Skip the trip: More military ID cardholders can now renew online

by Tommy Grant

About 1 million people with Uniformed Services Identification cards are now eligible to renew their ID cards online, rather than visiting an office in person.

Most USID cardholders — including military retirees, reservists, spouses and dependents of U.S. service members — can file their requests online and receive new IDs by mail, defense officials said Jan. 16. The move expands a pilot program that began in February 2023 to allow uniformed sponsors with a common access card to request online renewals of USID cards.

The IDs are used to enter Defense Department facilities and to access benefits like health care.

DOD issues about 4.5 million ID cards each year, about 2.5 million of which are USID cards. Of those, around 1 million USIDs are eligible for online renewal.

For now, online renewal is limited to those who live in the United States, but officials are working to expand it to non-U.S. addresses as well. People whose IDs have expired and those seeking their first ID card are also ineligible for online services.

Allowing more beneficiaries to renew their IDs online frees up the pass and ID offices for active duty military and civilian government employees who need to apply for or renew a CAC, officials said.

To request an online renewal, the sponsor must be able to log into the ID Card Office Online as a CAC holder or have a DOD Self-Service Logon username and password. Make sure to read the instructions on how to set up a DS Logon account when creating a new profile. Sponsors will request the renewal by clicking the “Family ID Cards” tab on the ID Card Office Online landing page.

According to DOD, other requirements include:

  • The USID card being renewed must be active, not expired. Children are eligible for online USID renewal if they have an active USID card.
  • The sponsor and the cardholder must have email addresses listed in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). You can check your data in DEERS to make sure it’s up to date.
  • The cardholder must have a photo saved in DEERS that was taken within the last 12 years.
  • The cardholder must have a current U.S. address in DEERS. Cards can’t be mailed to P.O. boxes.

Once the request is processed, a new card will be created and mailed to the card recipient at the address listed in DEERS. The sponsor and the cardholder will receive an email once the card is shipped, directing the sponsor to acknowledge when they’ve received the card. Once the sponsor acknowledges receipt, the new USID card will be activated and the old one will be deactivated.

The deactivated card should be returned to the government, to the nearest Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) site, or mailed to: DMDC-DSC, Attn: USID Card Returns, 2102 E. 21st Street N, Wichita, KS 67214.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families.” She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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