Can a Felon Get on a Military Base?

While you may not have thought about it, a felon can go on a military base. Right? Well, maybe not. That’s a good question. Can a felon go on a military base?

Let’s look at this question.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • Reasons for Going on a Military Base
  • Criteria for Getting on a Military Base
  • Background Check?
  • Being Prepared
  • Recommended Action

Reasons for Going on a Military Base

A military base is an installation, camp, post, station, yard, center, homeport facility for any ship, or other activity under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. 

Currently, there are approximately 5,000 U.S. military bases within the United States and 600 bases overseas. Military bases in the United States are either part of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.

There are different reasons to get on a military base. Most often, this could be as a visitor. Perhaps you have a family member stationed on a base, and you want to visit.

Or you could want to get a job on a military base. There are civilian employees on a military base.

In even some special situations, you might think about joining the military. Of course for this, you would have to be allowed to get on a base, if you were to join the military. That is a very different question, however.

For now we’ll look at the general question of whether a felon can get on a military base.

Criteria for Getting on a Military Base

Getting on a military base for anyone wanting access presents specific criteria. This begins with the type of ID that is required of anyone wanting to enter any military base.

Civilians visiting a military base are required to have a REAL ID from their state or a second form of identification, such as a U.S. passport or a Veteran’s health ID card, along with their driver’s license. Some military bases require everyone in a vehicle to have such an ID while others may only check for a valid ID from the vehicle driver.

If you intend to drive on a military base, you must have a valid driver’s license, registration, and vehicle insurance information.

A REAL ID is issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles and resembles a driver’s license but has a gold star in the upper right-hand corner. The star indicates that the person has met the identification standards from the Federal REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 as a response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

A REAL ID will also permit you to enter nuclear power plants and board commercial aircraft.

If you do not meet these military ID requirements, you will be refused access or must be escorted by a sponsor meeting the requirements.

All states are currently compliant with REAL ID or will be by October 21, 2021, which will allow you access to military bases and other federal facilities. 

If you don’t have a valid REAL ID or other state-issued ID and an escort, you will be required to go to the base’s visitor center. Specific information for any particular military base can be found on the web site for that base under visitors’ information.  

No visitor is allowed to bring any contraband, weapons, or other questionable items from the vehicle and have them in their personal possession, including alcohol and alcohol containers.  

Background Check?

As you might also expect, the federal government is concerned about potential security threats on all military bases throughout the United States. 

Anyone arriving at a military base without a valid REAL ID or other state-approved ID will be directed to the visitor center and required to undergo a criminal background check.  

If you have a criminal record, you will automatically be denied access to the military base. If you have an active warrant outstanding, you will immediately be taken into custody and may need legal counsel.  

If you provide false information regarding your background and this is discovered, you will be subject to legal action. This standard background check can be expected to be conducted at the time of entry to the base.

Typical reasons for denial of visitor access include anyone:

  • Currently on probation or parole
  • Registered as a sex offender
  • With a history of gang affiliation
  • With an extensive criminal history
  • Currently on the terrorist watch list
  • Currently having an active warrant
  • Currently barred from any U.S. military base
  • With a felony conviction for murder, assault, sex offenses, and other serious felonies

This is a rather lengthy list of disqualifications, making it very prohibitive to enter a military base.

Even with a felony conviction, there are many factors that could result in your being denied base access.

Being Prepared

What all of this shows is that if you want to enter a military base, you must start with having proper identification to prevent yourself from having to go through a background check.

Of course, you know that the results of a background check will show your felony conviction along with any other charges such as having a current outstanding warrant.

The best way to deal with this is to find out if you are eligible to have your record expunged. This would allow you to honestly be able to state that you have not been convicted of a felony or other offense.

Recommended Action

It certainly seems like a challenge to go through all of the red tape to have the essential identification that will grant you entry to a military base. 

It would depend on the reason you want to go onto a military base as to whether it would be worth all of the difficulties you might encounter in the process.

Take time to consider why you want to enter a base. Maybe there is a family member you want to see again. If there is sufficient reason, take the time to obtain a REAL ID. You could also see if you are eligible to have your record expunged.

You can move on from the past. You are not defined by your mistakes but by how you recover from them. 

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to get on a military base with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.


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  • Today has been a terrible day I lost one job to have another gallon into my lap roofing houses on fort hood I get to job site meet the crew get some safety training everything is looking up and hard work is paying off I’m getting paid decent money 25$ hour things finally looking up go to get a pass to get on base and boom the explosion my past mistakes haunt me a felony I committed with a weapon as a young man now stops me from gaining the pass I was told the only thing denying you access is a gun was evolved so now I’m left trying to hold back the devastion in my mind and still walk away with some dignity because thing don’t change people change things I’m now a 35 yr old man jus trying to support my family by making a honest living

  • I get it. I am recovering addict so my past is not great. I am sober 8 years now but my record keeps haunting me. I have 2 felony convictions so am not eligible for expungement in my state. It’s so hard to move forward when jobs, bases or other things deny us opportunities. People can change. I get that places are taking security measures but at the same time I feel there should be a mark. Like 7 years or even 10 years and the past record will not show up when ran. I think that is long enough time for someone to prove they have changed and they should not be judged nor discriminated against for past actions. If I could take it all back lord knows I would.

  • I have a felony theft charge. I filed expungement this week. Said it could take 2-6 months. My son graduates in March from BMT and i am hoping to attend. Do you think i will be able too?

  • Contact the base your son is graduating from and ask to speak with the civilian paperwork. First though, have all your documents from the court. Arrest, initial court complaint, trial info and satisfaction of all fines and probation. This will help you get a waiver for the weekend if granted.

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