Best Practices When Applying for a Veteran’s Health Identification Card in 2023

Have you started your VHIC application yet? Start today! With this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know to be confident in applying and receiving a successful result. The most important part is to get a compliant VHIC photo, which can be easy when you know how. Read on to find out the best practices when applying for a Veteran’s Health Identification Card in 2023. Let’s get started!

What is a Veteran’s Health Identification Card?

For eligible veterans, the Veteran’s Health Identification Card is a form of identification that shows the holder is enrolled in the VA Health Care system. This allows the holder to receive benefits through VA Health Care as well as numerous other benefits such as discounts offered to veterans.

You can use your Veteran’s Health Identification Card to check in to appointments at VA medical centers as well as proving your veteran status. However, you can’t use a VHIC in place of a credit card or insurance card.

How to Get a Veteran’s Health Identification Card in the US?

If you want to apply for a VHIC (Veteran’s Health Identification Card), you’ll have to meet the eligibility criteria before you begin the application process. If you meet these criteria, you’ll have to contact your local VA medical center or apply for your VHIC online.

Veteran’s Health Identification Card Eligibility

If you have served in the active military, navy or air service without a dishonorable discharge, you might be eligible for VA Health Care which will grant you access to a VHIC.

  • You need to have served 24 months continuously or
    • You need to have served your full period of active duty

Eligibility Exemptions

If the below are true for you, you may still be eligible for VA Health Care.

  • You were discharged due to a disability that happened on active duty or worsened by active duty
  • You were discharged due to hardship
  • You were serving before September 7, 1980

What are the Required Documents for a Veteran’s Health Identification Card?

Once you have worked out whether you are eligible for VA Health Care, you will need a few documents to complete the application process. Make sure you’ve got everything to hand before starting the application process, as this will make the process a lot easier.

Required Documents for a Veteran’s Health Identification Card

  • Unexpired Identification Document:
    • State-issued driver’s license
    • US Passport
    • Federal ID Card
    • Bring a secondary document that shows your address, if your ID does not show your address.

If you apply for your VHIC online, you will have to provide a digital color Passport style photo that complies with the requirements.

What are the VHIC Photo Requirements?

For your online application, your Passport style photo should follow the requirements so that your application will be accepted.

VHIC Photo Requirements

  • The photo must be 6 months old or less
  • The photo background must be white
  • The photo must show your full face in front view
  • Your eyes should be open
  • Your hair must not cover your ears or eyes
  • The photo must be cropped into a square in the Passport style
  • The photo must be in file format: JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF or TIFF

If you’re not sure how to follow all of these requirements, you can use our clever app Smartphone iD. You will be guided from start to finish to take your photo and the app will make sure the requirements are met.

What is the Processing Time of VHIC?

How long your VHIC takes to process will depend on many factors. Usually, you should expect to receive your VHIC in the mail within 10 business days of your application. If you’re outside the US it will take up to 30 business days. However, there can be delays due to unforeseen circumstances.

How to Get a VHIC Fast (best practices)?

If you need to get your Veteran’s Health Identification Card as quickly as possible, it’s a good idea to make sure the photo you upload with your VHIC application is compliant with all requirements.

If you don’t upload a VHIC photo that is compliant with the standards, your application will most likely be delayed.

A quick and easy way to get an approved photo is by using our app, Smartphone iD. We’ll take care of all the requirements, so all you need to do is take a photo using your smartphone through the app.


While there are strict requirements for your VHIC photo, it should be easy enough to submit a compliant photo once you understand the ins and outs of these requirements. You can speed up the application process by making sure your photo is approved by using a biometric photo app like Smartphone iD.

Have you got a smartphone? Why not try Smartphone iD?

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