Military Record Requests Using Standard Form 180 (SF-180)

Order copies of WWI Draft Registration Cards online.

Veterans or next-of-kin of deceased veterans can use the online order form at vetrecs.archives.gov (or use the SF-180). Archival requests may also be processed online (or via the SF-180).

1. How to Obtain Standard Form 180 (SF-180) to Request Military Records

There are several ways to obtain an SF-180. You can:

  1. Download and print a copy of the SF-180 in PDF format.

    Please Note: While Section II, Paragraph 1 of the Standard Form 180 outlines multiple types of records that may be available to the requester, the DD Form 214 is the most common document necessary to obtain most veteran's benefits.  The typical DD Form 214 request can be processed within ten work days while requests for other types of records will require longer processing time.  If a complete copy of the military service record is desired, please check the "Other" box and specify "Complete Copy" in the provided space.

    [image-button label="Download form SF-180 to mail or fax your request." image="pdf" classes="" link="/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf" /]

    Where to Return the Form:

  2. Contact Us to order the form through the mail
    National Personnel Records Center
    1 Archives Drive
    St. Louis, Missouri 63138

Other Ways to Obtain the SF-180:

The SF 180 may be photocopied as needed. Please submit a separate SF 180 for each individual whose records are being requested.

2. Write a Letter to Request Records

If you are not able to obtain a SF-180, you may still submit a request for military records. Requests must contain enough information to allow us to identify the record from among the more than 70 million on file at the NPRC. For example, if you are requesting an Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), please include as much of the following information as possible:

Please submit a separate request (either SF 180 or letter) for each individual whose records are being requested.

Please Note: Next-of-kin (the un-remarried widow or widower, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran) must 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.

Additional information is required if you are requesting clinical or medical treatment records (see Federal Records).

How to Submit Requests:

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FEDERAL AND ARCHIVAL RECORDS?   Learn more
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Federal law [5 USC 552a(b)] requires that all written requests for Federal (non-archival) records and information be signed (in cursive) and dated (within the last year).

You may submit more than one request per envelope or fax, but please submit a separate request (either SF 180 or letter) for each individual whose records are being requested.

Please Note: While Section II, Paragraph 1 of the Standard Form 180 outlines multiple types of records that may be available to the requester, the DD Form 214 is the most common document necessary to obtain most veteran's benefits.  The typical DD Form 214 request can be processed within ten work days while requests for other types of records will require longer processing time.  If a complete copy of the military service record is desired, please check the "Other" box and specify "Complete Copy" in the provided space.

The Center will respond in writing by U.S. Mail.

Order Processing Time

Response time for records requested from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) 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.


Emergency Requests and Deadlines:

If your request is urgent (e.g. upcoming surgery, funeral, etc.) and there is a deadline associated with your request, please provide this information in the "Comments" section of eVetrecs or in the "Purpose" section of the SF-180 and fax it to our Customer Service Team at (314) 801-0764. Our goal is to complete all urgent requests within two working days. However, in some instances we can complete requests the same day if necessary. Please contact 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 they will be happy to assist you with emergency service.

If your burial request involves internment at a Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117 or visit their website http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/. 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 interned 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.

NOTE:The 1973 Fire at the National Personnel Records Center damaged or destroyed 16-18 million Army and Air Force records that documented the service history of former military personnel discharged from 1912-1964. Although the information in many of these primary source records was either badly damaged or completely destroyed, often alternate record sources can be used to reconstruct the service of the veterans impacted by the fire. Sometimes we are able to reconstruct the service promptly using alternate records that are in our holdings, but other times we must request information from other external agencies for use in records reconstruction. In some instances, therefore, requests that involve reconstruction efforts may take several weeks to a month to complete.

"NARA ensures, for the Citizen and the Public Servant, for the President and the Congress and the Courts, ready access to essential evidence."