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.

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.

You are eligible to skip the written and road tests IF your out-of-state license is:

  • Valid/current.
    • If your license is expired, you must take both the written and road tests.
  • From another U.S. state.
    • Holders of out-of-country licenses must take the written and road tests. (See “Non-Citizens and NM Driver's Licenses" below.)

NOTE: You cannot get a NM driver's license in any case 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 and remember that you can skip the written and road exams UNLESS your license is expired (see above).

Note that an additional fee for a record check applies to new residents.

Temporary Proof of ID

Once you successfully transfer your out-of-state license, you'll be issued a temporary license. Your previous license will be hole-punched and given back to you to use in conjunction with your temporary license as proof of ID. You must present them together for your identification to be valid.

Types of New Mexico Driver's Licenses

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).

New Mexico New Driver's License Eligibility Requirements

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

Other requirements are based on age and previous driving history.

Drivers Age 18-24

If you are between 18 to 24 years old and are applying for your first NM driver's license, the NM MVD requires that you take the “None for the Road" DWI prevention class. This course is a self-study course administered by the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Center.

Information and an application are available online at the state's None for the Road website, or, in and around Albuquerque, you can call (505) 277-0051 or statewide (877) 663-7465.

Drivers Age 25 and Over

As long as you have not been convicted of a DWI (see below), there are no extra requirements for drivers 25 years old and older when applying for a new driver's license in New Mexico. Simply follow the steps outlined below in “Applying for a NM Driver's License."

Drivers Convicted of DWIs

If you are 25 years old or older and you have ever been convicted of a DWI, you are required to EITHER:

How to Apply for a New Mexico 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.

In order to apply for a first-time New Mexico 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 (e.g., Social Security card or SSN verification printout from the SSA).
    • 1 document proving your identity (e.g., original or certified copy of birth certificate, valid driver's license or ID card, etc.).
      • See the MVD's full list of accepted proofs of identity. If your name is different from the one on your birth certificate you will need to provide legal documentation for the change (e.g. marriage certificate, court documents etc).
    • 2 documents of residency (e.g., utility bill, bank statement, etc.).
      • See the MVD's full list of accepted proofs of residency. (Note: you may only use one from each listed category.)
        • DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.
  • Take and pass a vision test.
  • 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 “NM Driver's License Eligibility Requirements" above).
  • Take and pass the written permit test.
    • This test is required for all first-time applicants or those with NM licenses expired for 1 year or more.
    • If you have an expired out-of-state license or if your license is from outside of the U.S., you must take the exam.
    • You cannot take the test after 3 p.m.
  • Take and pass the driving test.
    • You must make an appointment for the road test.
    • You must also take the road test if you have a NM license that's expired for 5 years or more OR:
      • An expired out of state license.
      • An out-of-country license.
  • Pay the applicable fee.**
    • Driver license valid 4 years: $18.
    • Driver license valid 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.

Military Drivers & New Mexico Driver's Licenses

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.

Non-Citizens and NM Driver Licenses

If you are a non-citizen, you are required to make an appointment. If you walk into the office, you'll be referred to the New Mexico MVD's Online Appointment Scheduler or instructed to call (505) 827-2257 to make an appointment.

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

  • 1 document proving your of identification number, such as:
    • Medical card issued by the U.S. government.
    • Photo ID document issued by the U.S. military.
    • Statement from a federally regulated financial institution.
  • 1 document of identity, such as:
    • Original or certified copy of your foreign birth certificate.
  • 2 documents of New Mexico residency, such as:
    • Bank statement.
    • Pay stub.

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).

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