I don’t know about you, but the idea of going to the Military ID office makes me cringe; its almost equivalent to going to the DMV. As a military spouse, your dependent ID card is vital. The ID not only gives you access to base, it also acts as your health benefit card through TRICARE, grants you access to the commissary and exchange, MWR and other privileges.
So when it comes time to renew your military ID, its nice to have some helpful tips to make the visit go smoother. Here’s what you need to know:
- First and foremost, see if you can avoid going at all. There is a pilot program allowing sponsors to request a USID card renewal online. This can be the easiest and best option if you plan ahead of time and your card is at least 30 days from expiring. Keep in mind, this is only available to those who have a mailing address in the continental US, Hawaii, or Alaska. For more details, check out this website here.
If you are not able to renew your ID online…
- Locate your base’s RAPIDS ID Card office. My ID was expired, so this is the route I had to take. Living in the Hampton Roads area, we are near a lot of military bases and therefore near a lot of different ID offices. I found that some offices are walk-in only and some are appointment-only, but the major ones allow appointments and walk-ins. My advice, if you can make an appointment, do it! We made the mistake of not making one and we were turned away because they could not accommodate anymore people. To find a nearby Rapids ID office and make an appointment, click here.
- Come to your appointment prepared. You will need the following:
- Your sponsor must complete the DD Form 1172-2 in person at the ID office, electronically using their CAC or DS logon, or you can bring one with you that is signed by your sponsor and notarized. You can also use a valid Power of Attorney.
- You need two forms of ID: If you military ID is still valid, it does count as one form of ID. If it is expired, you will need to provide another ID. Since my ID is expired, I brought my Driver’s License, my Passport, and my social security card. I wasn’t taking any chances on not having the right forms of identification with me.
- If you are enrolling in DEERS for the first time you will also need proof of eligibility, as well.
The DoD provides a good pre-arrival checklist here.
- Be prepared to wait. I found that even people who came to the ID office with appointments, they still had to wait. The offices are self-admittedly understaffed and some have even had budget cuts that required them to change their hours (I don’t know about you, but this surprised me). Bring a book, your phone/tablet, and some water. An activity or tablet is especially important if you had to bring your kids with you like I did. I was fortunate that my daughter wanted to use her tablet almost the entire wait – sometimes that is not the case, especially in new places where she wants to explore.
- Once your name is called, it goes pretty fast from there. They’ll take your paperwork and your old ID and update you in the system. You’ll sign one sheet of paper, they’ll have you take that one lovely photo that you have to deal with for a few years, and then voila! They will print out your new ID and you will be all set.
While the process of going to the RAPIDS ID office is not quite painless, I hope this information helps make your trip a little easier!