Latest REAL ID extensions mean your driver's license will still work on airplanes

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In the last month, there have been a slew of panicky articles warning residents of New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Louisiana that they soon would be turned away from an airplane if they tried to use their state driver's license.


Well, relax. The only thing keeping you from flying is still just the crazy cost of plane tickets.

The Department of Homeland Security recently granted extensions to three of the states currently not in compliance with the REAL ID law. New York, Louisiana and New Hampshire will each get more time to meet the law's requirements.

The 2005 law, passed during the Bush administration/Republican Congress era, sets requirements for licensing in terms of what documents states can accept to prove a person's identity, what information is on the license itself, and how the information is shared across state lines. Only licenses from states that comply with the law can be used to enter federal buildings and, eventually, pass through TSA screening to board airplanes.

Nobody likes the REAL ID Act. When it first passed, multiple states passed laws and resolutions denouncing its implementation (although most of those states are now either in compliance, or have extensions in place as they head in that direction.) Privacy advocates say it overreaches in the name of stopping terrorism. It's even a favorite target of conspiracy theorists.

The Homeland Security website says they'll begin enforcing the law for planes "no sooner than 2016." Given that enforcement of the law has been delayed so many times, and was just kicked down the road a bit more, it's probably not time to started a panicked search for your passport just yet.