With any change comes some confusion. Here are some frequently asked questions—and answers from your friendly MVD Express experts—to help you understand Real ID.

What is Real ID?

Real ID is a shorthand way of referring to the documentation requirements outlined in the Real ID Act of 2005 for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards as well as the federal-compliant licenses and ID cards issued by New Mexico.

Can I get a Real ID driver’s license now?

New Mexico residents can start getting a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or state identification card beginning November 14, 2016.

Can I keep using my New Mexico driver’s license?

Yes. New Mexico has been granted an extension by the federal government, allowing current New Mexico licenses and state-issued IDs to be used to board commercial flights until October 2020 (although that expiration date is subject to change by the Department of Homeland Security).

What is a Driver Authorization Card (DAC)?

A Driver Authorization Card (DAC) is what we are now calling New Mexico driver’s licenses that do not comply with Real ID requirements. It is simply a change in terms to help us and our customers distinguish between the two types of driver’s licenses and state IDs that may be issued.

Real IDDAC


What documents do I need to get a new license?

What documents you need to get a new New Mexico driver’s license depends on if you want a Real ID-compliant license or a DAC.

Click here to see the list of acceptable documents for a Real ID-compliant driver’s license.

Click here to see the list of acceptable documents for a non-federal-compliant DAC.

Click here to see the list of acceptable documents to renew a non-federal-compliant DAC.

What documents to I need to renew my license?

What documents you need to renew your New Mexico driver’s license depends on if you want a Real ID-compliant license or a DAC.

If you would like to get a Real ID-compliant New Mexico driver’s license, then you must provide the documentation as if you were getting a license for the first time.

Click here to see the list of acceptable documents.

I lost my license. Should I get a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or not?

If you need to replace your driver’s license, you can get either a Real ID-compliant license or a DAC. Which one you get depends on what you need your license for (other than driving). If you are a frequent air traveler, it makes sense to compile the documentation needed for a Real ID license. If you simply need your license to legally operate your vehicle and need it ASAP, you may be best served by getting a DAC (and getting a Real ID-compliant license later).

How much does it cost to get a Real ID driver’s license?

There is no additional cost to get a Real ID-compliant driver’s license. A four-year license is $18, and an eight-year license is $34.

IMPORTANT REAL ID INFORMATION REGARDING MAIDEN NAME/NAME CHANGES

  • If your proof of identity document (birth certificate, social security card, passport, etc.) does not contain your current full legal name, you must present official documents reflecting any name change(s). This may include a marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption records or court order.
  • In a case of multiple name changes, you must present official documents for each name change. Divorce decrees must reference the maiden name or former name before marriage.
  • If your passport or identity document contains your current legal name, you do not need to provide proof of a name change.