Membership: Frequently Asked Questions | The American Legion (2022)

Eligibility 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 membership@legion.org 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 thecurrent 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?

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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?

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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.

Membership Questions

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.

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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 cs@legion.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?

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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.

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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.

FAQs

What does it mean to be a member of The American Legion? ›

The American Legion provides life-changing assistance and guidance for veterans, military personnel, their families and communities in thousands of ways every day around the world. Help comes in the form of personal assistance, cash grants, donated goods, disaster relief, labor, networking, volunteerism and advocacy.

What does Sal mean at Legion? ›

The Sons of The American Legion was created in 1932 as an organization within The American Legion. The SAL is made up of boys and men of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the United States military and became eligible for membership in The American Legion.

How much does it cost to join the Legion? ›

You can join the Legion online at legion.ca/join. Online membership is $49.99 per year, and you do not have to be a Veteran to join. Any Canadian citizen or citizen of an Allied nation who is 18 years of age or older is welcome to become a member of the Legion!

Does The American Legion have an initiation? ›

This ceremony that has a very long history in The American Legion. Some younger veterans are not that keen on attending meetings, for those who do, a New Member Initiation Ceremony can be a powerful membership tool.

What is the motto of The American Legion? ›

The American Legion's motto is "Veterans Strengthening America."

What are the 4 pillars of The American Legion? ›

The American Legion was founded on four pillars: Americanism, Children and Youth, National Security, and Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation.

Why does the Legion sell poppies? ›

The Poppy is also the recognized symbol for the Legion's Poppy Campaign, which raises funds to support Veterans and their dependents. The Legion ensures that the Remembrance Poppy is not used to commercialize, politicize, or dishonour those who served or to misrepresent the Poppy Campaign and the donations it raises.

Can you join The American Legion if your father was a veteran? ›

SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION

members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for American Legion membership.

What are the perks of joining the legion? ›

MemberPerks® gives Legion members access to thousands of offers and deals at stores and restaurants across Canada, including national chains, local businesses and online stores. MemberPerks® is included free with membership. It can save you $1000s every year — so your membership could pay for itself many times over!

How long is legion training? ›

It is tasked with three main missions. First, the initial training for new recruits. Within the regiment, enlisted volunteers pass the intense training program of physical and mental preparation for service in the Legion. This program lasts 16 weeks.

Can you wear a hat in the Legion? ›

Many Canadian households observe this custom and the Legions are no different. So when you come to the Legion, we kindly suggest that you remove your hat if possible. If for some reason you wish to wear it, please feel free to do so and make it known to your server or management.

Are all Legion members veterans? ›

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.

What is the average age of an American Legion member? ›

The average age of an American Legion member is 67 years old, with 400,000 members over the age of 80. Don Marks, Commander of the Bronson post, said of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, "We have so many young people that have served in the wars.

Can I bring my wife to The American Legion? ›

Women who are veterans and are eligible to join The American Legion are welcome and encouraged to do so. The American Legion Auxiliary was established to provide Legion Family membership for female relatives of Legionnaires.

What is The American Legion oath? ›

I, Marilyn Whitmore, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic: that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed ...

What is The American Legion symbol? ›

The star. The star, victory symbol of World War I, also symbolizes honor, glory and constancy. The letters "U.S." leave no doubt as to the brightest star in the Legion's star.

Why is it called a legion? ›

It ultimately comes from the Latin legiōn, meaning “a gathered body of soldiers.” The Roman army, one of the most powerful in history, was divided into military units or groups known as legions. Legions were made of thousands of soldiers who kept order in Rome's huge empire.

What does the legion logo mean? ›

The American Legion emblem is a distinction of honor and service. It stands for God and country, and the highest rights of man. Of its several parts, each has a meaning: The rays of the sun form the background of our proud emblem and suggests the Legion's principles will dispel the darkness of violence and evil.

What is the leader of The American Legion called? ›

The national commander is the executive head of the Legion, with full power to enforce provisions of the Legion's constitution, by-laws and resolutions. Each national commander serves a one-year term, after which a new one is elected at the national convention; five national vice commanders are also elected annually.

What is The American Legion Preamble? ›

to promote peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

What is the oldest American Legion Post? ›

In the United States, however, the oldest, continuously operated American Legion post is in Tulsa, according to its members. Tulsa's American Legion Post 1 was chartered on June 19, 1919 — three months after the post in Paris was founded.

What does wearing a purple poppy mean? ›

Purple poppies are worn to honour animals who were victims of war. Many war horses, dogs and pigeons were killed during service in WW1. The Animal Purple Poppy Appeal is organised by War Horse Memorial, which donates the money raised to various animal charities.

When should you stop wearing your poppy? ›

The Poppy Campaign begins on the last Friday in October and continues through to November 11th. The Lapel Poppy can be worn every day of the Poppy Campaign and is removed at the end of the Remembrance Day ceremony.

What does a silver poppy mean? ›

We will, therefore, provide all surviving veterans of WW2 (including those in the Merchant Navy) who reside in our Borough with a Silver Poppy of Remembrance to mark their service in the fight against Fascism and Nazism.

What political party does The American Legion support? ›

The American Legion values its independence and effectiveness on veterans' issues. This stance is best maintained by neutrality on all individual candidates or political parties. The American Legion, by legal definition, is non-partisan and supports "or opposes as necessary" only issues which impact the Four Pillars.

Are you a veteran if you didn't finish basic training? ›

If a person has only completed boot camp or never completed basic training, would they be considered a veteran? No, training doesn't count as active duty.

Can a son of a veteran join the VFW? ›

You must be a veteran who has honorably served overseas in an area of foreign conflict in order to join the VFW. However, if you are not eligible for VFW membership but are the parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, child or grandchild of a qualifying veteran, you can apply for membership in the VFW Auxiliary.

What are membership benefits? ›

What Are Member Benefits? Member benefits are the perks, services, and access that members receive as part of their membership. In other words, they're what members get in exchange for joining the organization and, if applicable, paying member dues.

Can you claim Legion dues? ›

Answer: If you're asking about The American Legion dues, this organization is qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions. However, IRS Publication 526 notes that only membership fees above the value of any benefits received from the organization can be deducted as a charitable contribution.

Can you join the Legion as a female? ›

* A woman who is eligible for American Legion membership is eligible to join the American Legion Auxiliary regardless of whether or not she is a member of The American Legion.

How many soldiers does it take to make a legion? ›

In the military operations of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Julius Caesar, a legion was composed of 10 cohorts, with 4 cohorts in the first line and 3 each in the second and third lines. The 3,600 heavy infantry were supported by enough cavalry and light infantry to bring the legion's strength up to 6,000 men.

What is the longest special forces training? ›

Notably, Green Berets have some of the toughest initial training in the entire military (at the risk of drawing the ire of SEALs and Marine Recon). Their initial test lasts an incredible 24 days, and that's just to see if you can attend the Green Beret qualification course.

Does Legion last long? ›

The Lenovo Legion 5 can last as long as 5 years with a daily usage battery of 3-8 hours, depending on the laptop's components. The components can last a period of 1 day to 10 years before they become obsolete.

Can you smoke in a Legion? ›

1, all outdoor sports fields, playgrounds, skating rinks, beaches and restaurant patios are off limits. But if you're on a Legion patio, smoking is allowed.

What pins are allowed on American Legion cover? ›

Therfore, the Cap being the most visible sign of a Legionnaire is to be treated with dignity and respect. The Legion Cap will remain free of all pins, patches and devices on the emblem side of the cap. The Emblem side contains the Post number and Location, nothing else is permitted.

Why is it disrespectful to wear a hat in a Legion? ›

The prohibition of hats in a Legion is based on military tradition. It is said that in an armed forces mess all ranks are equal. By not allowing hats, officers would be indistinguishable from ordinary ranks.

Is a 6 year reservist considered a veteran? ›

13 CFR § 125.11 provides: Veteran has the meaning given the term in 38 U.S.C. 101(2). A Reservist or member of the National Guard called to Federal active duty or disabled from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty or while in training status also qualify as a veteran.

Is VFW and American Legion the same? ›

But there are two groups here in Maricopa that work to support veterans year-round: the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Both are different organizations with similar values and offer some of the same services to veterans and to the community.

Does the legion have citizens? ›

According to JE Sawyer, not really, the Legion has no civilian structure or society.

Is American Legion membership declining? ›

It is no secret that veterans service organization membership has been consistently declining for many years. That may be changing. The American Legion is on track to reverse that trend in 2022.

Is VFW membership declining? ›

Both groups saw their membership peak in the 20th century. The American Legion boasted more than 3.3 million members at its height in 1946, according to an article from The Wall Street Journal, and the VFW had a record 2.1 million members in 1992. As of today, those figures have been cut nearly in half. John B.

How does American Legion make money? ›

Contrary to popular belief, The American Legion receives no money or grants from the federal government. Our service programs are sustained by contributions such as yours.

Is it worth joining The American Legion? ›

The American Legion provides life-changing assistance and guidance for veterans, military personnel, their families and communities in thousands of ways every day around the world. Help comes in the form of personal assistance, cash grants, donated goods, disaster relief, labor, networking, volunteerism and advocacy.

What is the difference between The American Legion and The American Legion Auxiliary? ›

The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) is a separate entity from the American Legion that shares the same values. Composed of spouses, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, and sisters of American war veterans. Founded in 1919, the ALA is dedicated to serving veterans, military, and their families.

Can a grandson join the Sons of the American Legion? ›

Answer: The Sons' eligibility criteria will change along with that of The American Legion. Any son or grandson of a living American Legion member will be able to join the SAL program. (Sons and grandsons of deceased veterans are also eligible.)

What is the motto of The American Legion? ›

The American Legion's motto is "Veterans Strengthening America."

What are the four pillars of The American Legion? ›

The American Legion was founded on four pillars: Americanism, Children and Youth, National Security, and Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation.

What is The American Legion known for? ›

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.

What political party does The American Legion support? ›

The American Legion values its independence and effectiveness on veterans' issues. This stance is best maintained by neutrality on all individual candidates or political parties. The American Legion, by legal definition, is non-partisan and supports "or opposes as necessary" only issues which impact the Four Pillars.

What do Legion members do? ›

The Legion serves our communities and our country

Whether helping local Veterans, supporting seniors, providing youth sports programs, raising funds, volunteering to help those in need, or simply offering a place to gather for fun and celebration, Legionnaires provide essential services in their communities.

What is The American Legion known for? ›

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.

Are all Legion members veterans? ›

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.

Does The American Legion support President Trump? ›

The American Legion supports Trump on flag issue, calls for constitutional protection | The American Legion.

Can you join The American Legion if your father was a veteran? ›

SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION

members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for American Legion membership.

Is The American Legion part of the military? ›

The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization with nearly 2 million members and more than 12,000 posts in communities throughout America.

How long can you serve in the legion? ›

The initial contract is for 5 years. At the end of this first contract, the legionary can choose to continue his career by means of successive contracts whose duration varies between 6 months and 5 years.

Can wives join The American Legion? ›

We are the male and female spouses, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and direct and adopted female descendants of members of The American Legion.

Can you claim legion dues? ›

Answer: If you're asking about The American Legion dues, this organization is qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions. However, IRS Publication 526 notes that only membership fees above the value of any benefits received from the organization can be deducted as a charitable contribution.

What is the average age of an American Legion member? ›

The average age of an American Legion member is 67 years old, with 400,000 members over the age of 80. Don Marks, Commander of the Bronson post, said of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, "We have so many young people that have served in the wars.

Where is the largest American Legion in the United States? ›

With a membership of more than 6,700, American Legion Post 347 in Lady Lake, Fla., can lay claim to the title of the largest American Legion post in the world.

What is The American Legion oath? ›

I, Marilyn Whitmore, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic: that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed ...

How many soldiers equal a legion? ›

a division of the Roman army, usually comprising 3000 to 6000 soldiers. a military or semimilitary unit. the Legion.

Are you a veteran if you didn't finish basic training? ›

If a person has only completed boot camp or never completed basic training, would they be considered a veteran? No, training doesn't count as active duty.

How many soldiers does it take to make a legion? ›

In the military operations of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Julius Caesar, a legion was composed of 10 cohorts, with 4 cohorts in the first line and 3 each in the second and third lines. The 3,600 heavy infantry were supported by enough cavalry and light infantry to bring the legion's strength up to 6,000 men.

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