The federal government has announced it will reinstate service cards for veterans of the Canadian military.

Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence say the cards work to honour military members, while at the same time giving veterans a lasting connection to the Canadian Armed Forces.

The cards are available for anyone who finished basic training and was honourably discharged from the military.

“This new card honours your service,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said during the announcement on Tuesday. “Wherever you travel, you will be recognized as a veteran. The veterans service card is more than a piece of plastic in your wallet, it is a tangible recognition of your service.”

Similar cards, known as the National Defence Identification 75 cards, were discontinued in early 2016 under legislation from the previous government and were not meant to be identification.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan said Tuesday’s announcement comes as a direct response to pressure from military members and veterans to bring back the cards.

“I have held something like 40 town halls, meetings (and) round tables with veterans right across the country to discuss how we can better serve them,” he said, “and one thing I’ve heard over and over again is that we need to reintroduce a Veterans Service Card.”

The government will begin distributing the cards this month, with recently retired members receiving theirs first. The cards will be handed out in stages and will be open for all veterans by summer of 2019.