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Air Force Hand Tattoo Waiver

What About Tattoos After You Are Enlisted

Air Force Tattoos Policy

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!

Is There A Grandfathering Period

It’s expected that most tattoos fall within acceptable guidelines. Questionable tattoos will be considered on a case-by-case basis between the airmen and their commander. If a tattoo is “unauthorized”racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatorythe tattoo must be removed at member expense.

If a commander rules that a tattoo falls into the other category of “inappropriate,” another option includes using uniform items to cover part or all of the image.

Air Force To Allow Scalp Tattoos And Morale Patches As Part Of Raft Of Changes To Appearance Rules

The Air Force said Tuesday it will allow airmen to wear morale patches on certain days, put hands in their pockets, and to tattoo their scalps as part of an upcoming revision to dress and appearance standards.

The changes, as well as several others, are expected to take effect in early October when the service plans to release an update to Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel.

The Air Force said in a press release that it made the changes — more than 30 recommendations in all — based on feedback from airmen as part of the 2020 Uniform Board, as well as testing and reviews.

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“We remain committed to maintaining an iterative approach with our dress and appearance standards,” Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in the release. “During this most recent review we approved several updates fully aligned with our Air Force standards and culture that maintain our focus on warfighting while providing options to meet many of the needs of our airmen.”

The finer details on what will and won’t be allowed under these new changes won’t be known until the updated regulations are released in October, the Air Force said. So airmen might be advised to hold off on booking their tattoo appointments right away.

— Stephen Losey can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter .

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Air Force Tattoo Regulations

What your tattoo means

The content of the airmans tattoo is still regulated, and no tattoos or brands that are racist, vulgar, anti-government, graphically violent, or affiliated with any gangs or outlaw organizations are allowed. If there is a question of whether a tattoo violates Air Force policy, the final decision is made by the soldiers commanding officer. If you think that your tattoo does not represent the US Air Force values find a location and book a time to speak with one of our laser specialists.

Unauthorized Tattoos and Brands

Tattoos or brands on the head, neck, face, scalp, and inside of the mouth are still prohibited under the new Air Force tattoo regulations for enlisted servicemen and officers.

Those in the Air Force are also not allowed to have any visible piercing while in uniform. This includes piercings of the ears, nose, tongue or any other body part that is not covered by or can be seen through clothing. The only exception is one small conservative earring per earlobe of gold, white pearl, or silver for women. The earring must fit tightly and not extend below the earlobe. If your tattoo is on the hands, neck or facefind a location and book a time to speak with one of our laser specialists.

Hand Tattoos

Military Entrance Processing Questions Answered

Tattoos in the Air Force

Here are some frequently asked questions that we have received, but as always, you should check questions yourself with a recruiter. To get in touch with a recruiter now.

  • Lying at MEPS
  • Is asthma a disqualifying condition?
  • Which branch to join?
  • Good ratings for future CIA/FBI career?
  • Are allergic reactions grounds for disqualification?
  • Joining with tattoos?
  • How long to wait for waivers?
  • Are antidepressants disqualifying?
  • Will affect my enlistment?
  • How can I make the military my career?
  • The brutal truth before enlisting
  • What makes an officer?
  • Lying at MEPS

    Question:

    I had a misdemeanor, petty theft, and my Navy recruiter told me to lie. I was scared, and confused on why he wanted me to lie, though my offense wasn’t even disqualifying. My fine was not paid for when I signed, and I had no idea that it was illegal to be processed without fines being paid. I refuse to go into the USN with inaccurate papers. Is it too late to change my papers … what will happen afterward?

    Responses:

    1. Need some clarification. Did you admit to the charge? If so and your fine just isn’t paid, go pay it. If you didn’t mention it, pay the fine and mention it when you ship.

    Or you can pay your fine and divulge this to the recruiter. It may void your enlistment contract … and may require you to choose another rate. However, you don’t have to worry about when big brother will come knocking. And you will be in compliance. Peace of mind is everything.

    Is asthma a disqualifying condition?

    Question:

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    Army Relaxes Tattoo Rules As It Scrambles For New Recruits

    The Army on Wednesday significantly relaxed its tattoo policy, becoming the military branch with some of the most relaxed rules for ink, as it scrambles to deal with a recruitment crisis.

    “Social norms, people are getting more tattoos, Sgt. Maj. Ashleigh Sykes, who oversees Army uniform policies, told reporters Thursday. It doesn’t stop readiness if someone has a tattoo on the back of their neck.”

    The new rules allow soldiers to have one visible tattoo on each hand, including the palm, and unlimited tattoos between the fingers as long as they are not visible when their hands are closed. Troops are also authorized to have one ring tattoo on each hand.

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    In addition to the changes for hands, soldiers now may have a single tattoo on the back of the neck that does not exceed two inches in all directions, as well as one tattoo behind each ear, so long as they don’t exceed 1 inch in size or reach forward of the earlobe.

    Tattoos are still forbidden on the face and other parts of the head, with some exceptions for permanent makeup. Tattoos inside the eyelids, mouth and ears are also still unauthorized.

    Less than one-quarter of young Americans are even qualified for service, often due to obesity.

    — Steve Beynon can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

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    Air Force Tattoo Policy Change Opens Recruiting Possibilities

    1st Sgt. Aki Paylor wont have any trouble recalling the Warrior Ethos. For me, the Warrior Ethos thats who I am. Since all of Paylors tattoos were done a number of years ago, hes grandfathered in.

    The Air Force said it will no longer limit the size of airmens body tattoos, a significant shift that opens the door for sleeve tattoos. The policy change took effect Feb. 1.

    The change occurred during the Air Forces look at updating its uniform and appearance policy, which it does every four years. The change in regulations will allow both arm and leg sleeves.

    As a next step in this evolution, we are opening the aperture on certain medical accession criteria and tattoos while taking into account our needs for worldwide deployability and our commitment to the profession of arms, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in a statement.

    The service is axing its so-called 25 percent rule, which prohibits tattoos that cover more than a quarter of an exposed body part. That rule was added to the Air Force Guidance Memorandum, or AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance, in 1998, then updated with a measuring tool in 2010, said Air Force spokesman Maj. Bryan Lewis.

    Tattoos will now be allowed on the chest, back, arms and legs and will not be restricted to size.

    Tattoos, brandings or body markings on the head, neck, face, tongue, lips and or scalp will still be prohibited as will tattoos that are racist, sexist or symbols associated with any hate groups.

    Height And Weight Standards

    Tattoos in the Air Force

    The Air Force does not offer a weight reduction program. Currently, all applicants must meet a weight requirement based on their height. Please refer to the table below.

    For pilot and aircrew positions, height specifications vary by aircraft, and most applicants can successfully pursue a career in aviation with the U.S. Air Force. Applicants who are significantly taller or shorter than average may require special screening to ensure they can safely perform operational duties. Applicants of all heights are encouraged to apply.

    Height

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    Whats The Big Deal About Tattoos

    Many recruits wonder why the armed forces even care about their tattoos. While someone joining the Air Force or Marine Corps might expect to be required to put forth a professional appearance, someone joining the Army or Navy might think thatgiven the traditionally more rugged lifestyle of people in these branchesa tattoo on the hand or neck would not pose a big deal.

    The reality of the matter is that the military is a place of tradition and high, uniform standards. Individuality is not valued like in our general society. Moreover, there are a lot of qualified recruits who meet the existing standards so theres little incentive to lower existing standards / regulations.

    Tattoos that glorify sexism, drugs, violence, or extremist or indecent tattoos could pose problems for recruits. While some branches of the military will allow certain types of sleeve tattoos, many would-be recruits will find themselves being told to get laser tattoo removal treatment for these tattoos before they can submit enlistment papers.

    Military tattoo regulations do tend to change slightly over time. So, while the below information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, you may want to double-check with your recruiter or another U.S. Military publication for the latest tattoo regulations.

    What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The Coast Guard

    Location. Location. Location.

    Similar to other branches of the military, the Coast Guard has very specific rules regarding the placement or location of tattoos.

    No tattoos or brands are authorized anywhere on the head, scalp, face, and neck.

    Otherwise, as far as location of tattoos go, your body is your canvas.

    As for content of individual or groups of tattoos, the Coast Guard is particular about what they authorize and what is non-negotiable.

    A Coast Guardsman cannot wear any tattoo that promotes:

    • Racism/discrimination
    • Violence
    • Sexual explicitness

    You can read all about how the Coast Guard defines the above terms in their official memo announcing the new tattoo policy change.

    But before we move on, the Coast Guard does offer guidance in the form of an image collage as to what type of tattoo designs are not authorized .

    Coasties are also not authorized to have any body mutilations, also known as intentional alterations and / or modifications to a members body .

    Body Piercings are also prohibited, with the exception of women who may have small studded earrings.

    As described in the Coast Guards latest uniform regulations, no piercing shall be made through the ear, nose, tongue, chin, eyebrow, or any other body part that would be visible while in any uniform.

    This prohibition applies to male and female members alike and is specifically intended to limit the less than military appearance associated with vacant holes in the face and other exposed areas of the body.

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    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.

    What Air Force Tattoos Are Allowed

    Longer hair, some scalp tattoos OK

    Well, for starters, Airmen can sport tattoos that are nearly 100% the size of their body.

    As previously mentioned, the Air Force has lifted the 25% rule , and for good reason.

    Recruiters were aware of the fact that nearly half of all millenials had a tattoo.

    But what they quickly realized was that 1 in every 5 of the recruits who did have tattoos had tattoos that required review and were potentially disqualifying.

    And the #1 disqualifier turned out to be the 25% rule.

    Go figure.

    Today, with that rule out the window, Airmen can have virtually any size tattoo, or grouping of tattoos, anywhere on their chest, back, arms, legs, and feet.

    Ah, yes, the feet! Here is where the Air Force differs from other branches as well.

    They allow tattoos on the feet below the ankle line.

    In other words, Airmen can get inked up to their hearts content .

    Sleeves anyone?

    Its true, this means the USAF now allows sleeve tattoos full-sleeves or half-sleeves, or anything in-between is now perfectly acceptable.

    Hand tattoos are technically allowed, but as mentioned, theyre limited to one ring tattoo on one hand only.

    According to one news report, Current Airmen with existing hand tattoos that were authorized under the previous policy will be grandfathered in under the old policy standards.

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    Laser Tattoo Removal Can Give You A Fresh Start

    If you are considering enlisting in any branch of the armed forces, and you have tattoos that you think could pose a problem, laser tattoo removal could be just what you need. Using the latest technology, we can work on your tattoo safely, quickly, and effectively.

    We understand that it is a bummer to have a prohibited tattoo and want to enlist in the military. Fortunately, with the advanced technology available today, even a tattoo doesnt have to be forever and there is still a chance for you to enlist!

    Your recruiter might have mentioned that you can get a waiver for your tattoo. While waivers are possible in some circumstances, you do not want to hang your entire career on the hope that you will get one. Whats more, even if you do get a waiver, you cannot be sure that the offending tattoo will not sabotage your career by hindering future promotions.

    Keep in mind that tattoo removal can take some time, and may require more than one treatment session. As such, you should be diligent to plan accordingly when it comes to scheduling your tattoo removal treatment. Dont wait until the week before you are supposed to visit the Military Entrance Processing Station . Rather, schedule your consultation as soon as you can, and we can help you get started on the road to establishing your military career.

    Can The Air Force Deny You For Having A Tattoo

    Yes. The Air Force can deny you for having a tattoo if the tattoo in question exceeds their limits. For example, if you have visible tattoos on your face, head, eyelids, lips, hands, neck, and wrists, you will likely get denied as these areas are not allowed to be tattooed.

    You may also get denied from the Air Force if you have a tattoo design that is prohibited. Prohibited tattoos include designs that may be racist or sexist. They may also include any tattoo that is extremist or supremacist or depicts any messages of this kind.

    The Air Force also has a ban on any tattoo that is affiliated or connected to gangs and gang culture. The Air Force also bans any tattoo that is affiliated with extremist religion, philosophies, and any religious blasphemy.

    The Air Force also has a ban on branding tattoos in all areas, visible or not. If you have a tattoo that fits into any of these above descriptions then it is highly likely that you will get denied.

    If you happen to have a tattoo that is in any way obscene, such as depicting an obscene or disturbing act, or if it falls under the USAF guidelines for obscenity, then you will also get denied.

    The rules around tattoos are relaxed in many ways, but the Air Force quite rightly has a ban on any obscene and discriminatory tattoos, meaning you will not be allowed to join if you have them.

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