Can a foreigner drive in the Philippines?


Thinking of renting a car and driving in the Philippines for your upcoming trip? This question might come in your mind: Can I drive in the Philippines? The answer is YES!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Short-term visiting foreigners can rent a car and drive in the Philippines with a valid foreign driver’s licence. The license should be a full driver license held for at least 2 years and without any major endorsements and provided that their license is in English.
Foreigners holding a valid driver’s license issued by their home country’s road authority can drive here in the Philippines for up to 90 days after arrival.

Image by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

If the foreign driver’s license is not in English, the visitor should be issued with an official English translation from the issuing country’s local embassy.

You can either change your international license into a local one to obtain an LTO driver’s license or you can apply for a new one at the nearest LTO licensing center.

image source: Land Transportation Office official Website

Steps to convert your foreign driver’s license to a Philippine driver’s license


  1. Original and a photocopy of valid foreign license
    If your international driver’s license is not in English, you must request an official English translation from your issuing country’s local embassy.
  2. Original and a photocopy of visa and stamp or alien certificate of registration (ACR), available at the Immigration Office, if you temporarily resides in the Philippines.
  3. Valid passport
    Must be with your current arrival date in the Philippines.
  4. Medical certificate and negative drug test result
    (from a DOH or LTO-accredited drug testing center or hospital)
  5. Filled out driver’s license application form (ADL)
    Download the form here
  6. If employed: Taxpayer’s identification number (TIN), in compliance to Executive Order 98 & MC ACL-2009-1251


  1. Proceed to the customer service counter at the nearest LTO licensing center and  secure a driver’s license application form.
  2. Get a checklist of requirements and a priority number then wait for your number to be called.
  3. After your number is called, go to the counter of the evaluator to give all the documents required, and have it reviewed for completeness and legitimacy.
  4. When your name is called, proceed to where you would take your picture and signature.
  5. Go to the cashier and pay the application fee.
  6. Proceed to the Examination Room written exam.
  7. Once you passed the written exam, proceed to the practical exam.
  8. After you have passed the practical examination proceed to the waiting area and go to the cashier until your name is called and pay all the fees required to get an official receipt (OR)
  9. When your name is called, proceed to the release counter and apply the OR to claim your Professional driver license.


You can check the fees here

*Applicants with expired foreign driver’s license must undergo both written and practical examinations. Click here for DRIVER’S LICENSE EXAMINATION REVIEWER
*If the issuing country does not have an embassy in the Philippines, the license is not available for conversion.

Is it safe to drive a car in the Philippines for Foreigners?

YES! Driving in the Philippines is safe even if you’re not a local driver. You should expect the following though:

  1. Traffic jam can be bad, most especially in Manila. Imagine just waiting for your car to be moved a few meters for several minutes. Trucks, public utility vehicles and private cars can be found in disorder!
  2. A number of drivers are continually ignoring the stoplights and other road signs.
  3. Pedestrians can be seen on highways! And yes, it can be quite frightening so you watch it better.
  4. There are many one-way streets so look out because you might get caught.
Photo by Carla Cervantes on Unsplash

You have to be extremely cautious with these while driving. Seek signs and become a defensive driver. It is normal to hear other drivers cursing and getting hot – tempered.
The weather in the Philippines is mostly dry, after all, and that isn’t the best thing to experience when stuck in traffic. My advice for you, turn up the A / C, put on some great songs and always keep calm.

Please be noted that we use the left hand side for driving in the Philippines (the steering wheel is on the left). Don’t be confused if you’re from UK!


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