What Offenses Or Moral Behavior
- Individuals under civil restraint including parole, confinement, or probation are not eligible for waivers
- Individuals subject to civil court conviction or adverse disposition for more than one serious offense, or serious offenses with three or more other offenses will not be eligible for a waiver
- Anyone found trafficking, selling, or distributing narcotics, including marijuana, is not eligible for a waiver
- Anyone with three or more convictions related to driving while intoxicated, drugged, or impaired in the past five years prior to application will not be eligible
- Anyone convicted for five or more misdemeanors is not eligible
- Individuals who are unable to pass a drug or alcohol test or anyone with charges pending will not be eligible for a waiver
Advice For Your Civilian Career
Some federal agencies do not have strict or even explicit policies on tattoos. The CIA even notes that tattoos will NOT disqualify you from gaining employment, and all professionally qualified people are encouraged to apply still. While organizations like the FBI have stricter regulations on physical appearance in regards to remaining clean and professional, they dont specifically ban tattoos for employees.
But like the military, the general what, where, and how big questions apply. Could the content be deemed as offensive? Is it derogatory to a certain group of people? Would your mom wince at the sight of it? Ask yourselves these questions before branding yourself.
Is the tattoo covering your face? Are there distracting markings visible on your neck? These are questions that highlight what would stand out to a potential employer in an interview.
Coming from a millennial whos covered in them, whether you agree or disagree with throwing some paint up, Ive never had an issue obtaining employment in national security due to my ink. I love that my tattoos tell my story or what is important enough to keep on my body forever. But I can also cover mine with long sleeves during an interview. Best bet is to sit on the idea for six months to a year, and if youre still game for sitting under a needle, go for it.
Us Army Tattoo Policy: What’s Not Allowed
The Army’s policy prohibits tattoos or brands that might be considered offensive, regardless of where they appear on the body. Specifically, the regulations forbid:
- Extremist tattoos. According to the regulations, these are tattoos or brands “affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities.” This would include tattoos that: feature philosophies, groups or activities that promote racial or gender intolerance encourage discrimination based on numerous factors, including race, gender and religion advocate violence or “other unlawful means of depriving individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, and Federal or State law.”
- Indecent tattoos. These include tattoos or brands that are “grossly offensive to modesty, decency, propriety, or professionalism.” The Army’s regulations do not provide examples of tattoos that would fall under these descriptions.
- Sexist tattoos. These include tattoos and brands that “advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender,” according to the regulations.
- Racist tattoos. Tattoos or brands that “advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin” are not allowed.
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Laser Removal For Tattoos That Violate Army Policy
The Army advises that if you plan to join, you should speak to a branch representative to ensure your tattoos abide by Army tattoo policy and that any tattoos in the military you plan to get will also conform to Army tattoo regulations.
If your Army tattoos are in violation, you have options. Laser tattoo removal in a professional setting can effectively remove a tattoo that violates Army tattoo policy, allowing you to join and be promoted in the branch.
If you find that you need to remove your tattoo in order to enlist, Removery offers a 10% discount to those who are in the process of enlisting or already enlisted in the US Army.
But Here Are Some General Guidelines To Follow:
If your tattoos are in any way offensive, racist, sexist, extremist, or discredit America, unpack your bags.
The Navy has a strict policy regarding the content of tattoos.
They do not allow tattoos that discriminate against religion or national origin.
And any tattoos that suggests gang affiliation or the use of illegal drugs are not allowed.
Likewise, tattoos that are deemed offensive might also not pass the sniff test.
You cannot have any tattoos on your head or scalp, and nothing on the actual ear itself.
As previously mentioned, a neck tattoo cannot exceed the height/width dimensions of one inch.
However, in some cases, a neck tattoo that exceeds the maximum 1-inch x 1-inch dimension might be considered by the Navy recruiting commander.
But this tattoo must be located on the back of the neck, and not be touching the hairline or reaching behind the ears.
Furthermore, body mutilation is not allowed in the Navy.
This includes everything up to and including the following:
- Tongue forking
- Gauged or enlarged holes in ears
- Skin modification such as intentional scarring
- Intentional burns to create designs on skin
- Any sort of dental ornamentation such as gold front teeth
Finally, men are not permitted to wear body piercings.
However, women are allowed to wear one ball-studded earring in each ear.
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Can I Join With Asthma What About Poor Vision Or Hearing
In some cases, yes. Asthma is only disqualifying if it occurred after an applicants 13th birthday. Hearing, vision, and asthma qualifications are typically determined by medical exams and are not service-specific. If a doctor denies an applicant, that applicant can still request an asthma, vision or hearing loss waiver.
Air Force Tattoo Ideas And Meanings
Turns out, the Air Force gives you wings!
In fact, I would venture to guess that 90% of all Air Force tattoos somehow incorporate the famous wings overlapping a central star.
Youll also see Airmen sporting USAF tattoos that symbolize a deep patriotic pride in their nation and flag.
Eagles abound, and of course, no USAF tattoo is complete without showcasing the very symbol of the branch the fighter jet itself.
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More Ink On Heads Fingers Allowed In Updated Coast Guard Tattoo Policy
Coast Guard men, women and recruits now have more options to show off tattoos on their fingers or behind their ears under a new policy the service announced Monday.
The new finger regulation allows service members to get a tattoo anywhere between their first knuckle and fingertip, or on the top or side of the finger, in an area that “may be visible at the position of attention.”
The Coast Guard previously had stipulated that a single finger tattoo could be placed per hand but needed to be between the first and second knuckle. Any ring tattoo counts as the single finger tattoo allowed on that hand.
The new rules also allow for a single tattoo no larger than an inch wide to be placed behind one ear.
Hand tattoos remain authorized as long as they are no more than an inch wide. One finger and one hand tattoo are allowed on each hand, according to policy, published as ALCOAST Commandant Notice 113/21.
The Coast Guard last updated its tattoo policy in 2019 to broaden the pool of potential recruits and allow members flexibility in decorating their bodies.
Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz said in his first “State of the Coast Guard Address” in 2019 that the service’s leadership needed to look at its policies to draw service members and retain them.
All the military services have issued updates in recent years to address similar concerns, as well as trends in the general population where they hope to attract recruits.
What About Tattoos After You Are Enlisted
Some recruits think they can enlist in the military and then get whatever tattoos they wish once they have completed training. This is false. Commanding officers are always reviewing their servicemembers, and people who get tattoos after joining are still subject to disciplinary action up to and including administrative separation.
While cosmetic tattoos are acceptable, they must mimic the natural appearance of the body. The most common illustration is getting an eyebrow tattoo in cases where you are losing your eyebrow hair for some reason. However, the cosmetic tattoo must mirror the natural color, shape, and size of the eyebrow.
Some people who get tattoos after they have enlisted find that the tattoos hurt their ability to proceed up through the ranks. When they are reviewed for promotion, they might find that their promotions are delayed until they visit a tattoo removal clinic.
Generally speaking, visits to a tattoo removal clinic will be on your own dimethe government will not pay for you to have a tattoo removed, nor will health insurance. Fortunately, we do offer special discounts for military recruits, active duty, and veterans its our way of saying, thank you for your service!
What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The Army
As far as placement or location goes, we recommend the t-shirt test.
Throw on a t-shirt and stand in front of the mirror. Now, you cannot have any tattoos showing above the t-shirt collar line or anywhere on the neck, ear, face, scalp, etc.
This restriction also includes any inner-mouth or eyelid tattoos .
You cannot have any tattoos on your hands either .
The hand is defined as any location below the wrist bone. With this in mind, its best not to have any ink on your wrists at all.
As far as content of the tattoos, the Army prohibits anything that is:
These types of tattoos cannot be located anywhere on your body. And believe us, theyll check.
Of course, the terms above can be interpreted in different ways, so its ultimately up to your Recruiting Commander to make the call.
Also, if you have tattoos and eventually want to become an Officer or Warrant Officer, dont worry, theres still hope of moving up in rank.
You see, Commanders make recommendations for soldiers based on many considerations so you likely wont be rejected on account of your tattoos alone.
Finally, if you have a tattoo that you think will disqualify you from the Army, its worth a shot to check with the recruiters anyway.
You might get a waiver for, say, a tiny tattoo on your hand or something small behind your ear.
So dont count yourself out!
Fresh Start Tattoo Removal Is Here To Support You
At Fresh Start Laser Tattoo Removal Clinic, our mission is to provide laser tattoo removal help to active service members and those who want to enlist in the military. We are a veteran-owned business that honors active service members and veterans with a 10% discount off of any laser tattoo removal treatment. Our prices start at just $59. We will work with you to make sure that tattoo from your past doesnt get in the way of your future. We remove all tattoo ink colors safely with the most advanced three-wavelength laser technology available.
Learn about pricing your tattoo removal here
If youre living in the Greater Austin Texas area, we can help you at our Austin location here:
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So Does The Military Allow Tattoos
The simple answer: there is no simple answer. It all depends, and although military tattoo regulations and policies are liable to be modified each year, take a look below for a quick guide on current military tattoo policies per branch.
Because much of these policies are up for interpretation its always best to seek feedback from a recruiter directly. However, if you already have ink and are worried it may not pass the military standard you have options! For starters, active service members who enlisted before a new regulation dont have to worry. However, if you add or alter a tattoo and it then violates new military tattoo regulations, you could run into some trouble.
Air Force Tattoo Policy
The United States Air Force tattoo policy is almost as lenient as the Navy policy, except it prohibits tattoos on the hands. Those serving in the Air Force can have full sleeves as well as large pieces on their backs and legs and are allowed one single-band ring tattoo on their hand. The Air Force tattoo policy, which was updated in 2017, is the same for enlisted members and officers.
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Examples Of Army Offensive Tattoos
Here are the main types of tattoos the U.S. Army analyzes and may prohibit you from enlisting in the military:
- Sexist Tattoos: Soldiers are not allowed to have body art that advocates a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender.
- Racist Tattoos: Soldiers are not allowed to have body ink that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.
- Extremist Tattoos: The Army determines extremist tattoos as body art affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities. The Army has zero-tolerance toward organizations that promote racial or gender intolerance.
- Indecent Tattoos: The Army clarifies that indecent tattoos are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, propriety, or professionalism. The definition of indecent tattoos in the Army is fairly loose. It might include body art like a character flipping the bird or using the restroom on another object.
Lastly, branding tattoos are not authorized in the U.S. Army.
Military personnel are prohibited from having tattoos, including brands on the head, face, and neck.
There are several commonly asked questions regarding the Army tattoo policy:
Can I Join The Army With A Tattoo
One of the most common questions we get is Can I Join the Army if I have a Tattoo. This article answers that question and outlines what types of tattoos may keep you from joining the U.S. Army.
You will NEVER be allowed to enlist in the Regular Army, Army Reserves, or Army National Guard if you have any of the non-waivable disqualifying tattoos below. Depending on abundance of recruits, standards may be more strict than listed:
- Tattoos located on the head, face, neck, wrists, hands, or fingers
- Tattoos which are extreme, sexist, indecent, or racist
- Having more than four tattoos located below the knee or between the elbow and wrist
As part of efforts to maintain the professional appearance of the force, the Army dialed back the number, size and placement of tattoos in the March regulation.
Previously authorized tattoos were grandfathered in, but Soldiers hoping to become an officer had to get an exception to the policy.
The updated regulation takes into account that previously authorized tattoos should not prevent a Soldier from becoming an officer, but that candidates are to be evaluated based on the whole Soldier concept, or all characteristics of a Soldier.
Here is the latest policy on tattoos from Army Regulation 670-1 :
33. Tattoo, Branding, and Body Mutilation PolicyNote: This paragraph is punitive with regard to Soldiers. Violation by Soldiers may result in adverse administrative action and/or charges under the provisions of the UCMJ.
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Whats The Big Deal About Tattoos
Many recruits wonder why the armed forces even care about their tattoos. While someone joining the Air Force or Marine Corps might expect to be required to put forth a professional appearance, someone joining the Army or Navy might think thatgiven the traditionally more rugged lifestyle of people in these branchesa tattoo on the hand or neck would not pose a big deal.
The reality of the matter is that the military is a place of tradition and high, uniform standards. Individuality is not valued like in our general society. Moreover, there are a lot of qualified recruits who meet the existing standards so theres little incentive to lower existing standards / regulations.
Tattoos that glorify sexism, drugs, violence, or extremist or indecent tattoos could pose problems for recruits. While some branches of the military will allow certain types of sleeve tattoos, many would-be recruits will find themselves being told to get laser tattoo removal treatment for these tattoos before they can submit enlistment papers.
Military tattoo regulations do tend to change slightly over time. So, while the below information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, you may want to double-check with your recruiter or another U.S. Military publication for the latest tattoo regulations.
What Can I Do If I Am Found To Be Ineligible To Join The Army
In many cases, ineligibility means you will not be able to join in the Army or other military branches. However, in some circumstances the Army will provide waivers to help ensure potential recruits are able to join and serve. For questions about specific Army waivers and your potential eligibility, talk to a local recruiter to learn more about available options.
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Army Eases Rules On Hand And Neck Tattoos
The Army has eased its rules on hand and neck tattoos, the Ministry of Defence has said.
It says tattoos are now allowed on hands and the back of the neck, but not on the face or any neck areas that could be visible on passport photos.
Army regulations had limited tattoos to those that are covered by a shirt – ie below the collar and above the cuff.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said visible tattoos have no “adverse impact on operational effectiveness”.
“Tattoos have become more acceptable in society over the last decade and, in recent years, there has been an increasing number of personnel with tattoos on visible areas.”, the MoD said.
The US army relaxed its policy on hand and neck tattoos in 2006.