Much like all organizations and entities that provide membership or benefits to Veterans, The Veterans of Foreign Wars carefully reviews applications for membership to ensure basic requirements have been met by potential members. Unlike most organizations, membership does not require the provision of a DD-214. Membership eligibility is defined by what an individual has done while serving, not the completion of service.

The VFW recognizes that as soon as service members perform their duties in hostile territories, they are eligible for membership. From the VFW Manual of Procedure, effective September 2, 2021: “Persons in the Armed Forces of the United States shall become eligible for membership immediately upon arrival on hostile soil, in hostile waters or the airspace above in the performance of service qualifying such persons for membership.”

The second criteria is the nature of a Service Member’s service – they “must have served in the Armed Forces of the United States and either received a discharge of Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) or be currently serving.”

Proof of eligibility for membership rests with the prospective member and can typically be found on a DD-214. For individuals that are still serving, service in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters can be proven by any of the following:

– Receipt of Hostile Fire Pay or Imminent Danger Pay (verified by a military pay statement)

– Service in Korea for 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days

– Receipt of one or more authorized campaign medals from the following:

Detailed Campaign Medal List for Eligibility

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