The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge, a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased, eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world. Regardless of their date of death.
If the Veteran died on or after November 1, 1990, and their grave is marked with a private headstone or marker, they may also qualify for a headstone or marker to supplement the grave. Or you may get a medallion to fasten to the private headstone. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria for cremated remains.
You may visit the National Cemetery Administration Headstone, Markers and Medallions page for more details.
General Program Requirements
Deceased Veterans discharged under honorable conditions and members of the U.S. Armed Forces who died on active duty are eligible for a government headstone or marker. A veteran discharged under other than honorable conditions may be eligible.
A copy of the Veteran's discharge certificate or other official documents for proof of military service are required. Their service must have met one of the following conditions:
- They served as an enlisted person after Sept. 7, 1980, or as an officer after Oct. 16, 1981, for a minimum of 24 consecutive months, or
- They completed their service under special circumstances, like death on active duty.
For eligible Veterans who died before Nov. 1, 1990, by law, VA may only furnish a headstone or marker if the grave is unmarked. VA can't provide a medallion. For eligible Veterans who died on or after Nov. 1, 1990, the grave isn’t required to be unmarked.
When the grave is already marked, you may apply for one of the following:
- A traditional headstone or marker, or
- A medallion to fasten to an existing privately bought headstone or marker.
VA furnishes headstones and markers for eligible Veterans' spouses and dependents buried or memorialized in a national, military post or base, or state Veterans cemetery. Spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery are not eligible.
Veterans whose only active duty service was for training while in the National Guard or Reserves are not eligible. A Veteran who died under special circumstances, like death while on duty or as a result of training, may qualify.
People with 20 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves who are entitled to retired pay are eligible. You must send a copy of the Reserve Retirement Eligibility Benefits Letter with the application. National Guard or Reserves who served in active duty (other than for training) also qualify. They do not need to be eligible for retiree pay.
Please read all of the instructions on the application form carefully. It should take about 15 minutes to complete the form, when military documents are available.
You may complete VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker online and print for signatures. Or you may print and fill out a blank form.
You must have proof of honorable active-duty military service. Review this list of Veterans military discharge documents to see if your documents support the application.