New Mexico Driver’s License Classes (A Complete Guide)

New Mexico Driver’s License Classes

Have you heard about Class D, Class A, Class C licenses but don’t know what they are?

What are all these license classes for anyway?

We’re here to help you understand. 

Today, we’re going to give you a complete guide on New Mexico driver’s license classes. 

To do that, we’ll first detail what each license class can operate. From there, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to obtain these classes. 

So are you ready?

Let’s go!

Driver’s License Classes in New Mexico

Driver’s license classes in New Mexico fall into two broad categories — commercial and non-commercial

Here are the classes that fall under ‘commercial’:

  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Class C CDL

And here are the classes that fall under ‘non-commercial’:

  • Class D
  • Class M

Now, let’s see what vehicle each class can operate. 

Class A CDL

A Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) can operate combination vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,0001 pounds or more. The unit it tows must weigh 10,000 pounds or more. 

The reason most commercial drivers prefer to have a Class A CDL is that it can operate Class B and Class C vehicles, too (just make sure you have the right endorsement).

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL is different in that it can operate heavy, straight vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or more. However, if ever the vehicle tows a unit, it should not exceed 10,000 pounds. 

And, since it’s the second highest CDL, you can use it to operate Class C vehicles but not Class A ones. 

Class C CDL

A Class C CDL can operate commercial vehicles weighing fewer than 26,001 pounds and tow a unit of fewer than 10,000 pounds. Also, the vehicle has to fulfill one of these two purposes:

  • Haul quantities of hazardous materials that require you to display a placard
  • Carry 16 or more passengers between locations (remember, you include the driver in the count)

Class D

Class D is the most common driver’s license in New Mexico. It operates private vehicles, such as pickups, SUVs, sedans, you name it. 

So if you’re thinking about getting a driver’s license, you’re probably thinking about a Class D license. 

Class M

Finally, Class M can operate two or three-wheeled motorcycles. The Class M license also comes with endorsements, indicating the maximum piston displacement you can drive. 

Remember, your Class M license isn’t valid without a W, Y, or Z endorsement.  

How to Get a Class D License in New Mexico

Since Class D is the most common driver’s license in New Mexico, let’s start here.

If you are 15-17 years old, you need to complete the New Mexico Graduated Licensing System. This involves 3 phases: 

  • Instruction permit
  • Provisional license
  • Class D license

Here are the steps to obtain each one. 

How to Get A New Mexico Instruction Permit

To get an instruction permit in New Mexico, follow these steps: 

  1. Enroll in a driver’s education program from a state-approved provider. You also have the option to attend an MVD-contracted driving school, which also issues permits.
  1. Use the MVD online appointment system to schedule your knowledge exam. 
  1. Bring the following documents when you visit the MVD office:
    1. One proof of identity
    2. One document showing an identification number
    3. Two proofs of New Mexico residence

Not sure what you can or can’t use? Click here to see a detailed list of documents.

  1. Besides the documents in step 3, submit the following:
    1. An application form signed by your parent or legal guardian (you can find the form at the MVD office.
    2. Proof of driver’s ed enrollment OR, if you already completed it, either a Certificate of Completion or an Instructional Permit Referral Card (your MVD-contracted driver’s ed school provides these)
  1. Take and pass the following:
    1. Vision test
    2. Knowledge (written) exam
  1. Pay the permit fee of $10.
  1. Get your instruction permit.
  1. Start practicing how to drive with supervision. 

How to Get A New Mexico Provisional License

And here are the steps to getting a New Mexico provisional license:

  1. Meet the following requirements:
    1. Be at least 15 1/2 years old
    2. Hold your instruction permit for at least 6 months
    3. Finish driver’s ed (if not yet completed), including the 3-hour DWI component
    4. Accumulate 50 hours of supervised driving experience, 10 of which must be at night
    5. Have no moving or alcohol-related convictions within 90 days of your application
  1. Schedule your New Mexico road test through the MVD online appointment system.
  1. On your visit, ensure you have the following:
    1. The same documents you brought to get your permit (Proof of identity, identification number, and New Mexico residence)
    2. Your certificate of completion from an approved driver’s ed provider
    3. A filled-out driving log signed by your parent/legal guardian
    4. Your valid instruction permit 
    5. The vehicle you’ll use for the driving test, with the appropriate paperwork (registration and insurance documents)
  1. Fill out an application form and have your parent/legal guardian sign it. 
  1. Take and pass your road test.
  1. Pay the provisional license fee of $18.
  1. Receive your provisional license.

Once you have it, you can drive unsupervised between 5 am to midnight. However, you must comply with the MVD’s restrictions.

How to Get A New Mexico Class D License 

There are two situations to consider when you’re getting your Class D license: 

  • If you have a provisional license
  • If you’re 18 or older and a first-time applicant

For Holders of a Provisional License

  1. Ensure you’ve kept a clean driving record.
  1. Hold your provisional license for a year or longer.
  1. Exchange your provisional license for a Class D one at an MVD office.

And that’s it — you’ve finished all three phases!

For First-Time Applicants 18 and Older

  1. Applicants under 25 years old must undergo a None of the Road course.
  1. Go to an MVD office. You can walk in, but an online appointment will make things more efficient.
  1. Bring proof of identity, residence in New Mexico, and a Social Security Number.

Check out this list to know what you can use.

  1. Pass all the necessary tests:
    1. Vision screening
    2. Knowledge exam
    3. Road test
  1. Pay the licensing fee:
    1. 4-year validity – $18 
    2. 8-year validity – $34 
  1. Get your Class D license.

If you want a more detailed article, you can check out “How to Get A Driver’s License in New Mexico”.

How to Get a Class A, B, and C CDL in New Mexico

It doesn’t matter if you get a Class A, Class B, or Class C CDL — the process is all the same. 

Here, you need to go through 2 phases (and this includes ALL commercial drivers, not just teens). 

  • Commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL)

Here are the steps.

How to Get A New Mexico CDL Permit 

This is how to get a CDL permit in New Mexico:

  1. Ensure you meet the MVD’s requirements for a CDL.
  1. Decide on the following:
    1. Your CDL class
    2. Your endorsement(s)
  1. Make an online appointment for your CDL knowledge exam. 
  1. Gather the following documents and submit them on your visit:
    1. Proof of identity (1), New Mexico residence (2), identification number (1) — read through this list to know what you can use.
    2. A Medical Certificate from an FMCSA-accredited examiner
    3. Your New Mexico-issued Class D license
  1. Pass the following tests:
    1. A vision screening
    2. The CDL knowledge exam AND any endorsement exams (if applicable) 
  1. Receive your CLP.
  1. Use your permit to gain behind-the-wheel experience in your CDL class. However, ensure that a licensed commercial driver always supervises you.

How to Get A New Mexico CDL 

Here is how to change your permit to an official CDL:

  1. Hold your CLP for a minimum of 14 days.
  1. Complete an ELDT program from an FMCSA-approved provider.
  1. Schedule your CDL road test with a third-party provider.
  1. Have the following on your road test appointment:
    1. The CMV you’ll use for the driving test (complete with insurance and registration documents). Also, the CMV should fall under your class category.
    2. Your valid CLP
    3. Your Class D driver’s license
    4. Any documents the third-party provider asks for 
    5. Payment for the CDL road test (price will depend on the provider)
  1. Take and pass the CDL road test.
  1. Schedule a visit to an MVD office. 
  1. While there, submit the following:
    1. Proof you passed the CDL road test
    2. Your valid CLP
    3. Your valid Class D driver’s license
    4. DOT Medical Certification
    5. Proof of US citizenship or legal presence
    6. (1) Proof of identity
    7. (2) Proofs of residence in New Mexico
    8. (1) Proof of an identification number
  1. Pay the CDL licensing fee:
    1. 4-year validity – $18
    2. 8-year validity – $34
  1. Receive your commercial driver’s license.

For an even more detailed article, check out “How to Get A CDL in New Mexico”. 

How to Get A Class M License in New Mexico

As you might already expect, you need to start off with a motorcycle instruction permit. 

Here’s the end-to-end process of securing your Class M license in New Mexico.

  1. Attend a basic motorcycle rider safety program if you are under 18 years old. 

NOTE: You can still take it even if you’re over 18. If you do, it may allow you to skip license testing.

  1. Go to an MVD office and bring the necessary documents proving the following:
    1. You completed the required Motorcycle Safety Course (Basic RiderCourse)
    2. Your identity
    3. Your residence in New Mexico
    4. An identification number

Check this list to ensure you’ll have the correct paperwork.

  1. Complete an application form at the MVD office. 

NOTE: Your parent or guardian must sign it if you are under 18 to assure the MVD that they’ll take care of your driving activities’ financial responsibility.

  1. Pass a vision test.
  1. Pass the motorcycle knowledge exam.
  1. Get a Class M permit.

NOTE: A permit is only necessary for applicants under 18 years old. It only has Y and Z endorsements, which means you can only operate a bike with a piston displacement of fewer than 100 ccs.

You can gain riding experience by doing supervised driving. Remember that your permit doesn’t allow you to have a passenger when you ride.

  1. Pass the motorcycle road test.
  1. Get your Class M license, which should have W, Y, and Z endorsements.

The Wrap Up

That was everything you needed to know about the New Mexico driver’s license classes. 

Now that you know what vehicles each class can operate, it will be a lot easier to choose the one you need. 

And from there, you can work towards the steps to obtaining it. 

Good luck!

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