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Temporary Identification Numbers now being used by the non-U.S. spouses and children of servicemembers are finally about to become just that — temporary.

Family members are now being required to obtain permanent Foreign Identification Numbers for their Department of Defense-issued identification cards.

The requirement applies only to people not eligible to obtain a Social Security number — that is, family members who are not U.S. citizens and do not live in the United States, according to Lt. Col. Cynthia Colin, a DOD press officer at the Pentagon.

In addition, family members who are eligible to receive a Social Security number are now being required to obtain one. This would include most non-U.S. family members living in the States, Colin said.

If you are a lawfully admitted alien with Immigration and Naturalization Service permission to work in the United States, you need a Social Security number.

State and local laws that conform with federal law, that is, to administer laws related to general assistance, may require you to show a Social Security number — even if you don’t have permission to work. Foreign Identification Numbers can be obtained from ID-card providers at military bases, Colin said. Social Security numbers can be obtained from the Social Security Administration.

Five years ago, Congress mandated that those receiving medical care at a military facility possess a SSN or Foreign Identification Number. To comply, Temporary Identification Numbers were provided to many family members.

The temporary numbers were supposed to be good for only 90 days — enough time to obtain the appropriate SSN or foreign ID number, Colin said.

The ID-card application did not enforce this requirement until earlier this month, when new software was applied into the computer system that updates ID cards.

That was when it was realized that many people had been entered into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System with temporary numbers and a full-term ID card, Colin said.

Colin said family members who possess a temporary ID number — a number beginning with 8 — should take citizenship documentation with them when they go to renew their ID card.

Colin said there are 8,804 family members currently in receipt of full-term ID cards with Foreign Identification Numbers. She did not estimate how many temporary ID number cardholders would be affected by the new enforcement.


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