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Can I Join The Army With Hand Tattoos

Tattoos That Are Allowed Under Army Rules


Generally, the Armys 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 Armys 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.

Army Policy On Tattoos Has Changed For The Better

Posted by Lark Tattoo,

SMA explains Armys new tattoo policy

Under the Armys new tattoo policy, soldiers will be able to have ink on their arms and legs as long as it isnt visible in the Army Service Uniform.

This means sleeves are once again authorized as long as they dont extend past the wrist, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey told Army Times.

As long as its not visible in the Army uniform thats the spirit of what we went after, he said.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced the upcoming policy change Wednesday afternoon at the Association of the United States Army conference in Huntsville, Alabama.

The more lenient tattoo rules are based on input from soldiers, Odierno said.

Society is changing its view of tattoos, and we have to change along with that, Odierno said. It makes sense. Soldiers have grown up in an era when tattoos are much more acceptable and we have to change along with that.

After many Army Times readers questioned the validity of the news because it was announced on April Fools Day Dailey stressed on Wednesday evening that the policy change is real.

We didnt pick April Fools Day. Its real, he said. I have a copy of the AR 670-1 update here.

Soldiers are still not allowed to have tattoos on their neck, head, face, wrists or hands. The exception is a ring tattoo on each hand, Dailey said.

Also banned are tattoos that are sexist, racist, extremist and derogatory, he said.

April 2 comes quick, Dailey said.

This Is What You Need To Know About Tattoos In The Army

The Army tattoo regulations, which can be found in detail here, were updated and relaxed in 2015, though they are still some of the most stringent in all branches of the military. Prior regulations limited the number of visible tattoos to four, and none of those could be any larger than the soldiers hand.

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What Happens If A Soldier Disobeys The Army Tattoo Policy

As stated earlier in the article, any member of the army that defies the Army Tattoo Policy will be punished according to the law of the Army.

Heres a bit of what the disciplinary procedure entails for any soldier that defaults:

First, its important to note that soldiers are advised to talk with the head of their units before getting a new tattoo, this is to ensure that they dont get any tattoo that contradicts the tattoo policy of the army.

Secondly, soldiers who had a tattoo before being enlisted into the army will not be punished because chances are that the existing tattoos dont defy the armys policy in any way.

If however the soldier adds or edits the tattoo and changes it to anything that violates the policy, then he will be punished. Depending on the gravity of the offense, the punishment may just be a reprimand or a query.

But if the tattoo out rightly violates the army tattoo policy, the commander will first counsel the defaulting soldier of the existing tattoo rule.

If the military has zero tolerance for the tattoo that the soldier has, he will be ordered to have it removed.

The cost of removing or erasing the tattoo wont be paid by the military unlike other health bills, it will be paid for by the soldier from his pocket, and this on its own is a disciplinary action.

Most often, removal of the tattoo is mandatory if the tattoo is contrary to the army tattoo policy and if the soldier wishes to remain in active service in the army.

More On The Army’s Rules

Army lifts ban on hand and neck tattoos as they become

The Army doesn’t allow recruits or soldiers to cover disallowed tattoos with bandages or makeup.

Before soldiers decide to obtain a new tattoo, the regulations advise speaking with a unit leader to make sure the tattoo that’s envisioned will abide by Army rules.

If a soldier is found to have a tattoo that breaks the rules, the commander is instructed to take several steps, beginning with counseling of the soldier about the tattoo rules. If a soldier with a disallowed tattoo or brand refuses to have it removed, then the commander is instructed to initiate administrative separation proceedings.

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Questions About Tattoos And Tattoo Removal

It is common to have questions about your tattoos, or about the tattoo removal process. If you are not sure whether one of your tattoos will keep you from enlisting, be sure to talk with your recruiter and review the applicable regulations. If you have questions about laser tattoo removal, feel free to contact us. We are happy to sit down with you, assess your tattoos, and give you a realistic idea of the amount of time, cost, and the number of treatment sessions that it will take to remove them.

We are thrilled that you are considering making a career out of serving our great country. And we are here to do whatever we can to help make your dream a reality. Contact us today for a consultation, and lets get started!

What Are The Rules Now

Before, the restrictions on tattoos meant that any visible tattoos would disqualify an applicant. Now, recruits will be able to display ink, provided its appropriate.

Neck tattoos on the back and sides of the neck are now acceptable, provided they arent visible from the front whilst in uniform.

Cosmetic eyebrow tattoos will also be allowed, as long as they are natural in shape and colour.

The rules now allow small finger tattoos, as long as they could be covered by a ring.

Regarding the change of rules, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said, The new policy allows for tattoos in areas that were not previously permitted and provides that there is no requirement to cover any tattoos regardless of the occasion.

However, tattoos that are considered to be either obscene or offensive are still banned.

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Body Piercing While In Uniform

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.

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Us Army Updates Tattoo Policy To Allow Some Hand Ear And Neck Tattoos

Tattoos Before Joining The Military – You’re Ruining Your Life..

The U.S. Army is updating its tattoo policy.

According to a memorandum issued Wednesday from the Secretary of the Army, effective immediately, Army policy surrounding tattoos now allows some tattoos on the hand, ear and neck.

The updated guidelines can be found below:


  • One visible tattoo on each hand , not to exceed one inch in measurement in all directions.
  • An unlimited number of tattoos between the fingers as long as they are not visible when the fingers are closed and one ring tattoo on each hand.


  • One tattoo on the back of the neck, not to exceed two inches in measurement in all directions.
  • Tattoos are still prohibited on the head and face ) of the memorandum and inside the eyelids, mouth and ears. Previously documented tattoos on the neck or hands, for which Soldiers have a tattoo validation memorandum, remain authorized.)


  • One tattoo behind each ear, not to exceed one inch in measurement in all directions, not to extend forward of the ear lobe.

Prohibitions on the type of tattoo or brand are still in effect. Exceptions to the policy will be submitted in accordance with reference 1d, paragraph 3-3.

Soldiers may still submit religious accommodation requests for a waiver to Army regulations using the procedures outlined in AR 600-20.

to read the entire memorandum.

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Popeye The Sailor Man

While Popeye is a Sailor Man, and therefore a card-carrying member of the good ol U.S. Navy, hes a go-to for Coast Guardsmen who are looking for a great tattoo.

Dont be too surprised if you come across loads of Popeye-themed tattoos on Coasties young and old.

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Joining The Military Or Aspiring To Be Promoted Your Tattoos Could Have An Impact

Each US military branch has its own appearance policies and tattoo policy that dictates the type, size, and location of allowable tattoos. However, all military tattoo policies are consistent regarding the content of allowed tattoos. Tattoos in the military cannot feature vulgarity, nudity, graphic violence, or any sentiments that could be considered racist, elitist, or anti-government. If the content of a military tattoo is in question, the decision is made by the soldiers commanding officer.

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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.

Major Revision To Ar 670

National Guard Tattoo Policy for 2021: What IS and ISN

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AR 670-1, Para 33. Tattoo, branding, and body mutilation policy Released 25 May 2017

Note. This paragraph is punitive with regard to Soldiers. Violation by Soldiers may result in adverse administrative action and/or charges under the provisions of the UCMJ.

a. Tattoos and brands are permanent markings that are difficult to reverse . Before obtaining either a tattoo or a brand, Soldiers should consider talking to unit leadersto ensure that they understand the Army tattoo and brand policy. The words tattooand brand are interchangeable in regards to this policy.

b. The following types of tattoos or brands are prejudicial to good order anddiscipline and are, therefore, prohibited anywhere on a Soldiers body:

Extremist. Extremist tattoos or brands are those affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities. Extremist philosophies, organizations, and activities are those which advocate racial, gender,or ethnic hatred or intolerance advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion, or national origin or advocate violence or other unlawful means of depriving individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, and Federal or State law .

Indecent. Indecent tattoos or brands are those that are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, propriety, or professionalism.

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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!

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.

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What Tattoos Are Allowed In The Coast Guard

In the Coast Guard, you can have full sleeve and half-sleeve tattoos, full back and chest tattoos, and tattoos elsewhere on your body including your legs.

Members of the Coast Guard arent restricted at all when it comes to tattoo size or percentage of coverage.

However, any body branding cannot be larger than a 4-inch by 4-inch area.

The Guards old policy detailed that tattoos werent allowed to be visible at all above the v-neck undershirt, and they have since expanded to the crew neck t-shirt.

No tattoo can be visible above the Coast Guard crew neck t-shirt.

Hand tattoos are allowed with certain restrictions. You can have one single band ring tattoo on each hand.

You can also have a finger tattoo that can run the length between the first and second knuckle. On top of that you can also have 1 small hand tattoo, per hand, between the wrist and first knuckle , but it cannot extend one inch in any dimension.

The Coast Guard also allows Ultraviolet or black light tattoos.

The restrictions on these are exactly the same as for regular tattoos.

Cosmetic tattoos are also permitted.

Cosmetic tattooing is defined as a medical or surgical procedure conducted by a trained and licensed medical professional.

Some people get cosmetic tattoos to cover up scar tissue, or to otherwise make a medical issue less prominent in appearance.

The Coast Guard is perfectly fine with these types of tattoos.

Amid Recruiting Crunch Army Approves Small Hand Ear And Neck Tattoos For Soldiers


WACO, Texas – U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth on Thursday issued a new policy allowing soldiers to have small tattoos on their hands, ears and necks.

The Army Times reports the U.S. military is struggling to find recruits right now. With three months remaining in fiscal 2022, the U.S. Army has only attained 40 percent of its enlisted recruiting goal.

The following tattoos are now authorized for Army soldiers:

  • One visible tattoo on each hand smaller than one inch in measurement. This tattoo cannot be on the fingers, though one ring tattoo per hand is okay, as are an unlimited number of tattoos between the fingers, as long as they are not visible when the fingers are closed.
  • One tattoo on the back of a soldiers neck, less than two inches in measurement.
  • One tattoo behind each ear, no larger than one inch in measurement and not extending beyond the ear lobe.


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Hand Ear And Neck Tattoos Now Ok For Soldiers Amid Recruiting Crunch

The military is struggling to find recruits right now, and the Army is no exception. With three months remaining in fiscal 2022, the service has only attained 40% of its enlisted recruiting goal, according to Army G-1 spokesperson Maj. Angel Tomko.

And thats part of why Army Secretary Christine Wormuth issued a new policy authorizing troops to have small tattoos on their hands, ears and necks, Army officials explained Thursday morning.

Wormuth signed a directive Wednesday that expanded the services acceptable tattoo policy. The changes will be incorporated in the next update to AR 670-1, the Armys appearance regulation.

The following tattoos are now authorized, according to the directive:

  • One visible tattoo on each hand less than one inch in measurement. This tattoo cannot be on the fingers, though one ring tattoo per hand is okay, as are an unlimited number of tattoos between the fingers, as long as they are not visible when the fingers are closed.
  • One tattoo on the back of a soldiers neck, less than two inches in measurement.
  • One tattoo behind each ear, no larger than one inch in measurement and not extending beyond the ear lobe.

Sgt. Maj. Ashleigh Sykes, who oversees uniform and appearance policy for the services personnel directorate, cautioned that some ink still isnt okay.

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