How to Apply for Student Permit and Non-Professional Driver’s License: 2021 Edition

I just got my Non-professional driver’s license a couple of days ago, yay!! I know, I know. I am a late bloomer, and part of it was regretting why I did not get one a few years back when it was “easier” and cheaper to apply for a driver’s license. Anyhow, there’s nothing else I can do about it so I decided to share my experience and the processes that I had to undergo get my Non-Professional Driver’s License (NPDL). Please note that starting August 2020, the Land Transportation Office released new guidelines in getting a Driver’s License (from Student Permit to NPDL).

Unlike in the past, applying for a driver’s license at this time is more complex. LTO added two major requirements for new applicants. A 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) is required for Student Permit application and an 8-hour Practical Driving Course (PDC) is needed to be completed for NPDL application. These courses are not available everywhere. There are just a handful of LTO-accredited driving schools nationwide authorized to release certificates of completion for your Student’s Permit or NPDL application. This aims to ensure that all aspiring drivers will have ample knowledge and are equipped with basic traffic and pedestrian know-hows before hitting the pedals.

Now sharing to you what I have to go through in my journey in getting an SP down to NPDL. (Please note that I am a resident of Cebu City and the fees may be different in other cities. The process and fees associated with my application are in accordance to LTO Cebu City chapter.)

Requirements for Student Permit:

  1. Accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL) form
  2. Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) Completion Certificate
  3. Medical certificate from LTO-accredited clinic
  4. (1) Original copy of PSA authenticated birth certificate
  5. (1) photocopy of any issued ID with photo and signature of the applicant.

Requirements for Non-Professional Driver’s License:

  1. Accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL) form
  2. Medical certificate from LTO-accredited clinic
  3. Original and valid student permit ID
  4. Practical Driving Course (PDC) Completion Certificate
  5. Passing score of at least 30 over 40 items written exam.
  6. Passing score in Actual Driving Test under the supervisions of an LTO officer

Getting a Student Permit

An SP is a pre requisite before anyone can get a non-professional driver’s license. Having an SP doesn’t mean you are already allowed to drive on your own. It only gives you the opportunity to drive a private vehicle accompanied by a PDL or NPDL holder. The Student Permit is valid for 1 year. Check out the Qualifications and Requirements in applying for a Student Permit.

Theoretical Driving Course: Aspiring drivers are now required to attend 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course before applying for student permits. It is a classroom setting, sit-down seminar for 15 hours (broken down in three 5-hr sessions).

As of this writing, here are the only LTO-accredited driving schools in Region 7.


  • TDC: P4, 600.00 at AZB88 Driving School in Mambaling, Cebu City (they are now in SM Seaside City Cebu near the LTO office)
  • Medical: P450.00 at Psalm Medical Center
  • PSA Birth Certificate: P300.00
  • Student Permit: P317.63 that includes SP fee, Application Fee and Computer Fee
  • License Cover: P50.00

The total amount I spent for my Student Permit is: P5,717.63. Tip: The easiest and quickest way to process your Student Permit application is in SM Seaside City Cebu licensing center. It took me less than 30 minutes to get everything done. I also went there around 2pm where I was the only client. (I processed my SP first week of November, 2020. Cebu City was still under MGCQ then)

Getting a Non-Professional Driver’s License

After 30 days, SP holders can now apply for NPDL. I actually applied 2 months later because I waited for the holiday season to end. My SP was released on November 2020 and I enrolled for the Practical Driving Course in the same driving school where I had my TDC on January 2021. Since the medical certificate is only valid for 1 month, I had to undergo another medical check for my non-pro application.

Practical Driving Course: This is an 8-hour driving course facilitated by an authorized driving coach from the list of LTO accredited driving schools. This is usually broken down in two 4-hour sessions.


  • PDC: P12, 600.00 at AZB88 Driving School in J-Center Mall, Mandaue.
  • Medical: P450.00 at Psalm Medical Center
  • License Fee and other Fees: P800.00 (rough estimate including computer fee and application fee)

The total amount I spent for my Non-Professional Driver’s License is: P13,850.00. I processed my NPDL in LTO – Talisay City where there are less people and after a few hours, Igot my “plastic” with a 1, 2 restriction code and a validity of 5 years.

Additional tip: Study. Study. Study. During your TDC, ask as many questions to the lecturer as you can. This is the avenue for new drivers to learn the basics. This is also where you will get inputs from what will be asked during the written exams. Make use of the 5-hour sit down to learn traffic rules and regulations and everything in between. On your PDC, exhaust all the oppprtunity you can get by driving on the highway, know how to park in different ways as well as any tips and tricks your instructor will share to you.

Over-all, the experience I had in processing my driver’s license following LTO’s new guidelines and Cebu City under MGCQ is relatively easy. Though I still wish I should have gotten my license back in the day where it was cheaper – still I am happy and satisfied with the outcome and the whole experience in general.

Owning a Driver’s License is a privilege. Anyone may know how to drive but it doesn’t mean everyone is eligible to acquire a driver’s license primarily because you don’t only have to have driving skills, but you need discipline, focus, right attitude and entails great responsibility to be deemed worthy. If you have any questions, comment down below and I will try to answer them based on my personal experience.

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