Veterans Designation on Drivers Licenses or State ID Cards

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It can be difficult for some military veterans to prove they served in the military. The only federally issued military ID cards are military retiree ID cards, the Veterans Health Identification Card issued by the VA for eligible veterans, and other veterans on a limited basis. The VA has announced a new Veterans ID Card…

It can be difficult for some military veterans to prove they served in the military. The only federally issued military ID cards are military retiree ID cards, the Veterans Health Identification Card issued by the VA for eligible veterans, and other veterans on a limited basis.

The VA has announced a new Veterans ID Card that will be available to all veterans, but the specific details and timeline haven’t yet been announced. Veterans who are ineligible for one of these ID cards are often left without an official ID card that proves they served in the military.

veterans designation on drivers licensesSome veterans get around this by carrying around a copy of their DD form 214, but this presents a several issues: it is not a photo ID, so many places won’t accept it, it is bulky and difficult to carry in one’s wallet, and it has the veteran’s Social Security number on it, which presents an identity theft risk if it is stolen.

Thankfully, many states are taking notice of this and are including a veterans designation on drivers licenses and state-issued ID cards. Some states, such as Virginia, are issuing a separate photo ID that identifies veterans.

States that Offer a Veteran Designation on Drivers Licenses and ID Cards

We have compiled a list of states that now offer a military service or veterans designation on drivers licenses and their state-issued ID cards. These cards can often be used for military and veterans discounts, or to prove you served in the military.

However, it’s important to note that these ID cards are not official military ID cards in the sense that they will allow you to enter a military post or receive military benefits. You will need to show your DD Form 214 or other official military documents to receive military benefits if you are eligible.

Currently, 49 states offer a veterans designation on state-issued drivers licenses or ID cards. Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. also issue driver’s licenses or ID cards with a Veterans Designation.

The only state that currently does not issue an ID card with a Veterans Designation is the state of Washington, which has already passed the required legislation but will not begin issuing the ID card until sometime in 2017.

Status of Veterans Designations on Drivers Licenses:

We have done our best to link to the pending legislation if there is any and we will do our best to update this chart as we become aware of changes. Please feel free to contact us if you are aware of any changes to the status of any of these states.

How to Get a Veterans Designation on Your Drivers License

If you live in a state that offers the military designation on state issued drivers licenses and ID cards, then you will need to bring a copy of your DD Form 214, DD Form 215, or other discharge paperwork, along with any additional paperwork required by your state (most states require a copy of your birth certificate, social security card, passport, or some other form of identification).

You should be able to find a specific list by contacting your state department of motor vehicles (DMV) by phone, or by visiting their website. Related: learn how to replace your DD Form 214 or other military records.

The military service designation is new in many states, so it may not have been available when you last renewed your driver’s license or ID card. Virtually every state will require you pay a replacement fee if you want to get a new card with the veterans designation before your old license has expired. Each state has different rules and costs for this, so please contact your state DMV in advance.

Please note that several states will allow veterans to apply for the Veterans Designation in person, while several other states may have a different process that requires mailing in copies of your paperwork to a central location. Once they verify your military or veterans status, the state will update it in their database.

Then you can have the Veterans Designation added to all future driver’s licenses or ID cards. The process may take several weeks, depending on the workload, so be prepared to wait. You may also need to renew your license without the veterans designation if you are coming up on your renewal date. If so, you should be able to later replace your driver’s license or ID card, though you may have to pay a replacement fee, which varies by state.

Related information about military ID cards: If you need to replace your military ID Card, you will need to set an appoint through the RAPIDS Appointment Scheduler. This is only available to eligible military service members and retirees who are authorized military ID card holders.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

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  1. Glenna J Maynard says

    THIS DESIGNATION SHOULD ALSO APPLY TO UNREMARRIED WIDOWS OF VETERANS WHO DIED OF SERVICE CONNECTED ILLNESSES, TO ESTABLISH THAT THEY ARE AUTHORIZED TO USE THIER DECEASED SPOUSES BENEFITS.
    I FEELTHE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION SHOULD HAVE ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE A LONG TIME AGO

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Glenna, each state determines whether or not it will offer a veteran’s designation on a driver’s license. The designation only shows whether someone served in the military. It does not, by itself, serve to provide any benefits. Because these programs are run by each individual state, the Department of Veterans Affairs does not have any influence on these programs.

  2. Jim says

    I have the veteran designation on my drivers license (CT) but several places of business will not recognize me as a veteran, they say I need to have a veteran ID card to get a veterans discount. Why is this??

  3. stephan says

    Hi Ron, I am waiting since the middle of December for my VIC. After finishing the required form the website just says “Pending”. Very frustrating!

    • H Wiehrs says

      My VIC card was pending for 5 months, could not get a response why until I sent an email that I was turning this over to my Congressional Representatives, shortly thereafter I was notified of approval and my card was sent to printing,. I received it 2 weeks later.

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