Your DD214 is your proof of military service. It shows the nature of your discharge, dates of service, and current classification (retired, separated, Guard or Reserve status).
When military members out-process as part of retirement or separation, getting the DD214 is one of the last things to happen after the briefings, equipment turn-in, and other clearances required as part of the “final out.” The DD214 is one of the important documents you will get from that final out-processing appointment. You need it to claim most, if not all, of your military benefits including VA loans, the GI Bill and medical services from the VA.
Many people misplace the DD214 for one reason or another. The stress of relocating from an overseas assignment back to civilian life is one common cause, but no matter what the reason for misplaced DD Form 214, it is important to get a replacement as soon as possible.
DO NOT PAY FOR A DD214
Some companies offer to get you DD214 for a fee. The process for getting your DD214 is not complicated and there is nothing a third party can do to speed it up.
Generally, there is no charge for basic military personnel and medical record information provided to Veterans, next of kin and authorized representatives from Federal (non-archival) records.
This is provided as a free service by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Costs for Discharge Dates MORE than 62 years ago:
There is a fee for records that are considered “Archival”, which depends on the discharge date. If the request is made 62 years after the service member’s separation from the military, the records are now open to the public and subject to the public fee schedule (44 USC 2116c and 44 USC 2307). This is a rolling date, the current year minus 62 years.
These archival requests require the purchase of the COMPLETE photocopy of the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF):
- A routine OMPFs of 5 pages or less: $25 flat fee
- A routine OMPF of 6 pages or more: $70 flat fee (most OMPFs fall in this category)
- Persons of Exceptional Prominence (PEP) OMPF: $.80 cents per page ($20 minimum)
If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as that determination is made.
Response Time: most requests for separation documents can be processed within 10 days.
Response times from the National Personnel Record Center (NPRC) vary depending on the complexity of your request, the availability of records, and workload.
- Requests for separation documents DD214 within 10 days (about 92% of the time)
- Requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 Fire, or older records that require extensive research efforts, may take 6 months or more to complete. (There was a fire in 1973 that destroyed a large portion of the records. If the records requested were affected, they will respond with instructions on how to proceed.)
The NPRC works actively to respond to each request in a timely fashion, keep in mind that they receive approximately 4,000 to 5,000 requests per day.
Please do not send a follow-up request before 90 days have elapsed, as it may cause further delays.
WHERE TO SEND MY REQUEST
You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archive’s National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Be sure to use the address specified (either in the instructions on the SF-180 or in the online system, eVetRecs). (See full list of Locations of Military Service Records.)
NPRC FAX NUMBER:
NPRC MAILING ADDRESS
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Please note that requests which are sent by Priority Mail, FedEx, UPS, or other “express” services will only arrive at the NPRC sooner. They will not be processed any faster than standard requests.
WHO MAY REQUEST MILITARY SERVICE RECORDS?
You may request military service records (including DD214) if you are:
- A military Veteran, or
- Next of kin of a deceased, former member of the military.
- The next of can be any of the following:
- Surviving spouse who has not remarried
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED FOR THE REQUEST?
Your request must contain certain basic information for the NPRC to locate your service records. This information includes:
- The Veteran’s complete name used while in service
- Service number
- Social Security number
- Branch of service
- Dates of service
- Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known)
- If you suspect your records may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:
- Place of discharge
- Last unit of assignment
- Place of entry into the service, if known.
- All requests must be signed and dated by the Veteran or next of kin
- If you are the next of kin of a deceased Veteran, you must provide proof of death of the Veteran such as a copy of death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary.
RECOMMENDED INFORMATION (OPTIONAL)
While this information is not required, it is extremely helpful to NPRC staff in understanding and fulfilling your request:
- The purpose or reason for your request, such as applying for Veterans benefits, preparing to retire, or researching your personal military history.
- Any deadlines related to your request. We will do our best to meet any priorities. For example, if you were applying for a VA-guaranteed Home Loan and need to provide proof of military service by a specific date.
- Any other specific information, documents, or records you require from your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) besides your Report of Separation (DD214).
HOW CAN I CHECK ON THE STATUS OF MY REQUEST?
Allow about 10 days for the NPRC to receive and process your request by using the Online Status Update Request form.
- the request number if you have one,
- the name, address and phone number of the requester, and
- the Veteran’s branch of service to aid us to finding your request in our system.
You may also telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line (this is a long-distance call for most customers): 314-801-0800
Note: Our peak calling times are weekdays between 10:00a.m. CST and 3:00 p.m. CST. Staff is available to take your call as early as 7:00 a.m. and as late as 5:00p.m. CST.
OTHER METHODS TO OBTAIN MILITARY SERVICE RECORDS
Other potential methods to obtain your records include:
- writing a letter
- visiting the NPRC
- contacting your State or County
- Hiring an independent researcher
Special Note on Contacting by Email: Requests for military personnel records or information from them cannot be accepted by email at this time. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) and Department of Defense directives require a written request, signed and dated, to access information from military personnel records. Our email address should only be used only to request general information (hours of operations, procedures and forms) or to submit compliments, complaints or concerns