There are a wide varitiy of issues confronting veterans and their VA benefits while they live overseas. From international tax issues and conforming to your country's health care system, to overseas DoD base access, these can be quite confusing at times.
DoD installation access:
Service-connected veterans from 0% to 90%:
Disabled veterans with disabilities evaluated anywhere from 0% to 90% are now authorized PX/BX exchange and commissary privileges in Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom, and in certain circumstances Belgium. For veterans living elsewhere there are U.S. DoD installations, please see the following website for more information;
However, before an eligible veteran can shop at the PX/BX or commissary on any DoD installation, they first must have, or obtain, the Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) and be enrolled in VA healthcare (other than VA's Foreign Medical Program). To obtain the VHIC, generally one must do so in person at any VAMC or outpatient clinic in the U.S. However, VA recently started allowing online applications as well! In order to do so online -in addition to already being enrolled in VA healthcare- the veteran must also be registered with one of VA's authorized verification partners as well. The link to apply for the VHIC online is;
Once the veteran has their VHIC, they then can apply for their installation pass that allows DoD installation access. Please see the following link for detailed information on what is needed to obtain your installation pass (which is not a DoD ID card);
If the veteran resides in Germany, they also must obtain their "Pink Card" before they can use the PX/BX or Commissary by first going to their nearest U.S. Customs office on the DoD insatllation where they plan on shopping. There they will be issued AE 550-175K. The veteran must then take the AE 550-175K to their local German customs office where they will then be issued the "Pink Card." This "Pink Card" must be presented to the cashier at the PX/BX or Commissary before every purchase. Then once every 1-2 months (depending on the veteran's local Customs office) the veteran must bring their "Pink Card" and all of their receipts from those past 1-2 months to their German customs office to pay any sales tax and customs duties on their previous purchases.
Service-connected veterans evaluated at 100% (including IU):
Disabled veterans evaluated at a combined evaluation of 100% or due to 100% Individual unemployability (IU), with an Honorable discharge, are authorized DoD installation access by being issued a DoD Uniformed Services ID card (DD2765). To obtain your DoD ID you'll generally need to present a copy of your DD214 and either a copy of your Rating decision or "Commissary letter" to the RAPIDS site. Once entered into DEERS (if not done so already), they will issue you a DD2765. For reference, please see AR 600-8-14, AFI 36-2036 (section 18), Marine Corps Order 5512.11E or BUPERS Instruction 1750.10D.
Dependents (Spouses and any minor children) of 100% disabled veterans are also authorized the dependent ID card (DD1173). If they are not established in DEERS, then you'll need to produce copies (in English) of the marriage certificate and birth certificates. Also, if either the veteran or the spouse were previously married, then copies of all divorce decrees (also in English) will also be needed.
For further reference for veterans living in Europe, see AE 600-700, 15-2;
Please note that 100% disabled veterans are not authorzied APO privileges as of 2018 (see AE 600-700, 15-4a(10). Also, although AE 600-700, section 15 shows entitlement to legal services for 100% disabled veterans, this is only meant to encompass DoD retirees; see AR 27-3(14b).
For 100% disabled veterans living in Belgium and the Netherlands, please see AE 600-700, 15-5c(1). For 100% disabled veterans living in Italy, please see AE 600-700,15-5c(2). For veterans living elsewhere where there are U.S. DoD installation, please check with your SOFA that governs your conutry.
Surviving spouses of 100% disabled veterans (including 100% IU):
Surviving spouses of deceased veterans that were in receipt either 100% disability compensation or 100% disability compensation due to Individual Unemployability (IU), at the time of their death are authorized a DoD ID card (DD1173). See AR 600-8-14/AFI 36-2036, table 1.8. For additional reference for surviving spouses living in Germany, see AE 600-700, 13-1, Table 7, rule 8, and 13-12 through 13-16.
DoD next Generation Uniformed Services ID Cards:
As of December 2020 DoD is transitioning to a new look ID card;