VA Loans: What Is the DD214?

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Officially known as Defense Department Form 214, DD214 is the short term for the United States Department of Defense’s Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. This form is issued when a person retires or is discharged from military service. The DD214 can be obtained for free, if the veteran does not need it relatively fast. A fee-based company can also obtain the form, if the veteran needs it in a short period of time.

Free DD214 Retrieval

The National Personnel Record Center, or NPRC, is a government agency that maintains records for military personnel. The NPRC will issue a free DD214 form to any veteran who requests one. This form can be completed online at the NPRC’s website, or by hand and then faxed or mailed. The turnaround time for this form ranges from a couple weeks to several months, depending on the backlog.

Fee-Based DD214 Retrieval

A DD214 can also be retrieved by a fee-based company. A veteran should not pay for the DD214 form to be retrieved, unless they need it in less time than the NPRC can supply it. It may be advisable to contact the NPRC to see what their current turnaround time is, before paying a company to retrieve it.