TRAVEL
01/08/2016 03:33 pm ET

Chill Out, Travelers. The Rules Aren't Changing... Yet.

Let us explain.

Travelers from some states may have read that their driver's licenses will no longer be accepted as valid forms of ID when boarding commercial flights. 

But take a deep breath, adventurers: The rules for air travel and ID aren't changing... yet. And when they do, you'll have four months to prepare, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

PHEW.

The cause for concern is the Real ID Act, a 2005 law that says state-issued IDs must meet certain federal standards that require more intense proof of identity in order to be considered valid for air travel and entry to all sorts of federal facilities. Currently, four U.S. states -- Minnesota, New Mexico, Washington and Illinois -- have failed to meet these standards out of privacy concerns, and could see the law come into play for air travel as of Jan. 10, the New York Times reports. 

But they won't.  

For now, you can still use your driver's license to board a plane in any U.S. state, the Department of State explains on its website. (Though as of Sunday, you'll need an approved "real ID" if you're trying to enter a federal facility, as part of the multi-phase rollout of the law.)

It's up Homeland Security to decide when to enforce the law for air travel. And once it does, the department says it will give travelers 120 days notice so individuals can obtain alternate IDs and adjust travel plans accordingly.

For now, though, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. 

Happy travels!

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