While the military branches have similar entrance requirements, each branch has its own admission standards based on the type of recruits they need, and how many they need. But, for 2015, there are basically 4 different requirements: age, health, education, and citizenship. The requirements listed below apply to the U.S. Military as a whole. For branch specific requirements, it’s best to contact a recruiter.
Each branch of the Service has different age requirements for active duty enlistment. All branches have a minimum entrance-age requirement of 17 with parental consent or 18 without parental consent. The current maximum age varies by branch. The Army has the highest maximum age at 35, while the Air Force and Coast Guard have the lowest maximum age of 27. Click here for maximum ages for all branches, including Reserves and Guard.
Because of the varying physical demands on service members in each branch, physical requirements vary greatly. These differences can vary even within each branch of the Service. Generally speaking, potential service members should be in good physical condition, of appropriate weight and able to pass a standard physical screening prior to entry. Basically, you need to meet established fitness requirements in order to be part of any branch of the military. All branches are looking for recruits that have strength, mobility and endurance. For more specific information, please contact a recruiter.
Success in any branch of the Military depends on a good education, and a minimum of a high school diploma is preferred. Individuals with a GED (General Education Development certificate) can enlist, but some branches 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.
You must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident Alien (people who have an INS I-151/I-551 “Green Card”) to join the military.
If you are not a citizen, and would like more information about becoming a U.S. citizen, visit the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization (INS) website.
Properly documented non-citizens may enlist. However, opportunities may be limited. 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 Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.