There is often no easy way to retrieve government documents. If you lost, misplaced, or need a new copy of your DD Form 214, you may be concerned about the road to retrieval you are about to embark on—particularly if time is limited.
However, there are two options for receiving a copy of your DD Form 214:
- Utilizing the National Personnel Records Center
- DD214 Direct
First, What Is a DD214?
If you’re next-of-kin to a veteran, you may be in search of his or her DD214 without a complete understanding of the document itself.
DD214s are issued to every veteran of the US Armed Forces by the Department of Defense. Essentially, this form is a certificate of release that identifies the condition of the member’s discharge—including his or her total time in the military, rank, pay, awards, medals, and other critical information.
In fact, the DD214 form is the most important document a discharged member of the military receives.
Why It’s Important
Chances are, if you’re looking for a copy of your DD214, you understand the importance of this form.
DD214s are utilized by a number of government agencies to ensure and protect veteran benefits, most prominent being the Department of Veterans Affairs. But DD214s are requested and required for a long list of circumstances, including:
- VA Mortgage Loans
- Background Checks
- Military Funeral Honors
- Burial at Sea
- VA Benefits
- Genealogical Research
- Veteran Preference Level Job Promotion
- Burial Benefits
- Veteran License Plate
Who Can Request a Copy
Only the military veteran or next-of-kin may request a copy of his or her DD214. Next-of-kin are qualified as the following:
- Spouse (unless remarried)
How to Get Your Copy
There are two options to obtain your DD214. But the method you choose largely relies on how long you are willing or able to wait.
The National Personnel Records Center is the largest resource for retrieving these military documents, as the facility holds records of nearly 100 million veterans. Yet, DD214 files could actually be at one of over 100 different depositories, scattered across the US.
Further, these records are not digitized and can be difficult to access.
In fact, it’s not unusual for DD214s to be unaccounted for altogether when working with standard request channels.
Record Retrieval Through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
Time to Receive DD214: Weeks-Months
When requesting your DD214 through the National Personnel Records Center, you may submit your request online, through the mail, or fax.
It’s important to note the NPRC website asks that you wait at least 90 days before sending a follow-up request. In other words, requests are long to process and may take months for a response—even if your DD214 is unaccounted for.
NPRC: Request Your DD214 Online
Veterans and next-of-Kin can use the NPRC’s online request system, eVetRecs.
After filling out the four-page form, you must print, sign, and date the verification area. If you don’t have a printer, call the NPRC for directions. All NPRC record requests are required to be submitted in writing with a signature and date.
If you are the next-of-kin of a deceased service member, you must additionally provide proof of death, such as a death certificate.
Once these steps are complete, mail or fax your signature verification form to the NPRC.
Request Your DD214 by Mail or Fax
To request your DD214 by mail or fax, you must download, print, and fill out the three-page SF-180 form.
You need access to a printer and the Adobe Acrobat Reader software—otherwise, you must contact the NPRC to order the form to be delivered via mail. If you are unable to obtain the SF-180, you can submit a written letter request.
According to the NPRC site, requests sent by express mail services may arrive at the NPRC sooner, but “they will not be processed any faster…”
Find the NPRC mail and fax information here.
Time to Receive DD214: Weeks-Months Faster Than National Archives
Benefits: Fast, Stress-Free, Digitized Documents
Maybe you can’t wait weeks or months.
Or maybe you can’t stand the tedious paperwork, back-and-forth phone calls, and lines in busy government offices.
Perhaps you already attempted to receive your DD214, and were told it was unaccounted for, or had a negative experience with unsympathetic, overburdened government workers.
Whatever the circumstance, DD214 Direct is an option that expedites the entire process, from request to retrieval. With this service, you receive your DD214 faster, without ever printing, hand-signing, or faxing paperwork.
How It Works
DD214 Direct allows veterans and next-of-kin to submit a request order directly through the website with an electronic signature from a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
Requests are typically processed upon the day of submission, when DD214 Direct performs an initial evaluation to catch and fix common errors by requestors that could otherwise delay orders had they submitted directly.
Then, DD214 Direct identifies the correct submission site; see, although the National Archives website tells veterans and next-of-kin to submit directly through their location, there are many repositories that may have the paperwork. Every day, the NPRC receives hundreds of requests that would have been more quickly processed if they were submitted directly to the repository that owns the record.
Instead, DD214 Direct submits the record request to the correct facility the first time.
But beyond this, our military record researchers and document runners advocate for our clients with a physical presence at multiple repositories.
Our in-person representatives have priority status only available to authorized representatives physically present at the agency repository. This allows us to manually coordinate your order – as opposed to your request bouncing from location to location without a result.
While tracking your request through the government typically results in long hold times and inconclusive answers, tracking your request through DD214 Direct is easy.
Get an estimate of your wait-time with DD214 Direct here or call 888-997-4962.
Why DD214 Direct Is the Best Option
At DD214 Direct, we locate and retrieves military service documents quickly—typically in a fraction of the time it takes to use government channels. But beyond this, DD214 Direct offers courteous service with more methods with which to order and receive documents.
In fact, DD214 Direct has located documents that were previously unaccounted for by records offices.
And not only does DD14 Direct expedite locating your records, we can also deliver them via email, something no other agency will do.
Further, you can take care of the whole transaction, from ordering your records to payment, status-checking to receipt, from the privacy and convenience of your mobile device.
And we are the only military document retrieval company to offer this service.
Who Is DD214 Direct?
DD214 Direct began with veterans who personally experienced the insufferable delays and stress of obtaining their DD214.
Bureaucracy and red tape make it difficult for veterans to receive records when they desperately need them. And this, truly, did not feel right to the founders of DD214 Direct.
Now, our veteran-owned company simplifies and expedites the search and delivery of DD214s to fellow veterans. We represent our clients to locate and retrieve military service documents rapidly.
While the process of locating a misplaced DD214 takes days of back-and-forth phone calls and emails, DD214 Direct knows how to communicate efficiently with government agents to retrieve client paperwork fast.
Because we established relationships with record repositories nationwide, we’ve managed to locate documents clients had been told could not be found.
What Makes DD214 Direct Different
In one word: Certainty.
All too often, the NPRC (or other agencies) respond with unacceptable excuses for why a record can’t be found or released. Typically, this involves one agency pointing the blame at another.
At DD214 Direct, we cut through this frustrating tedium by going to the correct agency first. When given excuses, we push back and help the agency find the document.
But beyond this, DD214 Direct also offers emergency services for funerals.
With DD214 Direct, requests for funeral or burial reasons can typically be delivered within 1-2 business days, in time to have military honors at the service.
Let Us Honor Your Service by Serving You
As fellow U.S. veterans, we have a vested interest in serving you and simplifying a stressful process that can take months—even without a successful record retrieval.
When you hire DD214 Direct, you hire a team of advocates who will get you what you need in the fastest, simplest way possible.
You deserve less stress and faster record retrieval. We’d be honored to help you.
Chat with us!