Digital driver’s licenses coming to NM

The Apple iPhone introduced electronic licences in 2021.

By Joe Thompson

Getting through airport security might be a little easier now that a change in state law will allow you to have an official version of your driver’s license on your smartphone.

The state Motor Vehicle Division pitched the idea and Sen. Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales of Ranchos de Taos sponsored the bill (SB 88). State lawmakers unanimously approved the bill, which Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Feb. 28.

Arizona, Maryland, Colorado, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Delaware already offer digital driver’s licenses and identification cards, and more states are likely to follow.

The digital credentials will only be available through a state-approved app, which hasn’t yet been developed. The electronic version will be free.

When you open the app, your phone will display a simplified version of the printed ID, according to the Motor Vehicle Department. More detailed data will be encrypted in the file that can be read by a special scanner.

While the TSA has started accepting the smartphone versions of state ID’s, you’ll still need to carry your real driver’s license because New Mexico police departments don’t yet have the scanners required to accept the digital versions.

According to the bill synopsis, drivers must still “present the physical credential on demand of a magistrate, peace officer, field deputy, or inspector of the Motor Vehicle Division. Failure to do so would result in a misdemeanor.”

Some members of the public at the Roundhouse said they liked the idea of a digital license, saying it would be easily accessible, convenient and a good backup in case you forget your physical ID.


The New Mexico Motor Vehcile Divison is asking lawmakers to bring electronic driver’s licenses and identification cards to the state. Colorado and Arizona, and eight other states, already have this technology and allow digital driver’s licenses and IDs. This move would have no additional costs, meaning they would be free for New Mexicans.

♬ Calm (Lofi) – Faneo sound

Two people said they were anxious about an electronic license replacing the physical version (it won’t, yet!).

Ken Huger said he has concerns about security. “I put a lot of things already on my iPhone already, so I’m used to that kind of approach,” he said, but given the advances in artificial intelligence, “I’m worried things like that could get hacked.”

The Motor Vehicle Division does not yet have a timeline for the rollout of the digital IDs.