To receive a driver’s license in New Mexico, any person under 18 is required to participate in the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. This means that there are three stages that minors need to go through in order to receive the full privileges of a regular New Mexico driver’s license.
Choosing to Enroll in a Driver’s Education Course before the Graduated Driver License Program
The MVD in New Mexico allows testing and certification through either DMV office exams or through driver education classes. To explain further, taking a driver’s education class before applying for an instructional permit would allow the student to take tests with his or her class, after being taught by a certified instructor. The written exam would be taken during the course as opposed to being taken at the DMV.
If interested in enrolling in a driver’s education course,
- Navigate to the New Mexico DMV website
- Find the Service Provider Window
- Click on the Driving Schools tab
- Enter your zip code
- Hit enter
Be sure that the course has a 3-hour Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) component. If not, you will need to take the DMV test, even though you have already earned course credit! In addition, ask whether the instructor gives exam certificates for the written and the road tests.
How to Get an Instructional Permit
The Graduated Driver License (GDL) program starts with the Instructional Permit stage at age 15. In order to successfully apply for the Permit, minors must bring a parent or guardian with them to the most convenient DMV office location, along with the appropriate documentation, must pass the vision and knowledge tests (or present a certificate form given by your driver education class), and must pay the Permit fee of $10.
New drivers must give proof of identification number (usually a social security card), proof of identity (usually a birth certificate), and two documents as proof of residence in the state of New Mexico (usually the gas bill and the electric bill, but Internet Service Provider/Cable/Satellite bill work, as well).
The Next Step-The Provisional License
Once the driver has an Instructional Permit, he or she must hold it by maintaining a clean record for at least six months in order to apply for a Provisional License. This means never drinking and driving, receiving no moving violations, and always driving under the supervision of a parent, guardian, driving instructor, or a licensed adult who is over 21. Within that time frame, he or she must also:
- Complete a driver education course-take the certificate of completion with you to DMV
- Complete the driving log, writing down at least 40 hours of supervised driving time during the day, and 10 night-driving hours. The DMV should have provided you with the driving log when you applied for the Instructional Permit-take the log with you to the DMV
When you present the certificate forms for these requirements along with the $18 provisional license fee, you may also need to take a road test, depending on your driver education course. Be sure to listen to the restrictions on the provisional license at the DMV. Any violation will postpone your full, unrestricted licensure.
If after 12 months you have no marks against your record, then you and your parent or guardian can return to the DMV to apply for a regular license.