REAL ID OVERVIEW

Q: WHAT IS REAL ID?

Real ID is a shorthand way of referring to the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005 which was passed by Congress in 2005. The legislation establishes minimum security standards for state-issued Driver’s Licenses and ID cards that can be used for official federal purposes such as boarding a domestic flight/commercial aircraft, entering a federal building or military base and entering a nuclear facility.

Q: DO I NEED A REAL ID?

Yes! If you intend to use your Driver’s License or State ID Card to board a domestic flight/commercial aircraft, enter a federal building or military base or enter a nuclear facility you will need a REAL ID-compliant form of identification.

Note – In some cases, you may use a valid U.S. Passport, Military ID or another federally approved form of identification. Each agency that requires identity documents such as TSA, military bases, federal buildings, etc., has defined what documents it will accept. Please inquire with those entities before visiting their facility.

Q: HOW DO I KNOW IF MY NEW MEXICO DRIVER’S LICENSE OR ID IS REAL ID COMPLIANT?


If you renewed or received a new Driver’s License or ID card after the State of New Mexico began issuing REAL ID-compliant forms of identification on November 14, 2016 it is likely you are REAL ID-compliant.To be sure, look for the star symbol on your New Mexico Driver’s License or ID.

Q: MY NEW MEXICO DRIVER’S LICENSE ISN’T REAL ID COMPLIANT, CAN I STILL USE IT?

Yes, but only until 9/30/2020. If you intend to use your Driver’s License or State ID Card to board a domestic flight/commercial aircraft, enter a federal building or military base or enter a nuclear facility you will need a REAL ID compliant form of identification before the deadline of October 1, 2020. See below for additional info on when best to obtain a REAL ID.

If your New Mexico Driver’s License or ID:

  • Expires BEFORE October 1, 2020 – You are eligible to renew and obtain a REAL ID when your current New Mexico Driver’s License or ID expires.
  • Expires AFTER October 1, 2020 – You are eligible to renew and obtain a REAL ID at any time before the federal deadline of October 1, 2020. While there is no need to rush, we strongly recommend you beat the rush and renew sooner than later.

WHEN AND WHERE TO GET A REAL ID

Q: WHEN DO I NEED TO GET A REAL ID? IS THERE A DEADLINE?

Starting October 1, 2020, every US residents will need to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft.  The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a valid US Passport.If your New Mexico Driver’s License or ID:

  • Expires BEFORE October 1, 2020 – You are eligible to renew and obtain a REAL ID when your current New Mexico Driver’s License or ID expires.
  • Expires AFTER October 1, 2020 – You are eligible to renew and obtain a REAL ID at any time before the federal deadline of October 1, 2020. While there is no need to rush, we strongly recommend you beat the rush and renew sooner than later.

Q: WHERE DO I GET A REAL ID?

All MVD Express locations are authorized to issue REAL ID Driver’s Licenses or State ID cards. For a list of locations or to make an appointment click here.

ALTERNATIVES TO REAL ID

Q: IS THERE A REAL ID ALTERNATIVE?

Yes. The Driver Authorization Card (DAC) or non-REAL ID Identification Card can be used as a driver’s license or a valid form of identification in New Mexico but ARE NOT acceptable for federal purposes (boarding a domestic flight/commercial aircraft, entering a federal building or military base and entering a nuclear facility).Choosing between the DAC or REAL ID is dependent on an individual’s needs. If you are a frequent air traveler, it is strongly recommended you choose a REAL ID. 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).

Q: 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 (REAL ID vs. non-REAL ID) of driver’s licenses and state IDs that may be issued.

Q: IS IT EASIER TO GET A DAC RATHER THAN A REAL ID?

Sort of… Rather than providing (1) Proof of Identification Number (SSN Card, W2, SSA-1099) and (1) Proof Identity & Age (birth certificate, passport, certificate of citizenship etc.), you just need to provide (1) document showing Identity and Date of Birth. If you are unable to show Identity and Date of Birth in one document, (2) documents will be required. As with REAL ID, (2) Proofs of New Mexico Residency is required to obtain a DAC.

Please note – If you are unable to provide documentation of lawful status and your New Mexico Driver’s License has expired, you will be required to provide fingerprints with the State.

Remember, the Driver Authorization Card (DAC) or non-REAL ID Identification Card can be used as a driver’s license or a valid form of identification in New Mexico and ARE NOT acceptable for federal purposes (boarding a domestic flight/commercial aircraft, entering a federal building or military base and entering a nuclear facility) beginning October 2020.

Q: WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE DAC?

In addition to (2) Proofs of Residency you will need to provide (1) Proof of Identity & Date of Birth. If the document does not contain the applicant’s name and date of birth (2) of the below documents will be required. Please note, all documents must reflect your current legal name*.

See below for the most common documents used to obtain a Driver Authorization Card (DAC):

IDENTITY & DATE OF BIRTH
Original or certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a state office of vital statistics or equivalent agency in the individuals place of birth
Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the US Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545
Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS
Foreign Passport with an I-551 Stamp
Affidavit of Indian Birth
Valid NM license or ID card
State issued driver’s license, driver’s license issued by a U.S. Territory, or by jurisdiction of Canada, with photograph and has not been expired more than a year
U.S. active duty/retiree/reservist military ID card (DOD ID DD-2)*
Passport or Passport card from the US if verified through SAVE*Original or Certified Copy of Birth Certificate
NEW MEXICO RESIDENCY
Two (2) Documents, must list lawful name
Utility Bill or Bank Statement (Dated within 60 days)
Valid Vehicle Insurance Card
Current Property Rental or Purchase Agreement
Local Property Tax Statement

Click here to view the full list of acceptable documents for a Driver Authorization Card.

Note: Documents must be original or certified copies. Paperless Billing Statement Copies are acceptable. Photocopies, notarized photocopies and non-certified copies are NOT acceptable.

*The name on all your documents must be the same. If you use a name other than the legal name on your identity document (such as birth certificate or passport), you must provide proof of each name change. If the name you currently use is not what’s on your identity document, you may have to change your name legally or, if you are eligible, apply for an amended birth certificate.

You will need a marriage certificate or divorce decree if you have been married or divorced and changed your name from your name at birth. If you are uncertain, bring your identity documents and the documents showing your name change to your local MVD Express or give us a call at 505-226-9333.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

Q: WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO GET A REAL ID?

To obtain a New Mexico REAL ID you will need (1) Proof of Identification Number, (1) Proof of Identity & Age and (2) Proofs of Residency. Please note, all documents must reflect your current legal name*.

IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
One (1) Document, must list lawful name
Social Security Card
W-2 Form
SSA-1099
IDENTITY & AGE
One (1) Documents, must list lawful name
Original or Certified Copy of Birth Certificate
Valid US Passport or Passport Card
Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS
Foreign Passport with an I-551 Stamp
Affidavit of Indian Birth
NEW MEXICO RESIDENCY
Two (2) Documents, must list lawful name
Utility Bill, Bank Statement or Pay Stub (Dated within 60 days)
Valid Vehicle Insurance Card (Dated Within Six Months)
Current Property Rental or Purchase Agreement
Local Property Tax Statement
Employment Pay Stub with name & address

See below for the most common documents used to obtain a REAL ID Driver’s License or ID: Click here to view the full list of REAL ID acceptable documents.

Note: Documents must be original or certified copies. Paperless Billing Statement Copies are acceptable. Photocopies, notarized photocopies and non-certified copies are NOT acceptable.

*The name on all your documents must be the same. If you use a name other than the legal name on your identity document (such as birth certificate or passport), you must provide proof of each name change. If the name you currently use is not what’s on your identity document, you may have to change your name legally or, if you are eligible, apply for an amended birth certificate.

You will need a marriage certificate or divorce decree if you have been married or divorced and changed your name from your name at birth. If you are uncertain, bring your identity documents and the documents showing your name change to your local MVD Express or give us a call at 505-226-9333.

LAWFUL/LEGAL NAMES & REAL ID

Q: WHAT IS A LAWFUL NAME?

A Lawful/legal name is the name that a person uses for official purposes. The name on your New Mexico Driver’s License or ID must be your legal name.

  • Original Legal Name – A person’s original legal name is usually the name that appears on a birth certificate. A person’s original legal name may be changed through marriage, divorce, adoption or a legal name change.
  • Current Legal Name – When your original name is legally changed it becomes your current legal name.

Q: WHAT IF MY NAME HAS CHANGED?

If a birth certificate is used as the proof of Lawful Identity & Age and your name has changed to your current legal name, you must also provide any one of the following that documents that name change:

  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Decree
  • Adoption Record
  • Court Order

Note – The name on all your documents must be the same. If you use a name other than the legal name on your identity document (such as birth certificate or passport), you must provide proof of each name change. If the name you currently use is not what’s on your identity document, you may have to change your name legally or, if you are eligible, apply for an amended birth certificate.

You will need a marriage certificate or divorce decree if you have been married or divorced and changed your name from your name at birth. If you are uncertain, bring your identity documents and the documents showing your name change to your local MVD Express or give us a call at 505-226-9333.

Q: WHEN WOULD I NEED AN AMENDED BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

If the name listed on your birth certificate is misspelled, out-of-order (Jane Mary Doe vs. Mary Jane Doe) or a different version (Jose vs. Joe) you may need an amended birth certificate. You can apply for a name correction with the Office of Vital Records from the State or Tribe in which you were born or registered.

Q: WHAT DO I NEED TO GET A LEGAL NAME CHANGE THROUGH THE COURTS?

You may need to petition the court for a legal name change when your required documents do not clearly reflect the change from one name to another. A court order stands alone as the Lawful Identity & Age document. However, if you have had a name change and your current legal name is listed on your Lawful Name & Age document (i.e. Passport), you will still be required to provide your birth certificate to establish legal presence.Below are examples of when you may need to petition the court for a legal name change:

  • Arthur Eduardo Smith has been using, and wants his name to be George Smith
  • Susan Lucile Goldstein signed her marriage certificate Susie L. Goldstein when she married Stephen Romero. Now she wants to be called Susie L. Romero or some other variation of Susan Lucile Romero.
  • Evan Robert Gutierrez has been using and wants to be known by his baptismal name Matthew Evan R. Gutierrez
  • Joseph Phillip Williams grew up with the Lucero family and has been using the surname Lucero without having been adopted or undergone a legal name change

Q: WHAT IF MY IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OR NM RESIDENCY DOCUMENTS DO NOT MATCH MY CURRENT LEGAL NAME?

When your current lawful/legal name does not match your documents, follow the below guidelines to make corrections to your Identification Number or New Mexico Residency Documents.

  • Apply to the Social Security Administration for an amended Social Security Card
  • Contact the entity that provides the documents you need and ask them to correct your name and/or physical/residential address (i.e. bank, employer, utilities company)
  • Petition the court for a legal name change and provide the court order when obtaining a REAL ID

The State MVD considers a middle name as part of a legal name that will be listed on a REAL ID; however, a middle name may be included, omitted or abbreviated on Identification Number and New Mexico Residency documents if identity is not in question (i.e. Jerry Paul Valdez is Jerry P. Valdez is Jerry Valdez / Jerry G. Valdez IS NOT Jerry Paul Valdez)

Note: In the case of any individual who uses a suffix, i.e. Jr., the suffix will be used on the REAL ID to resolve situations where the identity and identity number of the applicant is in question. The suffix must match Identification Number and New Mexico Residency documents.

OBTAINING LAWFUL IDENTITY & AGE DOCUMENTS

Q: I’M HAVING A HARD TIME LOCATING AND/OR COLLECTING ALL THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS FOR REAL ID. ANY TIPS?

Here are some helpful links should you need to obtain a certified copy of a required document:

We know that collecting all the necessary documents to obtain a REAL ID can be challenging, but we’re here to make REAL ID easy. MVD Express has a dedicated call center with REAL ID experts available to answer any of your questions and will help verify your documents will be accepted.