Eligibility for interment in Arlington National Cemetery
Only those who qualify as a primarily or derivatively eligible person may be interned in Arlington National Cemetery, provided that the last period of active duty of the service member or veteran ended with an honorable discharge.
Primarily eligible persons. The following are primarily eligible persons for interment:
- Any service member who dies on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (except those serving on active duty for training only), if granted a Certificate of Honorable Service.
- Any veteran retired from a Reserve component who served a period of active duty (other than for training), is carried on the official retired list, and is entitled retired pay.
- Any veteran retired from active military service and entitled to receive retired pay.
- Any veteran awarded one of the following decorations:
- Medal of Honor;
- Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, or Navy Cross
- Distinguished Service Medal;
- Silver Star or;
- Purple Heart.
Derivatively eligible persons.
The following individuals are derivatively eligible persons for purposes of interment who may be interred if space is available in the gravesite of the primarily eligible person:
- The spouse of a primarily eligible person who is or will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery. A former spouse of a primarily eligible person is not eligible for interment.
- The parents of a minor child or a permanently dependent adult child, whose remains were interred in Arlington National Cemetery based on the eligibility of a parent at the time of the child’s death, unless eligibility of the non-service connected parent is lost through divorce from the primarily eligible parent.
- An honorably discharged veteran who does not qualify as a primarily eligible person, if the veteran
will be buried in the same gravesite as an already interred primarily eligible person who is a close relative, where the interment meets the following
- The veteran is without minor or unmarried adult dependent children;
- The veteran will not occupy space reserved for the spouse, a minor child, or a permanently dependent adult child;
- All other close relatives of the primarily eligible person concur with the interment of the veteran with the primarily eligible person by signing a notarized statement;
- The veteran’s spouse waives any entitlement to interment in Arlington National Cemetery, where such entitlement might be based on the veteran’s interment in Arlington National Cemetery. The Executive Director may set aside the spouse’s waiver, provided space is available in the same gravesite, and all close relatives of the primarily eligible person concur;
- Any cost of moving, recasketing, or revaulting will be paid from private funds.
Eligibility for Inurnment in Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium.
The following persons are eligible for inurnment in the Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium, unless otherwise prohibited as provided for in US Code 553.19–553.20, provided that the last period of active duty of the service member or veteran ended with an honorable discharge.
- Primarily eligible persons for Inurnment:
- Any person eligible for interment in Arlington National Cemetery
- Any veteran who served on active duty other than active duty for training
- Any member of a Reserve component of the Armed Forces who dies while:
- On active duty for training or performing full-time duty under title 32, US Code;
- On authorized travel to or from such active duty for training or full-time duty;
- On authorized inactive-duty training; or
- Hospitalized or receiving treatment at the expense of the Government for an injury or disease incurred or contracted while on active duty for training or full-time duty, traveling to or from active duty for training or full-time duty, or on inactive-duty training.
- Derivatively eligible persons. Those connected as described under Internment. Such individuals may be inurned if space is available in the primarily eligible person’s niche.
Documents Required for Scheduling a Funeral Service
- Before a service can be scheduled, all documentation must be submitted and reviewed by Arlington staff to establish/confirm eligibility. Have all documentation together before calling Arlington National Cemetery to schedule the service
- DD214 or equivalent service documentation showing Honorable Discharge and active duty service
- Death certificate
- Cremation certificate, if applicable
- Succession documents for the Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD) to act on behalf of the Primary Next of Kin (PNOK)
- Unmarried adult dependents require two additional documents. A notarized statement from an individual who has direct knowledge as to the marital status, degree of dependency of the deceased child, the name of that child's parent, and the military service upon which the burial is requested. Also required is a certificate from the attending physician regarding the nature and duration of physical or mental disability.
- Other additional documents are required for signature before the service can take place.
Scheduling a Funeral at Arlington National Cemetery
Upon the death of the veteran or veteran's spouse, the PNOK or PADD should contact a local funeral home to arrange for any desired services in the hometown. The PNOK, PADD or the funeral director should telephone the Arlington National Cemetery's Customer Service Center at 1-877-907-8585 to arrange for the interment/inurnment service.
The process to schedule a burial at Arlington National Cemetery can be complex and each family's request is handled individually with the utmost care and professionalism. Each request is unique and the length of time it takes for scheduling is typically several weeks to several months and depends on many factors, including the family's ability to provide all eligibility documents, any special requests, requests for full military honors (which can take longer to schedule than standard honors because of additional military resources such as escorts and the caisson), requests for one of the chapels located on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, etc.
When the family or funeral home makes the first call to the Customer Service Center, they are given a case number for tracking purposes and are asked to fax or e-mail all required documents for review. The cemetery staff will need to establish and confirm the service member is eligible for burial at Arlington. You should have all required documentation together before you calling to schedule the service. Any documents requested by the cemetery staff can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and must include the Case Number provided by the Customer Service Center. Note: Arlington will not respond to other inquiries via this email box.
The required documents are the DD214 (or service equivalent) to establish eligibility for the service member, Death Certificate, and Cremation Certificate, if applicable. It is the family's responsibility to provide the service member's eligibility documents. A service will not be scheduled until all required documents are received.
Families will be required to validate that an urn contains 100% of the decedent's remains before Arlington National Cemetery conducts the burial service.
Additional References (primary sources for this web page tailored to USNA '70)
US Code Part 553 National Military Cemeteries (Click for PDF File)
Arlington National Cemetery Funeral Information (Click to go to Website)
Updated: March 14, 2018
Curator: Ed Moore