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Military Records and Identification

Answers to common questions about IDs and how to change or request military records.

Request Military Records

Military records help prove military service when applying for jobs or government benefits. They’re also helpful for ancestry and historical research.

Most military records are on paper or microfilm and you’ll need to request printed copies to be mailed to you. They are not typically available to view online.

Types of Military Records

World War I - Present

You can find veterans’ military service records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The NPRC houses many types of records, including Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF). These files can include the Report of Separation (DD Form 214) and show a veteran’s service history, which may include:

  • Enlistment or appointment and separation dates

  • Duty stations and assignments

  • Training and qualifications

  • Awards

  • Disciplinary actions

Veterans’ health and medical records are located in various places, depending on their branch and date of separation. See this chart of locations of veterans’ medical and health records.

Before World War I

You can find older military service records (generally before World War I) from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. 

Request Recent Military Records (World War I - Present)

If You Are a Veteran or Next-of-Kin

To get a copy of the vet’s military records, you can:

Most requests are free.

If You Are Not the Veteran or Next-of-Kin

You can only get limited information about non-archival records without the consent of the veteran or next-of-kin. Non-archival records are those from 62 years ago to the present. Learn about access to non-archival military records by the general public and researchers.

Request Older Military Records (Before World War I)

You can order older military personnel records online or with a downloadable form. You may have to pay a fee for copies of archival Official Military Personnel Files, including those of veterans discharged more than 62 years ago.

Check the Status of Your Military Records Request

To check the status of your order for recent records (World War I - Present), contact the National Personnel Records Center. For older military records (generally before 1917), contact the National Archives.

Get a Military or Veteran Identification (ID) Card

Military identification (ID) cards are U.S. government property for use only by the issued card holder.

Get or Replace a Military ID Card

  • Use the ID Card Office Locator to find an ID card office near you. Be sure to check a location's details or call that office to verify ID card issuing hours. Some locations allow or require you to make an appointment

  • Be sure to bring the required identification documents to the ID Card office.

Report a Lost/Stolen ID Card

  • If you are a military member, report lost/stolen cards to your base security officer or through your chain of command.

  • If you find a military ID card, return it to the nearest ID card office.

  • Or, mail it to:

DMDC - DSC
ATTN: CAC Returns
1600 N. Beauregard St., Suite 100
Alexandria, VA 22312

Veterans Identification Card (VIC) 

VIC is a new veterans ID card. It’s proof of your military service and includes your photo and a unique identification number. If you get the card, you will no longer need to carry your DD-214 papers with you.

  • Eligibility - You must have an honorable discharge from the military.

  • How to apply - You must log on to Vets.gov to apply online. 

Find other helpful information about VIC:

  • If you already have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), you don’t need to have the new veterans ID card. 

  • VIC is not a substitute for other government-issued identification such as a driver’s license. 

Learn more about VIC.

Veteran Health Identification Card

The Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) is for use at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. If you're enrolled in VA health care, you'll receive one.

Correct a Military Service Record or Discharge

You can request changes to your military record or discharge. You can also request changes to a member's military record or discharge if you are the:

  • Surviving spouse

  • Next of kin

  • Legal representative of deceased or incompetent veteran

To request changes, contact the review or correction board for the member's service branch.

For more information, contact:

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Last Updated: April 23, 2021

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