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 Is The Marine Corps Tattoo Policy
Can You Have A Full Sleeve Tattoo In The National Guard
The National Guard follows the Armys stance in terms of full sleeve tattoos.
The U.S. Army recently changed its policy regarding tattoos on the arms.
You are allowed to have tattoos on the entire arm, but not past the wrist bone.
Therefore, a full sleeve tattoo is possible in the National Guard based on current standards.
The same is true of sleeve tattoos on the legs since the National Guard now allows body art on that section 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 Happens If A Soldier Is Caught With An Unauthorized Tattoo/refuses To Remove
According to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia Manual 670-1, there are procedures for handling unauthorized tattoos.
If a soldier has any tattoo or brand that is prohibited under the Army tattoo policy , he or she will receive a written notice from a commander regarding the violation.
Once the soldier receives the notice he or she has 15 days to make a decision.
The Army traditionally provides three options: A) appeal the decision of the commander, B) have the tattoo professionally removed, or C) keep the tattoo.
Tattoo policy appeals are handled by a commander at the O-6 level for a final determination.
Military personnel that violates the Army tattoo policy are responsible for any costs related to the removal of the tattoo.
Soldiers that elect to keep tattoo in violation of the policy will begin administrative separation proceedings in order to terminate his or her service.
The U.S. Army like every branch of the military has fairly strict grooming standards.
Men and women service members are both required to follow stern haircut requirements.
Additionally, men are not permitted to have beards in the Army though tightly regulated mustaches are authorized.
Body piercings are not allowed for male service members, while females can sport piercing with several restrictions.
Learn what all is authorized and not authorized regarding Army grooming standards.
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How Does The Nzdf Prevent Discrimination And Harassment
We are committed to ensuring that our workplaces are safe and free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying because we recognise the effects of personal-wellbeing on our operational effectiveness. We make an effort to recruit good people, and install a positive culture early in initial training. Robust support processes are in place to deal with any alleged incidents sensitively, appropriately, and quickly.
Are Navy Officers Allowed To Have Tattoos
Yes, the new Navy tattoo policy grants the same privileges to officers as enlisted personnel.
Therefore, Navy officers are allowed to have tattoos that extend below the elbow or knee, places on the body that were previously restricted prior to the updated policy.
Commanding officers also have discretion when it comes to allowing or prohibiting body art on other sailors that go against the Navy tattoo policy for 2021.
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Tattoo Content Thats Prohibited
As far as the content of prohibited tattoos, here are guidelines to be aware of.
Similar to the U.S. Navy and Army, the Marine Corps does NOT allow any tattoo that is prejudicial to good order and discipline or any tattoos that are drug related, gang-related, extremist, obscene or indecent, sexist, or racist.
Also, its worth noting a recent development that was communicated by Marine Corps Service Recruiter Staff Sgt. Justin Eckersley in a social post titled Tattoo Leniency Alert!
He wrote that the Marine Forces Reserve will allow prior service Marines who have out of regulation tattoos to join the reserves in certain circumstances.
According to Eckersley, one of the caveats is that the tattoos cannot be egregious or racist or located on the face, hands, etc. And this lenient tattoo policy waiver isnt for everyone.
Rather, its specifically designed for the Marines who have left the service and have at least 12 months remaining in the Individual Ready Reserves and an actual billet at the reserve unit.
In the end, this leniency allows the Corps to bring back quality Marines who would have otherwise been disqualified from consideration.
Future Of Armed Forces Tattoo Policy
The acknowledgement by top Army officials regarding outdated tattoo policy is a good sign when it comes to remaining viable and maintaining acceptable recruitment numbers. Just like any organization, the United States Army must constantly adapt to changing attitudes. Sometimes this means reexamining different rules and regulations in light of wider societys current trends.
As tattoos continue to gain popularity among the youth forming the pool from which the armed forces draws recruits, it is likely Army policy may need further updates. Given the growing popularity of face and neck tattoos there may a time in the future when officials have to further relax guidelines in order to find recruits, although for anyone interested in enlisting it is best to get tattoos conforming to current official guidelines.
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How Long Will I Serve
Enlistedpositions typically require an initial service commitment of four years, but positions involving longer-term training may involve five- or six-year obligations.
Officerpositions typically require an initial service commitment of three to five years, but positions involving longer-term training may involve longer service obligations.
What Air Force Tattoos Are Allowed
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.
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 .
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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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.
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.
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.
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Can I Join The Army With Tattoos Are There Restrictions
Yes, you can join with tattoos, as long as they are not visible above your collar or below your cuff. The Army does not typically accept individuals with tattoos on their hands, wrists, face, or neck. Tattoos anywhere above the neckline or on the head, including in the mouth, ears, or eyelids, disqualifies a candidate. A tattoo waiver is available for candidates who have disqualifying tattoos. However, tattoos that are extremist, racist, sexist, or indecent are prohibited anywhere on a Soldiers body, without exception.
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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Examples Of Army Offensive Tattoos
Here are the main types of tattoos the U.S. Army analyzes and may prohibit you from enlisting in the military:
- Sexist Tattoos: Soldiers are not allowed to have body art that advocates a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender.
- Racist Tattoos: Soldiers are not allowed to have body ink that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.
- Extremist Tattoos: The Army determines extremist tattoos as body art affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities. The Army has zero-tolerance toward organizations that promote racial or gender intolerance.
- Indecent Tattoos: The Army clarifies that indecent tattoos are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, propriety, or professionalism. The definition of indecent tattoos in the Army is fairly loose. It might include body art like a character flipping the bird or using the restroom on another object.
Lastly, branding tattoos are not authorized in the U.S. Army.
Military personnel are prohibited from having tattoos, including brands on the head, face, and neck.
There are several commonly asked questions regarding the Army tattoo policy:
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.
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Can You Join The Military With Tattoos What Are The Rules
Tattoos have always been a part of the militarys culture. But, lately, the military has been cracking down on tattoos that are deemed inappropriate.
The military is now strictly enforcing tattoo rules in an effort to make its members more professional-looking. If youre thinking about joining the military and want to know if your tattoos will disqualify you, here are some things to consider.
Can you join the military with tattoos?
Yes, you can join the military with tattoos. Long answer: Yes, you can join the military with tattoos. Though its difficult to predict what your tattoo will look like in 10 years, yes, you may be disqualified for tattoos that violate the rules. That being said, if youre a good fit for a particular military branch or service and are willing to put in some elbow grease and time in the recruiting process, then joining with tattoos may be a possibility.
Before we get into specifics about how to join the military with tattoos, lets first talk about what kinds of tattooed people have been accepted into the armed forces.
What Are The Rules For Tattoos In The Military?
Why And Where Else The Service Is Relaxing Restrictions
Even under the old policy, many recruits joined the service with tattoos that were technically not authorized they just needed to get a waiver during their enlistment process.
Easing tattoo restrictions are also a common way for military officials to access a broader recruiting pool. In 2006, the service drastically relaxed its tattoo policy in order to keep feeding more recruits into the training pipeline as the Iraq War moved into the surge era.
Theyve been controversial, too former Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III drew ire when he spearheaded an effort to restrict tattoos below the elbow and knee in 2014. The next SMA, Daniel Dailey, quickly rolled back that policy.
Instead, Sykes and senior officials responsible for accessions and manpower explained why now was the time to bring back neck, ear and hand tattoos.
Sykes argued that good order and discipline is not affected by tattoos.
People First is allowing personnel to continue to serve and to join our military without a prohibition on certain tattoos that are now acceptable in society, Sykes added.
Lin St. Clair, who oversees accessions as an assistant deputy secretary, explained that in fiscal 2020, the service processed more than 1,400 tattoo waiver requests for prospective soldiers, ultimately approving roughly 1,100.
Ultimately, added St. Clair, any moves made arent about lowering standards, as some contend.
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What Are The Differences In The Piercing Policy For Women And Men
The only difference is the wear of earrings. Males may not wear earrings on duty, whether in or out of uniform. They also cannot wear them off duty on base.
Females performing official duty in civilian attire are limited to the same wear criteria when in uniform: i.e., a single small spherical, conservative, diamond, gold, white pearl, or silver pierced or clip earring per earlobe. The earrings must match and should fit tightly without extending below the earlobe.
Above Information Derived from AFI 36-2903 and the Air Force News Service
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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.
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