ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In just over a week, MVD will begin rolling out the new Real ID and driver authorization cards.
It has been an ongoing issue in the state.
A change needed in order to become compliant with federal ID rules.
“Legislators really worked really hard earlier this year to give New Mexicans a choice,” said Neza Leal with Somos Un Pueblo Unido.
New Mexico fought a long battle over its driver’s licenses and complying with federal law.
“And it was the difference why we could never issue out a Real ID card before is that for a driver authorization card you don’t need a social security number,” Demesia Padilla, Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department explained.
Governor Susana Martinez and Republicans had long pushed to take away licenses from those here illegally.
Democrats and immigrants rights groups said that would hurt the state.
The compromise came in the way of a two-tier system.
Real ID compliant licenses for those here legally, driver authorization cards for anyone, including those here illegally.
“It’s for everyone is New Mexico,” Leal said. “It’s for US citizens who either don’t want or don’t have all the federally required documents to be able to get a Real ID license.”
But that new driver authorization card requires those who get it for the first time to be fingerprinted and go through a background check. The upcoming changes drove a huge spike this year in foreign nationals applying for a current license.
Meanwhile, getting that new Real ID license requires proof of a social security number, proof of legal US status and proof you live in the state.
But there’s no need to rush to get that new license until your current one expires except in limited cases.
“Anybody [whose license] expires after 2020, we’re going to be sending out post cards asking you to come in,” Padilla said.
You can find all acceptable documents for both the Real ID and driver authorization cards on the MVD website.