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Getting That First License Not So Easy

THE CHALLENGE IN GETTING A FIRST LICENSE: That’s what Jerry Sanchez of Ranchos de Taos has been dealing with, in trying to get some information that will help his grandson get the card that will get him behind the wheel.

Getting all the right paperwork together has been a real struggle, Jerry says, involving multiple trips to the Motor Vehicle Division office because of bad/incomplete information.

These requirements and others are all online at, and worth checking out so that trip to MVD is limited to one trip to MVD.

When it comes to your first license, for drivers age 18-24 like Jerry’s grandson, MVD requires:

♦ Completion of the None for the Road self-study DWI awareness class, administered by the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Center.

♦ One proof of identification number, which can be a Social Security Card or a Social Security Number Verification printout from the Social Security Administration.

(If you don’t have either, then you need two of the following: a government-issued medical card; statement from a federally regulated financial institution; a U.S. government, state or territory or Canadian driver’s license, learner’s permit or identification card with a photo that has not been expired more than one year; a U.S. military, Coast Guard or N.M. National Guard photo ID document card; Veterans Administration identification document with a VA Medical Center ID card; or a valid U.S. active-duty, retiree or reservist military ID.)

♦ One proof of identity, which can be an original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a U.S. state or territory (hospital birth records do not qualify); original or certified copy of a foreign birth certificate with a notarized English translation; original official copy of an FS545 or FS 1350 form certifying birth abroad and translated into English; affidavit of Indian birth; N560 certificate of citizenship; N550 certificate of naturalization; valid U.S. permanent resident card; court order for name change, gender change, adoption or divorce that includes the legal name, date of birth and court seal; marriage certificate issued by a state or territory of the United States.

(In addition, if these were not used to prove identification number, you can use them to prove identity: driver’s license, learner’s permit or identification card; Matricula Consular card issued after Feb. 1, 2005, by the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque or El Paso; valid passport issued by a country of citizenship; American Indian or Alaskan proof of Indian blood, certificate of degree of Indian blood, federal Indian census card or tribal membership card; U.S. military, Coast Guard or N.M. National Guard photo ID document card; Veterans Administration identification document with a VA Medical Center ID card; or a valid U.S. active-duty, retiree or reservist military ID.)

♦ Finally, you need two proofs of New Mexico residency. And this is where it becomes difficult for a young man who lives with his family in northern New Mexico and rides his bike everywhere to come up with the proper paperwork. New drivers 18-24 can use one document from each category no more than three months old and with the printed physical address, including:

a. a real property rental agreement or purchase agreement

b. Utility bills limited to water, gas, electric, waste/sewer, land-line phone, cable or satellite, Internet access and home security system. No cellphone bills allowed.

c. Insurance bills limited to automobile, boat, home owner’s/renter’s, health and life

d. Bank or credit union statement

e. Employment pay stub with applicant’s name and address

f. Local property tax statement or mortgage document

g. Proof of minor child enrolled in a New Mexico public, private, or tribal school including school enrollment form or letter signed by school official on school letterhead

h. Current valid motor vehicle registration

i. Original documents from a New Mexico community organization, or from a city, county, state, tribal or federal government organization, attesting to the fact that the applicant is a New Mexico resident

j. New Mexico medical assistance card or public assistance card.

Jerry’s grandson has the birth certificate and Social Security card covered, but he has no accounts or bills in his name. The family planned to have him open a bank account, put the satellite TV bill in his name and hopefully get a license for the new year.

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Thursdays. Reach her at 823-3858;; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103; or go to to read previous columns and join in the conversation.
— This article appeared on page A4 of the Albuquerque Journal