What is the Initial Driver’s License Classification for Applicants of New License? 

Asking what is the initial driver’s license classification for applicants of a new license could get you two (2) different answers, depending on who you ask. If it’s a license holder, then they’ll probably say that it’s the Student Driver’s Permit. But, if you ask the Land Transportation Office (LTO), then they’ll tell you that it’s the Non-Professional Driver’s License (NPDL), and for good reason. 

You might think that it’s not important, but it is actually necessary for you to know which is the first or initial driver’s license classification you’ll get when you apply for one for several reasons. First, this question usually appears on various LTO exams. Second, and most importantly, depending on your license classification, you may need to secure different requirements and arrange for someone with a license to ride with you, in case you’re getting a Student Permit. 

What is the Initial Driver's License Classification for Applicants of New License

What is a Driver’s License Classification

As a government-issued identification document, an LTO driver’s license is a document that allows you to drive a vehicle in the Philippines. It tells the authorities that you are roadworthy and that you have the legal permission to drive a specific vehicle, as identified by the driver’s license code (DL code) stated in your license card. It comes in three different classifications: student permit, non-professional license, and professional license.

The driver’s license classification tells the type of license that a driver has. It also signifies whether the driver is a newbie or if he has been driving long enough to earn a living out if it. Depending on the classification, one can either drive only with a licensed driver aboard the car, drive only private vehicles, or drive for a living like when working as a public utility vehicle driver. 

So, What is the Initial Driver’s License Classification for Applicants of New Licenses? 

As mentioned above, if you ask this question to a license holder, you would most probably hear them say that it is the student permit. After all, the LTO has since changed the guidelines for license applications, mandating all drivers to start as a “student” with the issuance of a student permit regardless of skill level. As a “student,” you are expected to practice mastering the road under the guidance of a licensed driver, whether professional or non-professional. The licensed driver should accompany you when you drive with a student permit, otherwise, you can look forward to your first ever traffic violation. 

In LTO exams, however, this question is answerable by the non-professional license. After all, a student permit, though considered essential, is only a temporary permit that allows you to legally take your initial spins behind the wheel. It’s not even considered as a valid ID, hence, it is not acceptable for use as such in many public or private institutions. On the other hand, a non-professional driver’s license lets you enjoy the joys of being a driver on the Philippine open road on your own. 


In essence, while you are required to go through the “student phase” first when you apply for a driver’s license in the Philippines, the agency doesn’t consider you a licensed driver yet. You are simply one with a special permit to drive and practice on the open roads under the guidance of a licensed one. On the flip side, you are considered a full-fledged driver who can explore more roads and destinations on your own when you finally secure your non-professional driver’s license. Having said that, you can say that the initial driving classification you get when applying for a new license is the non-professional driver’s license. 

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