In order to explore the stunning Philippine nature, many tourists decide to arrange their driving permit and rent their own vehicle during their Philippine holidays. As you leave the main urban centers, Philippine public transport can become scarce and unreliable, making the independence that comes with one’s own mean of transportation even more attractive.
If you’re considering renting a car or motorbike in the Philippines, you may be wondering whether you can use your foreign driver’s license in the country. Nobody wants to face unexpected charges or delays due to not having the correct documents (whether that be a driving permit or a valid Philippine visa).
Here’s what you need to know in order to drive lawfully in the Philippines:
- You can drive with a foreign driver’s license in the Philippines for up to 90 days.
- You can convert your foreign driver’s license into a local one at the Land Transportation Office (LTO)
- You can obtain a Philippine driver’s license from the LTO.
Travelers planning to stay abroad long-term may want to consider getting an international driver’s license that will allow them not only to drive in the Philippines but also in other countries without having to convert their license each time they cross the border. In the Philippines, the international driver’s license can be obtained at the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP).
Can I Use My Driving License in the Philippines?
International tourists can use their foreign driver’s license in order to drive a vehicle in the Philippines. However, conditions and limitations apply:
- The foreign driving permit must be written in English. If your country does not issue driving permits in English, you can contact your embassy to obtain an official English translation.
- You can only drive with a foreign license for up to 90 days. After 90 days, you must obtain a driving permit from the Philippine LTO in order to drive in the Philippines.
How to Convert a Foreign Driver’s License in the Philippines
If you plan to stay in the Philippines for longer than 90 days and drive a vehicle, you will not only need to obtain the appropriate long-term Philippine visa according to the Philippine visa policy, but you will also need to get a driving permit from the LTO.
Your local LTO office can help you convert your foreign driver’s license into a local one. The documentation required to convert a foreign license include:
- Duly Accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL). You can obtain this online or on the spot at the LTO center.
- Original and a photocopy of your visa and stamp, or the Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR), available at the Immigration Office, if you are temporarily residing in the country.
- Medical Certificate certifying that you’re physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
- Original and a photocopy of a valid passport with an entry of at least 1 month and visa duration of at least 1 year from date of application.
- A valid foreign driver’s license (original and copy). If the license is not in English, it must be accompanied by an official translation issued by your embassy.
- Your Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN) if you’re employed.
You will need to pass a written and practical exam before your license can be converted.
How to Get a Driver’s License in the Philippines
There are 3 types of driving permits in the Philippines:
- The student permit
- The non-professional diver’s license
- The professional driver’s license
Most foreigners wishing to obtain a permit from the LTO are likely to apply for a non-professional driver’s license.
The documents required for a non-professional driver’s license are the same as the ones required for a foreign license conversion — except that you won’t need to provide your foreign driver’s license.
You must, however, bring with you a Student Permit issued at least one month and one day prior to your application.
How to Get an International Driver’s License in the Philippines
If you wish to obtain an international driver’s license while in the Philippines, you may do so at a local AAP office. In order to apply for an international driver’s license in the Philippines, you will need:
- A valid professional or non-professional driving permit
- 2 ID photos (size: 2×2)
- Foreigners must also bring their passport and a photocopy of the date-of-last-arrival page
- Permanent residents will need their ACR
You will be provided with an application form to fill out at the AAP office. After paying the application fee and having your documents reviewed, you will be given the international driving permit.
The Philippine International Driving Permit (PIDP) is valid for the entire validity of your current license. For example, if your current non-professional driver’s license expires in 6 months, so will your PIDP.
The AAP offices are located in:
- Quezon City