We have been asked this over and over again and it seems like there is a lot of confusion going on about this topic, so we decided to put together a little guide on where and how to get your ID Card.
Basically, there are two different ways to apply for this ID – you can either go to your local benefits VA office or apply online.
Please note that all the information below is taken directly from federal homepages and only changed minimally to sum up/clarify things.
Also, this type of ID is a benefits only ID – not to be confused with your Veteran Health Identification card.
You may be eligible if you meet both of the requirements listed below.
Both of these must be true. You:
- Served on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard (including the Coast Guard), and
- Received an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions)
If you received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable character of discharge, you’re not eligible for a Veteran ID Card. If you have an uncharacterized or unknown discharge status, VA will have to verify your eligibility before we approve your application.
You’ll need to provide a copy of your discharge papers when you apply for a VIC to prove your character of discharge.
How to apply online
You can apply online here.
What do I need to apply for a Veteran ID Card online?
When you apply, be sure to have these on hand:
- Your Social Security number
- A digital copy of your DD214, DD256, DD257, or NGB22 that you can upload. This could be in a .pdf, .jpeg, or .png file format.
- A copy of a current and valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card.
You’ll also need a digital color photo of yourself from the shoulders up. The photo should follow all these standards:
- Show a full front view of your face and neck (with no hat, head covering, or headphones covering or casting shadows on your hairline or face), and
- Be cropped from your shoulders up (much like a passport photo), and
- Show you with your eyes open and a neutral expression, and
- Be taken in clothing you’d wear for a driver’s license photo, and
- Be a square size and have a white or plain-color background (with no scenery or other people in the photo), and
- Show what you look like now (a photo taken sometime in the last 10 years), and
- Be uploaded as a .jpeg, .png, .bmp, or .tiff file
What happens after I apply for a Veteran ID Card?
Once you’ve submitted your VIC application, VA will check your eligibility and verify that:
- Your character of discharge meets eligibility requirements, and
- The ID you submitted (driver’s license or passport) is valid, and
- The image you’ve chosen to appear on the card meets the photo requirements
After they’ve verified your eligibility, they’ll send you an email letting you know the status of your application. If you have an unknown or uncharacterized discharge status, your application will take more time to process while we verify your eligibility. (They might need to request your records from the National Personnel Records Center.)
If you receive an email from them asking for additional information or evidence to process your application, you’ll need to sign in to AccessVA and update your application with the information they ask for.
Important note: Do NOT send personal information via email!
How to apply with a local office
Simply go to your nearest Veterans Benefits Administration office and ask them to help you with getting an ID – you can bring the documentation needed for applying online with you to speed up the process.
Important note: Make sure to go to a Benefits office and NOT a healthcare only office as they won’t be able to help you with an ID unless you’re there for treatment or other healthcare related matters!
You can find where all the Benefits offices are located here.
Just click on your state and look for the ‘Regional Benefit Office’.