How do I prove that I’m a Veteran?” It’s a question often asked by those who once served in the military. Many businesses offer discounts to Veterans for restaurants, hotels, stores, recreational activities and even home improvement, among other perks. Former service members will want to take advantage of those opportunities.
First, you’ll want to apply for VA’s Veteran ID Card (VIC), which is a digital photo ID you can use to get those discounts. Since September 2022, all new Veteran ID cards have been digital. A Veteran with a physical ID card can continue using it to get discounts. The VIC is separate from the VA health care ID, which a Veteran receives when enrolling in VA health care.
If you have any questions or need help, email VA’s VIC program at email@example.com.
When applying, make sure to have your social security number; a digital copy of your DD214, DD256, DD257 or NGB22 that you can upload; and 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 of 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.
Be cropped from your shoulders up much like a passport photo.
Show you with your eyes open and in a neutral expression.
Be taken in clothing you’d wear for a driver’s license photo.
Be a square size and have a white or plain-color background with no scenery or other people in the photo.
Show what you look like now, meaning a photo that is no older than 10 years old; it should be uploaded as a .jpeg, .png, .bmp or .tiff file.
A Veteran must meet certain criteria to be eligible for a VIC, including both of these requirements:
Service on active duty, in the Reserve or in the National Guard, including the Coast Guard.
Receipt of an honorable or general discharge under honorable conditions.
If the Veteran received an other-than honorable, bad conduct or dishonorable character of discharge, that person is not eligible for a Veteran ID card. If a Veteran has an uncharacterized or unknown discharge status, VA must verify that person’s eligibility before approving an application. The Veteran must provide a copy of his/her discharge papers when applying for a VIC to prove their character of discharge.
After a Veteran applies for a VIC, VA will check that person’s eligibility and verify that the character of discharge meets eligibility requirements, the ID submitted is valid and the image chosen to appear on the card meets photo requirements.
VA will then send an email letting the Veteran know the status of the application. If the Veteran has an unknown or uncharacterized discharge status, the application will take more time to process. VA may need to request your records from the National Personnel Records Center, part of the National Archives and Records Administration.
If a Veteran receives an email from VA asking for additional information or evidence to process the application, that person must sign in to AccessVA and update the application.
VA will send an email with the digital card attached if a Veteran is eligible for a Veteran ID Card.