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How to Apply for a Veteran ID Card

Sample Veterans ID Card (VIC)

A Veteran ID Card (VIC) is a form of photo ID you can use to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. When you have this card, you won’t need to carry around your military discharge papers or share sensitive personal information to receive discounts. If you have a VIC, you don’t need to request another type of photo ID card to prove you’re a Veteran or to get retail or business discounts.

Alternatives to a Veteran ID Card

Before I tell you how to apply for a Veteran ID Card (VIC), I should explain that there are several types of identification cards you can use to show you’re a Veteran. You only need to have one of them for this purpose.

  • Department of Defense Identification Card
  • Veteran Health Identification Card
  • Veteran’s designation on a state-issued driver’s license
  • Veteran ID Card

Department of Defense Identification Card

A Department of Defense (DoD) Identification Card is used to show your military status and to get access to services at military bases. You may also use this card to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. If you have a DoD Identification Card, you don’t need to request another type of photo ID card to prove you’re a Veteran or to get retail or business discounts. You may be eligible for a Department of Defense Identification Card if one of the below is true for you:

  • Retired from the military, or
  • On active duty, or
  • In the National Guard, the Reserves, the Selected Reserves, or Inactive Ready Reserve

Depending on your status, the DoD issues either a Common Access Card (CAC) or a Uniformed Services ID Card (USID). For both types of DoD cards, you’ll need to either be a sponsor or have a sponsor.

Veteran Health Identification Card

When you’re enrolled in VA health care, you get a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) that you use to check in to your appointments at VA medical centers. You may also use this card to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. If you have a VHIC, you don’t need to request another type of photo ID card to prove you’re a Veteran or to get retail or business discounts.

You must be enrolled in VA health care to receive a Veteran Health Identification Card. If you aren’t signed up for VA health care, you can apply online to get one.

Veteran’s designation on a state-issued driver’s license or ID

All 50 states and Puerto Rico offer a Veteran designation (an identifying mark) printed on state-issued driver’s licenses or IDs. The type of Veteran designation may vary from state to state. If you have a Veteran’s designation on your driver’s license, you may be able to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. In my opinion, however, a separate Veteran ID Card is more widely accepted than a Veteran’s designation on your driver’s license.

Most states ask you to provide a copy of your discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents). Some states may require additional documents.

Please check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about what you need to apply for a Veteran’s designation for your state-issued driver’s license.

Veteran ID Card

A Veteran ID Card (VIC) is a form of photo ID you can use to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants. When you have this card, you won’t need to carry around your military discharge papers or share sensitive personal information to receive discounts. If you have a VIC, you don’t need to request another type of photo ID card to prove you’re a Veteran or to get retail or business discounts. You may be eligible to receive a VIC if you meet both of the requirements listed below:

  • 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)

You’re not eligible for a Veteran ID Card if you received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge . If you have an uncharacterized or unknown discharge status, the Veterans Administration will have to verify your eligibility before they will approve your application.

You cannot use your Veteran ID Card to:

  • Prove your eligibility for any federal benefits, or
  • Access military bases or installations, or
  • Access military commissaries or exchanges, or
  • Present as a form of identification at the airport, or
  • Check into a VA hospital, or
  • Show as proof of retirement from the Armed Forces, or
  • Show as proof of wartime service to get a special license plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles

Information Needed to Apply for a Veteran ID Card

You will need the following when you apply for a Veteran ID Card:

  • 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

How to Apply for a Veteran ID Card (VIC)

It’s easy to get Veteran ID Card. You can apply online. Please visit the US Department of Veteran Affairs website for full instructions.

First you will need to sign in to the VA to apply for a Veteran ID Card. You can sign in with your DS LogonMy HealtheVet, or ID.me account. If you don’t have any of those accounts, you can create one.

Myself, I used ID.me, because it’s fast and easy to set up an account. There are multiple ways to prove that you are a veteran with ID.me. You will need to verify your email address and (optionally) set up two-factor authentication (recommended). You will also need to verify your identity with the VA through one of the following:

  • Answer questions about your credit history
  • Upload photos of your license or state ID
  • Upload a photo of your passport
  • Upload photos of your passport card

Once you have signed in and have verified your identity with the VA, you can apply for a Veteran ID Card. Remember, you’ll need a government-issued ID (like your driver’s license) and a photo of yourself from the shoulders up. Make sure you have what you need before requesting a Veteran ID Card. Click the apply button to start the process.

What happens after I apply for a Veteran ID Card?

Once you’ve submitted your VIC application, the 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 will 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 they verify your eligibility, because the VA may need to request your records from the National Personnel Records Center.

If you receive an email from the VA asking for additional information or evidence to process your application, you’ll need to sign in to AccessVA and update your application.

Check the status of your application after you apply

You can sign in to your AccessVA account to check the status of your VIC application.

Replace your Veteran ID Card if it gets lost or stolen

To request a new card, please send an email to vic@va.gov

Get help with your application

If you have any questions or need help with your application, please send an email vic@va.gov.

More Information

Information provided here has been provided by the US Department of Veteran Affairs. For the most current information, please visit the following links: