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Frequently Asked Questions - New Mexico Teen Driver

The New Mexico MVD requires applicants to provide proof of identity, residency and Social Security number by submitting the following documents:

Identity Documents (One document required)
• Original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state or territory of the United States. (Hospital birth records do not qualify as birth certificates).
• An original or certified copy of a foreign birth certificate with a notarized English translation
• Original official copy of an FS-545 or FS-1350 form certifying birth abroad and translated into English.
• Certificate of citizenship (N-560)
• Certificate of naturalization (N-550)
• Valid permanent resident card issued by the United States government
• Valid I-551 resident alien card issued since 1997
• Court order for name change, gender change, adoption or divorce, as long as it includes the legal name, date of birth and court seal
• Marriage certificate issued by a state or a territory of the United States
• Any document listed in Identification Number column as long as the document is not also used for proof of identification number

Identification Number or Identity Documents (But not both)
• Driver’s license, learner’s permit or identification card issued by the U.S. government or by a jurisdiction of Canada, as long as it has a photograph and has not been expired more than one year. (New Mexico’s new Alternative Identification Card may not be used to satisfy this requirement.)
• Matricula Consular card issued after February 1, 2005, by the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque or El Paso
• Valid passport issued by country of citizenship
• An American Indian or Alaskan proof of Indian blood, certificate of degree of Indian blood, federal Indian census card or tribal membership card
• Photo identification card issued by the United States Veterans Administration (VA) if it is accompanied by a VA Medical Center identification card
• Valid United States active duty, retiree or reservist military identification (DOD ID DD-2)

New Mexico Residency (Age 18 or Older)
Two documents required
• Real property rental agreement or purchase agreement
• Utility bill, such as water, gas, electric, waste, telephone, cable or satellite bill, but not a bill for a cell phone
• An insurance bill or other document verifying current coverage such as automobile, home or health
• A bank statement
• An employment pay stub that contains the applicant’s name and address
• A local property tax statement or mortgage documents
• Proof of a minor child enrolled in a New Mexico public, private or tribal school
• Current valid motor vehicle registration
• Original documents from a New Mexico community organization attesting to the fact that the applicant is a New Mexico resident
• A New Mexico medical assistance card or public assistance card

New Mexico Residency (Under Age 18)
One document required
• Proof that the child is enrolled in a New Mexico public, private or tribal school
• A bank statement
• Original documents from a New Mexico community organization or from a city, county, state, tribal or federal government organization attesting to the fact that the applicant is a New Mexico resident
• Documents from membership in a New Mexico religious organization
• Documents from membership in a New Mexico sports organization
• An affidavit (MVD-10021) from the applicant’s parent or guardian stating that the applicant lives with that person, as long as the affidavit is accompanied by the parent’s or guardian’s New Mexico driver’s license or identification card or two proofs of the parent’s or guardian’s New Mexico residency

Social Security Number (SSN)
• A U.S., state or local government-issued medical card
• A statement from a federally regulated financial institution
• Any document listed in the Identity Documents column, as long as the document can be used to verify the SSN and is not also used for proof of identity

Foreign Nationals Who Are Unable to Obtain SSN
• Matricula Consular card issued after February 1, 2005, by the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque or El Paso
• Valid passport issued by country of citizenship
• An individual tax identification number (ITIN) card or the applicant’s letter from the IRS issuing the ITIN, so long as the ITIN card or letter is accompanied by a Matricula Consular card issued after February 1, 2005, by the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque or El Paso or a valid passport issued by country of citizenship

Name Change Documents
• Marriage license
• Divorce decree
• Court order
• Birth certificate

The State of New Mexico has the following restrictions:

Instructional Permit
• You must be accompanied by an approved instructor or a licensed driver who is 21 years or older and has been licensed for three years in New Mexico or any other state. The supervisor must occupy the seat next to the driver at all times.

Provisional License
• You may not operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway between midnight and 5 am unless:

1. Accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years or older
2. Required by family necessity as evidenced by a signed statement from a parent or legal guardian
3. Required by medical necessity as evidenced by a signed statement from a parent or legal guardian
4. Driving to and from work as evidenced by a signed statement from the licensee’s employer
5. Driving to and from school or a religious activity as evidenced by a signed statement from the school, religious official, parent or legal guardian
6. Required due to a medical emergency

• You may only have one passenger in the vehicle unless they are a member of your immediate family.
• Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.
• You are prohibited from using a cell phone to make or receive calls or to read, receive, write or send text messages while driving in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Gallup, Espanola and Taos.

There are no specific restrictions for new drivers, but your driving privileges can be revoked for any of the following:

• Being convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Refusing to be tested for alcohol or drugs when asked to do so by a police officer
• Leaving the scene of an accident without identifying yourself
• Failing to settle a financial judgment against you for damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident
• Attempting to change the information on your license
• Using someone else’s license in an attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage
• Failing to appear for a re-examination when requested to do so by the MVD
• Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony
• Causing the death of someone in a motor vehicle accident
• Having too many points on your driving record
• Letting someone else use your driver’s license

Your license will be suspended for one year if you get 12 or more points on your driving record within a year.

The State of New Mexico requires drivers to pass the following tests:

Knowledge Test
• The knowledge test consists of 25 multiple-choice questions about road signs, rules of safe driving and New Mexico traffic laws. You must receive a score of 70 percent to pass the test.

Eye Test
• You must be able to pass the vision test with an acuity of 20/40 in the better eye with or without using corrective lenses. If your visual acuity is between 20/50 and 20/80 in the better eye, you may obtain a license with restrictions. You must have a visual field of 120 degrees in the horizontal meridian with at least 30 degrees in the nasal field of one eye.

Road Test
• You must pass the road test if you are applying for your first license. The test is not required if you have a current driver’s license from another state. The examiner will test your driving skills and make sure that your vehicle is in good working order.

None for the Road Test
• If you are applying for a New Mexico driver’s license and between the age of 18 and 24, you must take the “None for the Road” self-study DWI Awareness Class administered by the University of New Mexico Continuing Education program.

To obtain a New Mexico driver’s license, applicants must meet the following requirements:

Provisional License
• You must be at least 15 years and 6 months old.
• You must have held an Instruction Permit for at least six months.
• You must be able to pass the knowledge, vision and road tests.
• You must have completed at least 50 hours of practice driving, with 10 hours done at night. Your parent or legal guardian must certify that you have completed the practice driving.
• You must not have been convicted of a traffic violation within 90 days prior to applying for a driver license.

Unrestricted Driver License
• You must be at least 16 years and 6 months old.
• You must have held a Provisional License for the twelve-month period immediately preceding the application date.
• You must not have been convicted of a traffic violation within 90 days prior to applying for a driver license.
• You must not have been found guilty or have an offense pending involving the use of alcohol or drugs during the provisional period.
• You must pay the fee of $18 for a four-year license or $34 for an eight-year license.

If you are moving to New Mexico from another state and already have a license, you will have to pay $15 for a DWI records check.

When applying for a permit or driver’s license, you will need to do the following:

• Submit the None for the Road Certificate of Completion if you are between the ages of 18 and 24.
• Submit proof of enrollment or provide a Certificate of Completion in a state-approved driver’s education program.
• Submit proof of identity, Social Security number, identification number and New Mexico residency.
• Your parent or legal guardian must sign the application if you are under 18 years of age.

The New Mexico MVD can suspend your driving privileges if you give any false information when applying for a permit or driver’s license.

Once I get my permit, what do I need to do before I can drive with my parents?
You and your parents should have a Parent-Teen driving agreement, which should include the following:

• To not violate the New Mexico laws that restricts nighttime driving
• To follow the rules established by the parent or guardian
• To obey all of the traffic laws when driving
• The consequences if the teen violates the rules
• The parent or guardian should promise to help the teen driver learn by using love, patience and support.

Having a contract will ensure that there are no misunderstandings about what is expected by all parties.

You must successfully complete a driver’s education course approved by the New Mexico Traffic Safety Bureau. The course will include the following:

• 35 hours of classroom instruction
• 7 hours of behind-the-wheel training

The classroom portion will focus on safety tips, DWI awareness, city and residential driving, state regulations, basic driving, hazardous road conditions and emergencies on the road.

The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) has the following requirements to obtain an Instructional Permit:

• You must be at least 15 years old.
• You must be able to pass the knowledge and vision tests.
• You must have the written consent of your parent or legal guardian if you are under 18.
• You must be enrolled in and attending a driver’s education course approved by the Traffic Safety Bureau that includes DWI education and practice driving.
• You must pay the permit fee of $10.

The Instruction Permit is valid for six months and it can be renewed once within 12 months.

Before applying for a learner’s permit, you should study the New Mexico Driver’s Manual, which covers the following topics:

• The Driver License
• Rules of the Road
• Safe Driving Tips
• Communicating
• Sharing the Road
• Be in Shape to Drive

The manual is available online at the New Mexico MVD website or at any MVD office.