Philippine Drivers License: First hand Experience

I decided to get a Philippine drivers license, by the time I get would get back to the States my Nevada license will have expired and I will need a valid license for a car rental at the airport.

Thank goodness my stepson was on holiday from England to help me out. After he did google searches a lot of questions were still unanswered and conflicting.

So he made two photocopies of all relevant documentation I had, we also brought the originals. (US drivers license, ACR Card, Passport, NBI clearance)

Upon exiting "Grab" at our destination, a tout "grabbed" us to lead us to a Doctors office around the corner for necessary medical & eye test. Going up a narrow creaking stairway we were in the office. There were several people in front of us and I watched the procedure. Eye test, color blindness test, blood pressure, height & weight. Don't get any necessary letters or forms from your private Doctor, as I later saw a sign on the wall of the Transportations Dept of their approved Doctors.

I don't know how anyone could have failed the eye test, after watching several people doing the eye test and me sitting close to the chart, I knew the letters just by osmosis, last line: FDPLTCEO. Not that I needed to cheat, my eyesight is 20/15 without glasses. (after cataract laser surgery at St. Lukes in Manila).

The fee was about 600 pesos. Once out on the street another tout (called a fixer) would solve all our problems getting our Philippine license for $100 USD. After a good laugh we were on our way without him. Upon entering the department of transportation, the guard at the Information & Complaint desk, informed I we could not enter because I was wearing shorts. But he said there is a place around the corner where I could rent Jogging pants for 50 pesos.

Now mind your American size & Philippines sizes which may be the same numerically are vastly different. My jogging pants were the largest size they had, maybe large for a Filipino but very small for me. With my stepson & wife tugging I just managed to get the pants over my private parts, thank God I had a long shirt hanging out. It was no fun walking, felt like I was pulling a 100 pound sled tied around my hips.

Now once inside the interior of the building, the Transportation Dept shared their office space with a church or visa/versa which had Friday services going on, the church loud speakers could have been used at a rock concert.

We were also approached by another fixer offering their services for 1000 pesos which we declined . At the clerks window we presented all our documentation, but the passport photocopy only shown the bottom portion, so we had to go out and get new photocopies. It was difficult talking to the clerk through the window with all the back ground noise from the church.  Moving on to the next window for finger printing. After about 20 minutes they called my name for the photograph. I ended up  looking like Casper The Ghost on my license.  The cost of the license was about 600 pesos. I received the actual license after another 20 minute wait and left a happy camper.

What is your current visa classification?  That can make a huge difference in getting a Philippine Drivers License.

Hobbit112 :

What is your current visa classification?  That can make a huge difference in getting a Philippine Drivers License.

I have my ACR Card (Probation Resident) Good for one year which converts after one year)

I used this to receive my Non professional drivers license good for Four years.

Do people living in the provinces have to do the tests/exams in Manila or they have their own facilities at their towns?

robal

If you become a resident of the Philippines, how long are you allowed to use your US Driver License?

robal

robal :

Do people living in the provinces have to do the tests/exams in Manila or they have their own facilities at their towns?

robal

They have their own facilities.

Regarding using your foreign drivers license:  you can legally drive using it for 90 days from date of entry no matter what your visa status is.

Thanks bro.

robal

Ah, A typical day dealing with a Philippines bureaucracy.  If one cannot laugh one should not be here.  I like the emphasis on the background noise, especially when you are listening for someone to mispronounce your name on a PA that is leftover from a well used karaoke setup. 
I had to go to a okay-okay and got a pair of purple felt pants.  No pix below the wast.

My license is good for 5 years

You will have no fixers at LTO in Davao city

Okieboy :

You will have no fixers at LTO in Davao city

It looks like fixers is endemic in Manila only.

Okieboy :

My license is good for 5 years

Could the expiration be more/longer if someone is younger without obvious health problems?

robal :
Okieboy :

My license is good for 5 years

Could the expiration be more/longer if someone is younger without obvious health problems?

nope

https://www.lto.gov.ph/latest-issuance/ … ses-2.html

five years is the max

it used to be three years

Philippine Destiny :
robal :
Okieboy :

My license is good for 5 years

Could the expiration be more/longer if someone is younger without obvious health problems?

nope

https://www.lto.gov.ph/latest-issuance/ … ses-2.html

five years is the max

it used to be three years

Thanks for your input.

No, now the fixer is the employee that will speed up and make the process smoother.

LemSaDipolog :

No, now the fixer is the employee that will speed up and make the process smoother.

In reality they are the one that asks for more and more money and eventually disappears with all of your money and paper work.

When my wife and I first moved to the Philippines we had no idea what fixers were. We thought that the nice man in the government office who offered to help us was trustworthy. He was actually recommended to us by a relative.

After being strung along for quite some time he disappeared.

Lucky for us that he was a government employee.

We filed a case on him. He was suspended already for doing a similar thing to someone else.

We got everything back and completed our process.

but it was not fun

never use a fixer

they only break your process

PD.. totally agree with what you say about 'fixers'...but they are there strictly because the staff/employees themselves are in ca-hoots with these fixers, and so they make it ever so difficult for direct applicants.
The whole system is 'Fubar'.

Regards & 'hakuna matata'

manwonder :

PD.. totally agree with what you say about 'fixers'...but they are there strictly because the staff/employees themselves are in ca-hoots with these fixers, and so they make it ever so difficult for direct applicants.
The whole system is 'Fubar'.

Regards & 'hakuna matata'

Like I said, he was a civi. And Believe me, I know who he was working for.

I got other stories not appropriate for prime time.

Hi,
In Dumaguete, on a Tourist Visa and ACR card in August of 2017, I paid Globalink Driving School (near Foundation University) about 3k PhP to arrange the medical exam, drug test, eye test, paper exam, and paper work for a beginner's drivers permit. I did not actually take the exam, nor was I given a driving test.  After 30 days, I got the 5 year license to drive a car and a motorcycle. I declined the services of several "fixers" hanging around the main LTO.
Msls6

After having serious interactions with at least 8 ‘govt agencies’ in the Phils over the course of 13 years, let’s conclude that touts/fixers/miscreants feed on the unsuspecting every day of the week in all of them. And this includes outside the gates/doors of NBI, BI, LTO, BoC, Port Authorities, DoF, BIR, etc. Such corruption continues inside those same doors when few has a mind, let alone one that’s capable of being honest or efficient. Following dumb systems to the letter helps ‘stabilize’ a rotten inner core, and seems to be enough for the gamesplayers inside and outside their jurisdiction to make us their game for however long they choose.

Hence that one’s ‘driver’s license’ here is not to be taken seriously, but that it’s not a DL at all, but just a piece of paper in plastic that looks official, but is meaningless, and mostly a means by which each window at LTO collects a little or big fee for services that are largely non-existent.

Remedy?

Never using fixers, just ramp up your patience, go through what is easily seen through, pay the fee, and go on your way. Keep your DL closeby at all times for ID and to discourage the inevitable traffic enforcers and cops from trying to extort cash from you on the sly.

I think that the Phils is the most corrupt country in SE Asia, esp as they’ve had influences from fairly together countries for at least 300 years - Spain and US - where they could have learned systems that work better, and where corruption is not so readily apparent, at least not in every circumstance.

Go with the flow. Otherwise you may go bonkers. And pls do not take any of this stuff that obviously broken too seriously. Only result in hbp and get you angry beyond measure.

W9XR :
Hobbit112 :

What is your current visa classification?  That can make a huge difference in getting a Philippine Drivers License.

I have my ACR Card (Probation Resident) Good for one year which converts after one year)

I used this to receive my Non professional drivers license good for Four years.

An ACR-I card is not a visa. The visa is stamped in the passport.

But from what you state it seems that you are talking a bout a 13a visa.

Philippine Destiny :
W9XR :
Hobbit112 :

What is your current visa classification?  That can make a huge difference in getting a Philippine Drivers License.

I have my ACR Card (Probation Resident) Good for one year which converts after one year)

I used this to receive my Non professional drivers license good for Four years.

An ACR-I card is not a visa. The visa is stamped in the passport.

But from what you state it seems that you are talking a bout a 13a visa.

Yes, they stamped my passport also to coincide with the acr card.

Today at 9am drove & parked at the Surigao City (LTO) office car park, and proceeded to apply for my drivers license (issued but only for another 4.5yrs) ...somehow they jus followed my D.o.b & added 5 yrs fm there.
Didn't bother to question; as I was in my very best behaviour with smiles all around.
(*very important : If you are going in with your wife/partner, just make sure *she too wears long pants/ Jeans & covered shoes (no slippers)...In my case she was *declined entry & had to wait outside the LTO gate the whole time.

Interviewed by the LTO Manager for approx : 5minutes...Showed him my Passport/SRRV Visa & SRRV Card/Singapore Drivers License of which I had made copies earlier.
1) Paid 500 pesos (medical cost in hse medical centre).
2) Paid 852.63pesos (Final Payment).
3) Total Time Spent in LTO office a v.respectable (3.5hrs); this was inclusive of a power failure that lasted for approx 30mins.
5) Total crowd before me : approx 25 applicants...I think for foreign license conversion it is an expedited process.
6) NO sign of any fixers whatsoever.
7) Mispronounced my name over the PA that was leftover from a well used karaoke setup (thks for the alert & was prepared 'LemSaDipolog').
8) All counter staff were very pleasant & patient.
9) Overall a very pleasant experience.

Thanks

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