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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can people join the U.S. Military if they are not American citizens?
Unless you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. National or a legal resident alien of the U.S., you are not qualified to enlist in the United States Army. Any office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service can provide information concerning entry as a resident alien. Their home page is: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis Once you have obtained an I-551 (green card) you can begin the process for enlistment. 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.
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.
I am a single parent with children and heard I have to sign custody over to another family member before I join. Is this true?
The U.S. military will not enlist any recruit who meets its definition of a "single parent." A single parent is a man or woman who is unmarried and who has sole or joint legal custody of the child under the age of 18 years. It is still possible for a man or woman who is an unmarried parent to enlist in the military but only by giving up legal custody of the child.
Will the Military help you obtain a GED?
No. The military requires a High School diploma or GED for enlistment. However, it may be possible to enlist with the National Guard through the Army National Guard GED Plus Program. Contact a recruiter for more information on whether you qualify.
Can a person join if they do not speak English or have an extremely poor grasp of the English language?
English doesn’t have to be your first language, but you must be proficient in reading, speaking, writing, and understanding English to enlist.
Can a person enlist in the Military if they are NOT a US Citizen, Permanent Resident or Green Card Holder but are married to one?
If you are married or have relatives with permanent residence or citizenship, they might be able to sponsor you for a green card.
After you get married, the U.S. citizen spouse must file with the INS an I-130 Relative Petition for you, together with the I-485 application for permanent residence, with all supporting documents, if you originally entered the United States legally. You can also apply for an employment authorization card and advance parole, which will allow the alien to travel abroad pending the INS interview.
Establish a bona fide residence in the United States or establish a "home of record" within the United States. Because the enlistment of non-U.S. citizens is determined on a case-by-case basis, entering the country within a few weeks or months of requesting enlistment might disqualify you. Instead, it’s required that you have lived in the U.S. for five years or three if you are married to a U.S. citizen.
Can I join if I have tattoos?
Depending on recruiting numbers and which branch, the general consesus is no "extremist, indecent, sexist or racist" tattoos are allowed and they can not be seen above the collar or below the wrist when in the uniform.
Where is the ASVAB test taken, are there study books and when do I take it?
When the recruiter has determined that you are qualified, he/she will set up a time for you to take the ASVAB at the closest Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or an affiliated Military Entrance Test (MET) site. It is also offered to high school and post-secondary students as part of the ASVAB Career Exploration Program.
You can get your ASVAB Secrets Study Guide, to include practice questions, by visiting the ASVAB Test Prep website, click on Study Guides, click on A-B and then scroll down to the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) link.
Does the military still offer the "Buddy System" for two people interested in enrolling together and what are the guidelines?
Yes. The buddy system has long been recognized as a valuable program for helping young men and women transition into military service from civilian life. You will have to pass the ASVAB, physical, and be otherwise qualified. Contact your local recruiter for confirmation.
What is the difference between the Army / Air National Guard and the Army Reserves?
The Army Reserve is part of the Regular Army, just on stand by. The National Guard evolved out of state militias is mostly under state authority though is answerable to the president and congress. The Army Reserve consists of people that have normal lives, except that every two months they train with their local army base. They also may go to war if needed. They’re in the Army, just not full time.
The National Guard may be called up for active duty by the state governors or territorial commanding generals to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, such as those caused by hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.