Commanders Can Issue Additional Guidance
There may be situations where the commander can restrict the wear of non-visible body ornaments. Those situations would include any body ornamentation that interferes with the performance of the members military duties.
The factors to be evaluated in making this determination include, but are not limited to: impairs the safe and effective operation of weapons, military equipment, or machinery poses a health or safety hazard to the wearer or others or interferes with the proper wear of special or protective clothing or equipment .
Installation or higher commanders may impose more restrictive standards for tattoos and body ornaments, on or off duty, in those locations where the Air Force-wide standards may not be adequate to address cultural sensitivities or mission requirements .
The Air Force has implemented a policy which prohibits body mutilation, such as split tongues.
Will The Army Pay To Remove Tattoos
The Army will not pay to remove existing tattoos prior to joining the military branch.
The only way you could get compensation for tattoo removal from the U.S. government is if the Army tattoo policy changed after you enlisted.
For example, if a commanding officer determined your tattoo violates its policy, you could request funding for the removal.
However, those circumstances happen infrequently in the U.S. Army.
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!
Also Check: Does Verizon Offer Veteran Discounts
What Tattoos Are Allowed In The Army
Well, the Cliff Notes version of the Armys tattoo policy goes something like this:
The wrist down and the neck up are off limits, with the exception of a single ring tattoo, otherwise its fair game.
While this might help to understand the policy in general terms, its actually a bit more nuanced than this.
Its true that there are no limits as to how many tattoos, and the size of those tattoos, a soldier can have on their arms, legs, chest, and torso.
You can be tatted up pretty good in the Army.
And while you cannot have any hand tattoos , you can have one ring tattoo per hand, located where you would naturally wear a ring.
Finally, permanent makeup such as eyebrows and eyeliner is allowed only on women, and must be applied conservatively and with modesty.
Coast Guard Tattoo Policy
The coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of our Armed Forces The US Coast Guard is one of our countrys uniformed services.
And as such, they hold their personnel and service members to a high standard.
Like the other branches of military discussed in this article, the Coast Guard periodically reviews and updates their tattoo and branding policy to keep up with the times and our changing culture.
The Coast Guards latest tattoo policy was unveiled late 2016.
And according to Kurt B. Hinrichs /s/ Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Director of Reserve and Military Personnel, the changes to the policy are minimal but important.
The report released by Hinrichs explains that the policy update is to ensure our workforce presents a sharp, professional military appearance to the public while also allowing individual expression through authorized body art that is consistent with the Coast Guards core values.
It seems as though the Coast Guard is keeping in step with the trend thats being followed by all military branches.
That is, theyre loosening up to attract recruits from the largest recruiting pool possible, without sacrificing core values.
But these changes in their tattoo policy arent for new recruits only.
Rather, according to the report, All Coast Guard unit commanders, commanding officers, officers-in-charge, deputy/assistant commandants, and chiefs of headquarters staff elements shall comply with the provisions of this Instruction.
You May Like: Sears Military Discount Policy
What Air Force Tattoos Are Not Allowed
While the Air Force has one of the more lenient tattoo policies of all the military branches, they still have standards and restrictions that must be followed.
As far as size and location of unauthorized tattoos, Airmen cannot be inked up in the following locations:
- The Neck
- The Hands
Otherwise, its fair game for size and location.
Unlike the Marines, USAF Airmen can have tattoos that are much larger than their hand when covering it.
And if you think about it, that leaves A LOT of canvas to be tattooed.
See below for a visual of what the new Air Force tattoo policy entails, what they prohibit, and what they permit.
Now that youre clear on the size and locations of unauthorized tattoos, lets discuss the content of tattoos that are prohibited.
The following unauthorized body markings are not allowed anywhere on the body, even when covered up by PTs.
So keep this in mind when visiting a recruiter, because they will ask, and you must tell.
Here are the tattoos not allowed in the USAF:
- Any markings that are obscene
- Associated with gang activity
- Ethnic or religious discriminatory tattoos
These tattoos will NOT fly, in more ways than one.
However, if you are unsure of a particular tattoo or tattoos, it doesnt hurt to visit an Air Force recruiter and get their opinion.
Sometimes they give waivers in certain cases.
Youd hate to blow your chances simply because you think your tattoo will automatically disqualify you.
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.
Where Will My Training Take Place
The location of your inital training depends on your service.
All initial training is conducted at Waiouru Military Training Facility.
All inital training is conducted at Devonport Naval Base.
All inital training is conducted at RNZAF Base Woodbourne.
Trade and/or Corp Training
After your initial training is complete, you will continue on with your trade-specific or Corp training. The location of your trade training varies depending on your trade.
Check your trade page on our website for the location of initial trade training. For further clarification contact your Candidate Engagement Facilitator or call 0800 1 FORCE .
Can I Join The Army If I Am Older Than The Maximum Age For Enlistment
The maximum age to join the Army as an enlisted Soldier is 35, and you must enter active duty prior to your 36th birthday. For Officers, you must accept your commission by age 32. However, restrictions can be lifted based on the need for certain roles. Recruits can receive an age waiver, so long as they can retire with 20 years of military service by age 55. Talk to a recruiter to get a better understanding of the demand for certain roles.
Recommended Reading: Can You Join The Army With Autism
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.
Final Words On Military Tattoos
If youve been following along, you should be a military tattoo policy pro by now. Weve covered the new and updated tattoo policies for each of the armed services the Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Youre also well aware that the overarching theme is this: the military is becoming less strict and more accommodating of tattoos at least in size and number of tattoos.
As far as the content of tattoos, each of the branches still have their non-negotiables that you must be aware of and abide by.
We hope this extensive, in-depth guide helps you on your way to serving our country.
As they say, knowledge is power and in this case, its half the battle! So go forth in confidence, knowing exactly what to expect from your desired service branch.
In the meantime, have a look at our other related posts, and keep an eye out for more in-depth guides and articles all about the military and how to join.
Recommended Reading: La Fitness Military Discounts
What Tattoos Are Allowed In The Navy
As of April 2018, sailors can sport a single neck tattoo , as long as it isnt bigger than 1-inch in diameter.
Additionally, tattoos below the knee and elbow, no matter the size and quantity, are perfectly fine.
This means full sleeves are allowed. Hand and ring tattoos are permitted as well.
This new policy isnt much different from one released in 2016.
The only major difference is the addition of the small neck tattoo.
Before that, however, the Navys policy on tattoos hadnt been changed in over a decade.
One relatively new amendment to the Navys tattoo policy is that they now allow sailors with sleeve tattoos to attain rank of Recruit Training command and other Recruiting command positions.
So dont be too surprised if you see a full-sleeved, tattoo-loving sailor show up to your high school or college.
As far as cosmetic tattoos go, the Navy does allow cosmetic tattoos to correct certain medical conditions.
But this is on a case-by-case basis.
All in all, compared to the Marines, the Navy is incredibly generous regarding their tattoo policy.
Will Hand Tattoos Ruin Job Opportunities
No, Having A Tattoo Doesn’t Hurt Your Chances Of Getting A Job. … While your mom might worry that a tattoo could affect your employment prospects, the reality is that, in most cases, it looks like having a tattoo won’t affect your job opportunities at all and could in fact help you get a job.
Don’t Miss: Does Sears Do Military Discount
How Do I Apply For An Army Waiver
Applying for an Army waiver is as simple as requesting a form. However, it should be noted that the point of the waiver is for the applicant to prove they overcame a disqualifying issue that would otherwise prevent them from joining the Army. Once the waiver has been submitted, a comprehensive review will take place and it will be determined if the individual can join.
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.
You May Like: Does Wayfair Have A Military Discount
What Kinds Of Tattoos Are Outright Banned
Per Marine Corps bulletin 1020 dates 29 October 2021:
Tattoos that are prejudicial to good order and discipline, or that are of a nature to bring discredit upon the naval service, are prohibited. Examples include, but are not limited to, tattoos that are drug-related, gang-related, extremist, obscene or indecent, sexist, or racist.
You can read longer descriptions about type of banned content in MCBUL 1020.
Tattoos And The Military
Tattoos and the military have been paired since the days of the Roman army. Roman soldiers would receive tattoos of dots marking their membership in the army and in particular units. The sleazy side of tattoos goes back that far, too. For many Romans, tattoos were a mark worn by slaves and criminals rather than by proud soldiers.
The practice remained popular in Christian Europe until the eighth century C.E, when the Roman Catholic Church outlawed tattooing. In the 1700s, however, English sailors encountered foreign cultures that practiced tattooing and they began getting their own tats. The practice soon spread to America. A tattoo of a regimental insignia not only encouraged group bonding, it helped identify bodies in days before dog tags and DNA identification.
Tattoos on military members remained a thing, but the Pentagon hasn’t always been comfortable with that. The Coast Guard, for instance, wants its members to present a sharp, professional military appearance, while allowing for personal expression through skin art. The same is true of the other branches: tattoos are tolerated, but they mustn’t be excessive.
Read Also: Can You Serve In The Military With Autism
I Have Adhd Can I Join The Army
Yes. Previously ADD or ADHD was automatically disqualifying, but today it is only disqualifying if the applicant has been treated with ADD/ADHD medicine within the previous year or if they display obvious signs of the condition. If you are concerned about ADHD medical prescriptions, talk to your recruiter about potential options.
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!
Also Check: Can You Be Autistic In The Military
Is There A Timeframe To Have A Tattoo Removed
There is not a set timeframe for removal. The commander determines the sense of urgency, depending on the nature of the tattoo. For instance, if airmen have inappropriate tattoos they would like to remove voluntarily, the commander can assist them in seeking medical support for the procedure.
The timing of tattoo removal, in this case, will be driven primarily by the availability of medical facilities staffed and equipped for tattoo removals.
What Is Not Allowed
Despite the fact that the armys tattoo policy has been slightly relaxed in order to provide room for new recruits, there are still certain rules guiding soldiers in getting a tattoo.
Although soldiers are permitted to have tattoos, below are some things that are not allowed by the army as far as getting tattoos is concerned.
It is important to note that the prohibition of certain types of tattoo is not without cause.
The army is an organization and it is important for the unity of the Force to be reflected in the appearance of the soldiers.
Even though the unique personality of each Soldier is respected, drawing unnecessary attention to oneself in the army is not tolerated.
This is because the soldiers despite being individuals are considered to be a part of something bigger and the interest of the army must be put ahead of personal preferences.
Its on this basis that the army has a policy guiding getting tattooed while in active service.
Certain types of tattoo are not allowed in the army. Below is a list of the types of tattoos that are not allowed.
Recommended Reading: Does Sears Give Military Discount
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.