Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility Questions

To be eligible for membership in The American Legion, you need to have been assigned to at least one day of federal active duty service any time during the eligibility periods as determined by U.S. Government, and received an honorable discharge/discharge under honorable conditions, or currently serving in one of the U.S. Armed Forces. 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 716-633-9242

Q: I’m currently on Active Duty. Am I eligible?

Yes.  The current eligibility period from is from August, 1990 – Present, and includes the current war campaigns.  All current active duty military are eligible for membership.

Q: I didn’t retire from the military, but was on active duty during one of the qualifying time periods.  Am I eligible?

Yes.  As long as you have served at least one day of federal active duty during any of the qualifying periods, you are eligible for membership.

Q: I served during one of the qualifying periods, but was never in a combat zone.  Am I eligible?

Yes. Location of active duty service is not a consideration for membership.

Q: I am currently in the National Guard/Reserve.  My unit was activated under Title 10 orders during a qualifying time period. Am I eligible?

Yes.  Title 10 orders are issued by the Secretary of Defense and therefore are federal orders.

Q: 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.

Q: I am currently a cadet at one of the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force or Coast Guard Academies.  Am I eligible?

Yes. The American Legion has considered service in the military academies as eligible for membership since WWI.

Q: 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.

Q: 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. In the mid-60’s all basic training and occupational training schools were considered federal active duty service.

Q: I served active duty as a SPAR, WAC, WASP, or WAVES during the one of the qualifying periods.  Am I eligible?

Yes.  Even though women served separately than men, their service is equal.

Q: I served with allied military forces during one of the qualifying periods.  Am I eligible?

Yes, only if you were a U.S. citizen at the time of entry.

Q: 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.

Q: I enlisted and went to basic training, but received an uncharacterized discharge due to a medical condition.  Am I eligible?

Yes.  Uncharacterized discharges are assumed to be under honorable conditions unless specifically stated otherwise.

Q: I am 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 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.

 Q: I never served in the military but can I still join?
I served on active duty but my dates of service don’t appear on your membership application.
My family member served on active duty so can I join under his/her service?

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as an organization for war time veterans. Membership is open only to men and women who served active duty in the US Armed Forces during specific periods designated as “war time” by the US Congress, and who have received an honorable discharge, or are still serving honorably. Eligible veterans would be able to provide a Form DD214 (or similar) to verify their eligibility. If you don’t meet these requirements, then we’re sorry, but you’re not eligible for membership.

It’s possible that you may be able to join one of the other organizations in the “Legion Family.” The Sons of The American Legion (SAL) is comprised of male descendants, adopted sons and step-sons of American Legion members. (There are no age limitations.) Our sister organization is the American Legion Auxiliary. Eligibility is open to mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, grand-daughters, great-grand-daughters, or grandmothers of members of The American Legion, or of deceased veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces during the listed war eras. (Women who are eligible for membership in The American Legion are also eligible to join the Auxiliary.)