ID Card Lifecycle

It is DoD policy that a distinct DoD ID card shall be issued to uniformed service members, their dependents, and other eligible individuals, and will be used as proof of identity and DoD affiliation. These cards shall be issued through a secure and authoritative process.

Click on a step below for additional information.


Sponsorship & Eligibility

Sponsorship shall incorporate the processes for confirming eligibility for an ID card. The sponsor is the person affiliated with the DoD or other federal agency who takes responsibility for verifying and authorizing the applicant's need for an ID card. Applicants for a CAC must be sponsored by a DoD government official or employee.

Individuals within DoD who have multiple personnel category codes (e.g., an individual who is both a reservist and a contractor) shall be issued a separate ID card in each personnel category for which they are eligible. Multiple current ID cards of the same form (e.g., CAC) shall not be issued or exist for an individual under a single personnel category code.

Sponsorship & Eligibility for a CAC

Sponsorship & Eligibility for a Uniformed Services ID Card


Registration & Enrollment

Sponsorship and enrollment information on the ID card applicant shall be registered in DEERS prior to card issuance.

Registration & Enrollment Process for a CAC

Registration & Enrollment Process for a Uniformed Services ID Card


Background Investigation

A background investigation is required for those individuals eligible for a CAC. A background investigation is not currently required for those eligible for other forms of DoD ID cards. Sponsored CAC applicants shall not be issued a CAC without the submission a National Agency Check with Inquiry (NACI), or eqivalent investigation, and a favorable FBI fingerprint check. Applicants who have been denied a CAC based on an unfavorable adjudication of the background investigation may submit an appeal.

Background Investigation Process for a CAC


Identity & Eligibility

Identity and eligibility verification shall be completed at a Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) site. Verifying Officials shall inspect identity and eligibility documentation, and RAPIDS shall authenticate individuals to ensure that ID cards are provided only to those sponsored and with a current affiliation with the DoD. RAPIDS shall also capture uniquely identifying characteristics that bind an individual to the information maintained on that individual in DEERS and to the ID card issued by RAPIDS. These characteristics may include, but are not limited to, digital photographs and fingerprints.

Identity & Eligibility Verification Process for a CAC

Identity & Eligibility Verification for a Uniformed Services ID Card



ID cards shall be issued at the RAPIDS site after all sponsorship, enrollment and registration, background investigation (CAC only), and identity and eligibility verification requirements have been satisfied.

RAPIDS Site Locator


Use & Maintenance

ID cards shall be used as proof of identity and DoD affiliation to facilitate access to DoD facilities and systems. Additionally, ID cards shall represent authorization for entitled benefits and privileges in accordance with DoD policies.

Managing Your CAC

Managing Your Uniformed Services ID Card


Retrieval & Revocation

ID cards shall be retrieved by the sponsor or sponsoring organization when the ID card has expired, when it is damaged or compromised, or when the card holder is no longer affiliated with the DoD or no longer meets the eligibility requirements for the card. The active status of an ID card shall be revoked within the DEERS and RAPIDS infrastructure, and the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates on the CAC shall be revoked.

Returning Your CAC

Returning Your Uniformed Services ID Card