What Do I Need to Know?

Students - What Do I Need to Know?

General guidelines for blood donation

  • Be in good general health and feeling well.
  • Be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent in some states).
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • Have not donated blood in the last 56 days.

Additional information for young donors

Height and weight requirements

Additional weight requirements apply for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school donors.

Male donors who are 18 years old and younger must weigh 110 pounds or more, depending on their height in the following chart:
If you are
5' or taller
You must weigh at least
Female donors who are 18 years old and younger must weigh 110 pounds or more, depending on their height in the following chart:
If you are
5'6" or taller
You must weigh at least

Parental consent form

Some states allow 16 year olds to donate with written parental consent. Click here to find the parental consent form for your state.

Donor identification and proof of age

High school donors must provide identification and proof of age to ensure they meet the minimum age requirements for donation. Donors must provide one form of primary ID. If a primary form of ID is not available, the donor may provide two forms of secondary ID.

Primary form of ID:
The donor needs one of the following forms of ID.
  • American Red Cross donor ID (preferred)
  Or an acceptable primary picture ID:
  • Driver's license
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service card (green card)
  • Credit card
  • State ID
  • Employee ID
  • Passport
  • Student ID
  • Military ID
Secondary form of ID:
When a primary form of ID is not available, the donor needs two secondary forms of ID.
  • Student ID (without a photo)
  • Driver's license without a photo
  • Credit card or bank card
  • Employee ID (without a photo)
  • Personal checkbook with name and address
  • Social Security card
  • Voter registration card
  • Payroll stub
  • Vehicle registration
  • Fishing or hunting license
  • Grocery store frequent shopper or VIP card
  • Club or museum membership card
  • Library card with donor's name
  • Professional license (such as: RN, LPN or MT)
  • Non-American Red Cross donor card
  • Selective Service card
  • Insurance card



Students at High Schools 

Without any of the previously listed forms of ID above, the ID and date of birth of a high school student may be checked by the following:

• School officials determine the donor’s identity and date of birth from a list of potentially eligible donors (may use the yearbook to assist with the determination)

• Adult volunteers instructed on ID verification using a current yearbook picture and an additional piece of ID containing the donor’s name and age

• A parent or legal guardian can provide a document with the donor’s legal name and verbally provide the name and age when the donor does not have ID due to age

High school students may not check identification on other high school students at high school blood drives.

Are you ready to make a difference?

Here are some things you should know:

  • From start to finish, the process takes about an hour, but the actual donation takes about 8 to 10 minutes
  • Get at least eight hours of sleep the night before your appointment
  • Eat a healthy breakfast or lunch – or both, if you’re donating later in the day
  • Choose to eat lean proteins (lean meat, cheese and yogurt) or complex carbohydrates (bread, cereal and fruit) and avoid fatty foods
  • Drink a few extra glasses of water, including an extra glass about 10 to 30 minutes before you donate
  • Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above your arms
  • Bring your photo ID or blood donor card and your signed parental consent form
  • If you’re taking any medication or have recently traveled, bring a list of medications or places you’ve visited

Learn more about the donation process and what to expect

To help you have the best donation experience possible, learn how you can help maintain healthy iron levels. Learn more

Contact us for more information about who is eligible to donate »