Updated: Aug 5, 2022
"Can I see your ID?" is a familiar question for anyone that has served or currently serves in the United States military. And like other areas of the U.S. Armed Forces, the rules and processes for obtaining a valid military identification card can be confusing.
A Department of Defense (DoD) Identification Card is used to show active military status and get access to military base services. Those on active duty also use this card to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants.
It's a little trickier for veterans. Let's start with veteran eligibility, the types of IDs available, their associated requirements and benefits, and finally, the requirements to get on to base and access to online shopping.
Veterans are eligible if they meet both of these requirements: Active-duty service or duty in the Reserves or the National Guard (including the Coast Guard), and an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions).
Veterans are not eligible for a Veteran ID Card if they received an other-than-honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable character of discharge.
There are two types of veteran cards:
A Veteran ID Card (VIC) is a form of photo ID that can be used to get discounts offered to Veterans at many restaurants, hotels, stores, and other businesses.
A Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) allows veterans to check into appointments at VA medical centers. The VHIC has the same benefits as the VIC.
How to request a veteran ID Card:
The best and fastest way to request a veteran ID card is to sign in with an existing Login.gov, ID.me, DS Logon, or My HealtheVet account. Those who don’t have any of these accounts can create a free Login.gov or ID.me account.
For most veterans, ID.me is the best solution for verifying military service. Applicants will need to provide certain information for verification:
Social Security number
A digital copy of your DD214, DD256, DD257, or NGB22 that you can upload
A copy of a current and valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card
A digital color photo of yourself from the shoulders up.
How to gain access to a base:
Only with a VHIC card can veterans get access to the base. Veterans must take their VHIC and a valid state ID, driver's license, or passport to an installation Pass and ID office for verification.
Here are a few resources for online shopping and discounts for veterans:
Open to veterans with VHIC cards
Army and Air Force Exchange: ShopMyExchange.com
Marine Corps Exchange: MyMCX.com
Navy Exchange: MyNavyExchange.com
Coast Guard Exchange: ShopCGX.com
ShopVCS.com – For Vets, their families & employees
For more information, visit, MilitaryOneSource.mil.