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

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.

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

    1. Yep, not difficult, Bill S, but my asawa felt the LTO employee wanted a little extra “grease” to smooth the process along. Better than my experience at the Las Vegas DMV many years ago. Stood in line almost 6 hours to get my Illinois License converted to a Nevada license. And talk about rude help! 🙁

  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.

    1. Thankfully, I’ve never had to gone with my nieces when they registered at the local SS office in Iloilo when they started their jobs, Papa Duck. Melinda tells me about the nightmare lines she had to wait in (the Metro Manila area) at government offices to get the necessary documents for her Spousal Visa when she got to the States. There has got to be a better way to organize things and cut out some of the red tape. Not surprising that some people use “fixer’s.” It can get very frustrating at times.

  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!!! 😛

    1. Yep, “Fall in Line,” one of the most popular signs you see here, Gary, along with “Check Your Weapons at the Door.”

      My asawa will not be driving until sometime late next year, Gary, and only in the Guimaras area. We’ve got about as much traffic there as Mayberry. 😛 Her driving skills have vastly improved since she backed into that cornfield outside of Auburn, Illinois, during one of my attempted “driving” lessons. I gave up after that. Fortunatately, Ate Lourdes, a very patient Filipina lady and one of my wife’s best friends, took over the lessons. My advice to guys in the States that attempt to teach their Filipina wife how to drive? Hire a driving instructor. You’ll find yourself sleeping on the couch a lot less. 🙄

  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!

    1. Thanks, Paul. I’m still tweaking the new site and thanks to my Webmaster Supreme, Rich Pawly, I’m getting the bugs worked out. Felt I needed a change and promise to stay with the new format for awhile.

      Congrats to your wife on getting her driver’s license. If I had to do it all over again I would let my wife’s friend, Ate Lourdes, give her the driving lessons from the very start. I thought I was going to have a heart attack several times when I attempted to impart my driving wisdom.

      I took my wife to a small town driver’s license facility for her driving test. I was hoping the male employee would administer the test (knowing how the male mind operates under the influence of a pretty lady) but a middle-aged female employee drove with her. Melinda passed with flying colors. And I can assure you, it had nothing to do with my “instructions.”

  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?

    1. Still working on the font size for the new layout, Bill S. The fix that I used for my former theme is not working on this new one. I’ll be doing some other minor changes and tweaking the site throughout the day. No new website layouts for awhile now, I promise. Had to let some things go, like subscriptions to new comments but still have subscriptions for any new articles I post.

      Sorry to report, no more Babes and Beer Tours, Bill. We’re moving to Guimaras in October and I won’t have my best buddy, The Tom Cat, to accompany me.

      1.  Dave, I guess I was a little apprehensive at first cause I saw it before it was all finished, but looks real nice now, and I can read it easily. Could read it when the fomt was smaller, but had to bend towards the screen a little bit, guess maybe I need glasses. 

        1. Yep, that font was way too small, Bill S. I could read it at my advanced age without contact lenses or glasses. But I need contacts/glasses to see anything at a distance. Glad you like the new format, thanks. 

  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.

    1. Thanks, Steve. I’ve got an ad on the top right sidebar that doesn’t show up if there is nothing related to the most recent article I am posting. I believe once I have a new article posted that problem will be fixed. I’m using Chrome and an ad will show up if I refresh the page again. I’ve had to send a call for help to my Webmaster Supreme to get a larger size text for the posts. I worked on the new logo a few hours last night and I’m happy the way it turned out. Thanks for the feedback.

      Btw, Webmaster Supreme has installed a new plugin which will make the site more user-friendly for those using cell phones or tablets. Almost 25% of my website traffic comes from mobile devices now.

      1. The issue I mentioned is now resolved. I read the site about 50/50 PC/Mobile phone and the mobile version looks fantastic. Kudos to you and Webmaster Supreme. I think you guys picked a winner with this theme.

        1. Glad to hear that everything’s OK now, Steve. Visitors are up over a 1,000 a day now with the new theme. Webmaster Supreme, Rich Pawly, did some more adjustments and fine tuning as I slept last night and everything is looking good. Thanks for your support. 

  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.

    1. Excellent idea, Tom, and one I should have thought of. Thanks for the tip. Guess my ACR Card won’t carry much weight as an ID whenever I go back to Vegas to visit my Dad. I’m sure the casinos will be carding me to prove I’m old enough to gamble. 🙄

    1. Thanks for the tip, Rease. Glad we’ll be staying in Guimaras over the weekend. Ahhh, Guimaras! Water 24/7 and 50% less brownouts than our present location on Panay Island. 

  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. Hi Randy, welcome back. Total cost for the license conversion, minus the P100 for the Doc and P150 for the attorney was P637, which matched what the official LTO website stated. 

      When we move to Guimaras I won’t have an Internet Provider Service at our home but will have to depend on the local internet cafe’s also, unless I get that tablet I’m considering and use wi-fi which is available in a few spots on the island. 

      I never had a motorcycle in the States and I absolutely never would have one in the Philippines. Too risky for this old geezer. 🙂



    2. 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.

      1. So George,  as long as you didn’t get into a wreck or run over someone, you were good to go according to your local LTO employee. I knew of an American expat living here that got into two accidents and according to him, neither one was his fault. But he ended up paying for each one. Can  you imagine a “kano” getting into an accident in the Philippines without a valid license? I shudder to think what might happen but I can guarantee you that “fixer’s” would be lining up to take care of your problem. 

        I’m with you. I will never attempt to ride a motorcycle in the Philippines for the same reason I never had one in the States. I’d be sprawled on the pavement, as flat as the toads that litter the road that I take each morning for my daily walk, within days of attempting to ride that motorcycle. At 61 years of age, I want to give myself a fighting chance to make it to 62. 🙂 

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