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How To Get or Renew a Military ID Card: For Service Members

The Defense Department issues military identification cards to active-duty service members. These Common Access Cards are used for more than verifying your identity. Your CAC allows you into installations and buildings and gives you access to secured computer networks and systems. Your CAC also proves your eligibility for military services, programs and benefits.

Here are some frequently asked questions about military IDs for service members.

CACs are for active-duty military personnel, activated reservists and National Guard, Defense Department civilian employees, eligible contractor personnel and other eligible populations as described in DOD policy.

Your benefits depend on your role. Active-duty service members can use their card for commissary, exchange and MWR privileges and to receive care at military treatment facilities.

How do I get a CAC?

Your government sponsor will enroll you in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility System and initiate a background check before you are issued a CAC.

Once your DEERS registration is complete, you may obtain your CAC 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.

You must bring two forms of approved identification to your appointment as well as a six- to eight-digit number to use as a personal identification number and your government unclassified email address if you use a government computer.

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

The renewal term for your CAC varies depending on a wide variety of factors. This may include status, length of enlistment and other factors.

If your status changes in some way or your CAC is up for renewal, you will need to have your CAC reissued. You can renew your CAC up to 90 days before its expiration date.

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

  1. Your current, unexpired CAC counts as one of the two forms of identification you need to provide.
  2. You can apply to the Defense Department to renew or replace your military ID online using the ID Card Office Online.

To renew, change or replace 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. Check out this pre-arrival checklist to learn more about renewing your military ID.

If your CAC is lost or stolen, report the loss to your sponsoring command or local security office. You will need to provide documentation of this report to your RAPIDS office to receive a new CAC card.

If you forget your personal identification number, go to the nearest RAPIDS site where your identity will be verified through your fingerprints. Once your identity is verified, you can select a new PIN.

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