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Life Philippines

How You Can Get A New Professional Drivers License

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Why Would You Want To Get A New Professional Drivers License

Most of us only meed the Non-Professional Drivers Licence, so to get a new professional drivers license may be overkill. In fact, we can only apply for one if we are permitted to live and work here in the Philippines.
In such circumstances, you might want to work in an industry where a professional drivers license would be essential. I can only think of a few situations where this might be relevant, but even if only a few might want to go this route, the knowledge is essential in reducing the frustration factor.
Maybe you have a Filipino relative who you want to drive for you or even one who wants to drive for a living, obtaining this license is an essential step in reaching that goal.

Who Can Apply

  • A Filipino citizen
  • A foreigner who is permitted to work in the Philippines. (We will post an article on the paths to being able to work in the Philippines in the future.) Basically you need to be here on a:
    • Working visa
    • Migrant visa, such as 13, 13a, or 13g.
    • SRRV retirement visa.
    • An Employment Generation Visa
  • You also need to have completed any supplemental applications required by law, such as the AEP

What Are The Criteria?

  • You must be at least eighteen (18) years old;
  • Your physical and mental fitness to operate a motor vehicle, must have been assessed.
  • You must be able to read and write Filipino, English or the applicable local dialect
  • If applying for a license for Restriction Codes (RC) 1,2,4 and 6 you must be a holder of valid Student Permit (SP) issued at least six (6) months prior to the application.
  • To apply for (RC) 3,5,7 and 8 you must be the holder of either a:
    • A valid Non-Professional Driver’s License (NPDL) at least one (1) year prior to the application.
    • A PDL with RC 1,2,4 and 6 for a period of at least six (6) months prior to the application.
  • You cannot have been cited for more than one count of reckless driving during the period of validity of your existing license
  • If You are and Expat, you must have been in the Philippines for at least one (1) month with proof that you can legally stay for at least one (1) year from date of application.
  • As stated above you must be able to show that you are allowed to work here.

Where You Can Apply

Any Licensing Center/ District Office with New Driver’s License Transactions.
To find out where your nearest office is, that accepts this transaction type click on this link. Scroll down past the head office directory. You will come to a downloadable Excel file, listing all the regions. Click on your region and find your nearest office. Give them a ring to ascertain the services they provide, and if necessary the nearest office providing the service you need.

The Documents You Will Need To Produce

  • A completed application for Driver’s License (ADL), the form is downloadable and can be completed prior to attending the LTO office.
  • Or you can pick it up at the service desk on your arrival at the LTO office
  • A Medical Certificate issued by:
    • A licensed practising physician
    • Working in a registered clinic stating that:
      • You are physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle
      • Or otherwise stating any impairment you have and what actions have been taken to ensure that you can drive safely. For example uses corrective lenses.
    • Your medical certificate will last for 60 days and may be used on multiple applications. For example you may use the medical certificate to apply for your Professional Drivers License and then one month later you could use the same certificate to apply for a Conductors License.
    • Your medical certificate will be transmitted electronically to the LTO and a hard copy given to you for your records.
    • The full list of changes can be found in this post. Please read thoroughly.

  • To apply for Professional Drivers License for Restriction Codes (RC) 1,2,4 and 6 you must have a valid SP issued at least six (6) months prior to the application.
  • If you are applying for (RC) 3,5,7 and 8 you must be a holder of a valid Non-Professional drivers License (NPDL) issued at least one (1) year prior to the application or PDL holder with RC 1,2,4 and 6 for a period of at least six (6) months prior to the application.
  • Clearance that the applicant has not been convicted of any offence involving:
    • Moral turpitude
    • Reckless imprudence resulting from reckless driving
  • From all the following:
    • National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
    • Philippine National Police (PNP)
  • In addition, for foreigners:
    • Original and photocopy of passport with your visa with a validity of at least one (1) year from date of application
    • If you were born in the Philippines, an original and photocopy of your birth certificate duly authenticated by the NSO.

The Process

  • You will submit all the documentary requirements with the Application For Drivers License (ADL) to the receiving officer.
  • That officer will check that the documents are included and completed.
  • The application package will then be forwarded to an evaluator, who will evaluate your qualifications and if you qualify, encode the application in the system.
  • You will return to the waiting area until you are called to the biometrics collection area, where you will provide:
    • Fingerprints
    • A digital photograph
    • A signature for digitisation
  • You will then pay the required fees to the cashier.
  • You will immediately proceed to the area for the PDL Basic Driving Theory Test applicable to the (RC’s)you applied for.
  • You will be immediately informed of the results of the test.
  • If you pass the written examinations you will have to immediately take the practical driving test for each of the RC’s applied for.
  • For each of these practical tests that you pass, that RC will be recorded on your license.
  • What Happens If You Fail A Test

    • If you fail the PDL Basic Driving Theory Test, then you cannot proceed to the practical driving tests for the RC’s you have applied for.
      • You may resit the test after one month.
      • If you fail the PDL Basic Driving Theory Test a second time within twelve months, you cannot sit it again for one full year from the date of the last examination
      • If you fail the PDL Basic Driving Theory Test a third time, you cannot sit it again for two full years from the date of the last examination
      • If you fail to pass any of the practical examinations the following applies:
        • For the first failure you will not be able to sit the exam again for one month
        • For the second failure you will not be able to apply again for a period of twelve months from the date of the last examination.
        • After a third failure you will no longer be allowed to apply for the same RC’s for a period of two (2) years from the time of the latest failure.
    • If you already hold a PDL and you failed to acquire additional RC’s you will be able to renew your PDL for those RC’s previously passed.
    • Notes of those tests failed will be recorded on your record.

    What Happens When You Pass

    • Successful applicant will have their licenses approved on the system by the Approving Officer
    • Prior to the printing of your license you will be given the opportunity to check your personal details. We have heard of this step being missed, but insist.
    • If you discover an error made by the LTO get it corrected immediately, it should be free as it is their error and also it hasn’t been printed yet.
    • Also check for changes to your personal details, such as address or change of civil status. If there are changes to be made follow the guide to updating your personal details.
    • Once approved the PDL License card with the Official Receipt shall be released to you.<.li>
    • You will provide your signature over your written full name on the appropriate Release Form.
    • Keep your receipt with your license, it is useful if an officer doubts the authenticity of your license.


    For A New PD License

    When there is no other license. From Student Permit To PDL, Or NPD license is due for renewal prior to upgrading.

    New PDL

    If the upgrade is during the term of the NPD License. There is no license fee. This would become due on the original expiry date of the NPD License.

    New PDL changeup

    Costs associated with converting a foreign license to a PDL

    Service FeeProfessional
    (valid/expired foreign license,
    with written and practical exam)

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