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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.

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

Health and medical records of former military and some dependents are located in various places. This depends on the military branch and the date of separation.

Before World War I

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

  • Compiled service records - Basic biographical, medical, and military information taken from muster rolls, pay vouchers, and other records

  • Pension applications and payment records - Files include marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, family letters, and other supporting papers. These records are based on U.S. military service from 1775 to 1916 and relate to veterans, their widows, and other heirs.

  • Bounty land - You’ll find basic genealogical information in these application files. Bounty land was granted as a reward to men for their wartime service between 1775 and March 3, 1855.

How to Request Military Records

Important to know:

  • Most military records are on paper or microfilm and copies will need to be mailed to you. They are not typically available to view online.

  • Records of military personnel who separated from the military:

    • Less than 62 years ago are federal (non-archival) records

    • More than 62 years ago are archival records 

Request Recent Records (World War I - Present)

To get a copy of military records, a veteran or the next of kin of a deceased veteran can:

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

Request Older Records (Before World War I)

Search for older military personnel records by submitting a request online or using NATF Form 86.

Fees for Military Records Requests

Most requests are free for veterans and next-of-kin. You will be told if there is a fee. Archival requests for military records, including records of veterans discharged more than 62 years ago, may have a cost.

Check the Status of Your Military Records Request

To check your order status for recent records (World War I - Present), contact the NPRC. 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

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 issuing facility using the RAPIDS Site Locator 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 Veterans Health Insurance 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.

Veterans Health Identification Card

If you are a veteran enrolled in the VA health care system, you will receive a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) for use at VA medical facilities.

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 or

  • Legal representative of deceased or incompetent veteran

To request changes, contact the review or correction board for your service branch. 

For more information, contact:

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Last Updated: October 7, 2019

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