How I Got My 5-year Driver’s License

So I’m sure you guys have heard that LTO started releasing the first batch of 5-year driver’s license last Aug 29. I guess it was a blessing in disguise when I forgot to renew mine 2 weeks ago just before my birthday.

As usual, I went to Tiendesitas/SM Hypermart branch. I’ve been going to this branch ever since I had to renew my driver’s license.

The usual, you have to approach the staff or go to window 1 (Evaluator) and get your renewal form. The process was pretty fast and the form was easy to finish. After completing the form, go straight to the medical checkup station at the back where you have to pay Php350.00 for a simple eye check up, blood pressure monitoring, height and weight check. I say you can get all these done in less than 10-15 minutes.

After the medical check up, that’s where the bulk of the wait starts. Your name will be called up for window 2. You will have your photo taken against a blue background–but keep in mind this is not the photo that will appear on your license–and have your e-signature taken. Then you will have to pay for the license renewal fee, which cost me about Php700.00++ (including penalties for late renewal hehe).

After this process, you can either wait for your name to be called again or come back another day if you’re in a hurry. I had a full schedule that day so I decided to come back the next day.

So last Aug 31, I went back to claim my license and I was surprised that there was another picture taking against a white background (as shown below):

This is the final step. Once you are called to go inside the office, you will have to have your biometrics taken, another photo taken (smiling prohibited), and your e-signature. These are the information that will appear on your new 5-year driver’s license.

This is also the process that took most of the time since the LTO staff will–one by one–encode your details and check with you if everything’s okay before having your license printed (TIP: Know your CORRECT Blood Type. Positive or Negative). Printing takes less than a minute. The bottleneck comes from having 1 staff to encode and process it.

I was told that normal processing takes 4 hours from start to finish. So if you don’t have 4 hours to spare like me, you can have the first part of the renewal processed and come back for your second photo taking like what I did. Tip here is to come at 9am for your second photo taking so you get to be ahead in line. I went there around 11am, there were a lot of people already.

Oh, and by the way, they don’t have lunch breaks either–so that’s definitely a good thing. I remember in my last license renewal, I had to waste another hour just to wait for the LTO staff to come back to their window and serve us.

I think LTO Tiendesitas branch has one of the best staff around since I have seen other horror stories related to other LTO branches in relation to the release of the new 5-year license. Mine went by pretty smoothly and the staff in this branch were all courteous and soft-spoken. They even sent me an SMS yesterday that they have operations even if it was a holiday since they’re trying their best to finish all the backlogs (or those who previously applied and was just given a temporary paper 5-year license).

Anyway, I hope this post helped you and I’ll see you guys in my next vlog. 🙂

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