Chapter 2, Section A:

Issuing a Non-Commercial License

Revised May 16, 2012

Who must be licensed to drive in New Mexico? (Section 66-5-2)

Except those expressly exempted, no person shall drive any motor vehicle, neighborhood electric car or moped upon a highway in this state unless the person: (1) holds a valid license issued under the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code; and (2) has surrendered to the division any other license previously issued to the person by this state or by another state or country.

Who is exempt? (Section 66-5-4)

Those who are exempt from New Mexico licensure while driving on our roads and highways include primarily:

  1. military personnel while driving a motor vehicle owned or leased by the United States department of defense;
  2. a person who is at least 15 years of age and who has in his possession a valid driver's license issued in the person's home state or country, except that the person shall obtain a license upon becoming a resident and before the person is employed for compensation by another for the purpose of driving a motor vehicle; and
  3. a driver of a farm tractor or implement of husbandry temporarily drawn, moved or propelled on the highway.

Requirements for licensure

Persons applying for a Non-Commercial Driver's License must meet the following requirements:

  1. Applicant must meet minimum age requirements for the permit or license type applied for.
  2. Proof of identification number, identity and New Mexico residency(Chapter 6)
  3. A minor (under 18 years of age) must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other responsible adult (PQU#65).
  4. Every first-time licensee between the ages of 18 and 24 must present a Certificate of Completion (regardless of date completed) for the self-taught, "None for the Road" DWI Awareness Class (Section 66-5-9E NMSA) offered by UNM Continuing Education. None for the Road flyers are available for distribution to customers in MVD field offices. Customers can also call (877) 663-7465 for additional information
  5. Any applicant 25 years of age and over who has ever been convicted of DWI, and who is applying for his first New Mexico driver's license, must also submit evidence that he has (ever - there is no time limit) successfully completed an approved DWI prevention and education program ("None for the Road" or another state's equivalent program).
  6. All applicants for both new and renewal drivers' licenses must pass an eye exam (vision screening 20/40 or better in at least one eye).
  7. A Medical Report (MVD-10124 Rev 09/01) is required for every applicant who answers "Yes" to question #4 on the driver application form.
  8. A written test is required for an applicant whose license has been expired, or has not held a valid instruction permit or driver's license, for one year or more. (Note: A permit or driver's license that has been suspended or revoked is not a valid permit or license. However, an ignition interlock license is a valid license.)
  9. A road test is required for an applicant whose license has been expired, or has not held a valid instruction permit or driver's license, for five years or more.
  10. An applicant who fails the written or road test three times must wait six months from date of application before retesting (PQU#14).
  11. A driver's license may be renewed 90 days before its expiration date.
  12. Licenses are generally issued for either four or eight years, and expire 30 days after the applicant's birthday in the final (fourth or eighth) year of the license.
  13. However, an eight-year license is not available to an individual who would reach age 75 during the last four years of the eight-year license period; and a license issued to an individual age 72-74 will expire 30 days after the applicant's 75th birthday.
  14. License fees for individuals age 72-74 are prorated based on the number of years before the license will expire.
  15. Applicants 75 years of age and older shall be issued a driver's license for one-year, with annual renewals required, and with no fee charged.

Replacing a prior license

Every prior license, permit or ID, whether in-state or out-of-state and including CDL and foreign licenses, when surrendered for a new, renewal or replacement New Mexico license or ID, is to have one hole punched through the license. The hole should be carefully punched so as not to destroy or make illegible any information (including expiry date) or the customer's photo. Return the hole-punched card to the customer with his or her new license or ID. (PQU#60)