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  • Car Registration in New Mexico

    New to New Mexico?

    After establishing residency in New Mexico, you have 30 days to register your vehicle with the MVD.

    All out-of-state vehicles require a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection. Most MVD field offices provide this service, and some require appointments, while others don’t offer inspections at all. If your MVD office does not offer VIN inspections, take your vehicle to a state-approved VIN Inspection station before beginning the registration application process.

    To apply for a New Mexico car registration certificate, visit any MVD field office and present:

    You’ll also be given the choice of applying for a NM vehicle registration certificate good for 1 year or 2 years.

    Registering a Vehicle in New Mexico

    If you buy a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will submit your registration and title forms to the Motor Vehicle Division for you.

    If you purchase a vehicle from a private party, you must register in person at any MVD field office. You cannot register by mail or online.

    Bring with you:

    • A completed Application for Vehicle Title and Registration (Form MVD 10002).
    • The vehicle’s title.
    • Proof of NM auto insurance.
    • Proof of identity (NM driver’s license, photo ID, birth certificate).
    • 2 documents of residency in NM (bank statement, pay stub, NM car registration certificate).
      • You can view a complete list of acceptable proof of New Mexico residency.
    • A completed Affidavit of Gift of Motor Vehicle or Boat(Form MVD-10018), only if vehicle was obtained as a gift.
    • An Emission Certificate of Registration, if applicable (please see “Vehicle Inspections” below).
    • Power of Attorney, if someone other than yourself applies for you.
    • A release of lien, if applicable. The lienholder can do this by:
      • Completing the “Release of Lien” section found on your title.
      • Presenting on company letterhead a notarized release of lien. The letter must be signed by the lienholder.
      • Submitting a completed Release of Lien (Form MVD-10041).
    • Payment to cover registration fees (see “NM Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    When applying, you’ll have the choice between a vehicle registration certificate good for 1 year or 2 years.

    NOTE: If you bought the vehicle out-of-state, you’ll also need a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection. Please see “Vehicle Inspections” below for further details, including requirements and appointments.

    Transferring a NM Vehicle Registration

    If you wish to transfer your existing license plates to your new vehicle, you have 30 days to do so. The vehicle must be of the same type (e.g. you cannot transfer motorcycle plates to a passenger vehicle).

    To complete the process, visit any MVD field office and present:

    • The existing license plates.
    • The new vehicle’s signed-over title (see our Title Transfers page for information on signing over a title).
    • Proof of NM car insurance.
    • Your New Mexico driver’s license.
    • An Emission Certificate of Registration and/or VIN inspection, if applicable (see “Vehicle Inspections” below).
    • Payment for registration fees (see “NM Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    NOTE: If you’re transferring the plates from a trade-in vehicle with a dealership, be sure to notify the dealer. If not, the dealer will submit your registration and title documents to the MVD and you’ll be issued new plates.

    Out-of-State Transportation Permit

    If you’re a non-resident who purchases a vehicle in New Mexico, you may apply for a transportation permit to get the vehicle back to your home state.

    These permits are good for up to 10 business days and cost $5 for every 2 days.

    To apply, visit any MVD field office and provide:

    • Proof of auto insurance.
    • Your driver’s license.
    • Payment to cover the permit fee.

    Military & Non-Resident Vehicle Registrations

    Military Members

    New Mexico Military Residents

    As a resident military veteran, the state offers reduced registration fees for the following situations:

    • All New Mexico veterans qualify for a 1/3 discount off the vehicle registration fee of a motorized vehicle.
      • You must provide a Certificate of Eligibility from the NM Department of Veteran’s Services.
    • Purple Heart medal recipients are eligible for 2 Purple Heart plates with registration fees waived (excise tax and title fee still apply during title transfer).
    • Ex-prisoners of war may receive a waived registration fee per year for any 1 vehicle.
      • The Department of Veteran’s Services must certify your prisoner of war status to receive this waiver.
    • New Mexico veteran amputees may receive one free registration plate on any 1 vehicle owned by them.
      • Contact the NM Department of Veteran’s Services at (602) 255-3373 to determine if you qualify.
    • Disabled Veterans (DV) that are 100% disabled are eligible for free annual registrations for 2 vehicles owned by them. Prior approval is needed from the Department of Veteran’s Services.
    • Medal of Honor recipients are eligible for a Medal of Honor license plate. Applicants must be certified by the Department of Veteran’s Services to receive the plate and registration fee exemption.

    To receive any of the specific license plates listed above, along with the registration fee discounts, you must submit a completed Application for Military Service Special Plate (Form MVD-10353) along with supporting documents and payment to:

    New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division
    Vehicle Services Bureau
    P.O. Box 1028
    1100 South St. Francis Drive
    Santa Fe, NM 87504-1028

    To receive the registration fee waiver, your submission must coincide with your vehicle’s initial title application or license plate transfer.

    Military Residents Stationed Out of State

    If you’re a New Mexico resident stationed out of state or overseas, you may maintain New Mexico license plates while serving.

    If you’re away when the plates expire, renew online or by dialing (888) 683-4636 and using the state’s Integrated Voice Response (IVR) System. The IVR can be accessed at any time of day, and accepts MasterCard and VISA for payment.

    For additional information, visit our New Mexico Registration Renewal page.

    Non-Resident Military & NATO Stationed in NM

    The MVD gives you the option to maintain plates from your home state or to apply for New Mexico plates while stationed in New Mexico – the choice is yours.

    If you decide to apply for New Mexico plates, follow the same steps described in “New to New Mexico?” above.

    If you’re a NATO member looking to register your vehicle, visit any Motor Vehicle Division office with:

    • Proof of your NATO membership.
    • The vehicle’s title.
    • Proof of car insurance.
    • A US DOT Declaration form (HS-7), if your vehicle was brought from a foreign country.
    • Your vehicle. An MVD agent will conduct a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection.
    • Payment for registration fees (see “NM Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    Keep in mind that you’ll need a certified interpreter to translate any supporting documents written in a foreign language.

    Non-Resident Students and Workers

    Non-resident students attending a New Mexico college or university full-time do no have to register with New Mexico’s MVD. You are allowed to drive with your home state plates, provided that:

    • Your plates are current.
    • You display a non-resident sticker on your vehicle. These can be obtained from your college.

    Non-resident workers who accept permanent employment in the state must apply for a New Mexico registration certificate within 30 days. This registration-mandate will be waived if you can prove that your job will not last more than 180 days.

    New Mexico Vehicle Registration Fees

    NM vehicle registration fees are based on a vehicle’s model year and weight.

    • Passenger vehicles:
      • Registered for 1 year: $27 to $62.
      • Registered for 2 years: $54 to $124.
    • Trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 26,000 lbs. or less:
      • Registered for 1 year: $38 to $207.
      • Registered for 2 years: $76 to $414.
    • Late registration renewal fee:
      • Less than 31 days late: $10.
      • Late 31 days or more: 75% of registration fee.
    • Late title transfer fee: $20.
    • Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET): 3% of vehicle’s sale price (paid during title application).

    Custom-Built Vehicles

    To register your custom-built car, visit your local New Mexico MVD office with:

    Your fees may vary depending on your specific circumstance. Contact the NM MVD for more information.

    Obtain a Duplicate NM Vehicle Registration

    If your NM vehicle registration certificate becomes lost or illegible, it’s your responsibility to replace it as soon as possible.

    To order a duplicate NM car registration certificate, visit any MVD office with:

    • Proof of auto insurance.
    • Your license plate number.
    • Payment to cover any required replacement fee.

    Vehicle Inspections in New Mexico

    New Residents & Out-of-State Vehicles

    Out-of-state vehicles being registered in New Mexico must have a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection performed. This can typically happen simultaneously with your registration at the Motor Vehicle Division office, but some require VIN inspection appointments. Contact your local MVD office for details on whether you need an appointment or not.

    If your MVD office does not offer VIN inspections, take your vehicle to a state-approved VIN Inspection station before beginning the registration application process.

    New Mexico Residents & In-State Vehicles

    First-time vehicle registrations for cars purchased in the state may require an emission test. These emission checks are limited to:

    • Residents of Bernalillo County.
    • People who commute to work inside Bernalillo County 60 days or more a year.

    Emission tests are required every 2 years or when a vehicle changes ownership. For more detailed information, including vehicle exemptions and test locations, visit our Smog & Emission Checks page.

    New Mexico License Plates

    During registration, the MVD will present you with a wealth of license plate options. You can opt for a standard-issued plate; or, for an extra fee, order one of the state’s many specialized plates.

    For a closer look at your NM license plate options, visit our License Plates & Placards page.

    Replace a Lost New Mexico License Plate

    Is your license plate missing? Or is it damaged to the extent of being illegible? If so, you’ll need to order a duplicate license plate.

    To order, visit your local MVD branch office with:

    • Your NM vehicle registration certificate.
    • Your New Mexico driver’s license.
    • There may be a fee to replace a license plate.

    NM Registration for Non-Operational Vehicles

    If you plan to take your vehicle off the road, complete an Affidavit of Non-Use of Vehicle (form MVD-11268) and mail it to the address located at the bottom of the application. Submitting this form will protect you from any possible registration renewal late fees when you resume driving the vehicle again.

    When it comes time to return the vehicle to the road, visit your local Motor Vehicle Division office and follow the same steps as if you were renewing the vehicle’s registration. For more on this, visit our New Mexico Registration Renewal page.