New Mexico has a Graduated Driver License program, or GDL, that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no license to full license.
You can begin the New Mexico GDL program at 15. Hold it for 6 months and complete a NM MVD approved driver education program and at 15 ½ you can get your provisional license. Hold that in good standing for at least a year, and you are eligible for your full New Mexico driver’s license.
The steps below have the details you’ll need to know to get your full, unrestricted New Mexico driver’s license.
You can start the process to get your New Mexico driver’s license at 15 years old. To get ready for driving, you can download the New Mexico Driver’s License Manual and start reading through it. If you’re younger than 18, New Mexico requires you to be enrolled in a driver’s education program.
Courses consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 7 hours behind the wheel. Students can substitute an additional 26 hours of classroom instruction for the 7 hours driving time. For more information visit NMMVD Driver Education Information.
Once you are ready, you can take the written and vision tests required for a learner’s permit.
At your local NMMVD location, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity and parental consent, and pay a fee of $10 by debit card or check.
You will also have to pass a written knowledge test. This test consists of 25 questions, 18 of which you’ll have to answer correctly to pass
If you fail, you’ll be able to take the test two more times within 90 days. You will have to wait at least a day between attempts, and you will be charged for each additional exam. Fail 3 times within this 90 day window, however, and you’ll have to start the process over from the beginning with a new NMMVD instructional permit application.
Upon passing the New Mexico MVD Knowledge exam and your vision test, you will be given an official paper which is your NM instructional permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.
You need to have your permit for at least 6 months before you can apply for a provisional license. During that time, you’ll need to have 50 hours of driving practice with 10 of those being at night. These hours need to be supervised, logged, and signed off on by a responsible adult.
During these 6 months you must also complete your New Mexico MVD approved driver’s education class.
When you’re ready to enroll in driver education, find a driving school to get started.
Note that this time is extended by 30 days for each traffic violation and by up to 6 months for driving under the influence, or any other traffic violation for which you are found guilty.
Receiving your provisional license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. You are at least 15 years and 6 months old. You have completed your driver’s education course. You have completed your supervised driving time and you have maintained a clean driving record for 90 days before applying.
When you’re ready, contact your local NMMVD again to make an appointment for your driving test.
You will be required to pass a driving test with an New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.
Before you take it, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.
The fee for your license is $18.00 for 4 years and $34 for 8 years.
Your license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will come with the following restrictions:
You may not drive after midnight and before 5:00 A.M. unless for school, work, a religious activity, or family or medical emergency.
At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Once your 16 years and 6 months, have had your restricted license for 12 months, and have maintained a clean driving record for 90 days prior to applying, you can get your full license.
This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.
Whether you’ve just finished your New Mexico graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.
The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.
Here are some other details which are good to know as you start out on your NM graduated licensing journey.
Can I drive in New Mexico with an out-of-state learner’s permit?
Drivers with out-of-state learner’s permits are allowed to drive in New Mexico with a few restrictions. You must be accompanied by a licensed adult driver in the front passenger seat, and you must respect all rules and restrictions place on your permit by your home state.
Will I have to retake the written or driving tests if my New Mexico driver’s license expires?
It depends. If you renew your expired license within 5 years, you will not have to retake either test. If your license has been expired for more than 5 years, however, you may need to retake both before you’re allowed to hold a New Mexico driver’s license again.
For comprehensive information on everything related to the New Mexico graduated licensing program, visit the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department You can also call 1-334-676-6002 between 8am to 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, or 9am to 5 pm on Wednesdays.
Prepare for your license journey by reviewing the New Mexico Driver’s Manual, and taking a few practice tests.