How to Get a Veterans Identification Card from the VA

Many military veterans are unaware that the Office of Veterans Affairs offers a Veterans Identification Card (VIC) for military veterans who are eligible for VA health care benefits. The official purpose of the Veterans Identification Card is to serve as an ID and to check in to appointments for receiving VA health care benefits. However, many veterans have also reported being able to use this card to prove military service. This can be helpful if you do not have a military ID card or your state doesn’t offer a veterans designation on their drivers licenses.

VA Veterans Identification Card (VIC)

The good news is that all military veterans are potentially eligible to receive one of these VA ID cards. This card is the preferred form of ID when receiving VA health care, and can be a great way to prove your military service or help secure military discounts from companies that offer discounts to veterans. Let’s take a look at the qualifications to receive a VA issued ID Card:

Veterans Identification Card Eligibility

The Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is only available to military veterans who are eligible to receive VA health care benefits. There are many misconceptions regarding VA health care eligibility, and there are thousands of veterans who are unaware they are eligible for VA medical benefits. You don’t need to have a service connected disability to be eligible to receive VA health care benefits. Eligibility is based on active duty service in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, or Merchant Marines (in WWII), who have an other than dishonorable discharge. Former members of the Reserves or National Guard may be eligible if they were activated under Federal Executive Orders (this generally excludes activation for training purposes).

Other eligibility factors include active duty service dates, deployments you may have served on, or other criteria, such as being discharged for medical reasons, serving in a war zone (Vietnam War veterans and Persian Gulf veterans who served in theater during certain dates are eligible for VA health care benefits), Former POWs, Purple Heart recipients, and veterans who meet certain household income requirements may be eligible for VA medical care benefits. Here is more information for determining VA health care eligibility.  You can also contact the VA to determine health care eligibility or use this eligibility questionnaire.

Apply for VA Health Care Benefits First

You must be enrolled in the VA health care system in order to receive a VIC. To do this, you must establish eligibility and fill out Form 10-10EZ or Form 10-10EZR (these are also the same forms used to update your personal information). You can fill out this form online, by phone (Call 1-877-222-8387, Mon-Fri, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm EST), by mail, or in person at any VA clinic or medical facility. Here is the VA Directory to find a location near you.

How to Apply for a VA ID Card

US Veterans Affairs ID CardAfter you have enrolled in the VA health care system, you can visit your local VA clinic or medical facility to obtain an ID card. You will need to have your photo taken. The card will then be mailed to you within 7-10 business days. Be sure to verify all the information is correct on the VA ID Card when you receive it.

What you need to know about the VIC Card: The Veterans Identification Card only contains your name and any special benefits designations, such as a mark for a service-connected disability, POW status, or Purple Heart recipient. The cards no longer contain printed Social Security Numbers, date of birth, or other confidential personal information on the front of the card. However, the cards do contain a bar code that could be read by certain cell phone applications. These bar codes contain your name, DOB, SSN, and other personal information, so be sure to safeguard your ID card to reduce the risk identity theft if your card is lost or stolen.

If your Veterans Identification Card is lost or stolen, you should contact the medical facility that issued your card. Photos are maintained on file, so you won’t need to have another photo taken. You will have to verify your personal information to prove your ID.

The VA ID Card is not an insurance card. The only authorized use of the Veterans Identification Card is for verifying ID at VA facilities. It is not an insurance card and cannot be used to pay for medical care at non-VA medical facilities. Though not an official use, many veterans use these cards to prove military service.

Photo source: image 1, VA, image 2, WikiMedia Commons

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Date published: December 3, 2012.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.


  1. Charles F. Puryear says

    I need a copy of my discharge under honorable conditions. I left the USAF the end of April 1985. In order to apply for this card I’m told I need a copy of my DD214.

  2. Bob Madison says

    I was in the Marine Reserves 1961-1968. I’m eligible to join the American Legion,
    Marine Cops League, AM Vets, but I can’t get a Vet ID card from the VA or anywhere else, that says I’m considered a Vet. Why?

    I’m I considered a Vet?

    • says

      Hi Bob, You are most definitely a veteran. The issue is that there is no recognized authority for issuing a Veterans ID card for every veteran who served. The VA only issues ID cards for those who are eligible for VA health care. IF you served in the Vietnam theater during your period of service, you are likely eligible for a VA ID card. There are other qualifying factors as well. If you are not eligible for a VA issued ID card, then you may still be able to prove your service another way. Several states issue a veterans designation on their drivers licenses. We also list a few other options in this article.

      I hope this is helpful, and thanks for your service!

  3. Jones.Roger W says

    i joind the Army Reserves in 1980 to 1992 was wanting to know how I can’t get a Vet ID card to use post excange and military camp grounds i recived a honorable discharge and have my DD214 where do i go and start finding out.
    Thank you.

    • says

      Roger, Thank you for contacting us. The military does not issue ID cards to members once they have left the service, with the exception of retirees. In most cases, you will not be able to gain access to base to use these services. I recommend contacting your local base Pass & ID office. They will let you now what your options are.

  4. Holly says

    I have never served our country but appreciate everyone who does and I thank you for it. My father, Uncles and even my step grandfather have served in different branches of the military. I do work were they do give a discount to people who have and are currently serving in the military. But recently they are getting strict on what kind of ID they need. Most of the gentlemen don’t have their military ID or have the VIC card you have shown here.I did see something about being in a health care system but I don’t know if that applies to all of them. Our state (Indiana)has it on the back to show that you served but that isn’t good enough. I have stated to them that I really think its unfair but I’m just a worker and its not my company. I would love to let them know where they can get the right ID. I know some people don’t belong to the VFW or the VA and they would just bring their DD214 or discharge papers but again that not good enough. I really think anyone who has served should get this discount. I don’t care what they show me if its an ID or dog tags.Thank you again.

  5. Paul says

    I retired after 30 years service and with 100% disabled. I have received a retirees card as well as a VA card for use at VA facilities. I know that there is a lot of confusion about who should have what. I don’t give out information to veterans because each vet comes with unique circumstances.

    I would tell a person that has a service connected injury to contact their nearest VA office. I have found it more helpful to visit in person then contacting on the phone. I have a claim in that has been pending over a year and I can tell you calling is not the answer.

    I recognize all vets, from all services, and from any service time. I was recognized from social security as being disabled before VA; however, VA eventually caught up. I have found that a service organization can assist in many cases. I personally have gone through DAV with some success. American Legion is another good organization as well.

    To all those searching for answers good luck.

  6. Roger Norman Jr says

    I am wondering about how to get my Veterans Identification card, The V.A. has no way of providing me with one due to equipment problems and no IDEA WHEN it will be able to assist me and the State of Washington is requiring I produce this card as proof of I.D. before I can get a State I.D. card! something simple has become a REAL problem, I’m unable to do anything without I.D. so I’m in need and MUST have it now, BUT nobody can tell me when Ill be able to get one! The old system was removed before the new system was up and working, (absolutely the best decision) and something as simple as an I.D. has become a REAL problem! The Government Is so worried about other issues that it cannot even finish the installation so far and I cannot even get answers as to how long I must WAIT to get a V.I.C.

  7. Doug E. says

    As Roger Norman pointed out in an earlier comment, the VA’s health care ID card system has been down for many months, and there’s no guess as to when they’ll have it up and running again. The people at the local VA facility here in San Diego simply recommend to keep checking back.

    Here’s the web site to contact this facility (, and it’s simple to do a search for a VA facility in any city. They’ll still provide health care without the ID-just bring a DD-214. They’re currently offering free flu shots, so it’s worth the trip!

  8. Bob says

    I’ve read the preceding list of comments by others expressing frustration about not being able to get a simple military I.D. card from the V.A. or from whatever branch of the armed forces they have served in. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! How is it possible that the Veterans Administration of this country is incapable of printing and issuing a simple card based on existing military service records which they have on file. In my own case, I’m not looking for health care, P.X, access or any other benefits from the military or the V.A., just a simple I.D. card to prove my previous military service for entrance into certain private organizations and for discounts in many retail establishments. Every website I’ve looked at that claims to offer information on “How to get a Veterans I.D. card” winds up providing nothing but reasons why we can’t get such cards. Most military veterans didn’t have the option of offering excuses for not disrupting their lives, careers, family or college educations when our country called us into military service. We didn’t have the excuse that “computer programs aren’t working, or “we’re too busy”. We dropped everything and answered the call. WHY can’t the Veterans Affairs Department, with all it’s staff and equipment respond in a timely manner with a simple I.D. card?

  9. israel velez says

    I simply need to know ho to obtain a military card. i completed 22 years in the ASAF active duty and i do not live near a military installation.

  10. Mary M. Lawler says

    I am a Vietnam Era Marines Corps veteran and a former military spouse of a retired Army MSG Dwight L. Lawler; we were married 11 years and 11 months. I have a Dept. of Veteran Affairs ID card(with a bar code on the side) and I am handicapped. I still have my Veteran Universal Access Id card with my Social Security Number and date of birth. I would like to know what I need to do to obtain an ID card to go on a nearby Military Base?

    I would like to thank you in advance for your prompt reply. May you have a Blessed Day.

  11. Efren Abrego says

    Hello Bob, I was in the Military from July 14, 1975 to July 13, 1978. do I qualify for a card and health benefits

  12. Roland Flores says

    I recently lost my VA card. I know I can replace it, but I am afraid it is an older Va card and it might have my Social Security # on it. I tried calling the Tejeda Clinic where I go and took picture at. Then I called Audie Murphy Hospital and The National Va Administration and no one could help me at all. What can I do so I do not have to change my Social Security. I wish I could find out when I was issued the Last VA card? I very would much appreciate your help too solve my problem. Thank you

    • says

      Roland, I don’t know if it is possible to track down where your VA ID card was issued. If it does have your Social Security number on the back, it is possible you are at risk of identity theft. The best thing you can do is put a credit freeze on your Social Security number. This will require any lender to call you before they are allowed to extend a line of credit to anyone using your Social Security number. This will help with protecting your credit score, but it won’t necessarily prevent other forms of identity theft. Unfortunately, that is about all you can do at this point. The Social Security Administration does not issue new Social Security numbers easily. You must first prove that your identity was stolen and you have done various things to correct the issue. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  13. Jessie Morrison says

    At this time all I would like is a Veteran ID Card. Not Medical card. I went to the Kansas City VA Office, they said I must have a medical disability to even get a card. I just want a card to get discounts from stores like Home Depot, Lowes etc.
    Thanks For your help.

  14. Bigsarge says

    What do you think of a DoD Army Disabled Veteran of 32 year’s @ 70 % Who in the end really is not a Disabled Veteran because the VA will not recognize it even though being paid for life by the Army. Since the VA won’t recognize the Disability neither will some State and County Agency’s.

    So bottom line is im not disabled no matter what the Army says. I also served from 1979 to 1990 during that time i am concerned a non Vet.

  15. Daphne Crawford says

    It is very frustrating trying to get military benefits that you are entitled to, but constantly being ignored! My husband was medically honorably discharged and is still not receiving his benefits! Shameful how veterans are treated!!!!

  16. Bruno says

    I served in the Army from 1964-66 and I have an I.D. card. went to VA hospital in Brooklyn NY got it 10 days later. There are many stores that gives you 10% discount…

    Thank you all for your service…

  17. Thomas Gee says

    I volunteered for active military service with the US Army. Following basic training and AIT, I then volunteered to go to Vietnam where I served with MACV Advisory Team 8, II ALC. It was my understanding when I signed up that I would be eligible for VA hospital/medical benefits when I was discharged. I applied for VA health benefits back in 2004 – 2005, was originally denied due to financial standards so I gave up on the idea of getting any benefits. The following year, I received a letter from the VA stating that financial eligibility standards changed somewhat and recommended that I reapply. I did and I was found eligible for 7a (?) benefits. This was before I started receiving Social Security Benefits. Once I started receiving Social Security, I figured I would no longer be eligible for benefits and have never attempted to reapply although at a VA outpatient facility, the man I spoke with recommended reapplying for each of the years since I was eligible and submit my 1040s with each year’s reapplication. I felt that it was too cumbersome and possibly a waste of time, so I’ve never reapplied. I suppose I could just try to apply and see what happens; but, all that I’m trying to get at/find out, is was I wrong in believing in what the Army recruiter stated to me about being eligible for VA medial benefits following my discharge? Before I retired, a couple friends of mine did apply for VA benefits having no medical issues and were found eligible. The year following my retirement, I found that I wasn’t eligible due to financial standards. Did something change from the time I entered the military in ’68 (and going to Vietnam for 17 months and getting an “early out”) and when I retired in 11/03?

    • says

      Thomas, I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out as you expected. I don’t know exactly what your recruiter told you, so I can’t comment on that. What I can comment on is that some recruiters are less than clear in explaining how certain benefits work. And unless you get it in writing, a promise from a recruiter isn’t worth much.

      All I can tell you regarding VA benefits is to sit down with a VA benefits counselor to see which benefits you may be eligible to receive. There’s not much else you can do at this time. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  18. Mike (Navy vet) says

    I agree with what Bob said back on 12-29-13, and I see no comment\answer. I am basically in the same boat, (part of Bob’s comment)” I’m not looking for health care, P.X, access or any other benefits from the military or the V.A., just a simple I.D. card to prove my previous military service for entrance into certain private organizations and for discounts in many retail establishments.” “Every website I’ve looked at that claims to offer information on “How to get a Veterans I.D. card” winds up providing nothing but reasons why we can’t get such cards. . WHY can’t the Veterans Affairs Department, with all it’s staff and equipment respond in a timely manner with a simple I.D. card?”

    • says

      Mike, Thank you for contacting me. I agree, it would be nice for the government to issue veterans’ ID cards. But right now the VA doesn’t have a process in place for issuing ID cards to every veteran who has served. They will only issue ID cards to veterans who are eligible for VA health care (regardless of whether you choose to use the health care or not).

      There are other ways to show proof of service, including with a veterans designation on a state-issued ID card or driver’s license, or with a membership card from a Veteran’s Organization such as the VFW, American Legion, etc. Some veterans also carry around a copy of their DD Form 214, but I don’t recommend that since it has your SSN on it. I hope this is helpful, and thanks for your service!

  19. John Tucker says

    I think many people are under the misconception that having a VA card and getting full or partial benefits without out at least a 10% rating. It is false.

    You CAN get a card but you do NOT receive the same benefits at no cost and some you cant get at all. In any event you wil have to have OUTSIDE insurance.

  20. Vida says

    I have tried for years to get my daughter a military dependent ID card – her father is active duty Navy and I’m prior service Navy. We have been unsuccessful at this since 2004 she was (5), shes a senior in High School now. We were legally married for (8) years before we divorced and he is on her birth certificate. How can I get her the benefits she’s entitled to without his assistance?

    • says

      Vida, Thank you for contacting me. Your daughter needs to be enrolled in Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) in order to receive an ID card. If she is in DEERS, she should also be eligible for medical benefits through TRICARE, and possibly other benefits, depending on the circumstances. I’m not sure if there is a way to have her enrolled in DEERS without your former husband’s assistance. You will need to contact the nearest DEERS office for more information.

  21. William S. Greer says

    I joined thee USMCR in 1956 and received my training by the officers and NCO’s on site of my unit and on USMC bases.
    I completed my 6 year obligation and all training that was required of me. I was not issued a DD214 at that time and in 1962 I did not feel it was important, so I did nothing to research the reason.
    I do not ask for any VA Benefits, but I would like to be able to acknowledge my service on my Driver license from my home state of KY. Our legislature made a law that allows such acknowledgement with a DD214 and they do not allow for any other equivalent documents.
    I was issued a form NA Form 13038 from the Office of Military Archives in St Louis that is the equivalent in lieu of a DD214. They cannot create a document, but only copy the records on file or issue this NA Form that digest the information on record.
    Is my request a State or Marine Corps problem for me? I can’t even buy a USMC personalize auto license for my vehicle.
    I would like to prove that I am a Marine, but all I can do is buy a hat at a flea market.

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