Department of Defense and Military Identification Cards
One of the most valuable assets to service members is their military ID. The Department of Defense issues distinct identification cards to uniformed service members, their family members and other eligible individuals to serve as proof of the cardholder's identity and Department of Defense affiliation. These ID cards facilitate access to military installation services and convey uniformed services benefits where applicable. It is important to understand the types of ID cards, how you keep your card up to date, and steps to keep your ID secure.
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CAC and other types of ID cards
The Department of Defense issues two main types of ID cards: The Common Access Card and the Uniformed Services card. The list that follows provides general descriptions of the CAC and USID cards; visit Department of Defense Common Access Card for more information about card types, eligibility and other available resources.
- The Common Access Card is the standard ID card for active uniformed service personnel, Selected Reserve members, Department of Defense civilian employees and eligible contractor personnel. It is the primary card used to grant physical access to installations, buildings and controlled spaces, and logical access to Department of Defense computer networks and systems.
- The Uniformed Services ID Card is issued to members of the Individual Ready Reserves and inactive National Guard, retired and former service members who are eligible for or receiving retired pay and benefits (including those on the Temporary or Permanent Disability Retired Lists), eligible family members of current and retired uniformed service members, and other eligible populations as described in Department of Defense policy.
- The Department of Defense Civilian Retiree Card is for civilians who have retired from any Department of Defense component or agency. Read the Department of Defense Civilian Retiree Card brochure to learn more.
Here's what you need to know about keeping your ID card up to date:
- Identity and eligibility required documentation. Refer to this Pre-Arrival checklist for the full list of documents required to enroll in DEERS or renew your ID card.
- Replacement or renewal. Replace or renew your ID card at the nearest RAPIDS site.
- ID Card Office Online. If your sponsor is deployed, on extended training, or unable to visit a RAPIDS site with you, take advantage of ID Card Office Online, which allows your sponsor to submit an ID card renewal request remotely using his or her CAC or DS logon credential. Alternatively, take a Power of Attorney to your appointment to ease the process of updating or getting new ID cards while your sponsor is away.
ID cards for dependent children
Children under age 10 are eligible to receive an ID card if one of the following conditions exists:
- The child is under the care of a temporary guardian who doesn't live near the parent's duty station and the Department of Defense medical facility maintaining the child's medical records.
- The child is an eligible family member of a joint service couple or a single parent.
- The child's physical appearance warrants issuance (i.e., the child appears older than 10).
- Your family has unique circumstances, which can be discussed at your local RAPIDS site.
Keep your ID safe and secure. You may find yourself pulling out your ID card several times a day, for any of the following activities:
- To enter the installation at the security gate
- To use Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities
- To access healthcare providers
- To shop at the Commissary or Exchange
- To receive a military discount at a retail location
If you don't live near an installation and only use military facilities a couple of times a year, then you may want to keep your ID cards in a safe place at home along with other important documents. If you use your Department of Defense ID to receive a discount at a retail location, show your card to the cashier, and for security reasons do not allow the cashier to photocopy your ID card. When you are no longer eligible to hold a Department of Defense ID card, it will be your sponsor's responsibility to retrieve the card and ensure that it has been terminated in DEERS.