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Are You Allowed To Have Tattoos In The Military

What Tattoos Are Allowed In The Navy

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

As of April 2018, sailors can sport a single neck tattoo , as long as it isnt bigger than 1-inch in diameter.

Additionally, tattoos below the knee and elbow, no matter the size and quantity, are perfectly fine.

This means full sleeves are allowed. Hand and ring tattoos are permitted as well.

This new policy isnt much different from one released in 2016.

The only major difference is the addition of the small neck tattoo.

Before that, however, the Navys policy on tattoos hadnt been changed in over a decade.

One relatively new amendment to the Navys tattoo policy is that they now allow sailors with sleeve tattoos to attain rank of Recruit Training command and other Recruiting command positions.

So dont be too surprised if you see a full-sleeved, tattoo-loving sailor show up to your high school or college.

As far as cosmetic tattoos go, the Navy does allow cosmetic tattoos to correct certain medical conditions.

But this is on a case-by-case basis.

All in all, compared to the Marines, the Navy is incredibly generous regarding their tattoo policy.

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.

Army Tattoo Policy In : Military Basics

The United States Army has strict regulations for tattoos. Tattoos that are visible in the Army Combat Uniform or on a military dress blue uniform must be approved by Military Reviewing Authority .

Soldiers are prohibited from getting tattoos that are cowardly, personally degrading, prejudicial to good order, and discipline or service discrediting. The Army regulations for tattoos are outlined in Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.

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    Tattoo Removal For The Military At Medermis Laser Clinic

    While the military has become more accommodating and less strict on the subject of tattoos, its always best to do your research before getting inked and when looking to enlist. If youre still not sure about whether to keep or remove your tattoo, we recommend coming in for a free consultation at our Austin or San Antonio location! We can discuss your concerns, answer any questions, and walk you through the process and what to expect to determine if laser tattoo removal is the right choice for you.

    What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The Marine Corps

    Full sleeve tattoos, are you for or against all military ...

    The Marine Corps tattoo policy breaks down what is not allowed on a Marine in two different ways, just like other military branches.

    The two methods of review for body art are A) the location of the tattoo and B) the content of the tattoo.

    First, the location of the tattoo is fairly liberal so long as it is covered by the PT uniform or the Marine does not exceed four tattoos outside the uniform.

    As previously mentioned, there are places like directly above or below the elbow or knee that are restricted from having tattoos.

    The same is true of the hands and wrist-bone.

    Additionally, the Marine Corps tattoo policy states that military personnel may not have full-sleeve or half-sleeve tattoos.

    It is a far contrast from the Army, Navy, and Air Force which approved tattoo sleeves in the last few years.

    The Marine Corps defines tattoo sleeves as the full coverage of the skin by tattoo ink which is generally located on the arms or legs.

    The lone exception is if the tattoo sleeve begins on the chest or shoulder and extends below the crew neck t-shirt sleeve yet stops BEFORE the two-inch cut off at the elbow.

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    Space Force Tattoo Regulations

    As of the writing of this article, we were unable to locate a tattoo policy for the U.S. Space Force, the sixth and newest branch of the military.

    Even though we found guidance on Space Force uniforms and insignia, we advise you to speak with a recruiter and become familiar with the Air Force tattoo policy as the Space Force is situated within the Air Force.

    The Tattoo Artist Must Be Licensed By Local Laws

    The US Army recommends that soldiers attend a licensed studio for their tattoos. You are responsible for knowing the laws of your state. If you are not sure, call your local police department or sheriffs office. If you are planning to do the tattoo at home, be sure that no one under 15 years old is present when you do it.

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    Will The Navy Pay To Remove Tattoos

    Unfortunately, the answer is usually no.

    In the past a soldier could get funding from the military branch he or she was serving in order to remove a tattoo that was not allowed for service.

    However, in 2006 the Department of Defense released a new policy that requires active duty military personnel to pay for their own tattoo removals.

    There was hope along with the new Navy tattoo policy that the decision would get reversed, however, the DOD policy still remains in place.

    Sailors that are ordered to have a tattoo removed by a commanding officer can get financial support yet a command-directed tattoo removal in the Navy is rare.

    The good news is that since the Navy is more loose with its tattoo policy the chances of needing to remove a tattoo in order to serve the country are far less.

    What Does Visible Tattoos Mean

    Explaining the Army tattoo policy

    This depends on your gender and the airline uniform. However, visible parts of the body can be generalised as follows


    • Top of the arms down to hands and wrists
    • Top of knees down to ankles and feet.


    • Top of arms down to hands and wrists

    If the tattoo is not completely covered by the uniform then it is visible.

    Also, bear in mind that even if you have a tattoo on an area that is not visible such as your back or chest the airline might still make you comply with extra rules. A lot of airlines have white uniform shirts and tattoos would be visible underneath. Youll, therefore, be expected to wear a white undershirt.

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    What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The Air Force

    Along with creating a more liberal tattoo policy the Air Force also introduced defined locations that are not permitted in the military branch under the 2017 changes.

    The Air Force does not allow tattoos on the face, head, scalp, neck, tongue, lips, or eyelids.

    Hands are also limited to one ring tattoo on one of the two hands unless grandfathered through an existing policy.

    Outside of the seven body parts that are a major no-no, the Air Force essentially allows tattoo placement elsewhere.

    The second aspect of military tattoos that the Air Force assesses is the content of body art.

    The Air Force, like every other branch, prohibits tattoos with content:

    • Considered obscene under USAF guidelines.
    • Associated with gang activity.
    • Extremist or supremacist in nature.
    • Sexist or racist tattoos.
    • Ethnic or religious discriminatory tattoos.

    Inappropriate tattoos listed above are not authorized on any part of the body, even if the soldier can cover up the offensive content in uniform.

    It is difficult for the Air Force to list every type of obscene or offensive tattoo.

    Therefore, commanding officers are assigned the privilege of determining which tattoos violate the Air Force tattoo policy.

    If you are unsure if your tattoo constitutes a violation you should bring the subject up when speaking to a recruiter.

    Waivers are sometimes granted to military personnel that would otherwise violate the USAF tattoo policy.

    Can You Get A Waiver For Tattoos In The Air Force

    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 Tattoo Ideas And Meanings

    Turns out, the Air Force gives you wings!

    In fact, I would venture to guess that 90% of all Air Force tattoos somehow incorporate the famous wings overlapping a central star.

    Youll also see Airmen sporting USAF tattoos that symbolize a deep patriotic pride in their nation and flag.

    Eagles abound, and of course, no USAF tattoo is complete without showcasing the very symbol of the branch the fighter jet itself.

    How Many Pushups Do Navy Seals Have To Do

    USMC Tattoo Celebrity 2011

    If you want to be a Navy SEAL, you have to be able to do this: 20 pullups, more than 100 pushups in two minutes and a 500-yard swim in under nine minutes. And thats all before Hell Week, the grueling Navy SEAL test that consists of 120 hours of virtually nonstop training on fewer than four hours of sleep.

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    Coast Guard Tattoo Ideas And Meanings

    The USCGs official flag shows a seal of an eagle with the words Semper Paratus underneath it.

    This is always a popular tattoo for Coast Guardsman. Similar to the Marines Semper Fi , Semper Paratus means Always Ready.

    And thats exactly what the Coast Guard is all about.

    Preparing men and women to be ready at a moments notice to govern and bring peace to the coast and sea.

    Here are a few of these tattoos, and other common Coast Guard tattoos.

    Will The Military Ever Allow Long Hair

    Today unless for religious purposes, all branches of the United States military bans long facial hair and long hair, as all hair styles must be cut almost in the style of a crew cut to expose the ears and neck line. They do this because the military uses hairstyle today to assert psychological control.

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    Can I Join The Navy With A Hand Tattoo

    Hand and neck tattoos are allowed in the Navy. Neck tattoos were recently added to the acceptable list of Navy tattoos so long as they are below one inch in diameter. Tattoos behind the ear are also permitted as long as the ink is not touching the ear directly. The same is true of the head, scalp, and ears.

    Tattoos And The Military: The Dos And Donts If You Want To Join The Service

    The Army’s Tattoo Policy

    A lot of people have tattoos, and our reasons for getting them range from acknowledging meaningful, life-changing moments to a weekend bender in L.A., New York, or Miami that ends up at an ink shop. Its your body and you can put whatever you want wherever you want. Right? Well, that depends on your future plans. Pay attention to what comes next if you plan to join the military after high school or college or if youre already in the armed services.

    This next line is tough for me to get out, but your mama was right: Think before you ink. Each of the armed services has different regulations that change on a continuing basis. If youre already in the service, your existing tattoos are grandfathered in, but the doesnt mean they cant hurt your chances at a promotion. Also, new tattoos have to meet the stricter requirements, which leads to my next point.

    If you tend to make rash decisions after drinking, make sure at least one of your buddies has your back. You might want to pick someone big enough to deter you from making stupid things that involve a tattoo shop. Anything thats going to follow you to the grave deserves deliberate intention, so if you hanker for body art, plan it out and go to a reputable place that understands military regulations. Dont drink then ink.

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    The Message Of The Tattoo

    For safety reasons, the Army does not allow tattoos that are rude, obscene, or vulgar or which contain symbols or religious emblems that could represent a religious belief.

    But the Army allows some tattoos that promote good citizenship. The Army allows tattoos on soldiers after theyve received the requisite counseling and after the paperwork is approved by their chain of command.

    Army Regulation 670-1 states: If you have a tattoo and it so happens to be visible in an official way, such as visible in a photograph of your Drill Sergeants School class photo, then it must be reported to your commanding officer for approval prior to getting it done. If the tattoo is visible in a photo of your unit in your official ABU or other Army Uniform, then it must also be approved by your MRA.

    If the commanding officer approves the tattoo, then you must go to a Military Arts Tattoo Studio to get ink or mechanical drawing of that design. If you are giving the tattoo artist an idea of what you want, be sure they can produce an accurate rendering. The Army requires that imprints of approved tattoos be submitted to the unit historian for permanent records.

    A person who is 18 years of age or older and has been in the Armed Forces for less than five years can get a tattoo if he or she has consulted with his military chain of command and the Military Reviewing Authority and obtained written approval.

    What Air Force Tattoos Are Not Allowed

    While the Air Force has one of the more lenient tattoo policies of all the military branches, they still have standards and restrictions that must be followed.

    As far as size and location of unauthorized tattoos, Airmen cannot be inked up in the following locations:

    • The Neck
    • The Hands

    Otherwise, its fair game for size and location.

    Unlike the Marines, USAF Airmen can have tattoos that are much larger than their hand when covering it.

    And if you think about it, that leaves A LOT of canvas to be tattooed.

    See below for a visual of what the new Air Force tattoo policy entails, what they prohibit, and what they permit.

    Now that youre clear on the size and locations of unauthorized tattoos, lets discuss the content of tattoos that are prohibited.

    The following unauthorized body markings are not allowed anywhere on the body, even when covered up by PTs.

    So keep this in mind when visiting a recruiter, because they will ask, and you must tell.

    Here are the tattoos not allowed in the USAF:

    • Any markings that are obscene
    • Associated with gang activity
    • Ethnic or religious discriminatory tattoos

    These tattoos will NOT fly, in more ways than one.

    However, if you are unsure of a particular tattoo or tattoos, it doesnt hurt to visit an Air Force recruiter and get their opinion.

    Sometimes they give waivers in certain cases.

    Youd hate to blow your chances simply because you think your tattoo will automatically disqualify you.

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    Can You Get A Waiver For Tattoos In The Marine Corps

    It is possible to request a waiver for a tattoo that is located on a body part that is otherwise not authorized in the military branch.

    New recruits face a more difficult time gaining a waiver compared to Marines already enlisted in the branch.

    The recruiting officer is given permission to assess each situation on a case-by-case basis.

    Former Marines that have out of regulation tattoos and wish to join the reserves are often granted a waiver, as one example.

    The Marine Corps rarely grants waivers to Marines with obscene or indecent tattoos as the content of the body art is judged more harshly.

    What Can You Do If Your Tattoo Doesnt Meet Military Standards

    Air Force Tattoo Regulations

    Laser tattoo removal is your best option for getting rid of unwanted ink that violates the military standard. While the military will not pay for your removal, many laser clinics offer military discounts. At MEDermis Laser Clinic were proud to offer 10% off individual treatments or an additional 10% off our discounted prepaid packages to all active military personnel.

    • Before and after 3 laser treatments with MEDermis
    • Before and after 5 laser treatments with MEDermis

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    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.

    The Marine Corps May Soon Allow Sleeve Tattoos Among Other Ink Policy Changes

    If a leaked email is true, the Marine Corps may soon allow sleeve tattoos, an unlimited number of tattoos for officers, and allow future recruiters and drill instructors to sport visible ink.

    An email with some details of a potential new policy was posted to the unofficial USMC Reddit page on Tuesday morning and since has been deleted.

    Many Marines have long wanted a more relaxed tattoo policy, but citing professionalism and heritage the Corps has continued to enforce the strictest ink policy in the Department of Defense.

    We are currently evaluating the tattoo policy and we will publish an update shortly, Maj. Jim Stenger confirmed to Marine Corps Times in a phone call Tuesday morning.

    Stenger said the email on Reddit likely came from a Marine leader giving a heads up on possible changes coming to Marine Corps policy. He insisted that no decisions on the tattoo policy are final.

    Thats all predecisional and nothing in there has been decided upon by the decision-makers in the process of approving any changes, he said.


    The email posted on Reddit appeared to be sent by a sergeant major, with the crest in the upper left corner appearing to belong to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.

    The email alleged that most restrictions on size, number and placement of tattoos will be gone and instead the Marine Corps will place a greater emphasis on the actual content of the tattoos.

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