About Veteran’s Cemeteries

Veteran’s Cemeteries do not reserve grave space until death has occurred. Veterans or spouses wishing to be buried in national cemeteries should have the veteran’s military separations papers (Form DD-214 or an equivalent) available to establish eligibility, which requires an “other than dishonorable” discharge.


Burial benefits in a VA national cemetery include the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria or special gravesites for the inurnment of cremated. Headstones and markers and their placement are provided at the government’s expense. Veterans and armed forces members who die on active duty are eligible for burial in one of VA’s 155 national cemeteries. An eligible veteran must have been discharged or separated from active duty under honorable or general conditions and have completed the required period of service. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible. A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in a war also may be eligible. Spouses and minor children of eligible veterans and of armed forces members also may be buried in a national cemetery. A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who married a non-veteran, and whose remarriage was terminated by death or divorce, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Gravesites in national cemeteries cannot be reserved. Funeral directors or others making burial arrangements must apply at the time of death. However, reservations made under previous programs are honored. The National Cemetery System normally does not conduct burials on weekends. A weekend caller, however, will be directed to one of three strategically located VA cemetery offices that remain open during weekends to schedule burials at the cemetery of the caller’s choice the following week.