Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in New Mexico

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Driver's Licenses in New Mexico

If you've just moved to New Mexico or you're getting your license for the first time, you'll need to apply for your NM driver's license so you can start driving right away.

Luckily, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) makes getting your license easy.

REAL ID UPDATE

Th New Mexico MVD has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses in place of standard driver’s licenses. Your required documents are still the same.

NOTE: This page is directed toward drivers over 18 years old. If you are a teen driver or are looking for requirements to upgrade a provisional license to a full license, please visit our page on applying for a teen license in NM.

New to New Mexico?

Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

If you've just moved to New Mexico, you're required to surrender your current out-of-state license right away and apply for a NM driver's license.

All applicants are required to take a vision test. You may be eligible to skip the written and road tests IF your out-of-state license is:

  • Valid/current.
  • Expired under 1 year.
    • If it's been expired longer, the written test is required.
    • If it's been expired 5 years or longer, BOTH the written and road tests are required.
  • From another U.S. state.

You cannot get a NM driver's license if your driving privileges have been suspended, revoked, or denied in any state. You must first resolve the issue to transfer or apply for a new license.

To transfer your out-of-state license, visit your local MVD office and present the documents outlined in Applying for a NM Driver's License below. Note that an additional fee for a record check applies to new residents.

Once you successfully transfer your out-of-state license, you'll receive a temporary license along with your previous license, hole-punched, to together as proof of ID. You must present them together for your identification to be valid.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to apply for a license in New Mexico, you must not have any suspensions, revocations, or denials of your driving privileges from ANY state.

Other requirements are based on your:

  • Age.
  • Previous driving history.

Apply for a NM Driver's License

If you've never been licensed before in any state, you'll want to get an learner's permit first so you can practice driving while supervised before you take your road test. To learn more, please visit our page on driver's permits in NM.

What's a REAL ID?

The New Mexico MVD has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver's licenses. For more information, see the MVD's guide to REAL IDs.

In order to apply for a first-time New Mexico REAL ID driver's license, you need to visit your local MVD office. The New Mexico MVD suggests making an appointment, and this could help shorten your wait time. Visit the Online Appointment Scheduler or call (888) 683-4636 for details.

Once you're ready:

  • Bring the appropriate documents*:
    • 1 document of identification number/Social Security number.
    • 1 document proving your identity.
      • If your name is different from the one on your birth certificate, you will need legal documentation for the change (e.g. marriage certificate, court documents, etc.).
    • 2 documents of residency.
      • The MVD provides full lists of acceptable proofs of identity, Social Security number, and residency. Do NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.
      • NOTE: You may only use one residency document from each listed category.
  • Show proof that you've met the DWI course requirements if between 18 to 24 years old, or if you are over 25 years old and have been convicted of a DWI.
    • See “Eligibility Requirements" above.
  • Take and pass the written permit test.
    • You cannot take the test after 3 p.m
  • Take and pass a:
    • Vision test.
    • Written permit test.
    • Driving test.
  • Pay the applicable fee, based on your license validity:**
    • 4 years: $18.
    • 8 years: $34.
    • New residents pay an additional one-time $15 fee for a DWI records check.

Once you've met the above requirements, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) will issue you a temporary license. Your permanent driver's license will arrive in the mail.

*All documents in a foreign language must be completely translated to English and be certified as fully translated by the translator. Submit the original documents with the translated versions.

**Drivers 79 years old and older must renew their license every year; however, no renewal fees apply.

New Mexico Military Drivers

If you are a member of the U.S. military, you do not need a new NM driver's license to drive in the state unless you become a resident.

However, you do need to carry a license from the state in which you are licensed.

If at any point you become a New Mexico resident, you'll need to apply for a license. See above for more information on applying.

Driver Licenses for Non-Citizens

If you are a non-citizen who cannot provide proof of lawful status, you can only to apply for a driving authorization card. You must apply in person by appointment. You can schedule an appointment using the  Online Appointment Scheduler.

Driver's license applicants must present proof of their Social Security number. Applicants ineligible for SSNs must show all of the following:

You will be required to provide fingerprints if you do not have a valid New Mexico driver’s license.

Original documents, that are not in English must have a written translation of each document in English. The translation must be done by a certified translator. DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.

All other license requirements are the same. Please see “Apply for a New Mexico Driver's License" above.

NOTE: If you are moving to New Mexico from outside the country, you cannot transfer your license. You must apply for a new one and take all the written exams and driving tests. (See “Apply for a NM Driver's License" above).

Types of Licenses in NM

New Mexico has the following full, noncommercial driver's license classes:

  • Class D (operator):
    • The Class D license allows drivers 18 years old and older to operate a vehicles less than 26,001 lbs. without restrictions. (Drivers younger than 18 years old, please see below.)
  • Class E (CDL-exempt):
    • Class E licenses allow drivers to operate vehicles exempt from CDL requirements such as recreational vehicles, farm vehicles, firefighting trucks, and military vehicles.

If you need another type of license, check out the following pages:

  • Teen Drivers
    • Covers NM's GDL process, including Driver's Ed requirements, provisional licenses, and the requirements to upgrade to a full license.
  • Motorcycles
    • Our NM Motorcycle Licensing page covers the steps on applying for a Class M license.
  • Commercial Vehicles
    • Find out how to get your NM Class A, B, and C commercial driver license (CDL).

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