15-hour seminar before you get a student’s permit or driver’s license from now on

Earlier this week, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced they will suspend the issuance of new student permits starting July 1st. New applicants will now have to undergo the mandatory 15-hour driving seminar before they can apply for a Student Permit (SP) or new Driver's License (DL) starting August 3, 2020. Those applying for additional license restriction codes will also be required to take the mandatory driving course.

In a follow-up announcement, the LTO says that all offices in the Philippines will only accept and process applications for student permits, new driver’s licenses, and additional restriction code transactions from applicants who have secured driving course completion certificates. These certificates will be issued by LTO-accredited driving schools, authorized driving school instructors/administrators, and by LTO-Driver Education Centers (DECs) in LTO offices which are ready to conduct the 15-hour driving course starting July 1, 2020.

“To recall, we have already launched the new Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) in 24 offices as our way of adhering to the directive of Secretary Tugade to shift to the digitalization of transactions. As we ready for the nationwide activation of this new system, I have directed all concerned regional offices and district offices to be fully equipped and ready to accept electronically-transmitted certificates, which are prerequisite in securing driver’s licenses before August 3,” said Asec. Edgar Galvante.

Those who wish to apply for a new student permit starting August 3 are required to secure the Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) Certificate. For the application of new driver’s licenses (Professional and Non-Professional), all applicants with Student Permits issued from 03 August onwards must secure Practical Driving Course (PDC) Certificates. Meanwhile, applicants for additional restriction codes will also be required to secure their PDC certificates for the restriction code being applied for.

Interestingly, these certificates will not be physical copies. Instead, the agency says that these will be electronically transmitted by the accredited driving school or DECs to the LTO-IT system. LTO Assistant Secretary Galvante said the move aims to further strengthen the digitalization efforts of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in line with minimizing human intervention in various agency transactions.

Holders of expired Student Permits (including foreign student permits) will also be required to present a TDC certificate before they will be allowed to apply for a new SP. Foreigners holding valid foreign driver's licenses wishing to convert to a Philippine driver's license, however, will be exempt from the TDC and PDC certificates, the LTO clarified.