November 18, 2016 –New Mexico’s rules changing the requirements for state residents’ drivers’ licenses are now in effect. The new REAL ID licenses will look similar to previous NM licenses, but will feature a gold star. Complying with these rule changes, however, will be the real adjustment for New Mexicans. Those seeking to renew their Driver’s License must have documents that establish proof of: (1) Identification Number (SSN); (2) Identity and Age; and (3) New Mexico Residency.
In the meantime, the MVD has posted a list of documents that will satisfy the new requirements. Most commonly, NM residents will need: (1) a W-2, pay stub, or Social Security Card to prove Social Security Number; (2) a passport or birth certificate to prove identity and age; and (3) two different documents, such as bills (dated within 60 days) or insurance/rental agreements (dated within 6 months) proving NM residency.
Many New Mexicans without a passport and women who changed their maiden name face difficulties gathering the necessary documents to obtain a REAL ID. For some New Mexico residents, their New Mexico Driver’s License has shown their legally changed name for decades, but is no longer a valid way to prove identity under the new document requirements. These residents find it difficult to locate decades-old marriage certificates or court orders approving name changes to prove their current legal name, when it differs from their birth certificate. Due to this new requirement, applicants that have changed their name, do not have a passport, and cannot find an original or certified copy of their marriage certificate or name change order, should see if those documents are available at the County Clerk’s office (for marriage certificates) or in Court records. In some very complicated cases, applicants should consider seeking legal assistance to resolve these issues.
According to the MVD website, current NM driver’s licenses will remain valid for airline flights and entrance into federal buildings until October 2020. NM Drivers whose licenses expire before that date are encouraged to renew their license on their normal renewal cycle. Those drivers whose licenses expire after October of 2020 will be receiving postcards with renewal instructions. NM residents will be able to renew their licenses from the old NM license to the new at MVD Express Locations, for the normal extra fee.
Helpful Links for REAL ID Compliance:
(1) Motor Vehicle Division: http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/
(2) NM Courts Case Lookup: https://caselookup.nmcourts.gov/caselookup/
(3) County Clerk’s Offices: