Drivers Permits in New Mexico
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed office locations, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the MVD's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the MVD's most recent updates for the latest information.
New Mexico Learner's Permits
The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) requires all new teenage drivers to complete the graduated driver license (GDL) program to obtain a driver's license. This instructional process is designed to slowly introduce you to traffic situations and help you become a safe driver.
If you are younger than 18 years old, you will also need to complete an approved driver's education program before applying for an instruction permit.
On this page, you'll find out how to apply for a New Mexico learner's permit and get to the next stages of the driver's license process.
Applying for a New Mexico Learner's Permit
You must be at least 15 years old to apply for a learner's permit in New Mexico.
To apply for your permit, you must go to your local driver's license office and:
- Complete an application form.
- Your parent or legal guardian must sign your application.
- Provide proof of your identity, Social Security number, and NM residency.
- For a complete list of acceptable documents, please visit the NM MVD website.
- The agent may be able to verify your SSN electronically, but bring your documents just in case.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pass a written permit test.
- Pay $10 for your New Mexico learner's permit application fee.
Taking the New Mexico Permit Test
The written exam in New Mexico contains a series of questions about traffic laws. You need a passing score of 80% to pass.
To prepare for the exam, the MVD suggests reading the New Mexico Driver Manual. Our suggestion is to prepare with a comprehensive online practice test. Once you've passed the written test, the NM MVD will issue your learner's permit.
NOTE: You can complete your written permit test as part of your Driver's Ed course if you complete the course at a MVD-contracted school. The driver's education school may also issue your learner's permit upon completion of the course.
New Mexico Learner's Permit Restrictions
Before moving on to the next stage of the GDL program and obtaining your provisional driver's license, the New Mexico MVD requires you to:
- Hold your New Mexico learner's permit for at least 6 months
- Complete an approved driver’s education course.
- Complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice (10 hours at night).
- See “Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements" below.
- Be free of any traffic violations during the 90 days prior to applying.
Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements
Once you have your New Mexico learner's permit, you're ready to begin your supervised driving practice. You must be accompanied by a driver who:
- Is at least 21 years old.
- Has held their driver's license for at least 3 years.
You must complete 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night and keep a log of these hours. Your parent or guardian must sign your driving log.
Once you fulfill the behind-the-wheel requirement and have held your learner's permit for 6 months, you're eligible to apply for your provisional driver's license.
New Mexico Provisional License
To be eligible to apply for your NM provisional driver's license, you must:
- Be at least 15 1/2 years old.
- Have held your instruction/learner's permit for at least 6 months.
- Have successfully completed a Driver's Ed course.
- Have completed your behind-the-wheel driving practice (see above).
When you're ready to apply for your provisional New Mexico driver's license, visit our page on Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) for details.