RT Cunningham


Renewing a U.S. Military Dependent ID Card in the Philippines

dependent ID card My wife, Josie, lives with me here in Olongapo. I’m a retired United States military service member and she’s my military dependent. Her dependent ID card expires in June.

Presently, I’m not quite sure how we’re going to get it renewed. I think we’ll have to take care of it by mail if I can’t figure something out.

How will We Renew Her Dependent ID Card?

I have to emphasis we. As her military sponsor, I have to go with her if she gets an ID card on a base. We can renew it at any United States military base but there hasn’t been a base in the Philippines since 1993.

According to the web page for DOD ID cards at the American Embassy in Manila, she can get a new ID card there. It’s probably unintentional but it’s a lie. After figuring out how to connect to the RAPIDS site because the first link I tried was wrong, I found out there aren’t any appointments available.

I searched and found forum threads in various places that point out that the embassy RAPIDS office only processes new dependent ID cards. It appears, to me, that the office is either closed or not presently staffed.

The ID card page says we can do it by mail. We would have to mail the application to either Hawaii, USA, or Yokosuka, Japan. Okay, I can do that but I have a problem and the problem is mail.

Expecting to Receive an ID Card in the Mail

Mail is slow in the Philippines. That is, if a particular piece of mail even makes it to its destination. I’ve had to wait, at times, as long as three months for something to arrive. Couple that with the fact that every house on this street has the same house number and you can understand why I can’t trust regular mail. I can’t do anything about the house number but I can do something about my mail.

I’m going to join the Retired Activities Office (RAO Subic) for Subic Bay, which is based in the Barretto barangay. Unfortunately, I can’t pay the yearly fee until April. I’m already tapped out for this month after painting the roof and the eaves.

RAO Subic provides its members with an FPO (military) mailbox. I can use that return address to get things mailed to me in a timely manner. And then there’s something stated on their FAQ page:

Yes! We can update DEERS for all family members. As long as we have a signed 1172 by the husband and supporting documents. We no longer do ID card request since there is a DMDC unit now located in the US embassy. This unit will have capability to go into the field and assist those who are old and disabled.

I don’t understand it completely. It seems like they can update the dependent information but have nothing to do with getting a new ID card issued. And the “embassy” statement is nonsense.

Why does she need the ID Card?

I don’t have to renew my retired ID card until I turn 65. Josie has to renew her dependent ID card every four years. The last time she had to renew hers, we were both in the United States.

Neither of us have used our military ID cards in the Philippines for anything. Yet.

The United States Military Airlift Command operates in a building at the Clark economic zone next to Angeles City. They offer space available flights to Japan and other places. Commonly called a “hop”, the price for a flight is incredibly inexpensive. As a military retiree, Josie and I can take as many hops as we want to take. The only thing we have to show is our military IDs.

Update November 2018

I never joined the RAO. Josie and I ended up going to the United States in June. Shortly after arrival, we accompanied my older son, Joseph, to the ID card office at Eglin AFB, Florida.

Josie’s card will expire again in four years, three years before my retired ID card will expire. I have no idea what we’re going to do for either of them, if anything at all.

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By RT Cunningham
March 8, 2018
Expats and Foreigners