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Can You Enlist In The Military With Tattoos

Military Entrance Processing Questions Answered

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

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?
  • How can I make the military my career?
  • The brutal truth before enlisting
  • What makes an officer?
  • Lying at MEPS


    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 wasnt 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?


    1. Need some clarification. Did you admit to the charge? If so and your fine just isnt paid, go pay it. If you didnt 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 dont 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?


    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.

    Can You Have A Tattoo In The Air Force

    Joining the Air Force seems like the coolest idea in the world until your Air Force veteran uncle tells you that you can’t join because of your sleeve. Times have changed, the and Air Force has finally followed other services in relaxing tattoo policies.

    In this article, we are going to be exploring the conundrum of tattoos and what they mean within the Air Force.

    We will be paying close attention to whether tattoos are allowed, and then looking at what kinds of tattoos are allowed and where on your body they can be.

    So, if you have considered joining the Air Force but also want a tattoo , this article will be helpful for you!

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    Military Tattoo Policy Prevents Some From Enlisting In Army

    PHOENIX Since new regulations about tattoos went into effect in March, an army recruiter says 300 applicants have been turned away from serving in the military.

    Under the new regulations, soldiers are prohibited from having tattoos on their head, face, neck wrists, hands and fingers. They can have no more than four visible tattoos below the elbow or below the knee. The tattoos must be smaller than the persons hand.

    So far, since its implementation here in just Phoenix alone, thats 300 applicants or potential applicants who have been disqualified based on tattoos alone, aid Major Tyler Stewart, U.S. Army Recruiter.

    If any of these tattoos exist, they are not allowed to sign up.

    We stop all processing at that point, Major Stewart said. We dont know if they would be eligible or not, but they are disqualified based on the tattoos alone.

    The regulations cover a variety of appearance-related issues including hair styles, jewelry, glasses and fingernails. Soldiers who already have tattoos are grandfathered in. But, under the new regulations, any soldier with tattoos cant seek a promotion to warrant officer or commissioning as an officer.

    If Purple Heart recipient Zac Rand had his tattoos at the time he enlisted, he would have been denied. Rand was an army specialist who received the Purple Heart in 2011 after he was severely injured in Afghanistan.

    The army said the rules are meant to encourage a professional appearance.

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    Can You Join The Navy With Tattoos

    Can You Have Tattoos In The Army National Guard

    Can you join the navy with tattoos? Tattoos are incredibly common amongst the main demographic of American citizens that the Navy recruit from, with estimates suggesting around 1 in 3 people who are between 18 and 25 have at least one tattoo.

    Some studies suggest that number is even higher, including those getting multiple tattoos and in areas that would have been considered antisocial. In the past, due to a variety of reasons, tattoos made finding employment with the Navy difficult. Do tattoos show that the Navy man or Navywoman is a reliable and trustworthy member of society? Some people would say no tattoos make some unreliable and untrustworthy.

    This is what all military branches believed up until recently. But it is very possible that you will be able to join the Navy today because of the changes that were made to recruitment policy in 2016. Now potential recruits can have pretty much any kind of tattoo they want as long as it doesnt fall under a very small list of examples that are still banned. The list is not exhaustive, however. If you are unsure, ask your recruiter.

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    Understand The Regulations Before You Sign Up

    All five military branches restrict tattoo content. Youre going to have to remove any tattoos based on drugs, sex, violence, or gang affiliation. Similarly, your ink cannot discriminate against sex, religion, or race. If your tattoo ticks people off, chances are its going to keep you out of the service, unless you get rid of it. Theres no point in whining over this. If you want to serve your country, youll be facing much bigger decisions, so get it done. Having offensive tattoos covered or removed is a small price to pay.

    Can You Have Tattoos In The Military

    If youve ever considered joining a branch of the armed services you know that there are strict guidelines you must meet. From education to age requirements to fitness tests, there are various requirements for enlisting. However, one of the most common questions people have is if you can have tattoos in the military.

    Every branch has its own rules, some more strict than others, which means if you already have some ink youll need to do some extra digging to see whats allowed. The armed forces of the United States are made up of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and the Coast Guard. Additionally, the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components of their services and operate in part under state authority.

    For this article, well be focusing exclusively on the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and the Coast Guard.

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    Does The Coast Guard Disqualify People For Tattoos


    America has long had a complicated relationship with tattoos. In times past, VFW Magazine says, a Naval tattoo seemed to many people an iconic symbol of swashbuckling adventure to others it embodied sleaze and a disreputable lifestyle. In the 21st century, with tattoos so common, the U.S. Coast Guard and other military branches have become increasingly chill about tattooed recruits.


    You can join the Coast Guard with tattoos, but there are limits. Sleeves are fine, but only small hand tattoos and no visible neck or face tats. Racist, extremist or sexually explicit tattoos are unacceptable.

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    So Does The Military Allow Tattoos


    The simple answer: there is no simple answer. It all depends, and although military tattoo regulations and policies are liable to be modified each year, take a look below for a quick guide on current military tattoo policies per branch.

    Because much of these policies are up for interpretation its always best to seek feedback from a recruiter directly. However, if you already have ink and are worried it may not pass the military standard you have options! For starters, active service members who enlisted before a new regulation dont have to worry. However, if you add or alter a tattoo and it then violates new military tattoo regulations, you could run into some trouble.

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    Who Has The Final Say On Appropriateness

    Commanders and first sergeants are the first line of authority for making this determination. Body piercing is relatively straightforwarddont display it while in uniform, while performing official duty in civilian attire or on a military installation at any time. Tattoos are a bit more subjective, but this policy provides commanders guidelines to make the calls.

    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.

    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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    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.

    Eagle Globe And Anchor

    National Guard Tattoo Policy for 2021: What IS and ISN

    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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    In Which Field Tattoo Is Not Allowed

    Government jobs in which tattoo is prohibited Many jobs such as police , or paramilitary . Indian Defence Services Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard etc. If you want to join armed forces in any capacity, then our advice will be to avoid tattoos at any cost.

    More On The Army’s Rules

    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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    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.

    But Here Are Some General Guidelines To Follow:

    PASSING MEPS WITH TATTOOS! || Military life

    If your tattoos are in any way offensive, racist, sexist, extremist, or discredit America, unpack your bags.

    The Navy has a strict policy regarding the content of tattoos.

    They do not allow tattoos that discriminate against religion or national origin.

    And any tattoos that suggests gang affiliation or the use of illegal drugs are not allowed.

    Likewise, tattoos that are deemed offensive might also not pass the sniff test.

    You cannot have any tattoos on your head or scalp, and nothing on the actual ear itself.

    As previously mentioned, a neck tattoo cannot exceed the height/width dimensions of one inch.

    However, in some cases, a neck tattoo that exceeds the maximum 1-inch x 1-inch dimension might be considered by the Navy recruiting commander.

    But this tattoo must be located on the back of the neck, and not be touching the hairline or reaching behind the ears.

    Furthermore, body mutilation is not allowed in the Navy.

    This includes everything up to and including the following:

    • Tongue forking
    • Gauged or enlarged holes in ears
    • Skin modification such as intentional scarring
    • Intentional burns to create designs on skin
    • Any sort of dental ornamentation such as gold front teeth

    Finally, men are not permitted to wear body piercings.

    However, women are allowed to wear one ball-studded earring in each ear.

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    Can I Join The Army With A Tattoo

    One of the most common questions we get is Can I Join the Army if I have a Tattoo. This article answers that question and outlines what types of tattoos may keep you from joining the U.S. Army.

    You will NEVER be allowed to enlist in the Regular Army, Army Reserves, or Army National Guard if you have any of the non-waivable disqualifying tattoos below. Depending on abundance of recruits, standards may be more strict than listed:

    • Tattoos located on the head, face, neck, wrists, hands, or fingers
    • Tattoos which are extreme, sexist, indecent, or racist
    • Having more than four tattoos located below the knee or between the elbow and wrist

    As part of efforts to maintain the professional appearance of the force, the Army dialed back the number, size and placement of tattoos in the March regulation.

    Previously authorized tattoos were grandfathered in, but Soldiers hoping to become an officer had to get an exception to the policy.

    The updated regulation takes into account that previously authorized tattoos should not prevent a Soldier from becoming an officer, but that candidates are to be evaluated based on the whole Soldier concept, or all characteristics of a Soldier.

    Here is the latest policy on tattoos from Army Regulation 670-1 :

    33. Tattoo, Branding, and Body Mutilation PolicyNote: 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.

    Can I Get A Tattoo Before Joining The Navy

    Can I Get A Tattoo Before Joining The Navy? Understand the Regulations Before You Sign Up All five military branches restrict tattoo content. Youre going to have to remove any tattoos based on drugs, sex, violence, or gang affiliation. Similarly, your ink cannot discriminate against sex, religion, or race.

    Can You Join The Military With A Neck Tattoo? Army Tattoo Policy It prohibits any tattoos on the head, face, neck, wrists, hands, or above the t-shirt collar. Essentially, any visible body tattoos are prohibited. The only exception is one ring tattoo per hand where a regular ring would lie.

    How Big Can Your Neck Tattoo Be In The Navy? Hand and neck tattoos are allowed in the Navy. What is this? 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.

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