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Are You Allowed To Have Tattoos In The Air Force

Body Piercing While In Uniform

Can I have Tattoos in The Air Force? / United States Air Force

Members are prohibited from attaching, affixing or displaying objects, articles, jewelry, or ornamentation to or through the ear, nose, tongue, or any exposed body part .

The exception to this is that women are authorized to wear one small spherical, conservative, diamond, gold, white pearl, or silver pierced, or clip earring per earlobe and the earring worn in each earlobe must match. The earring should fit tightly without extending below the earlobeexcepting the connecting band on clip earrings.

Air Force Amendments In Tattoo Policy


  • 3 Final Thoughts
  • Air force will soon be more colorful with stylish tattoos as the policy concerning tattoos has been amended. Previously, air force candidates were allowed to have tattoos only on certain parts of their body, which shouldnt be more than 25% of the body. The new policy has gone into effect from Feb 1, 2017 and it is considered a step toward making tattooing policy more lenient.

    The Air force Secretary Deborah Lee James communicated this shift from previous policies after reviewing them. The amendment aims to broaden the pool of opportunities for eligible applicants looking to join the service. Past policies on tattooing restricted a lot of youngsters who wanted to support the air force mission and show their love for the country.

    That is what makes knowing the tattoo policy, along with the latest amendments substantially important.

    Will The Air Force Pay To Remove Tattoos

    The Department of Defense recently passed rules that stipulate the military will not cover expenses related to tattoo removal.

    The only exception is if a commanding officer orders the removal, in which the soldier may potentially receive compensation if he or she is struggling to finance the operation.

    Your best bet to get a tattoo removed the right way is laser surgery from a qualified laser tattoo removal treatment facility.

    With that said, we have reviewed alternative Laser Pen Kit Removal options in the past, with limited success.

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    Wear Of Clothing Items

  • General. The following paragraphs give instructions for common items, both permanent kit and optional purchase items, worn with a variety of uniforms. Additional details are given in succeeding chapters which describe insignia and accoutrements, medals and honours, and individual dress orders.
  • Headdress
  • Cap, Service. The cap shall be worn by male members square on the head with the peak in line with the eyebrows. The black woven cap band shall be fitted with the seam in line with the front seam of the cap.
  • Hat, Service. The hat shall be worn by female members square on the head with the brim parallel to the ground. The crown of obsolescent bowler-style hats shall not be indented.
  • Beret. The beret shall be worn evenly on the head, with the sweatband 2.5 cm above the eyebrows, the badge centred over the left eye, and the crown pulled downward to the right. The break of the sweatband shall be worn centred at the back of the head, with no draw string visible.
  • Wedge Cap. The wedge cap shall be worn on the right side of the head, centred front and back, with the front edge of the cap 2.5 cm above the right eyebrow.
  • worn up, square on the head and slightly angled towards the back or
  • pulled down at the sides and back to cover the ears.
  • Winter Fur Cap Worn by RMCC Officer Cadets only as follows:
  • Ear Flaps Up. Worn as for the wedge cap. The crown shall be creased front to back to produce an overall uniform height for the cap of 16 cm.
  • Hosiery
  • Socks
  • Hose
  • Footwear
  • Outer garments
  • Parka
  • Tattoos That Are Allowed Under Army Rules


    Generally, the Army’s tattoo policy allows most tattoos but forbids most of those that would be visible in uniform.

    The Army regulations do, however, allow one ring tattoo on each hand, although it must not extend beyond where a ring naturally would rest on your finger .

    As a result of these placement and visibility rules, tattoos and brands are not allowed on:

    • Your head
    • Your neck above the t-shirt line
    • Inside your eyelids, mouth or ears
    • Your wrists
    • Your hands

    So-called “permanent makeup,” which includes tattoos used as permanent eyebrows or eyeliner, is allowed as long as it follows the Army’s rules on makeup. Those rules, covered in the same Army regulation, allow makeup only for women, and require the makeup to be “applied modestly and conservatively.”

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    British/uk Army Tattoo Policy

    In the British Army, there are some general guidelines for tattoos. If a tattoo is offensive or threatening in nature, it will be judged as unacceptable for the army. The policy also states that tattoos may not be displayed when in uniform and members must cover them up if they are displayed while out of uniform. There are also guidelines about types of tattoos that may not be accepted due to religious or cultural sensitivities, such as Japanese characters or images associated with gangs.

    The British Army does have some rules regarding tattoos, which may affect your decision whether to get one. When you join the British Army, the soldiers have to provide you with a copy of their tattoo policy. It says that if your tattoo is offensive or threatening in nature, it will be judged as unacceptable for the army. The same goes for any tattoos that are religiously or culturally sensitive.

    The policy also states that tattoos are not acceptable on men while they are serving in uniform and the soldier must cover them up if they are displayed while out of uniform. You should also ensure that your tattoo has no religious or cultural significance before bringing it to the attention of your commanding officer, who may object to its display.

    If you have a tattoo that will restrict your movement, then youll probably have to try and hide it from your commanding officer, as it may prejudice their decision whether to allow you to go on operations or deploy to areas where the climate is hot.

    National Guard Tattoo Policy

    The US National Guard is an important branch of the United States Armed Forces. The National Guard and Air National Guard are reserve forces, which means that those that serve do so on a part-time basis while also holding civilian jobs. Removery often sees clients who plan to join the National Guard but have tattoos that violate their tattoo policy.

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    What Other Grooming Standards Does The Air Force Have

    The Air Force has several grooming standards that military personnel are expected to observe.

    Haircut lengths and styles are heavily regulated both for male and female personnel.

    Additionally, mustaches and sideburns are permitted with several restrictions.

    The Air Force expects military personnel to have mustaches which are conservative, moderate, being within reasonable limits, not excessive or extreme, and will not extend downward beyond the lip line of the upper lip.

    Beards and other types of facial hair are not authorized in the USAF unless a medical waiver is obtained.

    Females are allowed to have earrings while males are not granted the same privilege.

    Females are also allowed to have makeup and lipstick so long as it is applied conservatively and in good taste.

    Related ArticleAir Force Grooming Standards: Haircuts, Mustaches, Beards, And More

    Can You Get A Waiver For Tattoos In The Air Force

    Air Force Tattoos Policy

    It is possible to receive a waiver from the USAF regarding tattoos.

    If you have questionable tattoos that may violate the placement or content of the USAF tattoo policy, a recruiting officer can exercise some discretion.

    The same is true of commanding officers who have discretion when a soldier under their supervision receives a new tattoo while already in service.

    However, dont count on a waiver. Understanding and following the Air Force tattoo policy, especially for new recruits, is essential.

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    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 .

    Does The Piercing Policy Apply To All Areas Of The Military Installation

    It does, but it is also important to note the policy only addresses personal appearance issues while on the installation.

    Although the Air Force encourages airmen to maintain an appropriate military image at all times, piercing practices off base, such as earring wear by males, are not intended to be addressed by this policy.

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    What Happens If You Get A Tattoo Before Basic Training

    If you get a tattoo before basic training, it will depend on what tattoo you have and where it is. If you get a tattoo that is on the Air Force banned list before you start your basic training, then it is highly likely that the Air Force will not let you start your training.

    If you have already completed your final physical for MEPS, then you’ll want to discuss the repercussions with your recruiter if you get a new tattoo that wasn’t previously reported. You may risk having to go back to MEPS to have it reported. You might want to consider waiting on any new tattoos until after BMT and Tech School graduation.

    The banned list includes visible tattoos and obscene or discriminatory tattoos. If you were to get one of these banned tattoos before you shipped to basic training, then you run a high risk of being booted out of the Delayed Enlistment Program for disobeying the rules.

    However, if the tattoo in question is within the allowed limits, you will likely be fine. You may just want to consider the healing time needed for a tattoo and how the training might affect it.

    New tattoos are prone to infection and often need a few weeks of healing time. There may also be restrictions on how often you can shower with a very new tattoo, which may interfere with your training if you get sweaty or dirty.


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    Fighter Jet And Wing Tattoo

    125 Air Force Tattoos that Catch the Eye

    An air force tattoo is incomplete if it doesnt have fighter jets. Artists ink this tattoo on the upper arm, and it displays your associations with the air force quintessentially. They draw it with the American flag and a fighter jet that is in action. Plus, this air force tattoo has an official USASF emblem.

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    What About Tattoos After You Are Enlisted

    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!

    Eagle Globe And Anchor

    The eagle, globe, and anchor is by far the most common Marine tattoo.

    The eagle perched atop a globe is the official emblem and insignia of the U.S. Marine Corps.

    The eagle symbolizes America, and is part of the emblem that associates the Marine Corps to the United States. The eagle is typically depicted carrying a banner in its beak with the Corps Moto, Semper Fidelis.

    The globe symbolizes the worldwide commitment and the responsibility of the Marines to serve in any climate.

    Youll notice the anchor too, which represents the Marines ties with the Navy .

    Who wouldnt want a shredded bulldog dressed out in uniform tattooed on their arm?

    The bulldog is another go-to Marine tattoo that symbolizes brute force and unrelenting authority.

    Notice the USMC scrolled out in big, bold letters. And for bonus points, check out that eagle-perched-on-globe tattooed on the bulldogs arm.

    Yes, the tattoo has a tattoo.

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    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.

    Space Force Unveils Uniform Tweaks Oks Neck Tattoos And More

    U.S. Air Force Changes Tattoo Policy

    The Space Force released updates to its appearance and uniform policies May 24, detailing more permissive regulations governing tattoos, facial hair, and makeup.

    Among the various changes the Space Force is making from the Air Forces policies, the new Guidance Memorandum allows Guardians to have a single neck tattooas long as it is authorized, does not exceed one inch, and does not pass a vertical line drawn from the beginning of the ear, essentially keeping it to the back of the neck.

    Like the Air Force, the Space Force will also allow one tattoo per hand in the shape of a ring, no more than 3/8 of an inch wide.

    There are no other size or placement limitations on tattoos as long as they comply with Department of the Air Force regulations, the memo adds.

    The Space Force will also allow male Guardians to have longer mustaches, extending 1/4 of an inch horizontally from the corners of the mouth. Thats in line with proposed changes from the Air Force, which currently limits Airmen to mustaches that dont extend beyond the corners of the mouth. A leaked Air Force memo detailing the same standards as the Space Force circulated on social media recently, but no official changes have been announced for the older service.

    On top of that, the Space Force will allow male Guardians to wear cosmetics such as foundation and concealer, though only to cover scars or blemishes.

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    Neck Tattoos May Be Ok For Space Force Recruits But Not Air Force

    May 16, 2022

    In space, no one can see your neck.

    Such is how one Facebook commenter summed up a puzzling recruiting memo from the Department of the Air Force dated May 13. The memo was shared on the popular Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco and outlines allowing future recruits for the Space Force, the newest independent military branch, to have 1-inch neck tattoos. But it forbids neck tattoos for Air Force recruits.

    The updated policy would also allow recruits in both branches to have tattoos on their hands, provided the tattoos cover no more than 25% of their hand. Recruiters and commanders would be expected to review tattoos to make sure they are the appropriate size and do not violate any content restrictions.

    The memo may have been released prematurely, however. The new guidance does not appear anywhere on either the Space Force or Air Force website, and a Space Force spokesperson would only tell Coffee or Die Magazine that the branch expects to publish updated grooming and uniform guidance in the next several weeks.

    The Air Force did not respond to Coffee or Dies request for comment. An April 12 update to the Air Forces official manual for dress and appearance, DAFI36-2903, does include language similar to that in the memo allowing for recruiting waivers for hand tattoos for exceptionally qualified applicants in critical specialties. Neck tattoos are not mentioned in the manual.

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