How to Get a Military ID. Family members of military personnel are eligible to receive their own military identification (ID) card. Active duty dependents use their ID cards as medical insurance cards, to go on and off base, and to use the commissary and exchange. Reserve or guard dependents must have a copy of their sponsor's orders to use their cards in these ways. Read on to learn how to get a military ID.

Determine if you are eligible for a military ID card. Active duty personnel, active duty family members, military retirees and their family members are all eligible for military ID cards.

Ensure that eligible dependents are enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment System (DEERS). This must be done by the sponsor.

Go to a Real Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) site.

Bring a copy of your sponsor's military orders. Unless you have a power of attorney, your sponsor must accompany you to the RAPIDS site in order to receive a military ID card.

Receive a tan or red ID card. The color of your card will depend on your sponsor's orders. Active duty dependents will receive a tan card, and guard or reserve dependents will receive a red card, unless their sponsor has been called to active duty, in which case they will need to receive a tan card.


  • Dependents of active duty personnel and guard or reserve personnel who have been called to active duty must be enrolled in DEERS in order to set up and receive medical benefits. If guard or reserve personnel are called to active duty for 30 days or more, a new ID card must be issued to their dependents in order to receive medical benefits.


  • There is often times a long wait at RAPIDS sites, so call ahead and see if you can schedule an appointment. If this option is not available at your site, try to get there early to avoid the wait.