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How to Get or Renew a Military ID Card: for Spouses, Dependents, Veterans and Retirees

Military ID Cards 101

Learn about the different military IDs, who is eligible for which and how they are used.

As a veteran, military retiree, spouse or dependent of a service member, you may be eligible for a Defense Department identification card. Called the Uniformed Services ID card, this military ID proves your identity and connection to the DOD and gives you access to certain military services and programs.

Here are some frequently asked questions about military IDs for spouses, dependents, veterans and retirees.

Those eligible for the Uniformed Services ID card are military spouses and dependents, military retirees, reservists and National Guard not in active-duty status. Also eligible are members on the Temporary Disability Retired List and the Permanent Disability Retired List, retired reserve (not yet drawing military retirement pay), Medal of Honor recipients, 100% disabled veterans, former members in receipt of retired pay, eligible foreign military, Transitional Health Care recipients, full-time paid personnel of the United Service Organizations and Red Cross when serving outside the United States, United Seamen’s Service personnel when serving outside the United States, officers and crews of Military Sealift Command vessels deployed to foreign countries, Select Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve personnel and retired DOD civilian employees.

Other family members eligible for a military ID include authorized dependents of military retirees, reservists, National Guard, retired reservists, National Guard not yet receiving military retirement pay, Medal of Honor recipients, 100% disabled veterans and former spouses eligible for 20-20-20 benefits.

Your card will display the benefits you’re entitled to and may include health benefits through TRICARE, access to commissary and exchange, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and other privileges.

You may obtain a military ID through ID Card Office Online or in person at any Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System site. RAPIDS offices are located on military bases, at National Guard armories and at reserve training locations. These may be called the Pass and ID office, Military Personnel Flight, DEERS office, Personnel Support Detachment, ID Card Section, S1, One Stop, or a variety of other names, depending on the installation or branch of service. Use this RAPIDS Site Locator to find a location near you to make an appointment.

Use the RAPIDS Site Locator on the ID Card Office Online website to find the nearest location that can issue a military ID.

The family member must first be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System, or DEERS, to receive their first military ID card.

Enroll in DEERS by completing a DD Form 1172-2. The service member is the sponsor and will sign and submit the form.

Submit the form through the ID Card Office Online or in person at a RAPIDS site. Use this RAPIDS Site Locator to find a location near you to make an appointment.

Go to a RAPIDS site with your completed DD Form 1172-2 and two forms of identification, including a state or federal government photo ID. Dependents will need a Social Security number or tax ID number if they are U.S. citizens or U.S. persons. Newly married military spouses should bring their marriage certificate. Children under 18 will need proof of relationship to their military sponsor, like a birth certificate, to get their Uniformed Services ID Card. You may require additional documentation depending on your eligibility or circumstances.

For more details on how to apply for your first military ID, read this pre-arrival checklist.

ID Card Office Online provides assistance to sponsors with the proper credentials (CAC or DS Logon) with preparation of the DD Form 1172-2 when it is required for ID card issuance or reissuance.

How you renew or change your ID is similar to how you first got it, but with two changes:

  1. Your current Uniformed Services ID Card counts as one of your two forms of identification.
  2. You can apply to renew or replace your military ID using the ID Card Office Online.

To change your ID card, your profile in DEERS will need to be up to date. You can check or change your DEERS information online at MilConnect. You may also call the Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office to update DEERS information, 800-538-9522 Monday through Friday, 6 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Pacific Time, except federal holidays.

You may need a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other official document to make updates to your DEERS records.

Check out this pre-arrival checklist to learn more about renewing your military ID.

The renewal term for military ID cards varies depending on a wide variety of factors. This may include status, length of enlistment of the sponsor, age and other factors. You will need similar documentation to get your ID renewed. Check here for details.

If your Uniformed Services ID Card is stolen, you can get a replacement at a RAPIDS office. For dependents, the DD Form 1172-2 serves as the supporting documentation for a lost or stolen Uniformed Services ID Card.

You should return your ID to any office that issues military IDs if, for any reason, you are no longer listed in DEERS as a dependent of the sponsor. This includes the sponsor’s separation from the military, a divorce, or a child no longer being considered an eligible dependent. Expired ID cards should also be returned to an issuing office.

Unmarried former spouses are eligible for a military ID if they meet the 20/20/20 rule:

  • The sponsor served at least 20 years that is creditable in determining the sponsor’s eligibility for retired or retainer pay.
  • The spouse and sponsor were married at least 20 years.
  • There was at least 20 years of overlap between the marriage and the military service.

In this situation, the former spouse is their own sponsor, and the ID card is issued under their own Social Security number. In addition to their two forms of identification, former spouses must bring in their marriage certificate, divorce decree and proof of the service member’s service in the form of a Statement of Service, DD Form 214, or Dates of Inclusive Service statement to complete their enrollment.

Unmarried former spouses who meet the 20/20/15 rule have the same documentation requirements as 20/20/20 spouses, but the period of overlap is at least 15 years but less than 20 years. Their ID cards are only valid for medical care and will expire after one year.

Military dependents who are registered in DEERS are eligible for a military ID card. In most situations, dependents under the age of 14 do not need to have a military ID.

Military ID cards are not typically issued for dependents under the age of 14. However, there are situations in which it is necessary. These include:

  • The child’s sponsor is a single parent who does not have an eligible spouse.
  • The child’s parents are dual-military parents.
  • The child lives with a temporary guardian and does not reside with their sponsor.
  • The child lives with a parent who is not the sponsor’s spouse.
  • The child’s physical appearance warrants the issue of a military ID.
  • Any other unique circumstances as determined by the installation’s security office.

Former dependents now using TRICARE Young Adult must present proof of enrollment in TRICARE Young Adult. They will need proof of TRICARE Young Adult enrollment, a DD Form 1172-2 signed by the sponsor and two forms of identification.

A surviving spouse and eligible children of deceased active-duty members, retired military members, Medal of Honor recipients and 100% disabled veterans are eligible for military IDs. Surviving dependents of deceased reserve members, National Guard members, retired reserve members not yet age 60, and former members not in receipt of retired pay may also be eligible for an ID card.

Under federal law, military ID cards are issued only to those veterans who are eligible to receive medical care and other benefits provided by the DOD. This includes:

  • Retired military members
  • Those who are entitled to receive retainer pay
  • Veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to have a 100% disability rating or are 100% unemployable due to a service-connected injury or disease

If you do not fall into one of these categories, you are not eligible for a DOD ID card.

Spouses of veterans are eligible for a military ID if the veteran is eligible to receive medical care and other benefits provided by the DOD. This includes:

  • Retired military members
  • Those who are entitled to receive retainer pay
  • Veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to have a 100% disability rating or are 100% unemployable due to a service-connected injury or disease

Spouses of veterans who do not fall into one of these categories are not eligible for a DOD ID card.

No. Permanent caregivers of Uniformed Services ID card holders can obtain Installation Access Cards for the specific base that the authorized person uses. Each branch or base may have a different process, but generally it includes a specific form and a letter from a physician verifying the need for assistance. A caregiver can be issued an Installation Access Card to perform activities for the authorized user, including shopping and picking up prescriptions.

Visit the DOD ID Card Reference Center for more information about obtaining, using and maintaining your military ID card. If you have questions about military life, let Military OneSource help you find the answers.

ID FAQs for Service Members

Check out our frequently asked question about military IDs for active-duty service members to find out how to get or renew your Common Access Card.

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