ID Cards

A retired military ID card is issued to military retirees and eligible family members. Eligible family members must renew their ID card periodically, usually every four years.


Here is how retirees and eligible family members can renew their military ID card. If you are enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), your eligibility may be verified and the card issued at the nearest military ID card issuing office. You can find the nearest ID card issuing office by ZIP code, state, city, or name online.


The following special categories of personnel must have their ID card application verified by their service branch (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):


  • incapacitated individuals over age 21;
  • all dependent parents;
  • illegitimate child of a male sponsor, whose paternity has not been judicially determined;
  • illegitimate child of spouse of sponsor; and
  • unremarried and unmarried former spouses applying for initial issuance of an ID card.


Keep Your Data Current

DoD reports continuing significant problems with maintaining accurate and current addresses in the DEERS database, particularly for retired servicemembers and their families and survivors.


Members with e-mail access can keep their address data current by e-mailing any updates directly to the DEERS management office: E-mail updates should contain the following information: sponsor's name and Social Security number; address change; names of other family members affected by the address change; effective date of the new address information; and your telephone number and area code. DEERS address changes also may be made online.


Alternatively, members may fax the data to (831)655-8317 or call (800)538-9552. You also can update your address by writing:


DEERS Support Office
400 Gigling Road
Seaside, CA 93955-6671


Military ID Cards by Mail


Are you disabled, or do you have an incapacitated dependent and cannot get to an ID card office? You may be able obtain a new ID card by mail from the nearest military ID card office. Locate your nearest ID card office by using the RAPIDS site locator. Call the office to verify mail-in ID card procedures. Plan ahead if updating by mail expecting the process to take from four-to-six weeks.

This describes the general process. We recommend you call the nearest ID card for specific information:


  • As the applicant, you will provide an 8in x 10in or 5in x7in portrait type photograph, including your physical characteristics (i.e., eyes and hair color, weight, and height). The requirements for the photo are very specific so call the nearest ID card for the detailed information. A notary must verify your signature on a written statement concerning your identity. In cases of medical impairment, a statement from an attending physician is acceptable.
  • After you submit your request for an ID card by mail with your photo to your ID card office, you will be sent an ID card/application by certified mail for signature. You sign the proper block on the ID card and return to the issuing ID card office. Enter “INCAP” when the individual cannot sign because of a mental or physical incapacity.
  • The issuing activity will laminate the card and return to the applicant by certified mail.


Permanent ID Cards for Those Age 75 and Over and Incapacitated Dependents


A permanent U.S. uniformed services ID card is available for all eligible uniformed services family members and survivors of deceased personnel who are age 75 and over or incapacitated.

Beneficiaries currently in possession of a valid ID card may obtain the new permanent ID card within 90 days of expiration. The availability of the new permanent ID card does not in any way invalidate a current ID card, nor will it impact any associated benefits or entitlements. Beneficiaries should apply for a new ID card when their existing card is within 90 days of expiring.

It is important for surviving family members to update their personal information in DEERS when the active duty or retired sponsor dies. Additionally, the DEERS Support Office can be reached by telephone at (800) 538-9552, or information can be found online at