in the country. From one of the local offices I was sent to the main office of LTO in East Avenue, Quezon City.
Once there I received an application form and was ordered to have a medical examination and a drug test. After that I should return to the same window. The general requirements are the following:
* A valid foreign drivers license, and if not stated in English, a translation in English.
* A copy of the original birth certificate
* A copy of the passport and a copy of the visa to stay in the Philippines
* A document that is stating your home address in the Philippines (can be issued at the Barangay where the applicant is living)
* The results of the medical examination and the drug test
* The application form (issued at LTO)
A few days before I went to LTO, I have gone to the Dutch Embassy to have my drivers license translated. The Dutch Embassy issued an official Embassy certificate which stated that my drivers license was an original and valid one. (costs 1780 pesos and was fixed within one hour)
In the Netherlands, before I came here, I took care to get a birth certificate. I knew that it is needed in the Philippines for a lot of official purposes.
On the other side of East avenue in Quezon City are several small test labs. After inquiring they all ask the same prices, so it?s not important where to go, as long as they are ?LTO accredited?.
Every new applicant has to undergo such tests. And a lot of people are getting a drivers license if they need it or not. So sometimes it can be very busy at those offices.
The ?drug test? is nothing more than giving some fresh urine in a little bottle and filling out an other form. The physical examination is just a simple eyesight test, blood pressure measuring, weight measuring and answering a few questions about previous illnesses. Those two tests costs me 400 pesos.
After those tests I went back to LTO and gave the officer all the requested papers and documents.
After some time I was called and a digital picture was taken of me and I should sign my signature digitally. Then I was sent to the cashier to pay the dues and taxes: 618 pesos.
After 10 minutes waiting, the new Filipino drivers license was issued to me. All together it took me about 1 hour to have this drivers license.
A few TIPS:
* it might be wise to call first if a specific LTO office near your place is able to issue a drivers license to foreigner drivers license holders
* take care for a translation of your drivers license if it is not completely in English, your Embassy might be able to help you
* If you are in the Philippines already, and you don?t have a birth certificate yet, try to get one at your Embassy or ask family in your home country to take care for it
** Be patient at all time, waiting at offices makes part of a Filipino?s life.