Conversion of Foreign License to Philippine Driver’s License: My Asawa’s Experience, Part 2

Conversion of Foreign License to Philippine Driver's License: My Asawa's Experience is concluded today with this post. My wife had made the trip to the main Land Transportation Office in Iloilo, located in the Jaro District, to have her Illinois Driver's License changed to a Filipino license before her birthday in September. Iloilo Rescue in Guimaras

My wife has had over four years to take care of this task, but decided, approximately 3 weeks before her Illinois license expired, to finally make it over to the local LTO. Conversion can be done without taking any written exam or driving test, if your foreign license hasn't expired, so the advantages of getting this done before the expiration are obvious. 

So after obtaining her required medical certificate (which consisted of a blood pressure check) my spouse was called over by an LTO employee to process her conversion request. Looked at her passport. Looked at her application. There was a problem. 

My asawa's first name on her passport, "Maria Melinda", did not match the first name on her Illinois Driver's License, which was "Melinda".  When my wife obtained her Permanent Resident "Green Card," which isn't permanent if you leave the States for over a year and isn't green, she had the option to how she wanted to list her name on the "Green Card." She opted to drop the "Maria," which she rarely used, and only use "Melinda."

The LTO employee informed her that she would have to have an attorney issue an affidavit for a name correction before conversion of her foreign license to a Philippine Driver's License could be done. My spouse sensed the employee was trying to pry a little extra money from her to expedite the process. But she asked how much the attorney's fee would be. 100 pesos she was told. The lawyer's office was conveniently located next door to the main LTO office. Leaving Iloilo City

After paying the attorney 150 pesos (as opposed to 100) she received an "Affidavit of Correction" which stated "I would like to correct my rel (should be "real" but misspelled on the document)  name to Melinda. …to Maria Melinda."  Simple enough. Signed and notarized by the lawyer. 

My asawa took the affidavit back to the LTO employee. Problem. The worker protested that the document should read "correction of name" and not "Affidavit of Correction." My wife kept her cool. The employee obviously knew my wife was married to a "rich" foreigner. Was this a  shakedown? My asawa replied "But sir, the affidavit clearly states that this is a correction of my name." 

The LTO employee finally relented and said he would speak to the attorney about this to avoid future problems. Paid 637 pesos for the license conversion fees to the cashier and then my wife's picture was taken.  Two hours later and she had successfully converted her foreign license to a Philippine Driver's License. Now all she needed was a vehicle so she could put that new license to good use. 

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

12 thoughts on “Conversion of Foreign License to Philippine Driver’s License: My Asawa’s Experience, Part 2

  1. Dave,
    I’ve done pretty good in dealing with the different government offices. Today we had to go and pay her Social Security. Thankfully it only took 30-45 minutes. That place is really a mess. Just a mass of people there.

  2. Not too bad. Fall in Line seems to be the sign of the day here in the Philippines. Used a fixer just one time. I just didn’t want to wait in line to get my Tax number.

    WTF? Another woman driver in the Philippines? Yikes!!! 😛

  3. Dave – you’re always keeping us on our toes with the website changes. I like the new layout.

    As far as driving lessons for asawas, mine picked it up pretty well. Luckily she takes instruction well. She had never driven a car before but she could drive a motor bike pretty well. Not sure my heart could take it again though. She scared the crap out of me several times. Just had to get her used to looking ahead and noticing brake lights and changing traffic lights in the distance so she wouldn’t have to slam on the brakes! But she was determined to learn and I’m very proud of how well she drives now after having her license for just over a year. It only took her 2 tries at the driving test. First time, very heavy woman instructor (my wife’s petite and pretty and it could’ve had something to do with jealousy). 2nd attempt: 50-something year old guy. Guess what she passed with flying clors…lol. And lucky me, I finally have a ready, willing, and able designated driver for when we go out! Win win win!

  4. Hey Dave,

    Am hoping your still working on the new website layout. Only complaint I have is, that as I get older, my eyesight gets a little worse each year, and there appears to be some serious shrinkage on here.

    Oh, and since the Tom Cat is leaving, does that mean we wont be getting to see anymore of the babes, or will the Babes and Beer Tour, Guimaras Edition, continue?

  5. I like the new layout a lot, especially the new header with the lizard. I noticed that there is empty space in the right column–the ads show up once I scroll down a bit. I’m using Chrome so I don’t know if it is a Chrome bug or it shows that way on browsers, but I thought I would let you know.

  6. Hi Dave!

    When I came here for good I made sure that I had a duplicate for my US license. I figured that I would have to swap it for my Philippine license. I did this so I have a source of I.D. if I return to the states for a visit.

  7. Long time since I visited…moving here and into the new house has consumed more time than consuming cold SM. Have had to do the internet cafe's in town (8 clicks) and I avoided them as much as possible. Anyway, we are mostly settled, have internet and cable TV and a sari-sari store with cold refreshments just outside my gate. I have been to the LTO here in Calbayog and they told me of the need for photo copies of this and that, but never told me how much the license conversion actually costs. What was the cost to Melinda for her license? I purchased a new Honda Supremo 150 (keeping up with Ramburg) and have been stopped at a checkpoint once already. When I showed the PNP my valid Mississippi license (without motorcycle endorsement) he just smiled and said have a nice day. So, to avoid any potential problems in the future, I need to get back to the LTO to get 'er done!  I don't need to temp fate…or the justice system here. 


    1. I just got back from staying in Calbayog for 4 months and knew my lic was good for 90 days. Went to LTO to inquire about a lic. The lady there said she has a lot of foreigners asking about licenses and said you really didn't need one as long as you where not in wreck or run someone over. She  said that if stop by cop they will not give ticket. I told her well thats what you say, but my insurance says something else. So I got a list of their requirements and went to drug test and doctor which they recommend, which happens to be across the street. Place was suppose to open at 9 in morning but no one showed up till 11 P.I. time. By that time had lot of people hanging around and lining up. Took me about 1.5hrs to get in and have pee test and ghost doc exam, which cost P 350.00. Went back across st and went into office and informed lady I had all the requirements. She gave me more forms to fill out so I set down where they had their breaks which had A/C and completed the forms. Gave the forms back and they took my picture. I guess it took about 3.5 hrs to get my license and they ask if I wanted it to be endorsed for cycles too. I said no thank you, I never road cycle in states and I sure in hell was not trying in Philippines. I think it cost me a little over  P1000.00 to get my lic, but that might have included using their A/C and personnel attention and not having to stand out side in the heat. The personnel are real friendly and will help you as much as you need.

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