Applying for a New CDL in New Mexico

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).


Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the NM Motor Vehicle Division now mandates new CDL applicants complete an entry-level driver training course through an authorized provider. You’ll need to complete this training prior to applying for your first commercial driver’s license, upgrading your existing CDL class, or applying for a HAZMAT, school bus, or passenger endorsement.

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).
  • Identity.
  • U.S. citizenship/permanent legal residency.
  • New Mexico residency.

Check the MVD's guides to proof of Social Security number, identity, and New Mexico residency for a full list of examples.

DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.

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).
    • DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.
  • Bring your current, valid New Mexico driver's license.
  • Pay the appropriate fee.

At this point, you'll also have to take all of the written exams for the license classification you want, plus any endorsements you may wish to add to your license.

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 1 year.

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.
    • DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.

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.
    • DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.

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:

The medical process can be complicated, so check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's guide to the medical process for more information.

DO NOT highlight any documents—the MVD will reject them.

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.

DO NOT send highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.

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