One would think that any aged person could enlist in the U.S. Army. But, the Army has minimums and maximums. Federal law dictates that you have to be at least 17 to join, and that is with parental consent. Otherwise, you have to be 18 years old. As of 2015, the maximum age for enlisting in the Military is 42, though the Army has set its own lower age limit. Or, as the Army puts it, you must not have reached your 35th birthday before the time of accession.
However, if you have prior military service, you can be older. To determine how old, just subtract your total active duty time from your age. If this number is less than 35, you meet the age eligibility requirements for active duty. For the Army Reserve you must be able to retire with 20 years of federal service before the age of 60.
And, if you want to enter one of these Army programs, you can be older than 35:
Applicants must be able to serve 20 years of active commissioned service before reaching the age of 62. Applicants must be under the age of 42 at the time of entry into active duty service.
Must be at least 21 years of age, but younger than 42 at time of Regular Army commissioning or less than 45 at time of Army Reserve commissioning. Prior service applicants with at least 3 years of prior AFS or creditable USAR service must be younger than 47 at time of Army Reserve commissioning.
Be at least 18 years old at the time of enlistment and not have passed their 33rd birthday at the time of selection (for aviators) or their 46th birthday for all other specialities. Age waivers are considered on a case-by-case basis.
For those that are 17 years old and younger, the Army offers Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in your high school. JROTC is designed to teach high school students the value of citizenship, leadership, service to the community, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment, while instilling in them self-esteem, teamwork, and self-discipline. It is not a requirement for joining the Army, but can be an incentive of a higher rank upon enlistment. See your school guidance counselor for details.
For more detailed information, you can visit Army Regulation AR 601–210 dated 8 February 2011. Section 3-3 details the age requirements.
Applicant is eligible for enlistment if any of the following apply:
a. An applicant is eligible for RA enlistment if applicant’s age, when subtracting prior honorable active Service completed in any military Service, is not more than 42 and the applicant can qualify for regular retirement with 20 or more years of active Federal Service by age 62.
b. Applicant is eligible for enlistment in the AR or ARNG if they are not less than 18 years of age and can qualify for retired pay by age 62. To be eligible for nonregular retired pay, an individual must meet eligibility criteria outlined in AR 135–180.
c. An applicant is exempt from age criteria outlined above and therefore is eligible for enlistment if they can qualify for retirement by age 62, does not have 20 or more years of active Service, and is a former member of Service who was awarded the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, or Silver Star Medal.
Documents and procedures used to verify age include:
(1) Birth certificate.
(2) INS or USCIS Form N–550/551/570 (Naturalization Certificate).
(3) INS or USCIS Form N–560 or N–561 (Certificate of United States Citizenship).
(4) U.S. or foreign passport (expired or unexpired).
(5) DD Form 372 (Request for Verification of Birth).
(a) The only form authorized is the one issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
(b) When a telephonic verification is done, block 12 will be signed by personnel receiving the information.
(c) If the form is faxed or taken to the vital statistics office, section I and III will be completed by recruiting personnel.
(d) Section II will be completed by the Bureau of Vital Statistics Department personnel.
(6) Department of State (DS) Form 1350 (Certification of Birth).
(7) Foreign Service (FS) Form 545 (Certification of Birth Abroad of U.S. Citizen).
(8) FS Form 240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad).