OK, don't worry about that January driver's license airport deadline anymore. Us Minnesotans with our (apparently) subpar IDs now have a lot longer before we need to get new ones.
Gov. Mark Dayton's office Wednesday afternoon said Minnesota got another, longer extension from the Department of Homeland Security in the state's seemingly never-ending quest to meet Real ID requirements.
If you aren't caught up on this saga: Real ID is a set of minimum security standards for identification cards. IDs (such as drivers licenses) that don't meet these requirements won't be enough to get you through airport security starting Jan. 22, 2018. (Military bases and nuclear power plants will also be off limits.)
Normal Minnesota driver's licenses? They're not compliant, and state lawmakers this year had to undo an older law in order to start moving Minnesota toward meeting the requirements.
So where do things stand now?
The federal government will start requiring Real ID-compliant identification at airports starting Jan. 22, 2018 – or another form of identification such as a passport, even if it's not an international trip.
But Minnesotans are now getting an extra 9 months to keep using the non-compliant state driver's licenses.
This new extension means Minnesotans are good to use current licenses and IDs to get through airport security through Oct. 10, 2018.
Which is good, because it's very likely the state won't be ready to issue new Real ID-compliant licenses until Oct. 1.
"All Minnesotans should be assured that they can continue to board commercial airplanes and access federal facilities with their existing drivers licenses or birth certificates, as we work to fully implement REAL ID and comply with federal requirements," said Dayton's office Wednesday.
Tl;dr – Keep using your driver's license as an ID exactly as you have been, but know you'll probably want to swap to a new one this October.
You don't have to get a Real ID license
Minnesota did make it possible to get a non-Real ID license still, even after Oct. 10. So if you're worried about privacy issues or anything, you can opt for a standard driver's license.
But if you're flying (or visiting nuclear power plants a lot) you'll need to bring additional identification with you to get through security. Both types of licenses will cost the same.