National Archives at St. Louis

Access to Clinical and Medical Treatment Records by the Veteran, Next-of-Kin, or Person of Record

If you are NOT the Person of Record, see Access to Clinical and Medical Treatment Records by the General Public

How do I request copies of records?

Federal law [5 USC 552a(b)] requires that all requests for records and information be submitted in writing. Each request must be signed (in cursive) and dated (within the last year). Requests for certain types of restricted records require specific authorization from the veteran or person of record. You will be notified if this type of authorization is required and may receive NA Form 13036, Authorization for Release of Military Medical Patient Records.

As the NPRC files most clinical records and medical treatment records by the name of the last hospitalizing or treatment facility, requesters must provide the following information:

  1. Name and Location of the last hospitalizing (inpatient clinical records) or treatment facility (outpatient health records): usually this is the last facility at which treatment was provided.

  2. The Year of hospitalization or last treatment and the Type of treatment (inpatient, outpatient, dental, mental health, etc.). If you need copies of specific records, please be sure to state the type of illness, injury or treatment involved.

  3. The patient's Full Name used during treatment.

  4. The patient's Social Security Number and Status (specify: veteran, retiree, dependent of military, federal employee or other) during treatment.

  5. If the patient is/was a dependent: the Military Sponsor's Name and the Sponsor's Service Number and/or Social Security Number.

Note: If you filed a medical-related claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs, your clinical (inpatient) records may be on file with that agency.

To request clinical and medical treatment records:

Veterans and Next-of-Kin may:

All Others (including veterans and next-of-kin who choose not to submit an electronic request):

When sending a request via postal mail or fax, please use the Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. Although not mandatory, using the SF-180 is the recommended method to send a request for military service information. This form captures all the necessary information to locate a record. Provide as much information on the form as possible and send copies of any service documents that you may have.

Follow the instructions for preparing the SF-180. Check the Records Location Table and submit your request to the appropriate address.

Costs: Generally there is no charge for basic military personnel and health record information provided to veterans, next-of-kin and authorized representatives. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as that determination is made.

Veterans, or their next-of-kin, who have a strong interest in viewing their own files in person, rather than receiving document copies by mail, may request an appointment with the Federal Records Center Research Room, or hire an independent researcher to examine the records on their behalf.

Response Time and Checking the Status of a Request:

Response time varies and is dependent upon the complexity of your request, the availability of records and our workload. Please do not send a follow-up request before 90 days have elapsed, as it may cause further delays. While the NPRC works actively to respond to each request in a timely fashion, the Center receives approximately 4,000 - 5,000 requests per day. We are responding to requests for separation documents within 10 days about 92% of the time. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 Fire, or older records which require extensive search efforts, may take 6 months or more to complete.

Checking the Status of Your Request: Once you have allowed sufficient time for us to receive and process your request (about 10 days), you may check the status of your request by using the Online Status Update Request form.

Special Note on Calling by Phone: If you have already submitted a request and need to know its status you may speak to a Customer Service Representative. Staff is available to take your call as early as 7:00 am CST and as late as 5:00 pm CST. Our peak calling times are weekdays between 10:00 am CST and 3:00 pm CST:

Telephone: 314-801-0800
Telephone (Toll Free) 1-866-272-6272


General Information:

Veterans and Next-of-Kin of deceased veterans have the same access rights to the record. The next-of-kin is defined as any of the following: the un-remarried widow or widower, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran. Next-of-kin must also provide proof of death of the veteran, such as a copy of the death certificate, a letter from the funeral home or a published obituary.

Authorized Third Party Requesters, e.g., lawyers, doctors, historians, etc., may submit requests for information from individual records with the veteran's, or next-of-kin's, signed and dated authorization. They should state who they are in relation to the individual and the purpose of the request. All authorizations should specify exactly what the veteran (or next-of-kin) is allowing to be released to a third party. Authorizations are valid one year from date of signature. A sample authorization is included for your review. Next-of-kin must also provide the third party requestor with proof of death of the veteran, such as a copy of the death certificate, a letter from the funeral home or a published obituary.

Information or copies of documents may be released from military and medical records within the provisions of the law. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act provide balance between the right of the public to obtain information from military service records and the right of the former military service member to protect his/her privacy. Please review these items for additional information. In all cases, you must sufficiently identify the person whose record is requested, so that the records can be located with reasonable effort.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272