FactsCan A 16 Year Old Join The Military

Can A 16 Year Old Join The Military


Are You Eligible To Join The Military

Joining the Royal Marines at 16 Years Old (My Experience)

Eligibility rules can be a little confusing. There are different rules for enlisting and for officer programs.

Enlisting: Enlisted members do the hands-on work of the military. They need at least a high school degree a GED may not suffice.

Officer: Officers are the managers of the military. Most officer programs require a college degree at minimum and are very competitive. Many officers have master’s or higher degrees.

Before you visit your local recruiter, be sure you meet the minimum qualifications for serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some qualifications are required by all five services:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
  • You must be at least 17 years old .
  • You must have a high school diploma.
  • You must pass a physical medical exam.

For each branch, there are slightly different enlistment requirements:

To join the…
  • Be between the ages of 17-39
  • Have no more than two dependents.
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
  • Be between the ages of 17-35
  • Have no more than two dependents.
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
  • Be between the ages of 17-27
  • Have no more than two dependents.
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
  • Have a willingness to serve on or around the water.
  • Meet exacting physical, mental and moral standards.
  • Be between the ages of 17-28
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

Basic Rules: Age Requirements For Joining The Military

The most important thing a parent needs to know starting out is that the minimum allowable age for making a legally binding commitment to the United States military is 17.

That does not mean that a 17-year-old teenager can sign on the dotted line and get a ship out date to basic training. 17-year old recruits must have the permission and participation of their parents in order to commit.

A recruit who is 18 years old is free to commit with or without the approval and participation of the parents.

But Is 16 Too Young To Join The Army

A nationwide survey found 72% of people who expressed a view believed young people should not be able to join the Army until they are 18.

The survey, commissioned by Child Soldiers International, ForcesWatch, Medact and Saville Roberts, also presented that around 10% of those people also said they believe the minimum age should actually be 21.

According to Child Soldiers International, one in three soldiers who join up at 16 or 17 leaves the Army after a few months, resulting in no job and little education

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “Joining the Armed Forces gives young people the opportunity for a great career and we are proud of the opportunities we can offer to recruits.

“We take our duty of care for all personnel extremely seriously and ensure under-18s are not deployed on operations that would expose them to hostilities.

Even though the minimum age of enlistment is 16, no one under 18 can enlist without parental consent, nor can they be deployed on operations outside of the UK, except where the operation does not involve personnel becoming engaged in or exposed to, hostilities.

Under 18s were used in 1982 in the Falklands War, in the Gulf War between 1990-91 and they were deployed to NATO peacekeeping operations in former Yugoslavia.

The UK committed to stopping routinely deploying individuals under the age of 18 by signing the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2000.

Recommended Reading: Does Sears Do Military Discount

Can I Join The Military At 30

There are two ways for joining the military at 30. You may enlist in a qualifying branch A) with or without a degree as an enlisted soldier or B) as an officer. However, you can earn a higher salary by considering joining the military at 30 as an officer. The opportunity is only available to college graduates.

Requirements For Joining The Military

In the UK 16

The U.S. military has six branches of service: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Space Force. The requirements to join are similar for all six. The main differences are in age limits, test scores, and fitness levels. Men and women meet different fitness standards. Besides the requirements listed here, a branch may have other requirements.

Age Limits for Enlisting

You must be at least 17 to enlist in any branch of the active military. The oldest you can be to enlist for active duty in each branch is:

  • Coast Guard: 31

  • Air Force: 39

  • Space Force: 39

Some branches have different age limits for their part-time Reserve and National Guard. Visit each service’s recruiting website for its part-time age limits.

Requirements for Enlisting If You Are Not a U.S. Citizen

You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to enlist in the military, but you may have fewer options. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must:

  • Have a permanent resident card, also known as a Green Card

  • Currently live in the U.S.

  • Speak, read, and write English fluently

Educational and Testing Requirements for Enlisting

You must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. The ASVAB has 10 subtests.

  • Your scores on four of those make up your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. This score determines which branch you may join. Each branch has its own lowest score for joining.

  • Your scores on all 10 subtests determine which job specialties you qualify for.

Recommended Reading: Verizon Fios Veteran Discount

Joining At 18 Or Over

If your child waits until he/she turns 18, he/she:

  • Will have more army jobs to choose from .
  • Will be less likely to be injured or to drop out during training.
  • Will have had more of a chance to finish full-time education and get good qualifications for the future.
  • Will be more mature, better able to make the right decision, and also better able to cope with some of the downsides of army life.
  • Will get to decide for themselves to join up, as an adult, without having to ask for your permission.

If you want your child to wait until theyre older before they sign up, some of these points might help when you explain your decision.

Why Do The British Armed Forces Still Allow 16

In the UK, 16-year-olds cannot vote, drive a car or drink alcohol. But they can join the army, and this week two charities, Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch, accused the Ministry of Defence of perpetuating the “outdated” practice of recruiting children into the forces.The charities argued that the government was wasting taxpayers’ money as much as £94m a year recruiting 16-year-olds into the army. The MoD disputed the figure, instead arguing that under-18s joining the army enjoy a wide range of benefits, training and experiences.

But, beyond the arguments about costs, there is the fundamental issue of how children develop the desire to be soldiers? The army states that it doesn’t recruit children under the age of 16 and that soldiers must be 18 before they can be deployed to the front line. However, it does host a section on its website called The Camouflage aimed specifically at 14 to 16-year-olds “looking for more info on army life”, which offers a target-shooting game for children: “The SA80 is the standard issue rifle for all soldiers so you’ll need to become familiar with it.”

You May Like: Military Discount At Sears

Quick Reference Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the questions regarding the Army age limits we receive the most:

Can I join the Army at 45 years old?

Unfortunately, no. Under Federal law, the oldest a recruit can be to enter any branch of the military is 42 years old.

What are the requirements to join the US Army?

In order to join the Army, you need to be a US citizen or resident alien, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, be at least 17 years old, and meet certain physical / medical requirements. Youll also have better chances if you have no criminal history,

Can you have tattoos in the Army?

Like the other military branches, tattoos are allowed, but must meet certain conditions. Learn more here.

Can a felon join the Army?

Depending on the type of felony conviction, it is possible to join the Army. Certain felonies, such as rape, murder, arson, extortion, and grand theft, are automatic disqualifiers.

Can You Go To War At 16

Can I join the Army? – Army Jobs

The army states that it doesnt recruit children under the age of 16 and that soldiers must be 18 before they can be deployed to the front line. Parents are engaged throughout and must sign a consent form. » But allowing 16-year-olds to enlist means « end up with some really good, focused soldiers.

Also Check: Verizon Plans Military

Maximum Age For Military Enlistment

Across the United States Armed Forces, the maximum age for enlistment for someone who has never served in the military before depends on the branch. For the Army, the maximum age is 35. For the Navy, age waivers start at 34-years-old. For the Air Force, the maximum age allowed to join is 39-years-old. The Marines have the lowest maximum age for regular military service at 28-years-old. Special Operations branches also have different maximum ages due to the physical challenges put upon the candidates compared to regular military service. These maximum ages can be waived if the recruit has the education, skills, experience that the military needs to fill its ranks. The same holds true for the Special Operations communities, where waivers are available, but only on a case by case basis and typically approved or disapproved by the commanding officer of the selection program or the community manager/detailer.

Often the age waivers that do get approved are those in the professional jobs fields .

The maximum age of non-prior service enlistment under Federal Law was 35-years-old. In 2006, the Army asked Congress to raise the age limit to 44-years-old. Congress did not approve this change, but raised the maximum enlistment age from 35 to 42.

Regardless of Federal Law, the military services are allowed to impose more strict standards, and many of them have. The maximum age for non-prior service enlistments for each service is:

If I Am Emancipated Can I Enlist In Military Service Without Parental Permission

Yes. The federal statute governing enlistments allows an emancipated seventeen year old to enlist in the Armed Forces, as long as no parent or guardian is entitled to his or her custody and control. This authority is also subject to regulatory guidance implemented by each of the five branches of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Recommended Reading: Can People With Autism Join The Military

Requirements To Become A Sailor

To join the Navy, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
  • Be between the ages of 17 and 39 to enlist or be between 19 and 42 to become an Officer*
  • Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent or have a four-year degree from an accredited university
  • Have a qualifying score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test or the Officer Aptitude Rating and Aviation Selection Test Battery
  • Pass the Military Entrance Processing Station medical exam
  • Meet the physical, mental and moral standards of the Navy

*If you are not yet 18, you need parental consent to join.

Contact a recruiter to request more information about basic requirements.

Military Age Restrictions By Branch

LePage: If 18

At age 66, Broun still serves as a doctor in the Navy Reserve. In an interview with Army Times, he called the enlistment age cap an arbitrary policy.

There are people who want to serve and are physically fit, he said. There are some 20-year-olds who cannot run a mile.

Since Brouns attempt in 2012, the military policy on age restrictions has changed. The Air Force, for example, raised its maximum age. See the age requirements for Active Duty enlistees of each branch below:

  • Army: 17-35 years old
  • Navy: 17-34 years old
  • Air Force: 17-39 years old
  • Coast Guard: 17-27 years old

» MORE: Check VA loan eligibility

In general, the Defense Department restricts enlistment to those 35 and younger. Prior enlisted service members can subtract their previous years of service from their age in order to extend eligibility. For example, the current age cutoff in the Air Force is 39. This means that a 31-year-old veteran with four years of prior service experience would still be eligible to reenlist.

Rep. Susan Davis of the Armed Services Committee personnel panel has said the risks outnumbered gains when it came to enlisting older personnel. She said they are not only more likely to become injured, but also take more time to recover than their younger counterparts.

Don’t Miss: Sears Discounts For Veterans

How To Join The Military After Age Thirty


U.S. Representative Paul Broun, Jr., is a doctor in the Navy Reserves. He’s also 66 years old. In 2012 he tried to convince the overnment to accept military applicants no matter their age, as long as they could meet the minimum health and fitness requirements. The House said no. Every branch of the military has age limits, from the Coast Guard to the National Guard, and most of them come to a halt before age 35. However, there are ways to enter the military when you’re 35 or older. Speak to a recruiter of the branch you’re interested in for the most up-to-date guidelines and hidden loopholes, as rules change all the time.

Giving Your Consent While Your Child Is Under 18

If you are thinking of consenting to your childs enlistment, this is what you need to know:

  • Your child is not allowed to apply online without your permission, but theres nothing to stop them either they just tick a box on the form to say youve agreed to the application.
  • If the application goes ahead, then your child will spend a weekend at Recruit Selection, where potential recruits are tested before they are offered a job. Your child cant go to this unless you sign a consent form first.
  • If the army offers a job, youll be asked to sign another form to consent to your childs enlistment. The form is sent to the home address provided by your child.
  • Normally, both parents must sign the consent form.
  • The mothers signature is always required.
  • The fathers signature is also normally required. If the father is married to the mother, then his signature is required. The same goes for a father who is named on the birth certificate.
  • Only in a few rare circumstances is the fathers signature not required.
  • If you and the other parent disagree, either of you can go to court to get a ruling on what is in the childs best interests.
  • Once your child has enlisted you cant withdraw your consent your child is legally bound to the army from this point.
  • Your child is not allowed to leave the army during the first six weeks. Its against the law to leave in this time, although the army hasnt prosecuted anyone under 18 for doing this for quite a while.
  • Recommended Reading: Can An Autistic Person Join The Military

    What About My Hair And Beard

    Grooming standards in the Navy exist to promote neatness, cleanliness and safety.

    Men are expected to keep their hair short and neat.

    A religious accommodation request can be submitted for personnel to wear a beard.

    There is no requirement for women to cut their hair short. Short hair is permitted to be worn down if it falls above the collarbone. Long hair is expected to be pulled back in a bun, ponytail, braids or corn rows.

    Us Coast Guard Age Limits

    JOIN THE US ARMY in 2021 / 2022 – How to join

    The United States Coast Guard has over 40,000 active-duty personnel.

    There are a small reserve fraction of approximately 7,000 members.

    The Coast Guard also employs a sizable civilian workforce.

    Overall, the U.S. Coast Guard is the smallest of the military branches .

    Here are the minimum and maximum ages required to join the U.S. Coast Guard:


    Minimum Age: 17 years old Maximum Age: 31 years old


    Minimum Age: 17 years old Maximum Age: 31 years old*

    *Up to 32 if qualified for attending guaranteed A School.

    You May Like: Can You Serve In The Military With Autism

    How Can I Start A Career In The Armed Forces

    Whatever your background or education, the chances are you’ll be able to find a job in the armed forces, as most training is done on the job. There are a few requirements though:


    Youll need to get jogging, as you have to pass a fitness and routine medical test to join. If you have any health issues such as poor eyesight or asthma you should speak to your GP and also check with your recruiter if it rules out any jobs. You might boost your chances by joining a gym or sports team.

    Minimum age

    The earliest you can join up is at 16, but to train directly as an officer you must be 18 or over. If you are thinking about signing up before you turn 18 you will need to get permission from your parent or guardian.


    You dont need GCSEs to join the Army as a soldier, the marines on general duties, or some jobs in the Navy and air force, such as gunners and engineering technicians. Because you are trained on the job there are still chances to move up the ranks too.

    However, having 5 GCSES at grade 4 or above, including English and maths, will give you lots more options, like becoming a medical cadet in the Navy or moving up from soldier to officer if you are already in the Army.

    All specialist or technical army jobs will ask for different grades but here are some examples:

  • Officers: To train as an officer in the Army you will need 7 GCSEs at 9-4 and two A-levels at grades A-E.
  • Pilots: To be an RAF pilot youll need 5 GCSEs including a grade 5 in maths and 2 A-levels at A-C.
  • Popular Articles

    What Military Branch Has The Best Benefits

    What Do Navy Seals Do Best...

    How Many Locations Does Navy Federal Credit Union Have

    Alarm Over Student Fights In Bugalagrande ...

    Does Enterprise Rental Offer Military Discounts

    Enterprise Truck Rental Black Friday Sale ...

    Is There A Certain Weight To Join The Army

    Getting Ready To Train Requirements to...

    What Is The Army Reserve Age Limit

    Why Does The Military Impose Age Enlistment Restrictions ...

    How Do I Get Discharge Papers From The Army

    Who Can Make The Request Can...

    Must read

    You might also likeRELATED
    Recommended to you