• Review Military Entrance Requirements

    Review Military Entrance Requirements

    Review Military Entrance Requirements

    While the Service branches have similar entrance requirements, each has its own admission standards based on the amount and type of recruits needed. The requirements listed here apply to the U.S. Military as a whole. For more specifics, it's best to contact a recruiter.

  • Age Requirements

    Each branch of the Service has different requirements. Minimum entrance-age requirements are 17 with parental consent or 18 without parental consent.

    Review a chart of age requirements

    Keep in mind almost all male U.S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with the Selective Service.

    Learn more about the Selective Service System

     

    Physical Requirements

    Because of the varying physical demands on service members in each branch, physical requirements vary greatly. These differences can vary even within each branch of the Service. Generally speaking, potential service members should be in good physical condition, of appropriate weight and able to pass a standard physical screening prior to entry. For more specific information, please contact a recruiter.

     

    Educational Requirements

    Success in any branch of the Military depends on a good education, and a high school diploma is most desirable. Candidates with a GED (General Education Development certificate) can enlist, but some Services may limit opportunities. It is very difficult to be considered a serious candidate without either a high school diploma or accepted alternative credential. In any case, staying in school is important for entering the Military.

     

    Citizenship Requirements

    U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens (people who have an INS I-151/I-551 "Green Card") may join the U.S. Military. For more information about citizenship, visit the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization (INS) website.

    Properly documented non-citizens may enlist. However, opportunities may be limited. Contact a recruiter for more advice on a specific situation.

    For enlistment purposes, the United States includes Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

  • Age Requirements By Service

    Army Only Marine Corps Only Navy Only Air Force Only Coast Guard Only
    Active Duty 17-35 17-29 17-34 17-27 17-27
    Reserve 17-35 17-29 18-39 17-34 17-39
    Guard 17-35 N/A N/A 17-39 N/A
    Service Academies 17-22 17-22 17-22 17-22 17-22
      • Army Only
      • Active Duty:

        17-35
      • Reserve:

        17-35
      • Guard:

        17-35
      • Service Academies:

        17-22
      • Marine Corps Only
      • Active Duty:

        17-29
      • Reserve:

        17-29
      • Guard:

        N/A
      • Service Academies:

        17-22
      • Navy Only
      • Active Duty:

        17-34
      • Reserve:

        18-39
      • Guard:

        N/A
      • Service Academies:

        17-22
      • Air Force Only
      • Active Duty:

        17-27
      • Reserve:

        17-34
      • Guard:

        17-39
      • Service Academies:

        17-22
      • Coast Guard Only
      • Active Duty:

        17-27
      • Reserve:

        17-39
      • Guard:

        N/A
      • Service Academies:

        17-22

    Entrance Requirements Videos

    Entrance Requirements Videos

    Get an inside look at Entrance Requirements with selections from our Entrance Requirements Videos collection.

    • Resources

      Contact a Recruiter

      Schedule a meeting with a recruiter and learn what to expect from your visit.

      Request Info

      Get a free DVD and magazine, plus additional information from each Service, sent to your home.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      View answers to commonly asked questions about the Military.

      The Next Step: Training

      The Next Step: Training

      Once someone has committed to serving in the Military, it's time for them to get the training they need to succeed.