New Mexico driver's license

How to Get a New Mexico Driver’s License: A Complete Guide

by Zutobi · Updated May 05, 2021

Having a driver’s license is an automatic ticket to amazing sights and experiences. After all, many of the highways are wide, open, and uncongested; they are simply roads through beautiful desert and mountain landscapes. If you need a little city life, Santa Fe and Albuquerque are excellent destinations.

In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know about how to get a New Mexico driver’s license – regardless of your age.

Are You Between 15 and 18 Years Old?

If you answered “yes”, the best place for you to start is to apply for an instructional permit. This permit allows you to drive supervised by an adult at least 21 years old who has held a valid license for at least three years.

To get a permit, you need to:

  • Enroll in a driver’s education program and receive a completion certificate that you can bring to the local MVD as you apply.
  • Complete a vision exam. You need a visual acuity of at least 20/40 in one eye.
  • Pass a knowledge exam that tests your ability to understand traffic laws and road signs. Since about 50% fail this test nation-wide, we highly recommend that you study for the test using our popular platform. Our prep course offers a summarized handbook and up-to-date practice tests to make studying a breeze.

If you pass both the vision and knowledge exams, you’ll receive your instructional permit and be ready to start on-the-road practice with a licensed adult over the age of 21.

Provisional New Mexico Driver’s License

After you’ve had an instructional permit for six months, you may advance to the next step of the licensing process – a provisional driver’s license. It is granted after the next set of requirements are met.

Provisional License Requirements

Besides holding a permit for six months, you’ll need to maintain a clean driving record for at least 90 days before trying to obtain a provisional license. In addition, you’ll need to finish an approved driver’s education program that includes at least three hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. Be sure to bring your completion certificate with a passing score to apply.

You must also have 50 logged hours of supervised driving, including 10 hours of nighttime driving. This log must be brought with you and turned in with your application.

How to Get a Provisional Driver’s License in New Mexico

Once all of the above requirements are completed, plan to make another trip to a licensing bureau with your parent or guardian, who will be required to sign the application form with you. Remember your certificate of completion from your behind-the-wheel program, your driver’s log, and your instructional permit.

You’ll be required to take a road test with a licensing professional, so be sure you bring a safe and road-worthy vehicle. You may be able to take this road test with your driving instructor. If you fail the test, you must wait at least a week before making another attempt.

If you pass your road test, you need to pay a licensing fee to obtain your provisional license. This license allows you to drive unsupervised with certain restrictions. Unless you are traveling to or from school, work, family or medical situations, or religious activities, you must not drive alone between midnight and 5 a.m. In addition, you may only have one non-family-member passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle with you.

Full New Mexico Driver’s License

Once you’ve held your provisional license for one year and kept your driving record clean, you may visit your licensing bureau and exchange it for your unrestricted New Mexico driver’s license. If you are under 18, you’ll still need to bring a parent or guardian with you.

Are You a New Driver Over 18?

If you’ve never driven before and are between the ages of 18 and 24, the state of New Mexico requires that you complete the “None of the Road” self-study driver’s awareness class that is administered by the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Center.

Once you have completed the self-study course OR are over the age of 25, you can visit a licensing bureau to obtain a full driver’s license. Be sure to bring your social security card, birth certificate, and two documents that prove your state residency. After arriving, you will need to complete an application and pass a vision test. You’ll also need to pass a written exam that tests your knowledge of traffic rules and signs as well as a behind-the-wheel exam.

If all goes well, you’ll be granted a New Mexico driver’s license for either four or eight years, depending on the fee you choose to pay.

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about getting your driver’s license in New Mexico. We hope this guide has helped you out, that you now feel comfortable with the process and that you know what it entails. If you need any help studying for your upcoming exams, Zutobi it’s the perfect study resource with a summarized handbook, New Mexico permit practice test, and a gamified experience.

Take our full course with tests and theory

550+ exam-like questions

All you need to ace your test

Perfect for first-timers, renewals and senior citizens

Ace your DMV test, guaranteed