How can I apply for an international driver’s license?

Updated Oct 07, 2020 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

Here are useful things you need to know just in case you need to drive outside the Philippines.

If you’re one of those individuals who often travel or go for a vacation abroad, you probably search for different tour packages online. In most cases, you’ll be visiting tourist destinations along with other people who purchased the same tour package.

However, your sightseeing and Instagram photo duties could be compromised since you need to enjoy a certain destination within the allotted time only. 

As such, you could opt to rent a car and discover your preferred tourist spots on your own, and at your own pace. Just make sure you have a local guide with you to give you the right directions. But, for you to do that, you need to have an international driver’s license. Here’s how you can apply to get hold of that license.  

What is an international driver’s license?

An international driver’s license, or more formally known as the international driving permit (IDP), allows you to drive in other countries. The IDP is valid in the territory of all the Contracting States who signed at the 1949 and 1968 Convention of Road Traffic (CRT) in Vienna.

International Driver's License

This license allows you to drive in other countries

The CRT is an international treaty that sets standard traffic rules among the contracting parties or countries. There are more than 100 countries that accept the validity of the IDP, which includes the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, among many others.   

>>> Related: Philippines International Driving Permit (PIDP): Fee and so on

Where can I apply for an international driver’s license?

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) doesn’t issue an IDP. You need to go to one of the offices of the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP). AAP is the only organization in the Philippines that can issue an IDP, and it has several offices nationwide. The main office of the AAP is at Quezon City but it also has offices in Makati, Alabang, Lipa, Pampanga, Cebu, and Davao.

What are the requirements to get an international driver’s license?

According to AAP, you need the following documents for you to apply for an IDP:

  1. Original and photocopy of valid Philippine Driving License (Non-Pro or Pro)
  2. Two pieces 2”x2” color ID picture, white background
  3. Foreign nationals, dual citizens must present the original passport, photocopies of pages showing date of last arrival. Permanent residents, on the other hand, must present passport and Alien Certificate Registration along with requirements no. 1, 2, and 3.
  4. A letter of authorization and any valid ID of representative (in case of non-appearance)

How much will it cost?

The processing fee of the IDP, as of this writing, is Php 3,500 plus an additional 12 percent value-added tax (VAT). With that, the total would be Php 3,920. 

Do I need to prepare for an exam to get an IDP?

Nope. There’s no exam to be taken. You just need to have a valid Non-Professional or Professional Philippine driver’s license to get an IDP. 

How long is the validity of an IDP?

The IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue. You can renew it as long as your Philippine driver’s license is still valid. Take note that the IDP is not valid for driving in the Philippines. 

International Driver's License

International Driving Permit is valid for one year from date of issue

How long is the processing time?

AAP said that if you apply at its main office at 2nd floor, AAP Tower, 683 Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City, the actual processing time is about an hour. 

On the other hand, applications coursed through its Makati, Alabang, Pampanga, Lipa offices take two to three working days to process. While Cebu and Davao offices take four to five days.

What type of vehicles can I drive with my IDP?

The types of vehicle you can drive with your IDP is divided into five categories. The vehicles you are permitted to drive will depend on the stamp seen on the front page of your IDP.

International Driver's License

Categories of vehicles that you are permitted to drive

Here are the categories: 

  • Category A - “Motorcycles, with or without a side-car, invalid carriages, and three-wheeled motor vehicles with an unladen weight not exceeding to 400 kg.”
  • Category B - “Motor vehicles used for the transport of passengers and comprising, in addition to the driver’s seat at most eight seats, or those used for the transport of goods and having a permissible maximum weight not exceeding 3,500 kg. Vehicles in this category may be coupled with a light trailer.”
  • Category C - “Motor vehicles used for the transport of goods and of which the permissible maximum weight exceeds 3,500 kg. Vehicles in this category may be coupled with a light trailer.”
  • Category D - “Motor vehicles used for the transport of passengers and comprising, in addition to the driver’s seat, more than eight seats. Vehicles in this category may be coupled with a light trailer.”
  • Category E - “Motor vehicles of categories B, C, or D, as authorized above, with other than a light trailer.”

How can I renew my IDP?

As said earlier, you can renew your IDP as long as your Philippine driver’s license is still valid. In fact, you can renew it a month before it expires. You just need to secure the same documents from your initial application. Of note, the renewal fee is still Php 3,920.  

What if I am still out of the country? Can I still renew my IDP?

Yes, you can. If you’re still out of the country, you can have a representative renew your IDP for you. Your representative must bring a letter of authorization, and a valid ID to be able to renew your IDP.  

If your Philippine driver’s license has already expired, your representative needs to secure a temporary license from the LTO and present it to any AAP office, together with the Official Receipt (OR). 

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Martin Aguilar

Martin Aguilar


Martin is a BA Literature graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He started his writing career as an editorial assistant and writer for various magazines under ABS-CBN Publishing. Before being the Content Editor of Philkotse, Martin was a writer for Autoindustriya then shifted gears in 2017 to become the editor for AutoDeal.



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