Obtaining A Veteran’s Service Records (DD214 and Other Documents)
Special Notice Regarding Service Record Requests
The National Personnel Records Center responds to over 1.4 million requests annually for copies of military personnel and/or medical records. Their goal is to provide timely responses in an efficient manner, so that veterans and their families obtain the information needed to qualify for benefits and entitlements.
Nearly half of all requesters seek only a copy of the separation document, which is the necessary document required for veteran benefits. However, about ten percent of the requests that we receive ask for a copy of a file.
Since the 1970s, our standard procedure for replying to requests for entire files has been to provide only copies of key documents and extracts of vital information, rather than a copy of every document in a personnel and/or medical file. This approach avoids costly delays in reviewing and copying some documents — such as leave papers, identification card applications, and clothing issuances — that are not normally needed for benefit claim purposes. As a result, we are able to respond to more requesters, faster, and at less cost to the taxpayers. Exceptions to this procedure are files more than 62 years old, US Marine Corps files, all certified legal cases, and all requests from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In these instances, all documents are provided.
This extract contains copies of all essential documents to certify entitlement to most rights and benefits associated with military service, to identify key events in a military career, and to identify significant events in health care. Personal data pertaining to third parties is redacted from the file, pursuant to Privacy Act provisions.
When only key documents and extracts are provided from the Official Military Personnel File and the Medical Record, the response package contains a copy of all separation documents and all of the following information if it is in the file:
- Military Services Dates
- Character of Service
- Promotions and Reductions
- Duty Stations and Assignments
- Foreign or Sea Service
- Military Schooling and Training
- Awards and Letters of Commendation
- Disciplinary Actions
- Lost Time
- Enlistments Contracts
- Entry and Separation Physical Exams
- Dental Examinations
- Clinical Summaries/Cover Sheets
If, after receiving an extract of a file, a requester submits a follow-up request for additional information or documents, NPRC will automatically send copies of all the other documents in the file.
Click here to read instruction on how put in a Military Record Requests using Standard Form 180 (SF-180)
Click here to put in a a Military Record Request online (written signature by mail or fax is still required)
Cost: 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. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as that determination is made.
Response 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.
Other Methods: Other potential methods to obtain your records include writing a letter, visiting the NPRC, contacting your state or county, or hiring an independent researcher. NOTE: 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. 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.
You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives’s National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC. Be sure to use the address specified by eVetRecs or the instructions on the SF-180. 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.