Applying for a New CDL in New Mexico
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There are thousands of miles of highway crisscrossing this country, from mountain tops to valleys, big cities to the outstretched plains. If you want to see it all—and make money while doing so—the best way to do it is earning your commercial driver's license (CDL).
To get one in New Mexico, you'll not only have to go through the licensing process overseen by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), but follow all of the national regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Eligibility Requirements for NM CDLs
To qualify for a commercial driver's license you will need:
- A valid, non-commercial NM driver's license.
- To meet the following federally outlined age requirements, consult the MVD's CDL Manual.
You'll also need evidence to prove your:
- Social Security number (SSN).
- U.S. citizenship/permanent legal residency.
- New Mexico residency.
NM Commercial Learner's Permit
Before you can get your CDL, you'll have to get your CLP—that is, commercial learner's permit.
The process is a bit complex, so it will probably help to take some type of commercial driving education course first, although this step isn't required by the FMCSA or the NM Motor Vehicle Division.
When you feel ready, schedule an appointment with the nearest New Mexico MVD CDL office and be prepared to:
- Have all of your medical paperwork on hand (see below).
- Bring all of the appropriate identifying documents (see above).
- Bring your current, valid New Mexico driver's license.
- Pay the appropriate fee.
When all of the above has been completed, you'll be issued your very own commercial learner's permit. Congratulations!
CLP Restrictions in New Mexico
Earning your CLP is an important first step, but you'll have to follow a slightly different set of rules while practicing with it.
Drivers with a commercial learner's permit will only be allowed to operate commercial vehicles on public roads, and only while accompanied by a full CDL holder licensed to drive the same type of vehicle, per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
You'll also have to wait at least 14 days after receiving your CLP to schedule a skills test in order to earn your full commercial driver's license.
If you're not ready by that point, it's okay! Your permit will be valid for 6 months, and you'll be able to renew it once within 2 years after earning it.
Getting Your NM CDL
Only one step remains between you and your New Mexico commercial driver license: the skills test.
After at least 14 days have passed and you feel ready, you can schedule an appointment to take the exam.
All skills exams in New Mexico are administered through third-party testers. Check out the Motor Vehicle Division's list of third-party testers for more information on how to contact an exam center and where to go for your test.
Make sure to ask if the tester will provide a vehicle for you to take the exam in. If not, you'll have to arrange that yourself.
Don't forget to bring your:
- Commercial learner's permit.
- New Mexico license.
- Medical information.
Fees for taking the skills exam vary by third-party-tester. Make sure to ask how much you'll have to pay before you go.
Once you arrive, you'll take the exam, which includes a:
- Pre-trip inspection.
- Basic vehicle control test.
- On-road test.
After passing the test, you'll receive a sealed envelope with your results. Do not open it.
You'll have to return to your local MVD office, and bring your:
- Sealed results.
- Driver's license.
- Commercial learner's permit.
- Payment for the appropriate fee.
When everything is completed, you'll be an official New Mexico commercial driver license holder!
CDL Fees in New Mexico
The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division currently charges the following for CDLs:
- Valid for 4 years: $18.
- Valid for 8 years: $34.
The MVD may charge additional fees for processing your commercial learner's permit. Ask about any additional fees you may need to pay while scheduling your commercial learner's permit appointment.
Medical Requirements & Certification
All CDL applicants in NM must be deemed physically fit before they can apply for the job.
To meet the New Mexico MVD's medical qualifications, you'll need to fill out:
- A Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876).
- Must be completed by a FMCSA-approved physician.
- A Driver Certification for Issuance of a Commercial Driver's Permit or License (Form MVD11222).
- You can download the form directly from the Motor Vehicle Division.
The medical process can be complicated, so check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's guide to the medical process for more information.
Military CDL Testing Waivers
If you're currently enlisted in the military or have recently been discharged, you may be able to have your skills test waived through the New Mexico MVD program “Heroes to Highways."
You could be eligible if:
- You're a NM resident.
- You're currently enlisted in a military position driving commercial vehicles, OR you've been discharged from said position within 90 days of applying.
- You've had experience driving commercial vehicles or the military equivalent for at least 2 years before applying for your NM CDL.
To apply, you'll need to fill out the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form MVD-11198), and have it signed by your commanding officer. Send the signed and completed form to the e-mail, fax, or mailing address listed on the form.