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Form SF 180

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Form SF 180

Updated April 19, 2024

Form SF 180 is used to request copies of a veteran’s service records (including Form DD 214) from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) of the National Archives. This form is typically used by veterans and family members of deceased veterans to replace documents that have been lost or misplaced.

Table of Contents

Types of Records

The types of records that may be requested using this form include:

  • DD 214 or equivalent (deleted or undeleted)
  • Dental records
  • Medical records
  • Official Military Personnel File

Deleted vs. Undeleted Form DD 214

A “deleted” version of Form DD 214 will have certain private and potentially damaging information such as the veteran’s unfitness, unsuitability, or sexual orientation redacted or “blacked-out”.

While undeleted copies are typically required to establish veterans’ benefits, deleted copies may be more appropriate when the records will be shared with third parties like employers.


The National Archives maintains the confidentiality of service records until 62 years after a veteran’s discharge.[1] Only veterans, their authorized family members, or their legal representatives may access confidential records.

After 62 years, service records are archived and made available to the public. Once records become public, the NPRC charges a fee to provide copies. Fees range from $20 to $80 depending on the type of document and number of pages it contains. [2]

Missing Records

In 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center damaged or destroyed 16 to 18 million Army and Air Force records of veterans discharged between 1912 and 1964.[3] Often, the NPRC can reconstruct these records using alternate documents in their holdings, or by coordinating with the appropriate external agency.

Requests for records that require reconstruction efforts may take several weeks to months to complete.

Supplemental Documentation

When submitting a request for confidential service records (records less than 62 years old), it may be necessary to include supplemental documentation that establishes a requesting party’s authority to make the request.

Proof of Death

Next-of-kin making records requests on behalf of a deceased veteran must include proof of death (death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary) with their submission.

Court Appointment

Legal guardians making records requests on behalf of a dependent must include a copy of the Court Appointment establishing guardianship.

Authorization Letter or Power of Attorney

Individuals making records requests on behalf of a former service member must include a copy of the authorization letter or power of attorney that establishes their authority to access the service member’s confidential information.

Where to Submit

Completed and signed paper forms may be faxed to (314) 801-9195.

To mail a request, the correct address must be determined. The National Archives has a number of separate offices that handle records requests. Which address to use depends upon the nature of the request. The last page of Form SF 180 contains a table that is used to determine the appropriate mailing address.

Electronic Requests

Electronic requests can be made by using the eVetRecs’ Veteran Requests page. This page is also used to check the status of submitted requests.

Once the electronic application is submitted, the form must be printed, signed and sent to the NPRC. Failure to submit the signed copy can result in delays or cancellation of the request.

Emergency Requests

If the request for service records is truly urgent (like an upcoming surgery or funeral) the nature of the emergency and any deadlines may be included in the “Comments” section if filing online, or in the “Purpose” section of the Standard Form SF 180.

If using a paper form, and the request is an emergency, the National Archives website recommends faxing it directly to their staff for review at: (314) 801-0764[4]

National Cemetery Burial Benefits

If the request is related to interment at a Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery, the requestor may contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117 or by visiting the National Cemetery Administration website. The NPRC works directly with Veterans Affairs staff to obtain records to verify service for burial benefits.

National Personnel Records Center customer service staff is available to answer questions about emergency requests by phone from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time) at (314) 801-0800. Peak calling times are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Central Time). Long hold times should be expected during these hours.


Is Form SF 180 used to make corrections to a service record? 

Form SF 180 is NOT used to make corrections to a veteran’s service record. Instead, Form DD 215 should be used. Copies can be accessed by using the MilConnect website.

If I recently separated from the military, should I use this form to request my service records?

That depends on how recently the service member separated from the military. If copies of service records are not issued during the discharge process, they are typically mailed shortly thereafter. Recently discharged service members may be able to retrieve records from the MilConnect website or they can try contacting the personnel office at their last duty station.

Can I request records about a veteran that I am not related to for research or genealogy?

Yes. However, if the desired records pertain to a veteran that separated from the military less than 62 years ago, you will need the veteran’s (or their family member’s) cooperation in retrieving those records.


  1. Access to Official Military Personnel Files by the General Public
  2. 44 U.S.C. 2116c and 44 U.S.C. 2307 (fees)
  3. National Archives Fire of 1973
  4. National Archives Emergency Requests FAX instructions