Taxes, Residency, & Voting

Everything you need to stay on the good side of the law: filing taxes, getting residency and a license, and voting.


Students rent apartments or houses all over Las Cruces and Mesilla, and a few students have bought houses. Some of these were found via craigslist or Apartment Guide, but others were found by driving around town and investigating ‘for rent’ or ‘for sale’ signs. Not all apartment complexes have websites, but many are listed with contact information on Google Maps. The student government, ASNMSU, provides a free handbook to educate you about your options, recourses, and responsibilities as a renter. You can pick one up at the ASNMSU office (second floor of Corbett). You should also read up about renter’s insurance. Where have people lived? Here’s a quick summary:

Casa Bandera – across the street from NMSU with swimming pool, small workout room, laundry in apartment, and refrigerated air. Some haven’t liked the undergraduate feel to it but others are perfectly fine with it.
The Grove – a block from NMSU with swimming pool. Some haven’t liked the undergraduate feel to it but others are perfectly fine with it.
Las Palmas – across the street from NMSU (smaller but quiet) with refrigerated air, laundry on site, and allows small pets.
Villa Sierra Apartments – large apartment complex on Treviz (down the street from NMSU) with refrigerated air, swimming pool, small workout room, and allows small pets.
Tuscany Villa – large apartment complex on Roadrunner (some distance from NMSU) with swimming pool.
Copperstone – large gated apartment complex on Roadrunner (some distance from NMSU) with refrigerated air, laundry in apartment, swimming pool, and allows pets.
Willow Brook Apartment Homes – large apartment complex past Rt. 70 (some distance from NMSU).

Driving in New Mexico

Thankfully, you can look online for the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division forms to get your driver’s license. You may apply for a 4 or 8 year license. If you are under 25 years old and getting an NM license for the first time, you have to go through a drunk driving awareness program “None for the Road” to get your license even if you hold a license in another state. The process takes about two weeks (plus any additional weeks due to inherent bureaucratic silliness).

NM State Residency

Several of our students have had issues about whether they need to pay in-state tuition. This is especially relevant for students who are on “external” fellowships, e.g. from NSF or NASA. To avoid any issues, it is critical that everyone apply for and establish NM residency as soon as you are eligible (after you have been in New Mexico for one year). Not sure if you’re considered a resident? When you check your student account on myNMSU, it should either say LC TUITION GR RESD PT (you’re considered a resident) or LC TUITION GR NRES PT (you’re considered a non-resident NRES).

NMSU has a webpage with information about in-state residency and there is also a brochure from the NM Higher Education Department. Applications must be submitted to the NMSU Registrar by the beginning of the semester (which they define as 21 calendar days before the first day of classes). We recommend you file as soon as possible during the Summer to avoid long lines at the Registrar’s Office.

You will need to fill out this form as well as provide any two of the following documents:

  • NM driver’s license
  • a copy of your lease or leases that covers at least 1 full year of living in NM, (or home ownership documents if you don’t rent)
  • pay stub from NMSU
  • NM car registration
  • NM voter registration
  • NM tax return from the previous year
  • NM bank statement
  • utility bills showing your name and your NM address
  • proof that you aren’t a dependent of you parents (if you’re under 23 years of age, you must present a copy of your parents’ 1040 or 1040A income tax form)

To keep track of this and to make sure we avoid problems, we are asking that when you receive notification that residency has been established, that you give a copy of this to Ofelia to keep in your file. If you already have this, giving them a copy would be great.

Filing State Taxes

You can file online or download the forms and mail them to Sante Fe. Don’t forget about your federal taxes! Some students have used TurboTax to file online for free.

Registering to Vote

Participate in your government! Have a hand in shaping national policies! Have a reason to complain about who wins! Register to vote in New Mexico by filling out the Voter Registration Form and returning it to the ASNMSU office (Corbett Student Center) or they can deliver them directly to the Dona Ana County Bureau of Elections (845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces, NM 88007, (505) 525-6156)). Forms are available from the following locations:

  • Motor Vehicle Department
  • NMSU Campus: ASNMSU Office, Campus Activities, Chicano Programs, Black Programs, American Indian Programs, Center for Learning Assistance, Student Health Center, Housing Office, Placement Office, Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid Office, Admissions Office
  • Dona Ana County Bureau of Elections

You can check on your voter status at

If you move or change your mailing address, you need to fill out a new registration form. If you don’t, you may be required to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day. You can register by mail as well. Just call the Doña Ana County Bureau of Elections at (575) 647-7428. They will send you a form for you to fill out and send back.

What if you prefer to vote absentee? If you are already registered, you can get the form at Also, voter registration information, including the New Mexico Voter Bill of Rights (English and Spanish versions) and links to the Native American Election Information Program, can be found at the Secretary of State’s website. Finally, appropriate forms and instructions for registering to vote in each of the fifty states can be found at the Election Assistance website.