MANCHESTER - 24th July | LONDON - 31st October
veteranUK soldier

What do you need to know to apply for a veteran ID card?

Veteran ID cards are now available to all former members of the armed forces, so if you don’t already have one, you should waste no time in getting one. Without it, you could be missing out on a range of benefits that your service entitles you to, from housing to healthcare and finding jobs for veterans in the UK.

Why should you apply for a veteran ID card?

The main benefit of having the card is to help gain access to a range of support services. This includes making it easier to get assistance from the NHS, apply for social housing with your local authority or access the resources available from veterans’ charities like the Royal British Legion.

It also acts as easy proof of your service, should you ever need it. This may include if you want to claim National Insurance contributions relief for your employer in a civilian role, or take advantage of military discounts at more than 12,000 shops and restaurants with a Defence Discount Service card.

How do you apply for a veteran ID card?

If you left the armed forces on or after December 17th 2018, or are still in uniform but already looking ahead to your next steps, then there’s good news – you shouldn’t need to do anything. All military leavers after this date will automatically receive the card.

However, for those who left the armed forces prior to this, you will need to submit an application. More on how to do that below.

Who’s eligible for an ID card?

Step one is to make sure you’re actually eligible for the benefit. This should be fairly straightforward for most people, as anyone who served in the British Army, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines or Royal Air Force is automatically entitled to the card. This applies to both regulars and those who served in the reserves.

If you were part of other groups within the armed forces, you could still be eligible. In this case, you can check when making an application. If you served in the armed forces of another country, you aren’t able to apply, even if you worked directly alongside UK troops.

In order to make an application, you also need a UK address. However, this is set to change later this year, allowing former forces personnel who have moved overseas the chance to enjoy the benefits of a veteran ID.

What will you need to complete your application?

The easiest way to get your veteran ID card is to apply online via the government’s website. Before you start, however, you’ll need to create a GOV.UK One Login in order to prove your identity. To get this, you’ll need to answer a few security questions and provide a photo ID such as a passport or driving licence.

Once you have this, completing the process online should be very straightforward. However, while making the application, you’ll need to have the following information to hand:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your service number for the last period in which you served
  • When you started and ended your service (these can be approximate if you don’t have the exact dates)
  • A recent passport-style digital photo that shows your head and shoulders

If you can’t apply online, or if you are applying on behalf of someone else, you can submit a postal application. To do this, simply contact the Veterans UK Helpline via email at or by phoning 0808 1914 218 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday and they will arrange to have a form sent out for you to fill in and return.

That’s it. Once done, you can expect to receive your ID and start taking advantage of the support you’re entitled to within eight weeks.

Image credits

© Crown copyright 2024

© Crown copyright 2024