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Authorized Shopping Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer

My spouse and I are deploying and my children are going to stay with their grandmother, can she get an agent letter to shop in the commissary for my children even though she is not an authorized shopper?

An agent does not have to be an authorized commissary shopper, but only an installation commander can authorize agent privileges.

We recommend that you contact the commissary store director closest to you and request contact information for the installation office that prepares agent authorizations. A list of commissaries can be found on this website and their e-mail addresses are listed on the commissaries' "Locations/Phones" pages.

It might also be helpful to ask what documents an agent needs to gain access to the installation.

Question Answer

I am a retiree and have trouble getting around; what proof do I need that I require an agent to shop for me?

To authorize an agent, a commissary patron has to provide proof of age, disability, illness, or infirmity to an installation commander, and designate the person who will act as the agent. Some installations may require additional information.

It is best for you to contact the commissary store director closest to you to and request contact information for the installation office that prepares agent authorizations. The authorization office can give you specific information that is needed to obtain agent authorization.

If approved, the agent will be provided official agent credentials or an approval letter, and then may enter any commissary to shop on behalf of the authorized patron.

Question Answer

If I need to bring someone with me to assist me while shopping, do I have to have an agent authorized?

Yes, a specific named person may be authorized on a temporary basis (not exceeding 1 year unless extended for continuing hardship) by the commanding officer, at the command level of a military installation to shop for an authorized patron in extreme hardship cases, or when no adult dependent member is capable of shopping due to injury, illness, incapacitation or stationing away from their household.

Question Answer

Am I allowed to bring visitors into the commissary with me?

Visitors may accompany authorized patrons into the commissary; however, the installation commander has the authority to restrict visitors from entering installation facilities. Authorized patrons are advised to contact the installation prior to their visit to inquire about the current visitor policy.

Note: Only authorized patrons are allowed to make purchases.

Question Answer

I'm leaving for a year-long deployment; can I get an agent letter for that long?

Every situation is unique and only installation commanders or their designated offices can establish the length of time for which an agent authorization is valid. It is normally a 12-month period, but can be extended in cases of continued hardship.

Question Answer

What directive/regulations govern the agent program?

DoD Instruction 1330.17, Armed Service Commissary Operations, Enclosure 4 2.j, governs the program. The regulation can be found at DefenseLINK, the DoD website.

Question Answer

May an authorized agent use the patron's personal check or credit/debit card when purchasing on behalf of a patron?


If the authorized patron chooses to do so, he or she may empower an agent to use the patron's personal check or credit/debit card to pay for commissary purchases. Agents may also use their own credit/debit card and personal check, provided they put the required information on the check. The Social Security Number of the sponsor will be used for check writing and should be taken from the agent authorization letter. If they are an agent they can shop and pay. If they are assisting they cannot do any of the above.


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