How to Add Motorcycle Restriction Code (RC1) to Philippines Driver’s License

If you’re driving a motorcycle in Cebu, you can either use your foreign driver’s license, under some circumstances—or you got to have a Philippines Driver’s License with Restriction Code 1 (RC1). How do you add RC1, if you already have a RC2 license for driving a car? That’s what you’ll learn in this article.

What you need

  • Application for Driver’s License (ADL). Print this form ahead of time, fill it out and bring it with you, to save yourself a lot of time. Here is the LTO page with the ADL form.
  • Valid drug test and medical exam. I did those one afternoon at the laboratory next to the LTO office in SM City. Cost me some 300 pesos and took 20 minutes.  
  • Money. I paid 394 pesos. Better bring 1k in case you need to get an ad-hoc drug test or whatever.

What are the steps?

  1. Get your ADL form and fill it out. (You should print it and fill it out aforehand!) 
  2. Submit your ADL form.
  3. Get your picture taken.
  4. Pay.
  5. Practical exam (driving test)
  6. Receive (temporary?) license
  7. (Weeks later: get plastic card license) 

How my visit went

It was a Tuesday morning in August. Here is what happened when: 

8:00 huge queues 

8:15 First admission. I was queuing at counter 1, as maybe #6. Was given a form and queued right back. I filled out the form while queuing. (Note: the right queue, with numbers. Not the left queue with letters.)

8:59 Submitted the form

restriction code

9:19 My name was called for picture taking at counter 4 (behind the first photo screen)

9:35 Cashier at counter 6, watch for the number at the screen! paid P100

10:50 The super nice practical exam officer Oleg collected me. We went to the inspection area behind the mall where many others waited. I then had to write my name on a white board together with my license plate number I think and hold it in front of me (like a prisoner hehe). He took a picture of me with the whiteboard.

11:11 Practical exam: turn right, u-turn, right turn, stop. That’s it.

Went back up until my name was called—but wasn’t for 2.5h. Went to cashier and followed up. She got the form from somewhere. (Lesson: follow up much earlier.) I paid. And waited more.

14:30 Got the license—a temporary one on a piece of paper. Some time in September I could fetch the plastic card—they wrote the date & time when it would be available on the back of my temporary license.

Good to know

Do I need to write an exam?

No. Only a practical exam.

The official LTO guideline for adding a restriction code to a NPDL (non-professional driver’s license) seems to indicate a theoretical exam is necessary. But, as the wallpicture clarifies, adding RC1 is an exception.

I guess the idea idea is that if you’re driving a car already, and just want to drive a motorcycle in addition, then you’ll know the rules already, but if you’re upgrading from motorcycle to car, they want to make sure you don’t run people over.

A practical driving test??? Is it difficult?

Yes, many don’t make it. Just kidding. It’s easy.

If you have survived bringing your motorcycle through the Cebu traffic, you’ll have no trouble completing it. Promise. It’s literally a right turn, U-turn, and another right turn. They just want to see that you are not driving straight into a wall. And the testers I’ve seen are kind, funny people.

Where is the practical driving test?

It’s near the Jeepney Terminal at the back of the mall. Google Map has it as LTO Mandaue Inspection Area.

Do you need to bring a bike?

Probably. Everyone seemed to have brought their own bike. One person was asking me if I wanted to rent a car for the test. I’m not sure about motorcycles. And I would not rely on it.  

How long does it all take?

It took me seven hours, starting on 8am.

99% of the time was waiting. Maybe you’re lucky and it’s faster. Do bring a book, though.

Can I split this up over multiple days?

I don’t think so.

The process isn’t designed for your to come back the next day—at least not that I’m aware. From the moment you hand off your driver’s license, you are not seeing it again, until you complete the process and get the new one. All you have most of the time is the hope that they call your name soon. 🙂 

What you can and should do on a day before: getting your drug and medical certificates done.

7h … what? Any way to speed this up?

Part of it is luck, but here some tips:

Where can I find out more?

What’s near?

If you’e looking for a place to work nearby check this coworking spaces:

The Workplace Cafe Mandaue

Co.Lab Einland

The Company Mandaue

Confuse how to navigate around Cebu City? Read our article about

 Getting around Cebu City.

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