Note that undocumented persons in New Mexico do not receive the same card as people who are lawfully present in the United States. The latter (including people who have been approved for DACA) receive a REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s license.
This article explains New Mexico’s law on getting a DAC if you are an undocumented person.
Successfully obtaining a New Mexico DAC simply means that you are allowed to operate a vehicle within the state of New Mexico and to carry a photo identity card proving that fact.
Obtaining a New Mexico DAC does NOT give you any sort of legal immigration status in the United States. The state has no power to legalize your U.S. immigration status—this is a matter governed solely by U.S. federal law.
That means, for instance, that you cannot use your card for federal identification purposes or to vote in U.S. elections. And because it’s not considered a “Real ID” card, you won’t be able to use it to fly on commercial planes or to enter certain federal buildings or facilities.
As an undocumented person looking into whether you are eligible for a New Mexico DAC without having legal status or a Social Security Number (SSN), the first question is whether you can meet the basic terms set out in the New Mexico Statutes, at NM Stat § 66-5-9.
This law requires you to:
You must also satisfy other basic New Mexico requirements related to obtaining a drivers’ license, such as showing that you can drive. In addition, you will need to have fingerprints taken and pay a fee.
The New Mexico MVD website does a great job at advising you what you will need to do and what documents you will have to supply in order to prove the above things, on its Driver’s Licenses & IDs page.
Note that, if you plan to present documents in a language other than English, you will need to submit a certified translation into English.
Think twice about applying if you have a record of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or other criminal record, have been ordered deported (removed) in the past, or have used false documents to obtain a past drivers’ license. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney about the risks before applying.
While applying for a license does not normally cause the New Mexico MVD to turn someone’s name over to federal authorities, it probably could not refuse such a request if you run into trouble with the law.
If you are approved, your card will be a different color than regular licenses, and will have the words "Not For Federal Purposes."
That means that any local law enforcement or immigration officer looking at it is likely to know that you have no status in the United States. This is a risk that must be balanced with that of driving with no license, which could also get you into trouble with the law and thus placed into deportation (removal) proceedings.