Stories of how difficult and arduous the process of having your driver’s license renewed or updated in the Philippines nowadays with the newly-implemented biometrics scheme sounded like an exaggeration to me – not until I experienced it firsthand last week. Since my driver’s license still had a year to go before expiry when I got married, I decided to forego having my name and status updated until it was really due to expire. And oh boy! The experience was one for the books. Imagine, I waited five long hours! That’s five hours without eating, drinking or even going to the bathroom. LOL. Had I known I would have to wait that long, I should have come in prepared and “armed” for the battle. LOL. Hence, I decided to write this blog to give a few tips to those, who, like me, have decided to renew or update their driver’s license records after getting hitched. At least, you girls could be a little more prepared than I was.
For starters, renewal of driver’s license with a pending change of records CANNOT be done in satellite centers. Yep. You read that right. So please, don’t waste your time going to satellite centers at malls. Look for the nearest LTO district office near you and come in early instead ‘coz the waiting time is around two to five hours.
I had mine renewed and updated at LTO Las Piñas. This is located at the southbound side of Alabang-Zapote Road in between the newly-built Pope John Paul II Hospital and Robinsons Place Las Piñas. Since I had mistakenly gone to the LTO satellite office at Alabang Town Center first, I wasted an hour traveling and arrived at the LTO district office at 2 pm.
First things first: go to the public assistance desk and tell them you’re having your license renewed and your records changed due to marriage. You will receive a copy of the same form that you probably used when you applied for the first time. Fill this up with your new details (surname if you’re changing yours to your husband’s and your new civil status) and together with your expired/expiring license and your original and photocopied copies of your marriage certificate, submit it to Window 10. You will then be asked to have your medical exam (which was just merely taking you height, weight and checking out your vision). The medical exam costs 250 pesos.
For the medical exam, proceed to the back part of the building. There is a separate one-story white building which houses the cashier, notary public and medical exam room. After payment, I went out and proceeded to the exam room whose entrance was at the right side of the building. You can miss this if you’re not paying attention. 🙂 Once you get your medical certificate, go back to Window 10 and submit your papers. You will be asked to wait for your name to be called at the next windows (Window 15/16) for picture-taking and for your signature.
The wait for this step was fairly quick. What took most of my time were the steps that followed. The queue for payment was long. You’d have to wait for your name to be called so you could fall in line for payment. I paid a total of 752.63 pesos which was broken down as follows:
585 – non-professional license fee
100 – for revision of records (name and civil status change)
67.63 – Computer Fee
From then, all you have to do is wait, wait and wait. Had I known that I would be spending 1 1/2 hours waiting for my name to be called for another set of picture-taking and biometrics and another 2 hours for the printing and release of my license after the biometrics scanning, I could have brought a book to read or brought snacks with me to while away the time.
After a total of 5 hours from the time I started, I finally got my new driver’s license at 7 pm. Yup. They are actually extending their office hours to accommodate the thousands of those who had their licenses renewed from last year and still haven’t gotten their physical cards yet and those who are applying for renewals at the same time. I actually felt a tinge of pity for the government workers manning the LTO offices around the country. The new system – albeit for everyone’s benefit in the long run – is taking its toll on everyone – workers and applicants alike. I hope they get to finish all their backlogs ASAP as there were a lot of irate applicants in the queue when I was there.
So that’s it. I wish that this short blog entry was able to help those who’re planning to go there soon. Again, always come prepared. Bring food, water, ballpen and something to keep you entertained while waiting for the queue. Keep smiling. Thank the workers for their help. Don’t lose your cool! Remember, it’s uncool to lose your cool! After all, you won’t be experiencing this again in the next five years with the new 5-year validity of driver’s licenses. Ciao!