Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions from National Archives Callers

  • Select a subject from the menu on the right to view common questions and answers relating to your selection.
  • Links will guide you to further information on our website or to other sources.

Military Personnel Records after 1900 and Civilian Personnel Records

What form do I use to request information from military service records?

Most veterans and their next of kin can request copies of their DD Form 214 and other 20th-century military and medical personnel records online, via eVetRecs.

Otherwise, use Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. The SF-180 form collects 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.

How do I address emergency needs for military service records?

If your request is urgent (for example, upcoming surgery, a funeral, etc.) tell us the nature of the emergency and your deadline in the "Comments" section of eVetRecs or in the "Purpose" section of the Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.

  • Fax your request to our Customer Service Team at 314-801-0764.
  • Call our customer service staff at 314-801-0800 if you have questions or require same-day service. Due to the large number of calls we receive at this number, hold times are often long. However, once you reach a technician, he or she will be happy to assist you with emergency service.
  • If your burial request involves interment at a Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117 or visit the National Cemetery Administration website. We work directly with the Veterans Affairs staff to obtain records to verify service for burial benefits. If the veteran is not going to be interred at a National Cemetery, the requester may fax the SF-180 or signature page from eVetRecs (including signature of the next of kin and proof of death) to the Customer Service Team at 314-801-0764.

How can I get a copy of my DD Form 214, Report of Separation (or equivalent form)?

The DD Form 214, Report of Separation, is filed in the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). Most veterans and their next of kin can request copies of their DD Form 214 and other 20th-century military and medical personnel records online, via  eVetRecs.

How do I check the status of military service records 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.

  • You may also telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line:

    Telephone:   314-801-0800
    Toll Free:   1-866-272-6272
    Note:   Our peak calling times are weekdays between 10 a.m. CST and 3 p.m. CST. Staff is available to take your call as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 5 p.m. CST.

How do I submit a request for Civilian Personnel Records?

The Civilian Personnel web page details how to submit a request.

  • Civilian personnel records are normally transferred to the National Personnel Records Center within 120 days after an employee's separation from Federal employment.
  • Write to the last employing office if fewer than 120 days have elapsed since separation.

Thereafter, send your request to the address listed below. The following information is needed to locate civilian personnel records:

  • full name used during Federal employment,
  • date of birth,
  • social security number (if applicable),
  • name and location of employing Federal agency,
  • beginning and ending dates of Federal service

Written requests (signed and dated) may be mailed or faxed to:

National Personnel Records Center, Annex
1411 Boulder Boulevard
Valmeyer, IL 62295
Fax:   618-935-3014

How do I address emergency needs for Civilian Personnel Records?

If your request is urgent (for example, upcoming job posting, retirement, etc.) tell us the nature of the emergency and your deadline in your request for records.

  • Fax your request to the Civilian Personnel Records Center at 618-935-3014.

 

Research

What are the hours of operations and directions for the Washington, DC, and College Park locations?

The National Archives in Washington, DC, is located at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, between 7th and 9th Streets.

  • The research entrance to the building is on Pennsylvania Avenue. Research hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Research rooms are closed on Sundays and Federal holidays.
  • The entrance to the National Archives Museum is located on Constitution Avenue. Visitor hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the last admission at 5 p.m. The National Archives Museum is closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25.
  • There is no parking at the Washington, DC, building.  Metrorail's Yellow or Green lines stop at the Archives/Navy Memorial station. Also, several bus lines stop in front of the building.  For information about public transportation, consult the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority website at www.wmata.com or call 202 637-7000.

The National Archives at College Park, MD, is located at 8601 Adelphi Road. It is located near the University of Maryland, College Park campus.

  • Research hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Research rooms are closed on Sundays and Federal holidays.
  • There is limited parking at the College Park building. For information about public transportation, consult the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority website at  www.wmata.com or call 202 637-7000.

A free National Archives shuttle bus travels between the Washington, DC, and College Park buildings from Monday through Friday, every hour on the hour, starting at 8 a.m. The last shuttle leaves at 5 p.m. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

How can I best use the National Archives for research?

Have a good idea of the questions that you want answered. Records in the National Archives are not organized by subject, as books in a library are. The records are grouped according to the Federal agencies that created them. Start your research by looking at resources in local libraries, historical societies, or online. Look at our Getting Started ;web page to find out more about starting to research National Archives records and the differences and similarities between NARA and libraries.

How do I submit research requests or microfilm orders?

All research requests or microfilm orders must be submitted in writing through the National Archives website.

  • To submit a research request or a microfilm order, go to the Contact Us page. Scroll to the Contact Us Online section.  Here you'll find links to submit researcher requests and microfilm orders.

How do I check the status of research requests or microfilm orders?

There are three ways to check the status of research requests or microfilm orders:

  1. Go to the Contact Us page. Click the Check the Status of your Order in the left column or scroll to Status of Research and Records Orders. Click on the link to enter your order number to track the status.
  2. Send an email to orderstatus@nara.gov to check your status. Please include your name, telephone number, and email address; the nature of the request; and your researcher request or microfilm order number, if you have one.
  3. Dial 866-272-6272 (press 2, 3). At the tone, leave a message to check your status. Please include your name, telephone number, and email address; the nature of the request; and your researcher request or microfilm order number, if you have one.

 

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