A New Mexico CDL is required to operate a commercial vehicle inside and outside of state lines. Applicants must meet all of the state’s requirements to be eligible for a CDL. The minimum age to apply for a CDL license is 18 years of age. However, additional restrictions are placed on drivers younger than 21 years of age.

Commercial drivers license applications must be submitted in person, at the NM Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Class A, B and C licenses cover all commercial vehicles in the state. Although the cost for each is the same, CDL license fees may vary – if multiple endorsements are added to an application.

CDL Requirements in New Mexico

New Mexico residents must meet all of the state’s CDL license requirements, and pass all applicable tests, in order to apply. Drivers with suspended, revoked or cancelled licenses cannot apply for a CDL. In some cases, drivers with severe felonies or previous charges are disqualified from ever holding a CDL. NM CDL requirements state that drivers must:

  • Hold a valid NM drivers license or an out-of-state license.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be at least 21 years of age, if applying for an interstate CDL or transporting hazardous materials.
  • Pass all applicable knowledge tests.
  • Be a citizen or lawful resident of the country.
  • Be a resident of New Mexico, and have proof of a physical address in the state.

How to Apply for a CDL Permit in New Mexico

A CDL permit must be held before applying for a full license. Drivers must visit the MVD to submit a CDL learners permit application in person. Follow the below steps to apply for a CDL permit:

  1. Provide your NM drivers license
  2. Provide proof of age and identity, such as a United States passport
  3. Provide proof of Social Security Number, such as a W-2 tax form
  4. Provide proof of residency in two forms
  5. Submit a medical examiner’s certificate or waiver, if applicable
  6. Pass all applicable written tests
  7. Pay the CDL permit fee

Note that CDL permit rules require applicants to wait 14 days before scheduling their road tests.

CDL Written Test in New Mexico

The general CDL written test must be completed before a permit can be issued. The CDL general knowledge test is comprised of questions that affect most drivers. However, endorsement tests are focused on the specific skills of that endorsement. Drivers must answer 80 percent of the CDL permit test questions correctly to qualify for a permit. However, only passenger, school bus and tank endorsements are available to permit holders.

If you fail a CDL written test, you may attempt it again, up to two times per week. Permits are valid for 180 days. Applicants may retake the test as many times as needed while it is still valid. Drivers found cheating cannot retake the test for one year, however.

New Mexico CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests

There are multiple CDL practice test questions in the New Mexico CDL handbook. While the manual can be used for CDL prep, it is not an official substitute for training programs. Drivers are not required to attend CDL school to apply for their permits; however, enrolling in a CDL training program may be required by your employer.

How to Get a CDL License in New Mexico

Drivers are eligible to apply for a CDL after completing all of the state’s skills tests. Skills tests are available at approved third-party centers. CDL application forms must be submitted at specific CDL field offices. To get your CDL license, bring your driver’s license, CDL permit and test scores to a CDL field office. The test scores must be kept in a sealed envelope. Applicants must also provide:

  • Proof of NM residency.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • A medical examiner’s certificate or waiver.

CDL Driving Test in New Mexico

The practical CDL test must be administered by one of four, third-party organizations. Drivers may inquire where to take their skills tests when applying for their permits. The skills test consists of the following three parts:

  • Pre-trip inspection
  • Basic control skills
  • On-road skills

The CDL driving test typically takes two hours to complete, and is performed in the order listed above. Drivers must earn 80 percent or higher to qualify for a CDL. If you fail, you may retake the test within seven days. The skills tests may be retaken three times in one year. Keep in mind that test fees vary between third-party providers.

How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in New Mexico

A military CDL waiver can be used to skip the skills test if the driver operated an equivalent vehicle while employed by the armed forces. Similarly, a CDL for veterans may include the waiver, if the driver was discharged within the last 12 months. Residents are eligible for the waiver if they:

  • Are residents of New Mexico.
  • Hold an NM drivers license, or are eligible for one.
  • Pass all applicable knowledge tests.
  • Provide enlisted or separation paperwork.
  • Meet all health requirements.

Before submitting a military CDL permit application, a driver must send a completed waiver form to the CDL unit for approval. Mail, fax or email the completed waiver form to the following office:

Motor Vehicle Division
Commercial Driver License Unit
2546 Camino Entrada
Santa Fe, NM 87507

To fax the form, send it to: 505-476-1578. To transit the form by email, send it to: NMCDL.HelpDesk@state.nm.us.

CDL Medical Exams in New Mexico

The new DOT physical requirements state that all drivers must submit a medical examiner’s certificate if they certify as “non-excepted.” A CDL physical exam is used to determine whether the driver is fit to drive.

Not all drivers are subject to physicals, and those with diabetes or poor vision may qualify for waivers. If a medical certificate is required, a CDL medical exam must be performed. Official DOT medical examiners can be searched through the national registry of examiners’ website.

Types of CDL Classes in New Mexico

A Class A license is one of three commercial license categories. Each class refers to a vehicle’s weight and function. See below or a brief outline of each category:

  • Class A CDL – A combination of vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more
  • Class B CDL A single vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more
  • Class C CDL A single vehicle weighing less than 26,000 pounds, and carrying hazardous materials, or at least 16 passengers – including the driver

Types of CDL Endorsements in New Mexico

CDL endorsements are added to a license if the type of commerce or vehicle requires it. The endorsement refers to a specific function or attribute that requires additional training. The follow endorsements are available in New Mexico:

  • Hazmat Endorsement (H)
  • Passenger Endorsement (P)
  • Tanker Endorsement (N)
  • School Bus Endorsement (S)
  • Double/Triple Trailer Endorsement (T)
  • Tanker and Hazmat Endorsement (X)

Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in New Mexico

Drivers holding an intrastate CDL are restricted to operating commercial vehicles within state lines. However, an interstate CDL license can be used to operate vehicles across all 50 states, including certain international borders. Drivers must be at least 21 years of age to apply for an interstate license, and meet all medical requirements.

Commercial Driving License Fees in New Mexico

The CDL license cost is based on the length of the license. The following fees may apply to your application:

  • Four-year CDL license: $18
  • Eight-year license: $34
  • Hazmat background check: $127
Last updated on Tuesday, April 30 2019.

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