Apply for a License (Under 18) in New Mexico
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed driver licensing offices, 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.
Applying for a Teen License in New Mexico
The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) requires all drivers younger than 18 years old to follow the rules and requirements of the graduated driver licensing (GDL) program to get a driver's license.
To begin the driver's licensing process in New Mexico, you will need to attend a driver's education course and obtain your NM learner's permit.
This page outlines the steps you need to take to obtain your first driver's license and explains driving restrictions you must follow during each phase of the GDL program.
New to New Mexico?
If you've recently moved to New Mexico, you must transfer your out-of-state driver's license once you've established residency.
You must visit your local NM MVD office and:
- 1 document proving your Social Security number.
- 1 document proving your identity.
- 2 documents proving your New Mexico residency.
- DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.
- Surrender your out-of-state driver's license.
- Pass the vision exam.
- Pass the written knowledge test, if your out-of-state driver's license has been expired for 1 year or longer.
- Pass the road skills test, if your out-of-state driver's license has been expired for more than 5 years.
- Pay the DWI records check fee of $15.
- Pay the licensing fee:
- $18 for 4 years.
- $34 for 8 years.
Please visit the New Mexico MVD website for a complete list of accepted documents proving your:
NM Graduated Licensing Program
The New Mexico MVD requires all new drivers under 18 years old to complete each phase of the graduated driver licensing (GDL) program before obtaining a full driver's license.
The GDL program is designed to expose teens to common traffic situations and help teens improve their driving skills to safely operate a motor vehicle. It consists of the following phases:
- Instructional permit.
- Provisional driver's license.
- Full driver's license.
You will also be required to successfully complete a driver's education course as part of the GDL process. For more information, visit our Driver's Ed in New Mexico page.
The New Mexico GDL program has age requirements for each of its 3 stages:
- Instructional permit: 15 years old.
- Provisional driver's license: 15 1/2 years old.
- Full driver's license: Eligible after holding your provisional driver's license for 12 months.
New Mexico Learner's Permit
You must be at least 15 years old to apply for an instructional permit in New Mexico. To apply, visit your local New Mexico driver's license office and:
- Show proof of enrollment in an approved driver's education program (with a referral card).
- Show proof of your identity, Social Security number and NM residency.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pass a MVD knowledge exam. You may also take the test at a Driver's Ed school.
- Pay the $10 fee for your NM learner's permit.
NOTE: Your parent of guardian must sign your application.
DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.
If you want to pass the written knowledge test you can always study the New Mexico Driver Handbook, but who has time for all that reading? We suggest preparing for the the test with a all-inclusive online practice test from our certified partner.
Instructional Permit Restrictions and Driving Practice
While you have your NM instructional permit, you are only permitted to drive while accompanied by an adult who:
- Is 21 years old or older.
- Has held their driver's license for at least 3 years.
Before moving on to the provisional license stage of the GDL program, you must:
- Hold your instructional permit for at least 6 months.
- Complete an approved driver's education course in New Mexico.
- Complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice (10 hours at night).
- Be violation-free during the 90 days before your application for a provisional license.
NOTE: For every traffic violation you receive, the MVD will add an extra 30 days to the 6 months you're required to hold your learner's permit.
New Mexico Provisional License
To be eligible for your New Mexico provisional driver's license, you must:
- Be at least 15 1/2 years old.
- Have completed 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice, including 10 hours at night.
- Have held your instructional permit for at least 6 months.
- Have not received a conviction for a traffic violation within the last 90 days.
To apply, visit your local NM MVD office and provide:
- Your Driver's Ed certificate of completion (your Driver's Ed course must include the DWI component lasting 3 hours).
- A GDL driving log that shows you have completed the required driving practice.
- Pass the MVD driving test.
- If you passed an MVD-approved driver's education course with a MVD road skills exam/driving test, you can provide a record of completion with passing scores.
- Pay the $18 provisional license fee.
You must hold your provisional license for at least 12 months before getting your full, unrestricted driver's license.
NOTE: Your parent or guardian must accompany you to sign the provisional license application.
*DO NOT bring highlighted documents—the MVD will reject them.
Provisional License Restrictions
With a provisional driver's license in New Mexico, you must follow these restrictions:
- You may NOT transport more than 1 passenger under 21 years old, unless they are immediate family members.
- You may NOT operate your vehicle between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
These restrictions are waived if a licensed driver who is 21 years old or older accompanies you.
NOTE: The NM MVD allows exceptions to this rule in specific circumstances related to school, employment, family, medical needs, or religious functions. However, you are required to carry a letter from your school, employer, parent/guardian, doctor, or religious official.
Full Unrestricted NM Driver's License
To apply for a full New Mexico driver's license, you must have completed the requirements of your provisional license AND not received any traffic violations within 90 days of your application.
Once you've had your provisional license for a minimum of 12 months, you're able to apply for your New Mexico driver's license. You must visit your local DMV office and:
- Complete a NM driver license application.
- Your parent/guardian must sign your application, if you're younger than 18 years old.
- Pay the unrestricted driver's license application fee.
- $18 for 4 years.
- $34 for 8 years.
For information on how to apply for your NM driver's license when you're older than 18 years old, please read our page about Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in New Mexico.
You can tell your friends about your accomplishments when you follow the new license checklist.