What Everyone Needs To Know About Military Enlistment Requirements

For many individuals joining the military is a dream come true.  They long to be able to serve their country.  For them money, benefits or recognition aren’t the issue.  They only want to join because of genuine patriotism.  However, the days of the military accepting virtually anybody that turns 18 are over, even in the world of the volunteer army.

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  There are several requirements a person must meet in order to be eligible for enlistment.  If they don’t meet these requirements, they will not be able to become a soldier, forcing them to find other ways to express their patriotism.  This article will discuss the main factors the military considers in determining whether or not a person is eligible for enlistment.

1. Age

The specific age a person needs to be will depend on the type of military unit they are joining.  But generally, the military will allow people between the ages of 17 and 42 to enlist.  It is important to note that there are some cases where individuals who are deemed to be too young for a position can have their age waived if they are deemed to possess credible experience.

2. Citizenship/Immigration Status

Ironically enough, a person does not have to be a citizen to join the U.S. military.  However, they do have to at least be a legal immigrant.  This means that they have a green card or an Alien Registration Receipt card.  They must also live in an official residence with the United States being their primary home.


Legal immigrants will not be able to reenlist unless they become citizens.  Fortunately, with military service in their record, the process of becoming a citizen is much easier than if they were regular civilians.  However, not all legal immigrants will be able to enlist or reenlist.  This is usually the case if they originated from a country that is deemed to be hostile against the United States.  In these situations the soldiers must obtain a waiver to continue their careers in the military.

3. Children

If a person has two or more dependants under the age of 18, they will not be allowed to enlist.  This is the case whether or not the person is married to the other parent and/or whether or not the children are living with them.  The only way to get around this rule is by a waiver.  In order to obtain a waiver, the military will evaluate the enlisted financial portfolio, in some cases even checking their credit report.

4. Education

The military requires some educational background of enlistees.  This is usually in the line of a high school diploma or a GED, though there are some cases where a military will accept an enlistee with education that could be equal to these things.  An example is a person that has completed a semester of college.  Another example is if one obtains an adult diplomat, though in this situation the military must deem that the diploma offered education that was valid enough.  There are also situations where people with no education are allowed to enlist, (which are known as Tier III applicants), but this is relatively rare.

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19 Responses to “What Everyone Needs To Know About Military Enlistment Requirements”


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military dot image Joel Merten    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

what are the rules if someone has felonies on there record?


military dot image Alex    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

what if my visa is expired and i’m an illegal citizen since 2005?


military dot image erick    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Is it posible for a person with a felony to join the service?


military dot image gloria    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I would love to join it would the best thing for my life but im not eligible if there were a way i would serve with honors no one needs this more than me


military dot image Gerald N Jones    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i am a 22 year old male in search of the airforce. this has been a dream to be apart of and would love to enlist as soon as possible. so if theres any way i can get started as soon as today, and be on a new road of sucess that would be great. my e-mail is [email protected]. With my R.O.T.C passed experiance i feel with my life headed towards protecting my country will do nothing but be satifaction to me. hope to here from you very soon.
Jones, Gerald


military dot image Timothy    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i am 24 and have been charged with 2 felonies and at least 8 misdemeanors and another crime when i was 10 that i don’t know how to classify. i have received ‘adverse adjudication’ for most, so technically i have around 6-8 misdemeanors actually on my record. i feel like i can correct the direction my life has been heading with a career in the military. how would i go about finding out if i am eligible for a criminal history waiver?


military dot image Manuel Angeli    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I would really like to serve my country.The reason i have not joined all of the real americans that are at war is because i dont have a high school diploma.i think im capeable of serveing my country with honor and pride.


military dot image John    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I have been wanting to enlist in either the Marines or Army now for the past few years but the problem is that I have 3 felonies on my criminal record and I am also on probation for 2 more years. I was wondering if the felonies are actually a promblem. If they are not a problem for me then could I wright the judge that gave me the probation and ask if I can join.


military dot image diego arateco    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i am international student holding a f-1 visa.can i join the u.s military??


military dot image Frank    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I am 24 years old and am very interested in joining the marines i do have a a few misdemeanors on my record and an open case that I could beat. Im no criminal but do feel as if my life is going no where I want to change that and make my family and country proud do I still have an opportunity to get In?


military dot image arin    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

many misdemeanors do not automatically disqualify you for service, yet you cannot currently be on probation or having any pending charges/open cases. You must wait until it is resolved.


military dot image angie    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I just found out that even though i could meet all other requirements i can not join because i have more than 2 dependent children. What is up with that?


military dot image lauren    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

im sixteen and got kicked out of my house, is there any way i can just join now? i was planning on joining later as a psychologist, but it seems that may no longer happen.


military dot image Vanity    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

My boyfriend was in The Marines and he told me if I wanted to join the Air Guard I wouldn’t be able to leave the country within three years of enlistment. Is this true? He’s not 100% and thinks he could be mixing it up. I tried googling it but nothing seems to be coming up. Is this fact or fiction?


military dot image Samantha    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i would like to join the coast guard once i turn 17 can i join if i took the CHSPE(california highschool proficiency exam) it is the equivalency of a highschool diploma?


military dot image samuel    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

can i join if my visa has already expired and am living in the us US illegally but i entered legally?


military dot image coryna    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I am very set on joining the Air Gaurd of Washington. Currently I have 9 misdemeanors (MIP) on my idaho juvenille records. My question is, will the Air Gaurd except me with all my past offences or do I need some sort of waiver? Please email me if you have any info [email protected]


military dot image Batzolboo Baatarkhuyag    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I’m an international student with F-1 student visa status. I came to US when i was 15 with my parents, and they just got their green card. I didn’t get to obtain a green card, cause they applied for it when i was already over 21 years old. I graduated from high school in Virginia and i will be graduating with my civil engineering degree in the spring. I have not committed any crime and have no felony. I lived in the US for 8 years and i love the people and the culture. I would like to work as a military engineer and serve this beautiful country. I went to public high school for free and getting my engineering degree in 3 months. Now it is my turn to pay my dues and help rebuilding the country. Please contact me back at [email protected]


military dot image larryf    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Hi and thank you for your email. I would strongly recommend that you contact via phone your area branch of interest recruiter and share your story. You sound so accomplished… and congrats for that! My best, lf


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