What Changes Are Being Made to NM Driver’s Licenses/IDs?

In November 2016 New Mexico began issuing two types of DL/IDs: Real ID-compliant and non-Real ID compliant. The term Driving Authorization Card (DAC) has been commonly used to refer to both a non-compliant DL and ID. New Mexicans were given the choice of which DL/ID type best suits their needs.

In 2019, Senate Bill 278 (SB278) was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham. SB278 makes several changes.

The name of the non-compliant DL and ID will change to Standard Driver’s License and Standard ID. In addition to the name change, other physical features of the cards will be apparent:

  • The face of the Standard DLs/IDs will look more like the face of the Real ID DLs/IDs. Specifically, the holder’s photo and “ghost image” will be located in the same location on the face of each card.
  • The language on the card will change from “NOT FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES” to “NOT INTENDED FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES” and will be located in the upper right-hand corner of the card where REAL ID compliant cards will have a gold star.

How Can the Standard DL/ID Be Used?

Like the DAC, a Standard DL can be used as a driver’s license and form of identification. A Standard ID can be used as a form of identification. But neither can be used for federal purposes – to board a domestic flight, enter some federal buildings and access nuclear facilities – after October 1, 2020.

Under New Mexico law, Standard Licenses and Identification Cards must be accepted for all other identification purposes in New Mexico on the same terms as a Real ID credential. This includes transactions like cashing a check or obtaining state and local government services.

Will There Be Any Changes to the REAL ID-Compliant DLs/IDs?

No. The application process for and card layout of REAL ID-compliant cards are unchanged.

After October 1, 2020 a REAL ID-compliant DL/ID will be required for federal purposes. Other types of identification, such as a valid passport, military identification and tribal identification, among others, will also be acceptable for federal purposes.

When Will the SB278 DL/ID Changes Go Into Effect?

Changes will go into effect on Monday, September 30, 2019.

Who Can I Call If I Have Any Questions?

Any questions you have can be directed to the MVD Director’s Office at 505.827.2296 or the MVD Call Center at 505.827.4636.