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Graduated Driver Licensing

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HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST NEW MEXICO DRIVER LICENSE – UNDER AGE 18

All teens under age 18 must complete graduated licensing to get a New Mexico driver permit and license.

Graduated driver licensing eases beginning drivers into traffic by limiting their exposure to driving situations proven to be particularly dangerous. Teens begin driving with certain conditions that are gradually relaxed as drivers mature and develop greater driving skills.

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) – 3 Stages

Stage 1: Instructional Permit
– To get an instructional permit, a teen must be at least 15 years old, and go into a MVD Field Office with the following documents:
Proof of having completed or of being enrolled in a state-approved driver education program;
Proof of identity, identification number and New Mexico residency, to include:

One (1) proof of identification number, and
One (1) proof of identity, and
Two (1) proofs or New Mexico residency.

At least one of the ‘proof of identity’ or ‘proof of identification number’ documents must also show the teen’s date of birth.

At the MVD Field Office the teen and the parent/ guardian will complete and sign an instructional permit application. Then, the teen must:


- Pass a vision test
- Pass a written test or provide a ‘Certificate of Completion’ from a state-approved driver education school that includes a 3-hour DWI component
- Pay an instructional permit application fee
- Once the teen gets the instructional permit, the teen must:
- Hold the instructional permit for at least six months;
- Complete a state-approved driver education program;
- Drive with an adult 21 or older who has been licensed for a minimum of 3 years;
- Complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice, including 10 hours at night;
- Maintain a clean driving record for the 90 days preceding application for Stage 2; and
- Not drink and drive. Even a .02 percent concentration of alcohol – barely one drink – could result in a 6-month license revocation for drivers under age 21.

Stage 2: Provisional License – To get a provisional license, a teen must be at least 15 ½ years old and have successfully completed Stage 1. At the MVD Field Office the teen and the parent/ guardian will complete and sign a provisional license application. In signing the provisional license application, the teen and the parent verify that the teen:

- Has completed Stage 1 successfully;
- Has been driving only with an adult 21 years or older who has been licensed for at least 3 years;
- Has not been convicted of a traffic violation* in the 90 days preceding application for a provisional license; and
- Has not been drinking and driving.

Then, the teen must:
- Provide a ‘Certificate of Completion’ from a state-approved driver education school that includes a 3-hour DWI component.
- Provide the GDL driving log that shows the teen has completed the practice driving component of 50 hours behind the wheel training, 10 of which are at night. The driving log must be signed by the parent or guardian.
- Pass a road skills exam. If the teen has taken a road skills exam with a contracted ‘Driver Education School,’ the teen must provide the Certificate of Completion with the test scores.

Once the provisional license is issued, the following conditions apply:
- The teen driver must hold the provisional license for at least 12 months.
- Unless a licensed driver age 21 or older is in the vehicle, a provisional license-holder may not have more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 who is not an immediate family member.
- The teen driver may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older. Exceptions are permitted for school, employment, family and medical need, or religious functions (licensees must carry a statement from the appropriate school, or religious official, employer, doctor, or parent/ guardian).

Stage 3: Full License –To get a full-unrestricted license, the teen and the parent/ guardian must complete and sign a driver license application. In signing the driver license application, the teen and the parent verify that the teen:
- Has completed Stage 2 successfully;
- Has not been convicted of a traffic violation* 90 days preceding application for a full license;
- Does not have any traffic violations* pending at the time of application for a driver license; and
- Has not been found guilty or have an offense pending involving the use of alcohol or drugs during the provisional period.

If the teen is 18 years or older, only the teen needs to sign the application.

*The traffic violations include: • Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device or Signal • Failure to Obey Traffic Control Signal • Speeding • Homicide by Vehicle • Injury to Pregnant Woman by Vehicle • DWI or Drugs • Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test • Reckless or Careless Driving • Careless Driving • Racing on Highways • Failure to Yield

Fees for an Instructional Permit, Provisional License and Driver License

  • Instructional Permit - $7.00
  • Provisional License - $18.00
  • Full-Unrestricted License
    • 4-year license is $18.00
    • 8-year license is $34.00