The Ultimate Guide: How to Get a Replacement DD214

If you’re a military veteran, you’re probably already aware of how vital the DD Form 214 is to your life after active duty. Your military records are essential for claiming veterans benefits, like comprehensive healthcare services and loans. Moreover, this document is helpful for employment purposes. Thus, the significance of one’s military service records cannot be stressed enough.

Given the importance of the DD 214, there may be instances wherein you need a replacement copy. The copy given to you upon discharge may have gotten lost or misplaced. There may also be instances wherein the original document is damaged or destroyed. Fortunately, there are various ways to request a replacement DD Form 214.

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What Is DD Form 214?

Before we dive into how to request military records, we need to clarify what exactly this document is. A Report of Separation is issued to personnel once they were on active duty or have had active duty training for at least 90 consecutive days.

The most recent form of Report of Separation issued by the Department of Defense (DoD) is the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. This document is commonly called DD Form 214 or simply DD 214. This is your official military personnel file. The original copies of the DD 214 are primarily given to people after retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty.

Military veterans or personnel on active duty are entitled to various benefits. You need documentation to prove you’re eligible for these perks; this is where the DD 214 comes in. Hence, you always need a copy of your DD 214 to maximize your post-service benefits.

Reasons for Needing a Replacement DD Form 214

Given how essential it is for military members to provide proof of their military service, it’s no wonder many people request replacement copies. What are the common reasons why people would need a replacement DD 214?

Some people may have lost the original copy of their DD214 because of theft, fire, or other forms of natural disasters. There may also be instances wherein there have been damages to the original document over time. The DD Form 214 has been issued to military veterans since 1950. Thus, it’s normal for the text of the original one to fade over time.

There may also be instances wherein the information in the original form is incomplete or incorrect. In this case, it’s vital that you not only request military service records but also make a request pertaining to corrections. The information in your military service records must be correct to avoid any possible problems.

Due to digital transformation, select military information is readily available online. However, there may be veterans who have difficulty accessing their online files. Moreover, while the National Archives may have access to digital records from the Army, they don’t have access to the digital records of other service branches. Hence, requesting a copy of DD214 is best at times.

How to Get a Replacement DD214

Before anything else, you should note that military service records issued less than 62 years ago can only be accessed by veterans, their next of kin, or authorized representatives. The Freedom of Information Act may give the public access to select information, but the entire DD 214 file is available only to select individuals.

Moreover, you can’t just walk into a government office and ask for a DD Form 214. You must be prepared to ensure this will be a smooth process. Fortunately, you can obtain free copies if you’re ready with everything you need.

For emergency requests pertaining to burial at a Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery, you can contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117 or through the official website. You should provide a death certificate to expedite requesting a DD214 for a deceased veteran.

Gather Essential Information

You need to provide basic information for the resource you’re using to locate your military records. You must be able to provide your complete name during your discharge, last unit, branch of service, service dates, rank, and service number.

There are millions of American veterans. Thus, you should provide as much information as possible for them to locate your file accordingly.

Contact the National Archives

If you need a copy of your DD Form 214, your best option is to contact the National Archives, notably the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The NPRC is the official government repository of all military records, which includes your DD214.

You may contact the NPRC for DD214-related requests online, by mail, or fax. You may even head to the NPRC office yourself to take advantage of this free service. This is NPRC’s official address listed:

National Personnel Records Center 1 Archives Drive St. Louis, MO 63138

Meanwhile, the NPRC fax number is 314-801-9195.If you need further assistance, call the NPRC customer service line at 314-801-0800. You may also contact the Archive customer service team at 1-866-272-6272.

If you plan on contacting the NPRC for help, you should avoid calling during peak times (10:00 a.m. CST and 3:00 p.m. CST on weekdays). Moreover, you should have all the necessary information ready, so you’re confident you can answer all their questions.

Requesting Replacement DD214 online

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Fortunately, the digital age has expedited obtaining replacement copies of DD Form 214. One of the most efficient ways to get a replacement copy of DD214 is through the e-Vetrecs website. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to navigate through this website:

  1. Pick the ‘make a new request’ option on the home page.
  2. Identify whether you’re a veteran, next of kin, or other. You’ll also be asked if your request pertains to current or former military personnel.
  3. Provide information like the veteran’s branch of service at the time and service component, and specify if they were an Officer or Enlisted in the Veterans Service Details tab. You need to detail the purpose of the request, too.
  4. Determine which government document you’re requesting.
  5. Give your full name and contact details.
  6. Review all the information carefully, and click submit.

What makes online requests a great option is the speed and ease. You just need an internet connection and all the information requested.

Mail or Fax Application Process

As mentioned, you may contact the NPRC via mail or fax for DD 214 replacement requests. If you choose this method, complete a Standard Form 180 or write a request letter. Moreover, your letter should be comprehensive enough for the NPRC to locate your DD 214 accordingly.

Aside from the veteran’s complete name, you should provide the following information in the letter:

  • Service or social security number. If you can give both, that would be ideal.
  • Military service branch
  • Entry and discharge dates and place of military service
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last duty assignment place

This is the NPRC’s address listed for your convenience: 1 Archives Drive St. Louis, MO 63138

All fax requests may be sent to 314-801-9195.

If you choose to submit your request via fax or mail, you should ensure that your request contains all pertinent information. If available, you should also send supporting documents that provide proof of your military history. Moreover, this should be a signed and dated request, so you shouldn’t forget to sign and indicate when you sent your request.

Alternatives for Obtaining Military Records

The National Archives isn’t the only resource you can turn to for requests pertaining to replacement DD Form 214. You can get assistance from a veterans service organization, state and county veterans affairs offices, and the office of the military branch where you were associated with.

If you need proof that you were once part of the US military, we at SCRACVS can be of service. We can provide active duty status verification even if you don’t have your social security number or birth date.

How Long Will It Take to Get a DD214 Copy?

You can expect the replacement copy of your DD214 to arrive within three to four weeks. If your replacement copy has requests for corrections, the process will be longer. Unless you have a death certificate, you should allot some waiting time for your copy. You should keep the standard turnaround time in mind if you need the DD 214 copy on a particular date.

Tracking the Status of Your Request

You can check the status request online if you submitted the request form online. The e-Vetrecs website has a follow-up request option for this purpose. You may contact the NPRC customer service line at 314-801-0800 if you submitted your request via mail or fax.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Given the DD 214 is importance, you should read the detailed instructions before submitting your request. You might delay the process if you have a typographical error or forget to include certain information. While requesting a DD Form 214 is a free service, you should carefully review all the details in the form.


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The key to obtaining your replacement copy is following the instructions carefully. Given how important your DD Form 214 is, you should always ensure that you have a copy. Alternatively, you may seek assistance from us at SCRACVS to provide proof of your military service.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the alternative to DD214?

The NPRC may issue an NA Form 13038, a Certification of Military Service, instead of a DD Form 214. You may also seek assistance from SCRACVS for military verification.

What does DD214 stand for?

The DD 214 means Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. It not only serves as your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, but it’s also an essential document for various post-service benefits, including veterans’ healthcare, educational programs, and even child custody proceedings.

When should I get my DD214?

You should typically receive your DD 214 within three to four weeks after discharge. For emergency requests, such as those related to death benefits or urgent legal matters like child custody, a death certificate will be required to expedite the process.

Are all DD214 the same?

While all DD 214 forms serve the same purpose as a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, it’s crucial to be aware that not all copies are equal. The short or deleted copy, known as Copy 1, may not be accepted for certain benefits or legal proceedings, so make sure to keep track of the complete version for full validity.

Do all branches use DD214?

Yes, all US military branches utilize the same DD 214 form. You should be issued this document unless you were discharged from military service before 1950.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.