New Mexico Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your NM License
  • Preparing for the NM Permit Test
  • Taking the NM Permit Test
  • Preparing for the NM Driving Test
  • Taking the NM Driving Test
  • Renewing Your NM License
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Applying for Your NM License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

Teen drivers under the age of 18 are required to complete a Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program in New Mexico. The program, which is designed to help teen drivers gain experience while minimizing risk, contains the following levels and age requirements:

  • Learner’s Permit – 15 years old
  • Provisional Driver’s License – 15 ½ years old
  • Full Driver’s License – After holding Provisional Driver’s License for 12 months

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in New Mexico?

  • Proof of enrollment in driver’s ed
  • Proof of identity, residency and Social Security number – acceptable documents
  • $10 Learner’s Permit fee

Where do I file my NM driver’s license application?

File your application at a local office of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division.

How can I contact my local office?

Visit https://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/maps-locations.aspx for office locations and contact information.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, New Mexico requires teen drivers under the age of 18 to take a driver’s ed course. The course must offer either 30 hours of classroom instruction and 7 hours of actual driver training or 56 hours of classroom session if no behind the wheel training is offered.

What if I am new to New Mexico?

Upon establishing residency in New Mexico, you must transfer your out-of-state license to New Mexico. You will need to go to your local MVD office and submit identification and pay a licensing fee of either $18 or $34, depending on the length of license you want. You will also have to take a vision test and may have to take a written test and a driving test.

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Preparing for the NM Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

The New Mexico written knowledge test is based on the content of the state Driver’s Manual, which includes coverage of traffic laws, road signs and safe driving techniques. Here are two examples of content from the manual that you could be tested on:

  • At 50 mph, it can take about 400 feet to react to something you see and bring your vehicle to a stop. That is about the length of a city block.
  • “Sharrows” are “shared lane pavement markings.” They are painted on the pavement when a road is too narrow for side-by-side road sharing with slower vehicles.

How is the test formatted?

New Mexico offers a multiple choice written test.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, there are no questions specifically designed to trick you. All questions are taken from the state Driver’s Manual and are designed to assess your knowledge of traffic laws, road signs and safe driving practices.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 25 questions on the test and you must answer at least 18 of them correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

You should study the New Mexico Driver’s Manual to get a solid understanding of the state’s rules of the road as well as recommended safe driving practices. You can also take practice tests online to gauge your knowledge level and identify any areas that you need to focus more study time on.

Where can I get a free New Mexico Driver’s Manual to study?

We offer New Mexico Driver’s Manual for free on this website.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

When studying the New Mexico Driver’s Manual try to memorize numerical data such as measurements, distances and lengths. You should also pay attention to various speed limits and you should be able to recognize the meaning of road signs on sight. You can take practice tests to better assess your knowledge and learn what you need to study more.

What should I do the night before the test?

Do a light review of the driver’s manual and take a practice test or two then be sure to get a good night’s rest so you will feel good on test day. Also, be sure to give yourself time to get to the test so you do not feel rushed.

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Taking the NM Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Contact your local MVD office to see if appointments are accepted and, if they are, it is recommended that you make one.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at a local MVD office.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

You should bring:

  • Proof of enrollment in driver’s ed
  • Proof of identity, residency and Social Security number – acceptable documents
  • $10 for Learner’s Permit fee

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you will need to pay a fee of $10.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The New Mexico written knowledge test will contain 25 questions drawn from the state driver’s manual. You can miss 7 questions and still pass. When taking the test you cannot refer to any notes or the driver’s manual itself. Finally, MVD office locations do not give the exams after 3 p.m. to ensure you have enough time to complete the test.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Learner’s Permit.

What happens if I fail the written test?

If you fail the written test, you will be allowed to retake it.

How soon can I retake the test?

An MVD official will tell you what the retake rules for that office are. You may be able to take it as soon as the next day.

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Preparing for the NM Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

You will receive your Learner’s Permit, which allows you to begin driving practice with a supervising driver who is at least 21 years of age and who has had his or her license for at least 3 years.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

You must hold your Learner’s Permit for at least six months. In addition, you must also complete driver’s ed; log 50 hours of driving practice, with 10 hours at night; and be violation free.

Can I drive anywhere in New Mexico with my Learner’s Permit?

You when accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or over who has their license for at least three years, you can drive on any New Mexico public road or street.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, New Mexico requires teen drivers to log at least 10 hours of practice driving at night.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age and who has had his or her license for at least 3 years.

What should I do if I have a lost New Mexico Learner’s Permit?

To get a replacement, you should visit the local MVD office with proper identification.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

Knowledge and practice are key to passing the driving test. So continue to study the state driver’s manual and apply the safe driving tips whenever possible. Then also be sure to get as much practice time behind the wheel as possible. You should drive in a variety of conditions, including at night, and you should listen to the advice and instructions of your supervising driver.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

To pass the test you will need to be able to complete a series of maneuvers, such as parking, turning and reversing. You will also need to be able to drive safely in traffic, which means using defensive driving skills such as signaling, checking mirrors and obeying road signs.

How can I simulate the driving test?

You should practice completing both maneuvers, such as three-point turns, backing up, parallel parking, parking on a hill, stopping and accelerating. You should also practice driving in traffic. If possible, you should drive on the roads that you will be tested on to get more familiar with them.

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Taking the NM Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Contact your local MVD office to schedule your driving test.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test at a local MVD office.

What should I bring to the driving test?

  • A Driver’s ed completion certificate
  • A driving log
  • Your Learner’s Permit
  • A well-maintained vehicle
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance
  • $18 for Provisional Driver’s License Fee

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A parent or legal guardian should bring you.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

You will be asked to complete various maneuvers such as turns, backing up, stopping, starting and parking. You will also be asked to drive in traffic where you will need to display good defensive driving skills. You will also need to obey traffic signs and signals and show good awareness of potential road hazards.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Lack of practice is a big reason for failure. Also, nerves frequently play a role in failure and also not taking the test as seriously as you should, which means using good driving posture, with hands in the proper position on the wheel, and staying aware of your surroundings as you drive.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Not paying attention to road signs
  • Going over the speed limit
  • Not listening to the examiner
  • Not checking mirrors when necessary
  • Not signaling when turning

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You will be allowed to retake the driving test.

How soon can I retake the driving test?

Your examiner will tell you why you failed the test and when you can take it again at that location.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your New Mexico Provisional Driver’s License.

What restrictions come with a New Mexico license?

With your provisional license, you cannot have more than one passenger under age 19 who is not an immediate family member and you also cannot drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in New Mexico?

Car insurance is mandatory in New Mexico. Drivers must meet the following minimum liability coverage amounts: $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person in any accident; $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident; and $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

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Renewing Your NM License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

Your New Mexico Driver’s License will expire in either four years or eight years depending on when you applied or last renewed. If you are 75 or older, you must renew your license every year. You can renew your license up to 90 days before it expires and there is a grace period of 30 days after it expires during which you can still renew.

If your license is lost or stolen, you can request a replacement online if you renewed in person last time. If you did not renew in person last time and need a replacement, you should go to the local MVD office with proper identification.

Where can I renew my New Mexico driver’s license?

You can renew your New Mexico license online if eligible or in person at a local MVD office.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

If required to renew in person you will need to take a vision exam. To pass the test you need visual acuity of 20/40. If you fail the test, a corrective lenses restriction will be added to your license.


The New Mexico MVD Test — What You Need to Know

Imagine the day when you finally receive your learner’s permit.  You’ll finally be able to get behind the wheel and explore the state on your own terms.  But before the state can issue you a learner’s permit, the New Mexico’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) requires that you pass a written drivers knowledge test.  More commonly known as the New Mexico permit test, this test will determine if you understand the rules of road,  traffic and road signs, safe driving practices, and state-specific traffic laws.

Boost Your Score With NM MVD Practice Tests

People routinely fail the permit test more often than you think.  In fact, statistics reveal that 70% fail the exam every year.  A failed exam means a return trip to the New Mexico MVD office only to take the test all over again.  Doesn’t sound like fun to us! Thankfully, you have the option to walk into the test, prepared. By taking advantage of the New Mexico permit test study resources on this site, you’ll develop the confidence and knowledge you need when it’s time to take your test.  Our sample New Mexico practice permit test is designed to give you an inside look into the feel and format of the real exam.   You’ll also find a copy of the official New Mexico Drivers Handbook which is packed with essential information on the rules of the road and various traffic laws.  Interested in getting your motorcycle permit?  We have resources here to help you pass that test too.