Veteran’s Designation on Driver’s Licenses or State ID Cards

It can be difficult for some military veterans to prove they served in the military....

It can be difficult for some military veterans to prove they served in the military.  Federally issued issued military ID cards include military retiree ID cards, the VA’s new new veterans ID Card and veterans’ health identification Card.

Veterans who are ineligible for one of these ID cards may be left without an official ID card that proves they served in the military.

veterans designation on drivers licenses

Some 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, 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, states have taken notice of this and have included a veterans designation on drivers licenses and state-issued ID cards.

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

We have compiled a list of states offering a military service or veterans designation on driver’s 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 these ID cards are not official military ID cards in the sense that they won’t 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, all 50 states offer a veteran’s designation on state-issued driver’s licenses or ID cards. Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. also issue driver’s licenses or ID cards with a veteran’s designation.

Status of Veterans Designations on Drivers Licenses:

How to Get a Veterans Designation on Your Drivers License

To receive the military designation on state-issued driver’s 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. 

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 to pay a replacement fee if you want to get a new card with the veteran’s 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: Several states will allow veterans to apply for the veteran’s designation in person, while several others 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 veteran’s 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 veteran’s 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 appointment through the RAPIDS appointment scheduler. This is only available to eligible service members and retirees who are authorized military ID card holders.

Learn how to replace your DD Form 214 or other military records.

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