Basics of base access, privileges, and requirements


(Photo: US Air Force, Airman Anthony Jennings)

It’s that moment, the moment that many will face, your pulse is racing and you are afraid of the unknown.

You think to yourself, “Will I need my military I.D.?, “Will I be allowed on base?”, “My kid has an I.D. but, I don’t, surely that should work, right?”.  Then just like that you are turned away from the gate guard and are told to go to pass and I.D or a visitor’s center.

I have seen this happen many times when driving on to base, people driving that infamous loop through the gate because they do not have a proper I.D. or visitor badge.  I myself had to do that loop once, the day I checked into my first command at Naval Station Norfolk.  Coming from an Army base, I was not familiar with Navy base practices. Bases not only differ from branch of service, they can also be different from with-in the same service.  Not all Army bases are the same and not all Navy bases are the same.  The installations policies depend on activities conducted on the installation.

To eliminate the fear of rejection be aware of your installation’s policies. Not only for base access but also for, base privileges such as a commissary, medical facilities and any military facility.

Installation policies differ but, here are some tips to get you started.

Base Access

A Department of Defense (DoD) I.D is required when entering a base.  Some bases may require every person in the vehicle to present an I.D.  If you are a passenger and do not have a DoD I.D. you can present a valid driver’s license in most cases.  Some bases will require scanning your I.D.  If your I.D. is not up-to-date you will not be able to gain base access.

If you need to enter a base and do not have a DoD I.D., or do not have an escort, you will need to visit the base’s visitor center.  Visitor centers are usually located near the main gate.

If you are a non-military caregiver you can get on base accompanied by a child in possession of a valid military identification.  Additionally you will need to possess an active power of attorney or custodial agreement listing you as the current guardian.  If you are driving on base you will also need to present your driver’s license, registration and insurance information.

Exchanges and Commissary

If you wish to use the exchange, commissary or any other facility on base, you will need to show a military I.D.  Facilities differ in policy, some may have you show your I.D. at the entrance and others will wait until check-out.

If you are a non-military caregiver, you are not authorized to shop at the exchange or commissary.

Military Medical Facilities

If you wish to seek treatment at a military medical facility on or off base you will need to present a valid military I.D.  If you are a sponsor of a child, only the sponsor will need to present an I.D.

If you are a non-military caregiver, the child will need to have an I.D.  The caregiver cannot obtain services themselves.

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Kayla Jo Finley