Driving in the Philippines with a Foreign License

Living in the Philippines, you have the option to take the different modes of public transportation available or use a private vehicle to get from point A to point B. If you prefer the convenience and privacy of a private vehicle, you can opt to drive your own car or hire a taxi or ride-sharing service.

On the other hand, if you want to save money and experience local culture, you can take public transportation such as jeepneys, buses, tricycles, and trains. Each mode of transportation has its own unique experience and is a great way to interact with locals and immerse yourself in the Filipino way of life.

Ultimately, the choice between public transportation and using a private vehicle in the Philippines depends on your preferences, budget, and the specific location you are traveling to. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them based on your individual needs and circumstances. 

I have a foreign license. Can I drive around the country?

You can use a valid foreign driver’s license in the country for 90 days from the date of your arrival. If you’re staying for a longer period of time, we advise converting your license into a Philippine driver’s license.

To convert your foreign driver’s license into a Philippine driver’s license, you will need to visit the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and generally submit the following documents:

1. Original and photocopy of your valid foreign driver’s license
2. Original and photocopy of your passport with entry date of at least one (1) month and visa duration of at least one (1) year from date of last arrival
3. Accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL) form
4. Medical examination certificate (for non-professional and professional driver’s license applicant)
5. Drug abuse test (for professional driver’s license applicant)
6. Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN)

You may read further into this article for a thorough guide to the requirements. 

You may also need to pass a written and practical examination, depending on the evaluation of the LTO officer.

Once you have submitted all the required documents and passed the necessary examinations, you will be issued a Philippine driver’s license. It is important to note that the validity of your Philippine driver’s license will be based on the expiration date of your foreign driver’s license.

It is advisable to process the conversion of your foreign driver’s license into a Philippine driver’s license as soon as possible to avoid any inconvenience during your stay in the country. 

Are there required examinations I need to take in order to convert my foreign license into a Philippine driver’s license?

If your foreign license is still valid, you won’t need to take any examinations when converting it to a Philippine license. However, the same cannot be said if your foreign license is expired – in that case, you will be subjected to both written and practical tests. In order to convert your foreign license into a local one, you need to ensure that your license is in English or have it accompanied by an English translation from the local embassy of the issuing country.

If you want to drive legally and stay longer than 90 days in the Philippines, it is important to complete the conversion to a Philippine LTO driver’s license.

What are the requirements needed as a foreigner to obtain a non-professional Philippine driver’s license?

  • Your valid foreign license and one photocopy. If your license is not in English, you’ll need to submit an official English translation, which you can obtain from your embassy.
  • Original copy of your valid passport. The passport must show your latest date of arrival in the Philippines.
  • If you are temporarily residing in the Philippines, you are required to present an original and machine copy of valid visa or alien certificate of registration (ACR).
  • Medical certificate (original copy) with official receipt. This must be issued by a physician accredited by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
  • Negative drug test result issued by a drug testing center accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) or government hospitals.
  • Fully accomplished driver’s license application (ADL), which you can download here.
  • If you are employed, present your Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN) in compliance with Executive Order 98 & MC ACL-2009-1251.

If your foreign driver’s license is expired, you will need to take a series of written and practical examinations. An application fee of P100.00 will also be collected.

What are the requirements needed to convert my foreign license into a Philippine Professional driver’s license?

Regardless of the validity of your foreign license, you will be required to undergo written and practical examinations. Additional requirements must also be presented.

If you are hired as a company employee, you’ll need to prepare the following documents:

  • Original copy of Police / NBI / Court Clearance issued from the area of residence.
  • Original and machine copy of Certificate of Employment from your local or foreign employer in the Philippines.
  • Original and machine copy of your valid working visa, issued by the Bureau of Immigration or valid working permit issued by the Department of Labor and Employment.

If you are operating your own business in the Philippines, the following must be submitted:

  • Original copy of Police / NBI / Court Clearance issued from the area of residence.
  • Original and machine copy of Investment Permit, issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Original and machine copy of certificate of registration and current official receipt of payment if your business needs to operate a vehicle classified as “heavy.” The same motor vehicle must be used as the test drive vehicle during the examination.

I obtained a Philippine driver’s license before flying out of the country. Can I still use it or should I apply for a new one?

 If your Philippine driver’s license is still valid, then yes, you can. Your foreign driver’s license can also be used for 90 days from the date of your arrival as long as it is valid. You will need, however, to obtain an official English translation of your foreign license from your embassy if your license is not in English.

How much will it cost me to obtain a Philippine driver’s license?

Getting a driver’s license in the Philippines won’t cost you more than P1000.00. A non-professional license costs a total of P517.63 (as of August 2016) for valid foreign license holders. If your foreign license is expired, a non-professional license will cost you P617.63 (including the P100.00 application fee aforementioned.)


For more information about driver’s licenses in the Philippines, log on to http://lto.gov.ph. You can also visit the Land Transportation Office (LTO) website at http://lto.gov.ph for inquiries about driver’s license requirements, application process, fees, and other related information. Additionally, you can find the contact details of LTO offices and check for any updates or changes in regulations regarding driver’s licenses. 

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