Membership: Frequently Asked Questions
Are you eligible? Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding American Legion eligibility. For any other eligibility questions, feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 317-630-1321.
What are the eligibility dates for membership in The American Legion?
Thanks to the LEGION Act (Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service Act), Congress expanded the current eligibility period to cover Dec. 7, 1941, to the present, and includes the current war campaigns. Previously, there were seven declared war periods. Now there are two, the current war period dating back to World War II and another war era covering World War I. No other restrictions to American Legion membership changed.
I’m currently on active duty. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. All current active duty military are eligible for membership.
I didn’t retire from the military, but was on active duty during one of the qualifying time periods. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. As long as you have served at least one day of federal active duty during any qualifying period, you are eligible for membership.
I served during one of the qualifying periods, but was never in a combat zone. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. Location of active duty service is not a consideration for membership.
I’m currently in the National Guard/Reserve. My unit was activated under Title 10 orders during a qualifying time period. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. Title 10 orders are issued by the Secretary of Defense and therefore are federal orders.
My National Guard unit was activated for crowd control under Title 32 orders during one of the qualifying periods. Am I eligible?
No. Title 32 orders are issued under a governor’s authority, whereas Title 10 orders are issued from the Secretary of Defense.
I’m currently a cadet at one of the U.S. Military Academies. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. The American Legion has considered service in the military academies as eligible for membership since WWI.
Can I be an honorary or social member of The American Legion?
No. Per National Constitution and By-laws, no form or class of membership is authorized except regular active or paid up for life.
I served my entire military career in the National Guard/Reserves, and only have a DD214 from my Active Duty for Training that I was in during one of the qualifying dates. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. In the mid-60s all basic training and occupational training schools were considered federal active duty service.
I served active duty as a SPAR, WAC, WASP, or WAVES during the one of the qualifying periods. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. Even though women served separately than men, their service is equal.
I served with allied military forces during one of the qualifying periods. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran, only if you were a U.S. citizen at the time of entry.
I served with the Civil Air Patrol/Civilian Technical Corps/USPHS as a civilian during two qualifying periods. Am I eligible?
No. Eligible members must have federal military service during a qualifying period and received an honorable discharge or discharge under honorable conditions.
I enlisted and went to basic training, but received an uncharacterized discharge due to a medical condition. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are a veteran. Uncharacterized discharges for medical discharges are assumed to be under honorable conditions unless specifically stated otherwise. There are other categories of uncharacterized discharges and before they are determined eligible for membership the discharge should be sent to National for determination and a record will be maintained at National on final determination.
I’m eligible for The American Legion, but do not have a copy of my DD214 to show as proof of eligibility. How can I get one?
You can go to archives.gov/veterans to request another copy of your discharge papers. A copy of orders putting you on federal active duty can be used as proof of eligibility as well.
How much are the annual membership dues?
Each of our local Posts determines its own dues rate. However, new members who join through National Headquarters are offered a special introductory dues rate, and are automatically placed in the Department (State) Headquarters Post in the state in which they reside. (This is considered a “holding” Post; there are no meetings or activities.) The amount a member pays to renew his/her membership each year after joining depends on the Post where their membership is held. Each Post determines its Legion programs and social functions, as well as the amount of annual dues, so it varies from Post to Post; however, $40.00 annually is the approximate national dues average. Visit www.legion.org/posts to find the annual dues rate for Posts in your area.
Where can I find my member ID number?
Once you join The American Legion, you’re assigned a permanent 9-digit Member ID number that will remain yours as long as you’re a member. (If you ever transfer to another post, always make sure to provide your original Member ID Number.) You’ll find the ID number on your membership card and it’s also the first 9 digits shown above your name on our magazine labels. (It always starts with a 1 or 2.)
If you are unable to locate your membership card please call Customer Service: by calling (800) 433-3318 to obtain your member ID and a replacement card.
Can I submit an address change online?
Yes, you can change most of your record information, including your address, at MyLegion.org. National can also take your address change over the phone at (800) 433-3318. Normal business hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern time). Members who are moving to a foreign address should submit their address changes via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include their name, Member ID number, current address and new address.
You can also set-up a MyLegion.org account and manage your membership information, such as updating your address, print a membership card, access member-only discounts, renew your membership, manage subscriptions to The American Legion Magazine, Dispatch and American Legion e-newsletters, and much more. MyLegion.org is a free and secure website for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members. Join at MyLegion.org.
I submitted an address change a month ago but my latest issue of the magazine went to the old address. What happened?
Although address changes are immediate when your record is updated, the preparation for mailing each issue of the magazine actually begins about 6 weeks in advance of the mailing. This is simply because of the time it takes to prepare a mailing so large. The United States Postal Service (USPS) will forward your magazines until the address change catches up with the magazine production providing you notified them of your move.
I belong to a local post and renewed my membership online. When will I get my membership card?
National Headquarters usually updates the records within 24 to 48 hours to reflect the dues payment. Your Department Headquarters is also notified and your post Adjutant receives notification through the post officer’s version of the myLegion.org website. Your pre-printed annual membership card is at your post and it should be forwarded to you after they review the notification of your renewal. If you don’t receive it in a timely manner, contact your post Adjutant for assistance.
I received a membership invitation in the mail and it says I can also join online at a special website shown on the application. If I join online, will I still get my membership card and the free gift mentioned in the letter?
Yes, you’ll get your membership card and any free gifts mentioned in the letter, as long as you apply from that special website. You should receive your new member packet, including your membership card and free gift, approximately 4-6 weeks after you submit your application online. However, if you decide to mail your application, it would take about 4-6 weeks after we receive your application at National Headquarters. (Applies only to new members who join through National.)
Why not include Direct Mailing Solicitation (DMS) in membership and all award calculations?
Emphasis on our award system is to reward volunteers who do the work. Direct Mailing Solicitation (DMS) is merely a tool to increase membership or replace attrition. DMS members are procured by national and then offered to departments immediately via mylegion.org to be placed in traditional posts. However, these members do count towards the department’s delegate strength for the National Convention and towards the department’s membership goal.
If I join online or submit a membership application to National Headquarters, will I belong to a local Post?
When you first join The American Legion, through National Headquarters, your membership will be assigned to the department (state) Headquarters (HQ) post in your state of residence. The HQ posts are basically administrative posts only and there are no meetings or activities, although you’re entitled to the same membership benefits, and can visit the local posts as a guest. You can choose to remain in the HQ Post but it is recommend that you visit posts in your area and if you find one you like, you’re free to transfer. It’s a great way to get involved with your local community.
How do I transfer my membership to another Post?
The transfer process is simple. Visit the post you’re interested in joining and speak with an officer. You’ll need to provide your 9-digit member ID and should also be prepared to show a copy of your DD214 (or similar) to verify your eligibility. After acceptance of your membership, the post will submit the necessary paperwork to notify the department (State) and National Headquarters of your transfer.
Why doesn’t my membership card reflect the total number of years I’ve been a member?
The annual card reflects your continuous years of membership. If you miss a year of paying dues, your continuous years start over. However, if you think there’s a mistake, contact your Post Adjutant and if it’s confirmed there is an error, they can submit a request to correct your record.
How much does it cost to rent a post for a special event, like a birthday or reception?
You’ll need to contact the post you’re interested in renting. Each post runs its own business affairs, including whether or not the facilities can be rented, and National Headquarters isn’t involved in any way. If you’re looking for a Legion post in your area, please visit Legion.org/posts to use the post locator.
When does my membership expire?
Your membership actually expires on Dec. 31 of the paid year shown on your card. It can be a little confusing because your annual dues are supposed to be paid by Jan. 1 each year so National starts accepting dues for the upcoming year on July 1. The goal is to have everyone renewed for the New Year by Jan. 1, when it begins.
If dues are not paid by Jan. 1 of each calendar year, the member becomes delinquent. Feb. 1, the member is suspended, June 30, the member is dropped from the membership rolls.
I paid my dues a while ago so why did I get another renewal notice?
Renewal notices are mailed from National Headquarters based on the information in our records at the time the notices are printed. Although you may have paid your dues, the National portion of your dues may not have reached our offices yet. When you pay your dues to the Post, they process your payment and keep a portion for the Post; the balance is sent to your Department Headquarters with your membership card; and finally, the Department deducts its portion of your dues and then forwards the remaining balance and your membership card to National. Once National receives your dues and card they are usually processed within 48 hours.
On the renewal notice, you’ll see there is an “AS OF” date which is when the notice was printed. If you paid your dues sometime around that date, your dues and the renewal probably just crossed in the mail, and you shouldn’t receive another one for that membership year. However, if you paid well in advance of that “as of” date, then you should contact your post adjutant to verify the status of your renewal payment.