Today's Military:

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 Selective Service.

Learn more about the Selective Service System

Physical Requirements

Because of the varying physical demands on servicemembers in each branch, physical requirements vary greatly. These differences can vary even within each branch of the Service. Generally speaking, potential servicemembers 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 Marianas Islands, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

  • You must have perfect vision to serve in the Military.
  • For the most part, an individual can serve as long as their vision can be corrected (i.e., with glasses) to 20/20.
See other Myths vs. Realities

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