Overall Eligibility Rules

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to be able to enter the military.  Some of these requirements apply to all those joining, some are specific to the branch of the military you are joining and some are dependent upon whether you desire to be an enlisted member or an officer.  The following information will give you a better understanding of the requirements needed for each situation as it can become very complicated and confusing. 

All individuals wanting to join any part of the military must meet the following five criteria:

  • You must be a United States citizen or resident alien
  • You must be at least 17 years of age (parental consent must be given for those applicants 17-years old)
  • You must have a high school diploma (in certain circumstances a GED will be accepted)
  • You must pass a physical medical examination

Each branch of the military also has their own set of requirements as well.  Here is a list of requirements by branch.  Please note that the age requirements vary depending on whether the individual intends to join active duty, the reserves or has prior service.  Also all 17-year old applicants must have parental consent to be considered.

Army:

  • Ages 17-35 active duty (17-40 Reserves, 17-42 Guard)
  • Have no more than two dependents
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test with a minimum AFQT score of 31

Air Force:

  • Ages 17-27 active duty (17-39 Reserves, 17-40 Guard)
  • Have no more than two dependents
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test with a minimum AFQT score of 50

Navy:

  • Ages 17-34 active duty (18-39 Reserves)
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test with a minimum AFQT score of 50
  • Women are eligible to enlist in all occupational fields, with the exception serving in the Navy Seals or on submarines

Marines:

  • Ages 17-29 active duty (17-28 Reserves)
  • Must meet exacting physical, mental and moral standards
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test with a minimum AFQT score of 32
  • Women are eligible to enlist in all occupations with the exception of combat arms specialties such as infantry, tank and amphibian tractor crew members

Coast Guard:

  • Ages 17-27 active duty (17-39 Reserves)
  • Have no more than two dependents
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test with a minimum AFQT score of 45
  • Willing to serve on or around water

There are some exceptions to these requirements dependent on the circumstances.  If you want to join but don’t quite fit the requirements exactly, call a local recruiter to see if there are exceptions for your specific situation. 

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