How to Get a New Mexico Driver's Permit

Like many other states, New Mexico uses a graduated licensing program that requires all new drivers under 18 years old to begin driving under supervision, in order to practice safe driving before getting their full driver’s license. In order to receive the initial learner’s permit, you must follow certain steps. Here is a simple guide to getting a New Mexico driver’s permit:

Learner’s permit

Any teen at least 15 years old may begin the process to obtaining a New Mexico learner’s permit. Drivers with a learner’s permit may only drive under the supervision of an adult who is at least 21 years old, and who has had a license for at least three years. This supervisor must be in the front passenger seat at all time the student driver is operating the vehicle. While driving during the instructional period, parents or legal guardians must log a required 50 hours of driving practice in order to apply for their full driver’s license, which includes at least ten hours of driving at night.

Drivers who are at least 15 and a half years old, carried the learner’s permit for at least six months, completed a driver’s education program, and have completed the required supervised hours, may apply to move on to the next license.

How to apply

In order to apply for a New Mexico learner’s permit, a driver must pass a written exam, pass a vision screening, pay a $10 learner’s permit application fee, and provide the following documents to the MVD office:

  • A completed application that has been signed by a parent or legal guardian

  • Proof of enrollment in, or certificate of completion for, a driver education program

  • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate

  • Proof of Social Security card

  • Two documents that serve as proof of New Mexico residency, such as a bank statement or mailed bill

Passing the exam

The written exam that a driver must pass in New Mexico covers state-specific traffic laws, safe driving rules, and road signs. A driver must correctly answer at least 80% of the questions in order to pass. The New Mexico MVD Procedures Manuals have all the information necessary to pass the exam. In order to get extra practice and build confidence before taking the exam, there are several types of online practice exams available that can be taken as many times as necessary to learn the information.

As of 2011, the New Mexico Senate added these amendments to the graduated license program as it relates to traffic violations: Any traffic violations that are committed while using a learner’s permit in New Mexico extends the amount of time necessary before the teen can apply for a driver’s license. Every traffic violation extends the permit requirement by 30 days. Traffic violations which includes the use of any mobile device while driving, any possession or use of alcohol, or any minor in the vehicle not using a seatbelt.


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