Basics of Base Access, Privileges and Requirements

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Kayla Jo Finley

Photo: Tracy McDaniel, Department of the Air Force Security Forces civilian guard, checks a base commuter's ID before waving him on. The newly hired DAFSF guards received new uniforms similar to the LAPD uniform as part of an Air Force-wide initiative. This initiative requires gate guards to have advanced training with weapons, rigorous evaluations of mental and physical fitness as well as at least one year of law enforcement experience. U.S. Air Force photo Airman Anthony Jennings.

Tracy McDaniel, Department of the Air Force Security Forces civilian guard, checks a base commuter’s ID before waving him on. The newly hired DAFSF guards received new uniforms similar to the LAPD uniform as part of an Air Force-wide initiative. This initiative requires gate guards to have advanced training with weapons, rigorous evaluations of mental and physical fitness as well as at least one year of law enforcement experience. U.S. Air Force photo Airman Anthony Jennings.

It’s that moment, the moment that many will face, your pulse is racing and you are afraid of the unknown.

You think to yourself, “Will I need my military I.D.?, “Will I be allowed on base?”, “My kid has an I.D. but, I don’t, surely that should work, right?”.  Then just like that you are turned away from the gate guard and are told to go to pass and I.D or a visitor’s center.

I have seen this happen many times when driving on to base, people driving that infamous loop through the gate because they do not have a proper I.D. or visitor badge.  I myself had to do that loop once, the day I checked into my first command at Naval Station Norfolk.  Coming from an Army base, I was not familiar with Navy base practices. Bases not only differ from branch of service, they can also be different from with-in the same service.  Not all Army bases are the same and not all Navy bases are the same.  The installations policies depend on activities conducted on the installation.

To eliminate the fear of rejection be aware of your installation’s policies. Not only for base access but also for, base privileges such as a commissary, medical facilities and any military facility.

Installation policies differ but, here are some tips to get you started.

Base Access

A Department of Defense (DoD) I.D is required when entering a base.  Some bases may require every person in the vehicle to present an I.D.  If you are a passenger and do not have a DoD I.D. you can present a valid driver’s license in most cases.  Some bases will require scanning your I.D.  If your I.D. is not up-to-date you will not be able to gain base access.

If you need to enter a base and do not have a DoD I.D., or do not have an escort, you will need to visit the base’s visitor center.  Visitor centers are usually located near the main gate.

If you are a non-military caregiver you can get on base accompanied by a child in possession of a valid military identification.  Additionally you will need to possess an active power of attorney or custodial agreement listing you as the current guardian.  If you are driving on base you will also need to present your driver’s license, registration and insurance information.

Exchanges and Commissary

If you wish to use the exchange, commissary or any other facility on base, you will need to show a military I.D.  Facilities differ in policy, some may have you show your I.D. at the entrance and others will wait until check-out.

If you are a non-military caregiver, you are not authorized to shop at the exchange or commissary.

Military Medical Facilities

 If you wish to seek treatment at a military medical facility on or off base you will need to present a valid military I.D.  If you are a sponsor of a child, only the sponsor will need to present an I.D.

If you are a non-military caregiver, the child will need to have an I.D.  The caregiver cannot obtain services themselves.

I.D. requirements can be frustrating at times, especially if you are unaware of the policies.  We must all remember that the rules are there to ensure safety and accountability for everyone associated with the military.  If military policies are new or old to you, it is always important to be aware of your installations policies.  Policies can be found on the installations official website.

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  • Sharon W. Estep

    I am a vet and the surviving spouse of a military retiree. My spouse ID was lost right after my spouse passed away. How do I get a new one so I can access base?

    • Charles

      Go to the visitor center and any relevant documents identifying your military affiliation

    • tncem

      Sharon,

      If you do not get an answer here, then please feel free to call me at 404-562-5193 and I will assist you.

      Tom

  • GABINO

    HELLO I MIGHT WORK ON THE MILITARY BASE OF SAN DIEGO I DO HAVE AN I.D BUT IM ON PROBABTION IS THAT A PROBLEM

    • Marcos Garcia

      I have a 5 year old felony and I was denied access. … from what I understand u need 10 years felony free and most likely you will need to file an appeal

    • mal buzz

      It depends if you have a with held adjudication. While your on probation you will be denied but once you complete your probation, IF you were granted a withheld by the courts then you’ll gain access back.

  • Melissa

    I am a DoD employee from Lemoore NAS and wondering if i can go on base in Oak Harbor, WA

    • Chris Stonecipher

      I was stationed in Oak Harbor. Sometimes it depends on if they are on high security alert. They usually will just check your driver’s license with your base access card.

  • Dave Landry

    Why is it not possible that a DoD employee not granted the same privileges as does the active duty personnel? we work for the DoD as they do and if we were not here, the active members would be doing this work the a Civilian DoD person is doing now. Why are we so different when the mission is still be accomplished? Should it not be on equal grounds?

    • Mike

      We would gladly do that work. In fact, most of what you do used to be done by the military. We need more troops and less civies.

    • Shaun

      Because you serve the Military we serve our Country. Show up to pt, formations, ranges, ftx, pass the apft, meet h&w, shave, be held by UCMJ, do post clean up, deploy/go outside the wire to patrol, come in before 6am then leave after 1900 and sign a contract you can not just quit. Then you can buy your tax free hoverboard at the PX. Please quit and let a green suiter do your job.

      • George Michaels

        Thank G-d that you shave for THE COUNTRY. We are blessed that our tax dollars allow you to shave for us!

  • Kevin Johnson

    Is it possible for a prior military member to have base access?

  • Erica

    Can someone with a military ID issued through the Army get onto an Airforce base with that same ID?

  • Alex

    When someone works for the DoD, are they then able to live in on-base housing?

    • Mike

      I am a new DoD employee and was able to get base housing on the base I work. DoD employees are at the bottom of the rung for base housing, first is active duty (and there are levels of priority there), then retirees and service disabled, then Admiral’s dogs, then DoD employees. However the base I work at had available housing and it is very nice. You will not save money though, you pay rent based on the average rent in the community (at least if the housing is privatized, which is really the only ones you have a chance at getting). Military members pay based on their housing allowance which is based on rank. They may pay several hundred dollars less than DoD for the same house. But heck, they can deploy at any time, for most of us DoD our combat days are behind us. For my family it is nice to be on base because it is the ultimate gated community, I won’t need a vehicle, and we get more house (and newer) than what is easily available outside. Of course PX access and such are limited though if you live on base you can usually have PX privilege except for alcohol and tobacco. That is only for your base PX, you can’t use other PXs, and varies from base to base from what I understand. You have to set that up with housing and the PX.

  • ERNEST McCLARY

    What is the policy for military veterans access to military installation. Are veterans with honorable discharges allowed access to bases

  • Diane Garland

    I lived on Ramstein AFB in Germany as a dependent. I’ll be back in Germany this summer and would like to visit the base. How do I go about this? Thanks.

  • Susan Luke

    If I’m the one with a military i.d. will they ask the driver for license

  • Shannon

    Can someone use their military ID to gain access to base while in a private company vehicle?

    • Walt

      It depends. I’ve been able to get on if I take the company logo (signs) off. But I’ve had issues if in vehicle with ladders on top.

  • Natasha

    Hi I’m going visit my step daughter and her husband at the army base in fairbank. I’m a Canadian citizen with an American permanent resident card. I also have a MA driver license. Will those ID is ok for me to come spend the week on the base without a problem. My step.daughter and her husband lives in the base

    • Keith

      Yes, you will have to meet them at the visitors center to get a visitor’s pass.

  • Tyler Horvat

    I am medically retired AF. Is my 8 yr old son eligible to attend school on base?

    • Karrie Holderness

      I’d like to know the answer to this question as well. I’m a medically retired veteran and live across from base housing where elementary schools are. Our county is so improperly zoned that my daughter has to be on the bus by 0700 and doesn’t return home from school until 1610, it’s a 35-45 minute drive to the school that our home is zoned for. Would be so much easier to literally just drive across the highway to take her to school instead.

  • robert

    Unddercover Anglelis listeten to my drream, it means eveverything.
    bob de silvis

  • Gunny Rat

    Graphic designer please readup on the order of the military departments order of precedence, the airforce doesn’t come first.

  • Vikki Robinson

    Please provide regulation regarding use.of ear buds at the military gate. The guard informed a passenger in the car they were unable to have ear buds in use when entering via the gate. I can find where military personal standing gate guard are.unable to use ear buds but can not locate anything regarding the passenger.in a car.

    • Brent

      Vikki – You won’t find an instruction covering ear buds used by passengers in passenger vehicles, but that doesn’t mean a rule doesn’t exist. I know it’s hard to believe, but instructions for every rule on every military installation do not always exist. I didn’t quite understand that when I joined the military and it took a while to figure out. Masters of Arms, Security Forces and Military Police may tell you to do something that seems arbitrary or disrespectful (same with civilian police, no?). My advice to you would be to comply if it seems reasonable. If it’s something that really bothers you, ask for the name of their supervising NCO (Chief, Sergeant, etc) and complain to them or the base commander. In general, expect that these types of things will happen on a military base and learn to comply without taking it as an affront to your dignity.

  • Elizabeth

    So I’m going to see my best friend at his basic training graduation at lackland Air Force base and I registered my Colorado permit for my identification but now I plan on getting my license and I know I won’t get it in time to show it at the base, so can I show the Dmv papers or do I wait to get my license

    • Dee

      I just visited for my Daughters Graduation and tried to use my Federal Employee ID feeling good to still be a part of the system I guess but the Guard told me, “Nope” I had to show my Drivers License. They also look at the Airman’s invite to ensure the names match. Hopefully this helps. Enjoy and Congrads.

    • Dee

      I just visited for my Daughter’s graduation and I tried to show my Federal Employee ID, I guess I was feeling good to still be a part of the system. The guard at the Guard informed me it was a no go. That I had to use my drivers license and also they check to make sure the name on the Airman’s invite matches the name on the drivers license.

  • ROBERT L KUSHLAN

    I am a retired E-6 from the Navy. I am also an Uber driver. The guards at the Navy
    bases say that I need some kind of special pass to take my passengers to and from the base. What is this pass and how do I get one?

    • mark

      Depend on each base CO’s policy. In SD not allowed. Check with Rapidgate.com. they should be able to help. They issue the vendor/contractor ID cards. They hold the DOD GSA contract

  • I just visited for my Daughter’s graduation and I tried to show my Federal Employee ID, I guess I was feeling good to still be a part of the system. The guard at the Guard informed me it was a no go. That I had to use my drivers license and also they check to make sure the name on the Airman’s invite matches the name on the drivers license.

  • I just visited for my Daughter’s graduation and I tried to show my Federal Employee ID, I guess I was feeling good to still be a part of the system. The guard at the Guard informed me it was a no go. That I had to use my drivers license and also they check to make sure the name on the Airman’s invite matches the name on the drivers license.

  • Debbie

    Can I take my mom on Tinker AFB with her using her VT drivers license?

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  • Felisha

    I work at Moody afb in Valdosta ga and I have a gate pass to get on base but I was trying to see by me having a pass and my mom taking me to work can she get on base with me just buy showing her id

  • Katie

    I do all the shopping for my 100% disabled dad. I also have power of attorney.
    Can I get an id to get on base, to shop so he can still get savings for his money?

    Thank you
    Katie skelton

  • Kurstin

    My husband is stationed in Germany right now and we are in the process of trying to get me over there. We have almost all we need to do done except getting me a military ID card and no fee passport. Since he’s in Germany I have to do it, I have been told that I need a power of attorney to enter a base close to me to go and do it and I have also been told I just need someone to sponsor me that I don’t need a power of attorney. I’m very lost and could use all the help I can get. Please reply to my comment with any information you can give me.

    Thank you,
    Kurstin Green

    • PO1 Sean

      Kurstin – Here’s my advice:

      1) Your husband needs to obtain a Power of Attorney from his Legal Officer and scan/mail/fax this to you. It will have everything you need.

      2) Schedule and appointment at your nearest RAPIDS office (Google RAPIDS Site Locator and follow the first link).

      3) Go to this appointment with your Birth Certificate, Social Security card, Original or Certified Copy of your Marriage Certificate and a Driver’s License. You must bring his Power of Attorney (and it must state that you have the authority to get an ID). If the RAPIDS office is on a military installation, you’ll need to stop at the visitor center first, let them know you’re there to get an ID card, show them the Power of Attorney and ask for directions to the ID office.

      4) Your DD1173 (Dependent Identification Card) will be printed here.

      5) Get a civilian passport

      6) Book a trip to BWI airport and list yourself for Space A travel to Ramstein or buy a commercial ticket to Frankfurt and catch a train or ride to Kaiserslautern.

      Don’t waste your time on a no-fee passport. They take a long time to get. Just travel on a regular passport and file for a no fee version once you’re together.

  • Jonesy

    If I go on base in a taxi and I bring someone who doesn’t have a military id but i have mine can i still get on base without the other person having their id

  • Aquilla

    Former reservist with no ID. Can I get access to the base?

  • John Horton

    Is there any DoD or Army regulation authorizing a caregiver of a military retiree to be issued a Common Access Card or permanent pass to assist the retiree while on a military installation by either accompanying him at all times while he is on post or meeting him on post (veteran still has a driver’s license) for shopping at the PX, commissary or medical appointments?

    Retiree: 85 year old Army veteran with 26 years of credible service 1948 – 1974.

    Caregiver: 56 year old son of the Army veteran.

  • obinna

    if you work for nex,can you get into any navy base??

  • Hung Tran

    Greetings,

    I have a friend, serving at Naval Air Station Lemoore or NAS Lemoore. I am very interested in visiting this air base for academic reason with my wife and my daughter.
    Please let me know the steps I should do.

    Regards,

    Hung

  • Kristen

    I am recently married and we need to get me on base to fill out paper work, however a couple months ago I lost my photo id and have yet to get a new one because of my last name changing. How Will I be able to get on base with my husband who’s active duty on the army.

  • Dayton christian

    Can I get on base with my DD 4-1-2 form if I’m in the Dep program and I’m enlisted for 6 years?

  • Yesenia

    My fiancé wants to take my family and I to Ft. Bragg, NC to go buy something we needed. He does not live on base and none of us have a military I.D. except for him. Are there any rules on how many people he can allow inside or if we need to aquire a pass?

  • bibian

    I am not a u.s citizen and my visa is expired can I go in with a school id and passport

  • Trista

    I am a navy wife. My 16 year old sister does not have an id, can she still get on base with me?

  • lillian

    Can someone tell me the logistics of my disabled mother in law living with me and my wife on base. She is currently a long term visitor which ends from the time we got the card until next year. How long can she live with us, or “be a guest”. She is dependent upon us and cannot live alone.

  • Phuong

    My friend’s dad was in military years ago and now he’s a veteran, she told me that she was still able to go buy groceries at the commissary in Ft. Leavenworth. I don’t know if she was lying or not because I thought that a military dependents such as children of a VET, who are over 21 and married, are not authorized to go to the commissary.
    Please explain the policy. Thank you.

  • Andrew Robertson

    I am a serving British Army Warrant Officer, along with an officer and 2 other Staff Sergeants. We would like to gain access to Ramstein Air base as we are enroute to a Ski Exercise in Austria.
    1. Is permission approved?
    2. If permitted, we do not have a sponsor, who do we approach to get a sponsor?
    3. Can we use facilities on the base, Hotel, shops etc
    Your help is much appreciated.
    Regards
    RQMS

  • do I really have to pass background check to visit my son in AIR FORCE basic training 4 weeks ago