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How to Get A Military ID Card for Newlyweds

Checking IDs at the Gate. Photo by Sgt. Marcus Fichtl, 8th MP BDE
Photo by Sgt. Marcus Fichtl, 8th MP BDE

First comes love. Second comes marriage. Third comes your tan military dependent ID card taking up space in your wallet.

While your sailor, Marine, Coastie, airman or soldier serves in the military, you will need a military ID card in order to drive on base, use the commissary and exchange, enroll in Tricare (our health insurance), and take part in all other military benefits that come to you direct from your service member.

Here are the five things you need to know in order to get a military ID card as a newlywed.

1.Your service member must sponsor you.

Because all benefits are derived from your service member's job, he or she must be the one sponsoring you through the process. He must obtain the forms and sign them in person.

If he is deployed or you married by proxy, DD Form 1172-2 can be signed and notarized in front of a verifying official or signed using a specific power of attorney for ID cards/DEERS. Your service member should ask his command for instructions concerning his particular location.

You can also find out more about getting your ID card without your service member here.

2. Collect your documents.

In order to get a military ID card, you will need your photo ID, social security card, birth certificate and wedding license.

If you and your service member already have a child together, you will need to bring his birth certificate and social security card.

If you are bringing children to the marriage from a prior relationship, you will need their birth certificates, social security cards and your marriage license and/or adoption papers.

All documents must be the official form, not photocopies. Putting these items in page protectors in a binder or in a large envelope helps to keep everything in one location.

3. Enroll in DEERS.

Now that you have all the necessary documents, your service member needs to enroll you in DEERS. You are not automatically enrolled. Your service member needs to enroll you.

DEERS, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, is a series of databases of all uniformed service members, their legal dependents, and others who qualify. This is the worldwide system that verifies those who qualify for military benefits.

You get enrolled in DEERS and get your ID on the same day, so you must be present and any dependents over age 10 must be present with your service member.

You can either go to your local ID card office -- the Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) site. Find your local site here.

Or your service member can set up an appointment online. Family members say that it is much more convenient to get the appointment because lines can be long at the ID card office and these offices can close for holidays, training and other events.

At the office, the service member completes Form 1172-2. Instructions for filling out the form can be found here.

This form is subject to verification time and processing.

4. Finally the military ID card.

Once the RAPIDS worker verifies and processes your paperwork so that you are duly enrolled in DEERS, your service member fills out DD Form 1173 for Dependents of Active Duty Members or 1173-1 for Dependents of Guard and Reserve.

You must bring two other forms of ID. At least one of these must have your photo.

After the forms are filled out, the RAPIDS worker takes your picture on site and makes your ID to take home with you.

See our Military Dependent ID Cards page for more details.

5. Don't lose your card.

Replacing a military ID is not as simple as getting online and getting your current driver's license replaced. This process differs depending on where you live.

Your service member may have to repeat the process with you in person. A letter from your husband's commander may be required or a visit to the base security office.

If you have a specific power of attorney for ID card/DEERS, you can go to your nearest RAPIDS site and obtain your new card.

Also, this card may not be altered in any way or used by anyone else, subject to forfeit.

Your military ID card is required to access nearly all of your military benefits. May you and your service member use it for all the years of your successful military life.

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Jacey Eckhart Family and Spouse

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Contributor

Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs at Military.com and a military sociologist.  Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan??

Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times.  Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.  

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