Driving a car for the first time? You need to have a license to drive legally in the Philippines. But before you can qualify for a driver’s license, you have to apply first for a student license at the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Here’s a guide to help you with your LTO student permit application.
LTO Online Application for Student Permit
Students may now apply for their LTO permit online via the LTO web portal. Below are the steps in doing so.
Visit portal.lto.gov.ph and click enroll as an individual. This is the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) public portal that you can access on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
Create an LTO online appointment for student permit at your preferred LTO branch.
Pay your fees online. Note that LTO fines, car registration and renewal, and motor vehicle inspection services can be paid here as well.
Snapshot of the LTO online portal or LTMS
What is an LTO Student Permit?
An LTO student permit, sometimes called student license, is an official document that authorizes the holder to drive a vehicle in the Philippines in the presence of someone with a professional or non-professional driver’s license.
The student permit is valid for one year from the issue date, which is enough time to learn road traffic signs and rules, improve driving skills, and get ready for LTO driving exams (taken during a driver’s license application). This document cannot be revised, modified, or renewed.
What’s the Difference Between Student Permit and Driver’s License?
The LTO student permit is different from professional and non-professional driver’s licenses. It’s issued to first-time drivers, allowing them to learn and practice driving with the guidance of a qualified licensed driver before they can get a driver’s license.
In contrast, the LTO issues the non-professional driver’s license to people (previously issued a student permit) who will drive a vehicle with a gross weight of less than or equal to 4,500 kg. Professional driver’s license holders are authorized to drive heavier and bigger vehicles.
Can I Drive with a Student Permit Only?
Student drivers are required by law to be accompanied by a licensed driver when driving a vehicle. This means you can’t drive alone if you have a student permit only. The LTO fine is PHP 500 for those who violate this rule.
Is the LTO Student Permit a Valid ID?
Strictly speaking, the student permit is only a temporary permit and not meant to be a valid ID for different transactions with government offices and banks, according to this post from the LTO Makati District Office .
However, several government agencies such as the DFA and SSS still accept the student permit as a valid ID. For example, you can submit your student permit (in orange card format) to the DFA for your passport application or renewal. For SSS transactions, you can submit your student permit along with its official receipt.
LTO Requirements for Student Permit
Student License Requirements
To qualify for a student permit, you need to meet the following conditions:
For Filipino citizens: At least 16 years old
For foreign residents: At least 18 years old and living in the Philippines for at least one year
Physically and mentally fit to operate a vehicle
Can read and write in Filipino, English, or applicable local dialect
Have accomplished the LTO’s 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course (starts April 6, 2020) 
Now, prepare these required documents for LTO student permit application:
Filled out driver’s license application form you can get from the LTO website 
Electronically transmitted medical certificate* issued by any LTO-accredited medical clinic and registered physician
Original and photocopy of birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
For married women: PSA-issued marriage certificate
For 16-year-old applicants: Parental/guardian’s consent with original and photocopy of one valid government-issued ID bearing the consenting parent/guardian’s signature
Additional requirement for foreigners (any of the following):
– Original and photocopy of passport with entry date of at least one month and visa duration of at least one year from application date
– Original and photocopy of PSA-issued birth certificate (if born in the Philippines)
*Since January 2019, the LTO has been requiring online submission of medical certificates for student permit and driver’s license applications. But no need to worry about this. The clinic will be the one to transmit your medical exam results to the LTO IT system. The clinic will give you a hard copy of your medical certificate, which you must submit to the LTO for validation.
How Much is the Student License Fee?
The total cost of a student permit application is PHP 317.63, consisting of these fees:
Student permit fee: PHP 150
Application fee: PHP 100
Computer fee: PHP 67.63
How to Get a Student License from LTO
To get started with your LTO student permit application, you need to take the mandatory 15-hour theoretical driving course. You can either take the course at any LTO Drivers Education Center for free or get your TDC at your nearest LTO-accredited driving school for an additional fee.
As of January 8, 2021, LTO has suspended online TDCs indefinitely. This means you have to take a face-to-face class if you’re planning to complete your TDC. Take note that these sessions don’t involve actual driving. Instead, it focuses on the non-practical aspects of driving like traffic laws, driving etiquette, and others.
Once you’ve completed your TDC, it’s now simple and easy to apply for your LTO student permit. Just follow these steps:
Visit any LTO licensing center or district/extension office (If you’re in NCR, here’s the list of LTO branches in Metro Manila) and proceed to the customer service window to get a number.
Submit the student license requirements once they call your number. The receiving personnel will check if they’re complete and will then turn over your documents to an evaluator who will assess your qualifications. If you’re qualified, your application will be encoded in the LTO system and forwarded to the approving officer.
After your application is approved, your name will be called for photo and signature taking.
Pay the fees for your student license application to the cashier. Keep the official receipt issued to you.
Proceed to the releasing counter and present your receipt to claim your student permit card. You’ll also be issued an LTO driving exam reviewer for driver’s license issuance.
Write your name and sign the release form.
One month after getting a student permit, you can apply for a non-professional driver’s license. If you want to get a professional driver’s license, you can do so after at least six months of having a student license.
4 Tips for Student Permit Applicants and Holders
Keep these tips in mind to avoid any hassle when applying for a student permit and driving as a student license holder.
1. Undergo Medical Exam at an LTO-Accredited Clinic
An important requirement for student permit applications, the medical certificate will serve as the proof of your physical and mental fitness to drive. If you have a certain health condition that will affect your driving capability, the doctor will indicate it in the medical certificate.
However, the LTO accepts only medical certificates issued by its accredited clinics and registered physicians. You can find LTO-accredited clinics near the LTO office. Don’t waste your time and money getting a medical certificate from a non-accredited clinic and doctor.
2. Bring Enough Cash for the Medical Exam and Student License Fee
The cost of getting a student permit include not just the student license fee. You also have to factor in the medical exam cost, which ranges from PHP 350 to PHP 500. Prepare enough money for these fees.
To save money on the medical exam fee, you may try using your HMO or health card to cover the cost.
3. Apply for a Driver’s License Before Your Student Permit Expires
The LTO doesn’t accept an expired student permit from driver’s license applicants. To get a driver’s license, you must submit your student permit before the end of its one-year validity period.
Remember: You can apply for a non-professional license between one month up to a year after your student permit issue date. For a professional license, you can apply between six months up to a year after they issued your student permit.
Securing a student permit is the first necessary step to your driver’s license application. Get it right, so you can move on to becoming a full-fledged driver.
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