The Good-The Bad-and-The Ugly About Free DD214’s
First the good news. In general, copies of DD214’s are available free of charge from either the military service branch or the St. Louis National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). Depending on the branch of the military you were in, and the year you were discharged, government processing times are anywhere from a minimum of 4 weeks to 6-9 months or more. If you have absolutely no deadline, and can wait up to several months, then by all means take advantage of the free, government service, which is, after all, made possible by the taxes we all pay to fund the government.
On the other hand, if you can’t wait up to 6 months, or if you absolutely have to have your DD214’s as soon as possible, we would advise you to consider our Expedited Service. We can order your records in-person and provide both emailed and certified, paper copies of your DD214’s usually within a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. See our Turnaround Times Page above for specific estimates.
Finally, the bad, and sometimes downright ugly side of the free process. Keep in mind that only one request can be “in the system” at a time. This means that once you order through the government channels you cannot change your mind, and then hire an expeditor to access the record for you the fast way. Once the military personnel file has been pulled from the shelves, it is essentially “offline” and unavailable to anyone else, no matter how urgently it is needed. If you think you may NEED that record quickly, the time to hire an expeditor is now. We get contacted every day by folks who have ordered from the government weeks or months ago, and now need that DD214 to close on a loan, apply for a job etc. Sadly, since they have already ordered, we can’t help them, and neither can anyone else. They are stuck in a bureaucratic black hole, unable to get their DD214’s in time, and unable to do anything to expedite things. Again, if you think you may need your record sooner than several months, the time to hire an expeditor is now.
To connect to the National Personnel Records Center please follow this link:
To utilize our expedited service, please use the Online Order Form. Thank you.
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