As driving has become a necessity in our lives. More and more people apply for their International Driver’s License every year.

Male sitting a red vehicle showing his international driver’s license

Although driving has become something generally done by everyone daily, it isn’t enough to hold a license and drive around.

Understanding Your Driver’s License

You must understand every aspect of your driver’s license to use your driver’s license potential to its fullest.

“I Can Drive In Every Country”

When you get your own driver’s license, this usually only allows you to drive vehicles in your own country. Now it’s possible to go private and rental cars in most countries across the globe.

It’s essential for people who travel a lot and would like to drive around in the countries for adventures without any limits; a great option to apply for an international driver’s license.

Going to other countries is extremely convenient and helpful, whether you’re working abroad, on a business trip, or vacation.

How to Get a Driver’s License

Applying for an international license is only valid for drivers who already have their own non-professional license. The international license’s validity period isn’t fixed and follows your local driver’s license’s validity period.

If your current pro or non-pro permit will expire within three months. Then your PDIP will be valid for three months only.

International driver’s license is recognized in most of the countries that signed the 1949 and 1968. United Nations Convention on Road Traffic, you’ll be able to make use of this license in most of your destinations.

This list of countries is also listed on the back of the license. So you can easily check if the country you want to visit is on it before your trip.

My License Only Serves As Identification

One of the most misconceptions about taking a drivers license test is that a driver’s license serves as permission to drive and also a form of identification.

Although these are true and are significant reasons to have your driver’s license with you, your driver’s license contains much more information about you.

With that said, this is why your driver’s license is one of the most important forms of identification in your wallet.

International Drivers License in USA

The first and most important information that your driver’s license contains is the city of your residency and where you’re legally allowed to drive around.

Your driver’s license includes other important identification information like your address, nationality, date of birth, weight, height, eye color, blood type, and even if you’re an organ donor.

Another vital piece of information placed on your license’s back is an emergency contact that officers can contact if you lost your license or unfortunately get into an accident.

Driver’s license also shows a code that indicates what type of vehicles you’re allowed to be driving. Whether it’s a motorcycle, cars with a certain number of capacity, buses, trailers, and more.

It’ll also indicate if you have any conditions wherein you’ll need to wear glasses, need to drive customized vehicles, daylight driving only, or if you need to wear a hearing aid while you drive.

I Have To Be A Local To Apply For A Driver’s License

Another common misconception is that you have to be a local to apply for a driver’s license or drive around in the Philippines.

If you’re a foreigner applying for a student’s driver’s permit. You must be 18 years old and have taken residence in the Philippines for at least a year instead of the 17-year-old age minimum for locals.

If you’re a foreigner applying for a non-professional or professional driver’s license. You’ll need to prepare your original copy and photocopy of your passport with the entry date of at least one month.

Your visa should also be valid for at least a year from the day you plan on applying.

How to apply for International Driver’s License

If you’re a foreigner born in the Philippines, all you have to do is present your NSO authenticated birth certificate.

If you’re a foreigner and are a holder of a valid driver’s license from your own country. You’ll need to present the original and photocopy of your own foreign driver’s license.

Some licenses are in other languages besides English. If this is the case, you’ll need to request the official English translation from the issuing country’s embassy.

There’s Only One Type Of Driver’s License

Everyone has to start from somewhere, even in driving. In the Philippines, there are three types of driver’s licenses.

Depending on your driving skills, you’re placed under the categories: student driver permit, non-professional driver’s license, and professional driver’s license. There is also an International Driver’s License that allows you to drive in over 150 countries.

The initial move to getting your driver’s license is applying for a student driver’s permit. Once 17 years old, you can qualify for it. As long as you undergo all the screening procedures and tests LTO requires.

This license allows you to learn how to drive under a professional and accredited driving school.

After at least one month, this can be upgraded to a non-professional driver’s license. Then later on to a professional license after six months if you want.

The non-professional driver’s license qualifies you to operate any motorized vehicle for your own personal or private use.

A professional driver’s license is given to those who have their non-professional driver’s license. This would like to drive public utility vehicles for business or other lucrative purposes.

I Can’t Apply For A License if I Have A Disability.

A widespread misconception is that disabled persons are not allowed to drive. In many countries, laws were made to promote the equal rights of disabled persons to transport themselves.

In the Philippines, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act No. 7277) allows disabled persons to drive motor vehicles as long as they follow the rules and regulations made by LTO by the nature of their disability.

This law also tackles the need for proper vehicle customizations and modifications before being allowed to drive.

According to the law, persons with a single amputated leg or arm, post-polio individuals with one paralyzed leg, or persons with weak legs are all allowed to apply for a driver’s license.

In addition to this list, individuals who are blind in one eye but have good eyesight in the other, speech impaired, and partially deaf and hard of hearing individuals are also given the right to apply for a driver’s license.

The law also indicates that disabled drivers or applicants may use a customized vehicle as long as it meets the standards and specifications requested and if the vehicle was duly inspected thoroughly at LTO.

As disabilities are specific for each person, the car must be customized to suit the disability of the person.

One good idea is to approach occupational therapists who specialize in driver assessments to advise the specific aids and modifications that best suit the vehicle.