Monday, January 11, 2010

How To Renew Your Philippine Driver's License

It's that time of the decade again.  My Philippine Driver's License will expire in just over a week.  Early this morning I went to SM (the former Super Sale Club) to have it renewed.  There are two salient points here.  You can renew your license before it expires. It's important because for a good number of years, I thought you had to renew on the expiration date.  What a way to spend your birthday, right?  The second important point is that there is an LTO in SM City.  OMG.  If you've had a chance to renew or apply for a license in LTO East Avenue, you'll understand the pleasant surprise.

Now there are lots of people there, but it's still just a fraction of the number you'll see in an LTO main office.  The first step is to fill out a form in LTO.  It's window 1 so it's pretty intuitive.  No need to prepare or bring anything.  You will only need your license.  After filling out that form, you will be instructed to go to the next room for Drug Testing.   The important point there is next room.  In the old LTO, you'll have to cross East Avenue and go through tons of squatter looking houses where about a hundred drug testing centers are to be found.  They're legit, but they all seem colorum to me.

For the drug testing, what's important is that you've not been taking Shabu, but you probably know that already.  You just pay the drug testing fee of P400 and then you fill out a couple more forms.  One field is a declaration of the vitamins and other drugs you've taken over the past 30 days.  I had a lot.  Thank you Gout.  You'll be called to give a urine sample.  For guys, the door must be open so if you're shy about peeing with someone behind you (not really looking) then get over it. Then you'll have an eye exam.  Finally, you'll have a biometrics thing where they take a picture of you and get electronic finger prints.  It's so CSI, except there was no touch screen and it took ages to load your information.

That's it for the drug test part.  You just need to get your results after 10 minutes, but there's a lunch break of course.  The prior three paragraphs of fun took around 2 1/2 hours from 10 AM to 12:30 PM.

So then I went to Chicken Bacolod in The Block and had the time of my life. Yummy!

By quarter past one, I was back.  I got the drug test results and went back to the other room for the actual license processing.  They took another picture and then I paid the renewal fee.  It's around P417 I believe.  Then they called me for releasing and I'm done.  That whole process took barely 30 minutes.  Not bad.

So overall, the drug testing can be more efficient since there was a bottleneck there, but the license processing per se was fast.  Watch out for consumer outbursts too.  Going back to the lunch break, the eye doctor announced that she was going to have lunch (she was pregnant you see) and that she was advising us to eat first although the biometrics part was going to continue (no lunch break for them).

Upon hearing that one person exclaimed, "doktor din ako!  Ba't ngayon mo lang sinabi???"  So there was a quick word war between the two.  The exasperated doctor totally lost his cool and crumpled his application form.  Then he checked the other doctor's name, "Hernandez, nakaka hiya ka!"

Straight out of a telenovela!  And that, my friends, is how you renew your Philippine Driver's License.

BTW, if you're changing details like your address, there's an additional fee.  


  1. there's also a mobile lto which goes around villages - simple renewal lang, no change in name or the like - the queue is much much shorter, and it's right inside your village!! how cool is that!!

  2. Hmmm...baka for conyo villages lang yan. The only mobile people I see here are those selling taho. But it's nice if they go to you. They should do that here too.

  3. If your license is expired by the time you renew it...It's a totally different ballgame, and much more expensive too!

  4. Really? Baka naman years na expired yun.

  5. Good post Cianoy! Thanks for this important license expires soon and I was trying to come to grips with the process I had to endure...hopefully my experience will be as good as yours....cheers =P

  6. Good luck to you! There's a new licensing office in SM City. Your experience might just end up better than mine.


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