Two Forms of ID Now Needed to Request VHIC Card

A man hands his ID to a woman at a desk

The new VHIC has additional security features and a different look and feel.

Newly-enrolled Veterans or enrolled Veterans who do not have the legacy Veteran Identification Card (VIC) will need two forms of identification to request the new Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC).

Why Are Two Forms of ID Needed?

VHICs are used to access U.S. military bases and, in some cases, allow access through U.S. airport security. As a result, VA wants to ensure the new VHICs are issued appropriately and to the correct person.

As of August 2014, to ensure your identity, VA has strengthened requirements to receive a new VHIC. Veterans must now provide one form of primary identification and one form of secondary identification when requesting a VHIC.

See the “Acceptable Identification Documents” list below.

Features of the New Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

  • Increased security for your personal information — no personally identifiable information is contained on the magnetic stripe or barcode.
  • Member ID is the unique identifier for the Veteran as established by the Department of Defense (DOD). If Veteran does not have a unique identifier from DOD, the “Member ID” label and information will not be printed on the card.
  • The Plan ID is the unique Health Plan Identifier assigned to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) as established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This number is the same for all VHICs.
  • A salute to your military service — the emblem of your latest branch of service is displayed on your card. Several special awards also will be listed.

The VHIC replaces the legacy Veteran Identification Card (VIC) and is issued only to Veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system.

Purpose of the VHIC

The VHIC is for identification and check-in at VA appointments. It cannot be used as a credit card or an insurance card and it does not authorize or pay for care at non-VA facilities.

Front side of an ID card


VHIC Issuance

Getting the new card is easy. In February 2014, VA began issuing the VHIC to newly enrolled Veterans and enrolled Veterans who were not previously issued the legacy VIC but who requested an identification card. VA will automatically mail the VHIC to enrolled Veterans who were previously issued the legacy VIC and will complete these mailings by winter 2014. There is no action required by these Veterans to receive the VHIC. Because of the volume of VHICs that will be mailed, VA asks for your patience during this time.

Enrolled Veterans who were not issued the legacy VIC may contact their local VA medical center Enrollment Coordinator to arrange to have their picture taken for the VHIC, or they can request a VHIC at their next VA health care appointment.

Do We Have Your Correct Address?

Important! Veterans who are already enrolled should ensure the address VA has on file is correct so they can receive their VHIC in a timely manner. To update or to confirm your address with us, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387). You also can view and change your address using the kiosk available at many VA medical facilities. If the post office cannot deliver your VHIC, the card will be returned to VA.

If you are not enrolled with VA for your health care, we encourage you to apply for enrollment online or by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387). You may also apply for enrollment in person at your local VA medical facility. Once your enrollment is verified, you may have your picture taken at your local VA medical center so that a VHIC can be mailed to you. You also will receive a Veteran Health Benefits Handbook welcoming you to VA.

What to do if you do not receive your new VHIC

If you are a new enrollee and had your picture taken at a VA Medical facility, you should receive your VHIC within 7 to 10 days after you request a VHIC. If you applied for enrollment and have not received confirmation of your enrollment status, we may be missing some required information, such as your military service or financial information. Although we strive to do all we can to ensure we enroll Veterans in a timely manner, this missing information could result in a delay in processing your application for enrollment. If this is the case, we will try to contact you via telephone or mail to get the information we need to complete your enrollment application.

Again, we encourage Veterans who are already enrolled to ensure VA has their correct address on file. If you have moved or have a new address, please be sure VA has it so that you can receive your VHIC in a timely manner.

What to do with your legacy VIC

Until you receive the new, more secure VHIC, you are encouraged to safeguard your legacy VIC, just like you would a credit card, to prevent unauthorized access to your identity information. Once the VHIC is received, destroy your legacy VIC by cutting it up or shredding it.

If your VHIC is lost or stolen, you should contact your local VA Medical Facility to determine the nearest facility where you can get a new photo taken for a new card, or call us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

Acceptable Identification Documents

The legacy VICs and VHICs are acceptable forms of primary identification. Note that two forms of ID are now required, which means that the Veteran must have at least one primary and one secondary form of identification to receive a VHIC.

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