Driving in the Philippines
Driving on a Foreign Licence in the Philippines
Tourists who hold a driver licence issued by the road authority of their home country are allowed to use that licence to drive in the Philippines for a period of until 90 days after their arrival in the Philippines. If their driver license is not written in English, it should always be accompanied by an official English translation issued by their country’s embassy in the Philippines.
Chapter III, Sec. 21 of the Republic Act (RA) 4136, otherwise known as the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code” states that:. “Bonafide tourists and similar transients who are duly licensed to operate motor vehicles in their respective countries may be allowed to operate during but not after (90) days of their sojourn in the Philippines.”
If your foreign driver’s license is NOT printed in English (ie: Arabic, Japanese, Cyrillic etc), an International Driving Permit (IDP/IDL) or an official translation in English is required when you drive in the Philippines.
An International Driving Permit (often referred to as an International Driver’s License) does not replace the requirement for a regular driver’s license.
You must carry your current overseas driver’s license, AND the IDP or translation with you all the time when driving in the Philippines.
Land Transportation Office – Philippines
Q: I have a valid foreign driver’s license. Can I use it in the Philippines?
A: Yes. For 90 days from date of arrival.
Can I convert my foreign driver’s license into Philippine driver’s license?
Yes, if it is a valid licence, it can be converted to a Philippine licence with no exams. If it has expired then a licence will be issued subject to passing the written / practical exams.
To convert a foreign licence to a Philippine licence, the applicant must have been in the Philippines for at least one (1) month with proof that he/she will stay in the country for at least one (1) year from date of application.
How to convert a foreign license to a Philippine license
- Original and one photocopy of valid foreign license. If the foreign driver’s license is not in English, the applicant should submit an official English translation from the local embassy of the issuing country.
- Original copy of valid passport showing the latest date of arrival in the Philippines of the foreign applicant.
- Original and machine copy of valid visa or alien certificate of registration (ACR) if the foreign applicant temporarily resides in the Philippines.
- Original copy of medical certificate with official receipt issued by an LTO accredited or government Physician.
- Negative drug test result issued by DOH accredited drug testing center or government hospitals
- Duly accomplished application for driver’s license (ADL). [Download form is available]
- Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN), if employed, (In compliance to Executive Order 98 & MC ACL-2009-1251)
- Note: If Foreign License is expired, applicant shall undergo written and practical examinations.