MILITARY BASE ACCESS FOR CIVILIANS & HOW TO HOST GUESTS
IntroductionAre you a military member wanting to host family or friends in your on-base housing or a civilian trying to figure out how on Earth you can get on base? No matter your reasons for researching how to get military base access for civilians, we have answers. Getting military base access for civilians, whether for the short-term or long-term, can seem like a confusing and overwhelming task. Don’t worry! Our job is to give you the information you need to go in with confidence. If you are a current military member or milspouse living on base you can skip to this section here. If you are a civilian, keep on reading! Your info is up first.
Can I Visit a Military Base?The short answer is YES! Most people can visit a military base with no issue. However, it’s not like visiting grandma where you can just pull up and walk in. You must bring all required documents and be willing to submit to a background check. Usually, you’ll need to have a sponsor, too. However, this won’t be an issue if you’re visiting a Service Member. Something to keep in mind: Requirements for how to visit someone on a military base can be different depending on what base you’re trying to access, why you’re requesting access, and for how long you need access.
How to Get a Military Base PassThe first step to getting on base is to do your due diligence. Accessing a base isn’t a last minute decision to be made on your way home from the mall on a random Sunday outing. Most bases make things easy by providing a website or dedicated page for their Visitor’s Center. Always go here first and search for the specific installation’s information on how they operate. You can always call the general number listed in our website’s phone directory to access someone from the Visitor’s Center. They’ll tell you how to get a military base pass for your installation and how to actually get on base.
If You Have a Sponsor You’re Riding WithMany bases require non-military or military family members to have a sponsor to get on base. In this case, the sponsor (who needs to be a Service Member) must fill out a sponsorship form. If you are riding onto base in the car of your sponsor, you only need your driver’s license or another valid photo ID to pass through the gate. Keep in mind that some bases only allow the Service Member to sponsor one guest in their vehicle at a time. Others only limit the number to the amount of seats in your vehicle. Check with the Visitor’s Center to see if your base has restrictions.
If You’re Visiting Base in Your Own VehicleYou’ll need more documents if you’re looking to drive onto base in your own vehicle than you would if you were riding in with a Service Member. Your sponsor can request a base pass for you ahead of time and meet you at the gate to make the process smoother. Once you have the base pass confirmed, you can make your visit to the base on any of the approved dates listed on your pass. The Visitor’s Center will be able to tell you where exactly to go, how to get there, and what documents to bring with you. If you do not have a pass by the time you need to visit base, your sponsor has to accompany you to the Visitor’s Center. Here you can fully register for an access pass, register your vehicle, and make any other arrangements with the base for future base visits.
If You Don’t Have a SponsorIf you do not have a sponsor to request a base pass for you, you will still need to present a valid ID when you pull up to the gate. Then, you will need to immediately go to the Visitor’s Center. Usually, you can find your base’s Visitor’s Center close to the main gate. Most commonly, you’ll want to have the following on-hand before pulling up to the appropriate gate alone:
- Valid ID
- Vehicle Registration (to be presented to Visitor’s Center for vehicle base registration)
- Proof of Insurance (to be presented to Visitor’s Center for vehicle base registration)
ExceptionsSome people cannot access military bases. If you or your sponsor applies for a base pass on your behalf and you are denied, this is called barment. It can occur for any number of reasons. Any of the following can cause you to be denied access to a base:
- If you have been forcibly removed from a military base in the past and asked not to return.
- If you are a convicted felon currently on parole.
- If you attempt to enter a base without proper authorization.
- If you have a history of gang affiliation.
- If you are a registered sex offender.
- If you have been barred from another U.S. Military base.
REAL ID ActIn 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which goes into effect October 2021. For civilians, this means that there is a stricter set of requirements as to what can be presented as a valid ID when attempting to obtain access to a military base. According to the REAL ID Act, your ID must comply with the following rules to grant you access to a military base after October 2021:
- ID must have your full legal name.
- ID must have your date of birth.
- ID must have your gender.
- ID must have an identifiable number (i.e. driver’s license number).
- ID must include a photo of you.
- ID must include your primary residence.
- ID must include your signature.
- ID must have “physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes.”
- ID must be machine-readable.
Hosting Guests Where You Live on BaseIf you’ve been itching to host guests in your on-base housing, you might have asked yourself, “Can civilians get on military bases?” Yes, they can! Though we all know military members throw the best parties, you might want to invite non-military members to visit you from time to time. If that’s the case, there is usually a strict set of protocols that you’ll both need to follow to get military base access for civilians. 1. Fill out a sponsorship form for them and request a base access pass.
- This may include you gathering information from them such as their date of birth, driver’s license number, birth city, and social security number.
- You need to fill out a sponsorship form and request a pass for
each individual personyou want to invite on base.
- Don’t assume you will get approval just because you requested a pass. If they try to get on base without authorization, they could be barred.
- Each person should have their own pass.
- Escort your guests to the Visitor’s Center to register their vehicle (if applicable) and fill out any outstanding paperwork.
Looking for things to do at home while you’re hosting guests on-base?Check out our list of things to do under your base's community section. Or if you want to just veg inside, head over to our trending blog 21 of the Best Military Movies to Binge-Watch Now (2021 Edition).
ConclusionNow that you know how to host or visit someone on a military base, you’re home free! Don’t let the rules, regulations, and steps stop you from having fun on base. We know they can seem daunting at first. However, after your second or third time visiting base or getting military base access for civilians you want to host, you’ll forget all about any anxiety you had before! After all, these rules are put in place to protect the Military men and women who live and work on your local installation. Going to a party on base? Hosting one? Let us know by sharing pics and clips on MyBaseGuide's Facebook or tag @mybaseguide on Instagram or @mybaseguide on Twitter.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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