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Can You Join The Military With A Hand Tattoo

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?
  • Will affect my enlistment?
  • 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 wasn’t 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 isn’t paid, go pay it. If you didn’t 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 don’t 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?


    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.”

    Are Army Officers Allowed To Have Tattoos

    Yes, officers of the Army can still have tattoos.

    The Army tattoo policy for 2021 is different from previous regulations that held commanding officers to higher physical appearance standards compared to enlisted soldiers.

    The new policy basically holds officers to the same rules as enlisted soldiers when it comes to tattoos.

    Commanding officers are also responsible for determining if a soldier under their watch gets a new tattoo that is deemed offensive.

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    Coast Guard Tattoo Policy

    The coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of our Armed Forces The US Coast Guard is one of our countrys uniformed services.

    And as such, they hold their personnel and service members to a high standard.

    Like the other branches of military discussed in this article, the Coast Guard periodically reviews and updates their tattoo and branding policy to keep up with the times and our changing culture.

    The Coast Guards latest tattoo policy was unveiled late 2016.

    And according to Kurt B. Hinrichs /s/ Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Director of Reserve and Military Personnel, the changes to the policy are minimal but important.

    The report released by Hinrichs explains that the policy update is to ensure our workforce presents a sharp, professional military appearance to the public while also allowing individual expression through authorized body art that is consistent with the Coast Guards core values.

    It seems as though the Coast Guard is keeping in step with the trend thats being followed by all military branches.

    That is, theyre loosening up to attract recruits from the largest recruiting pool possible, without sacrificing core values.

    But these changes in their tattoo policy arent for new recruits only.

    Rather, according to the report, All Coast Guard unit commanders, commanding officers, officers-in-charge, deputy/assistant commandants, and chiefs of headquarters staff elements shall comply with the provisions of this Instruction.

    What Is Not Allowed

    Military Tattoo Policy When Joining a Branch of the Military

    Despite the fact that the armys tattoo policy has been slightly relaxed in order to provide room for new recruits, there are still certain rules guiding soldiers in getting a tattoo.

    Although soldiers are permitted to have tattoos, below are some things that are not allowed by the army as far as getting tattoos is concerned.

    It is important to note that the prohibition of certain types of tattoo is not without cause.

    The army is an organization and it is important for the unity of the Force to be reflected in the appearance of the soldiers.

    Even though the unique personality of each Soldier is respected, drawing unnecessary attention to oneself in the army is not tolerated.

    This is because the soldiers despite being individuals are considered to be a part of something bigger and the interest of the army must be put ahead of personal preferences.

    Its on this basis that the army has a policy guiding getting tattooed while in active service.

    Certain types of tattoo are not allowed in the army. Below is a list of the types of tattoos that are not allowed.

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    I Have Piercings Can I Still Join

    Some body piercings will stop you joining, or re-joining:

    • Piercings that change the way you look, like a 4mm flesh tunnel or larger ones

    For health and safety reasons, you will need to take off all jewellery before any physical activity in the application process. Once you have joined the Army, you will be told the rules for wearing body jewellery when on and off duty.


    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.

    Recommended Reading: How Long Does A Tattoo Take To Heal

    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.

    Tattoos And Military Policy


    The United States military policies concerning tattoos have evolved over the years and vary across military branches. In recent years, these policies have been relaxed to increase the number of eligible recruits. But one thing that hasnt changed is soldiers and recruits are not allowed to have certain types of tattoos. Extremist, indecent, racist and sexist tattoos are not allowed.

    Policies regarding the placement of tattoos vary among the branches. The strictest, the Marines do not allow sleeves. While the Army does not allow tattoos on:

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

    The military also has policies in place regarding getting tattoos while on active duty. Meeting the appearance standards prior to joining the military is just as important as abiding by them during your service in the military. The military is concerned about banned tattoos before and after enlisting. If the military finds your tattoo inappropriate concerning their policy you will likely face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Furthermore, the military could require you to remove the tattoo if you want to remain on active duty.

    In any case, If you or someone you know has a tattoo they need to be removed for military purposes Delete Tattoo Removal in Phoenix & Chandler is able to help! Laser tattoo removal is one way to meet military regulations as they concern your tattoos!

    Read Also: Free Tattoo Removal For Gang Members

    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 straightforwarddon’t 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.

    Air Force Tattoo Regulations

    The Air Force is pretty lax when it comes to servicemembers with tattoos. Airmen have no restrictions as to the tattoo size.

    The following tattoos are allowed:

    • Airmen are allowed a single ring tattoo on one finger, on one hand
    • Half or full sleeve tattoos
    • Feet tattoos

    You will notice, the Air Force is currently the only branch that allows feet tattoos.

    As far as tattoo donts in the Air Force, just like other branches, there cannot be any tattoos on your face, neck, head, lips, or eyelids.

    Be sure to keep up with the latest on the Air Force tattoo policy as policies are always subject to change.

    Recommended Reading: Laser Tattoo Removal Results After First Treatment

    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

    Body Piercing While In Uniform

    Army Tattoo Policy: What

    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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    Can A Soldier Cover Up A Tattoo With Makeup Or Bandages

    The Army does not allow soldiers to cover up a tattoo anywhere on the body with bandages or makeup.

    It doesnt matter if the tattoo is hidden when in uniform or not.

    However, permanent makeup is an exception.

    The Army approves permanent makeup like tattoos that represent eyebrows or eyeliner as long as it follows the traditional rules for makeup .

    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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    Piercing While Not 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 .

    There is an exception women are authorized to wear one small spherical, conservative, diamond, gold, white pearl, silver pierced, or clip earring per earlobe and the earring worn in each earlobe must match. Earrings should fit tightly without extending below the earlobe. If the earring is a clip, the band can show.

    What Happens If A Soldier Is Caught With An Unauthorized Tattoo/refuses To Remove

    Tattoos in the Navy? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

    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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    Military Tattoo Policy And Joining The Military

    Another recurring line of questioning in future military personnel is the issue of tattoos. We live in an era that emphasizes the importance of expression that takes on the form of what previous generations considered mutilation. Whether or not that kind of accusation holds any weight is normally left up to the individual.

    But for those joining the military, its a different story. Although there exists a long history between the military and tattoos, all U.S. military branches have standards about where, what, how much, and how many their members can have prior to

    enlistment, and during service. These regulations ensure that all personnel maintain appearance standards for the given branch, much in the same way each branch maintains standards concerning uniforms and uniform appearance. In addition, as it applies to the content of the artwork, military regulation on tattoos is also in place to minimize the establishment of unnecessary divisions or senseless conflict between service members.

    As is often the case, each branch has its own definition of what amount of ink is acceptable, as well as the content and location. During MEPS, recruits will be given a full physical to verify that he or she is fit for duty. During this time, you will be looked over by a military doctor, who will assess if your artwork violates any of the military tattoo policy.

    According to Navy regulations, enlistment standards are based on four criteria,


    Adapting To The New Army Tattoo Policy For 2021

    The Army tattoo policy is a constant revolving door.

    Therefore, soldiers with tattoos that were previously compliant to military policies yet have since been deemed inappropriate can get grandfathered in.

    Regardless, it is impossible to have a tattoo on the face or head grandfathered because these locations on the body were never authorized in the military.

    Army soldiers are inspected routinely for new body art as well as other regulations of its grooming standards.

    Attempting to hide or cover up tattoos in violation of the policy is a bad idea and will inevitably end up with disciplinary action.

    Before obtaining a tattoo it is recommended that soldiers , speak to a unit leader/recruiting coordinator to ensure the ink falls within acceptable standards.

    Related Article:Can You Join The Military With A Felony?

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    Am I Eligible To Join Indian Army With Tattoo On My Hand

    Related Questions:
    24th December 2017, 11:17 PM NeptuneSpear

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    # 25th December 2017, 02:10 PM Abhijeet_2016

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    Re: Am I eligible to join Indian Army with tattoo on my hand?4

    # 25th December 2017, 04:48 PM SandyRockstar

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    Re: Am I eligible to join Indian Army with tattoo on my hand?5

    # 25th December 2017, 06:14 PM sampathkumar29

    Re: Am I eligible to join Indian Army with tattoo on my hand?Do you have any question? or have anything to say?

    Popeye The Sailor Man

    Can You Join the Police with Hand Tattoos

    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.

    Related ArticleCoast Guard Jobs List: A List Of All Ratings In The Coast Guard

    Read Also: Does Laser Tattoo Removal Get Rid Of The Tattoo Completely

    New Navy Guidelines About Tattoos

    So what changes were made? Or rather, why were changes made? Due to a low level of enlisting in recent years, the Military has started to loosen and relax its recruitment process. This includes tattoos and the size of them. The most notable change is that multiple or large tattoos below the elbow or knee are now allowed this includes sleeves and tattoos that cover the wrists and hands.

    Despite not being able to cover them in short sleeve or short trouser uniforms, they will not be viewed as a reason for turning someone down. It is now common to find pictures of Navy men and women with tattoos on their forearms in the adverts used by the Navy if it is good enough for them, it will be good enough for you!

    Additionally, one neck tattoo which is one inch or smaller is also allowed multiple tattoos will not be allowed and if a tattoo is larger than a single inch in length, height, or both, this will hold back the applicant.

    The measuring of a neck tattoo is very strict here any more than 1 inch on any axis and you will not be able to serve. You will also be able to serve as a recruiter and / or potentially be able to climb the ranks in the Navy, should you wish. According to the Navy, they recognize changes in our society and that to shut people out of employment because they want to have pictures on their skin, then theyd be foolish.

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