Request Military Service Records
Recent military service and medical records are not online. However, most veterans and their next of kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and the following military service records any of the ways listed below.
- DD 214/ Separation Documents
- Official Military Personnel File (OMPF)
- Replacement Medals
- Medical and Health Records
What if I’m not the Veteran or next-of-kin? Can I still access files?
- It depends on the date the service member separated from the military. Military personnel records are open to the public 62 years after they leave the military. (To calculate this, take the current year and subtract 62.) Records of any veteran who separated from the military 62 (or more) years ago can be ordered by anyone for a copying fee (detailed below under “cost”). See Access to Military Records by the General Public for more details.
But what if it's been less than 62 years?
- Records of individuals who left service less than 62 years ago are subject to access restrictions and only limited information or copies may be released to the general public 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. See Federal Records Center Program to access these records.
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Free if Discharge Date is LESS than 62 years ago:
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.
Some companies advertise DD Form 214 research services and will charge a fee for obtaining copies. 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. Learn more.
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 times from NPRC vary depending on the complexity of your request, the availability of the records, and our workload.
- Requests for separation documents DD 214 within 10 days (about 92% of the time)
- Requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 Fire, or older records that require extensive search efforts, may take 6 months or more to complete.
We work actively to respond to each request in a timely fashion, keep in mind we receive approximately 4,000 - 5,000 requests per day.
Please do not send a follow-up request before 90 days have elapsed, as it may cause further delays.
You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives' National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Be sure to use the address specified (either in the instructions on the SF-180 or in our online system, eVetRecs). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC. (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. See the section above on emergency requests and deadlines.
You may request military service records (including DD 214) if you are:
- A military veteran, or
- Next of kin of a deceased, former member of the military.
The next of kin can be any of the following:
- Surviving spouse who has not remarried
Public access depends on the discharge date:
Records are accessioned into the National Archives, and become archival, 62 years after the service member's separation from the military. This is a rolling date, the current year minus 62 years. See more information on records older than 62 years.
Archival records are open to the public and can be ordered online for a copying fee. See Access to Military Records by the General Public for more details.
Your request must contain certain basic information for us 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 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 (DD Form 214).
For additional details on what information may or may not be included, please see the Special Notice to Veterans and Family Members regarding requests for copies of military personnel and/or medical files.
Allow about 10 days for us to receive and process your request, then you may check the status of 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 10:00 a.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 5:00 p.m. CST.
Other potential methods to obtain your records include:
- Writing a letter
- Visiting the NPRC
- Contacting your state or county
See Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records for more details, or see more information on access to the general public.
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.
NOTE: If you send messages using WebTV or a free-email service, you will not receive our response if your mailbox is full. Messages sent to full mailboxes are returned to us as "undeliverable." You may wish to include your mailing address in your message so that we may respond via the U.S. Postal Service.