Today's Military:

Entrance Requirements FAQ

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact a recruiter.

What are the age requirements for joining the Military?
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

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What are the physical requirements for joining the Military?

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.

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What are the minimum educational requirements to enlist in the Military?
Success in any branch of the Military depends on a good education, and a high school diploma is most desirable. Candidates with a GED 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.

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How long are people entering the Military obligated to serve?
The length of commitment depends greatly on the chosen Service, required training and a number of other variables. Military personnel may retire after 20 years of service and must retire after 30 years of service. It’s best to contact a recruiter to get a clearer picture of what a potential servicemember’s specific situation would call for.

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Can certain health problems prevent a candidate from serving?
As part of the entrance process for any service, prior to boot camp, new recruits will receive a physical exam. During that exam, they will be asked about their overall health. A recruit’s input and the result of the exam will determine his or her ability to meet the health and physical fitness standards for military service. Because of the very particular and personal nature of this discussion, contact a recruiter for more specific information.

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Does having a criminal record disqualify a potential recruit from military service?
Each service takes a different approach to evaluating the severity and number of offenses on a candidate’s record. The results of this evaluation may – or may not – disqualify candidates.

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Are there special considerations for women enlisting in the Military?
On average, across the Services, more than 95 percent of all jobs in the Military are open to women. The percentage of women serving on active duty in the Military has doubled since 1978. Clearly, women play a very important role in today’s Military. Each Service has physical requirements specific to female enlistees.

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Can foreign-born American citizens join the Military?
Yes. U.S. Citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens (people who have an INS I-151/I-551 “Green Card”) may join the U.S. Military.

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Can people join the U.S. Military if they are not American citizens?
Noncitizens may enlist. However, each Service has its own enlistment requirements for noncitizens. 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.

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If a candidate is married or has children (dependents), can he or she enlist?
Each Service has specific policies relating to dependents, but in general, the Military will not accept applicants with more than two dependents under the age of 18. Waivers can be made on a case-by-case basis. Contact a recruiter for more advice on a specific situation.

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