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Does The Air Force Allow Tattoos

What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The Army

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

As far as placement or location goes, we recommend the t-shirt test.

Throw on a t-shirt and stand in front of the mirror. Now, you cannot have any tattoos showing above the t-shirt collar line or anywhere on the neck, ear, face, scalp, etc.

This restriction also includes any inner-mouth or eyelid tattoos .

You cannot have any tattoos on your hands either .

The hand is defined as any location below the wrist bone. With this in mind, its best not to have any ink on your wrists at all.

As far as content of the tattoos, the Army prohibits anything that is:

  • Racist
  • Extremist
  • Indecent

These types of tattoos cannot be located anywhere on your body. And believe us, theyll check.

Of course, the terms above can be interpreted in different ways, so its ultimately up to your Recruiting Commander to make the call.

Also, if you have tattoos and eventually want to become an Officer or Warrant Officer, dont worry, theres still hope of moving up in rank.

You see, Commanders make recommendations for soldiers based on many considerations so you likely wont be rejected on account of your tattoos alone.

Finally, if you have a tattoo that you think will disqualify you from the Army, its worth a shot to check with the recruiters anyway.

You might get a waiver for, say, a tiny tattoo on your hand or something small behind your ear.

So dont count yourself out!

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!

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.

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What Is Navy Salary

The average U.S. Navy salary ranges from approximately $30,170 per year for Control Panel Technician to $85,719 per year for Contracting Officer. The average U.S. Navy monthly salary ranges from approximately $1,650 per month for Instructor to $7,761 per month for Special Forces Operator.

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Careers And No Visible Tattoos

RAF relaxing tattoo policy to appeal to more recruits ...

Although tattoos have become a huge part of our popular culture there are still quite a few professions that don’t allow visible tattoos. Here’s a short list of some of the most common employers that either don’t allow tattoos or ask you to cover them up at work:

Healthcare Professionals

Many hospitals and medical offices require some piercings and tattoos be removed or covered. More traditional ear piercings are usually accepted, but large tattoos may present problems in being hired to work in certain hospitals or clinics. Tattoos are usually restricted in this field because most healthcare professionals deal directly with patients.

Police Officers and Law Enforcement

Piercings are usually ruled out due to the risk of resisting suspects being able to injure the officer. Another view is that it is unprofessional and intimidating for members of the public. Law enforcement still views tattoos as something associated with law-breakers. When booking suspects officers are required to photograph and document all of the tattoos he or she has. This is because of the stereotypical connection of tattoos being gang related, as well as making it easier to identify someone if they have changed their appearance in other ways. Despite the restrictions quite a few police officers have tattoos and have to cover them up while on duty.

Law Firms

Administrative Assistants and Receptionists

Financial Institutions and Banks


Hotels / Resorts



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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.

Commanders Can Issue Additional Guidance

There may be situations where the commander can restrict the wear of non-visible body ornaments. Those situations would include any body ornamentation that interferes with the performance of the members military duties.

The factors to be evaluated in making this determination include, but are not limited to: impairs the safe and effective operation of weapons, military equipment, or machinery poses a health or safety hazard to the wearer or others or interferes with the proper wear of special or protective clothing or equipment .

Installation or higher commanders may impose more restrictive standards for tattoos and body ornaments, on or off duty, in those locations where the Air Force-wide standards may not be adequate to address cultural sensitivities or mission requirements .

The Air Force has implemented a policy which prohibits body mutilation, such as split tongues.

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Rules Relax For Airmen And Women

Women will also now be allowed eyelash extensions, so long as the extensions match the wearers natural hair color. Additionally, headbands and scrunchies are now allowed to be up to 2 inches wide. PT shirts are allowed to remain untucked if the wearer desires, and hair dye is allowed for all service members. The only stipulation is that the hair dye must be a natural color. However, it does not have to be the service members natural hair color. The new Air Force rules say a mix of hair colors is okay, as long as the hair maintains a natural appearance. For example, a salt and pepper look would be considered OK by new standards.

When it comes to facial hair, rules remain the same about who is authorized to have a beard. However, the rules about who is allowed to give that authorization are now a tad looser. While service members are only allowed to have a beard for medical or religious purposes, new regulations allow medical officials to authorize the required waver. Previously, only commanders were authorized to grant such permissions based on medical advice.

New Policy Taking Place

Air Force Tattoos Policy

Policies and trends keep changing according to how the world changes. Thats because young minds and new mentalities have taken over prominent positions at institutions like the US Air Force.

We believe that the Air Force changed the tattoo policy to meet the desires of airmen while maintaining the standards of a professional airman appearance.

The new US Air Force tattoo policy eliminates the 25% coverage rule, which stated that the tattoo size cant cover over 25% of the exposed body part.

It updated the policy to open the opportunity for more applicants to join the service without thinking of their tattoo as a limitation.

The size of the tattoo is no longer in the equation. Airmen may have any tattoo shape or size they desire, including half or full-arm sleeves. Tattoos are allowed on the chest, back, arms and legs with no size restriction.

Tattoos are prohibited on the head, face, neck, scalp, tongue, and lips. For your hands, they allow you only one tattoo on one finger and one hand, which is a wedding ring tattoo. How cute!

The US Air Force determines whether tattoos reflect any of the following:

  • Considered as obscene under USAF guidelines
  • Extremist or supremacist
  • Discrimination toward religion or ethnicity
  • Sexism
  • Racism

The above list applies to all body parts, even if the applicant can cover it up.

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Can You Have Tattoos In The Military 2021

The Army tattoo policy for 2021 is fairly loose, among the most liberal tattoo policies in the military along with the Navy. You can NOT have tattoos on your wrists / hands, neck, or face. The only exception to this is a ring tattoo, one per hand. Sexist, racist, extremist, and indecent tattoos are NOT allowed.

Allowed Air Force Tattoos

Although air force has already lifted the 25 percent rule for a good reason, there is a need for you to know what body parts are allowed to get inked. Knowing the policies may save you from potential disqualification if you intend to apply to air force soon.

The good news is that airmen can now virtually have a tattoo of any size anywhere on the legs, feet, and arms. Not only this, tattooing full or half sleeves arms are perfectly and technically allowed on both hands. If you have an existing tattoo on your hands, they were authorized and assessed under the new policy standards.

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Can The Air Force Deny You For Having A Tattoo

Yes. The Air Force can deny you for having a tattoo if the tattoo in question exceeds their limits. For example, if you have visible tattoos on your face, head, eyelids, lips, hands, neck, and wrists, you will likely get denied as these areas are not allowed to be tattooed.

You may also get denied from the Air Force if you have a tattoo design that is prohibited. Prohibited tattoos include designs that may be racist or sexist. They may also include any tattoo that is extremist or supremacist or depicts any messages of this kind.

The Air Force also has a ban on any tattoo that is affiliated or connected to gangs and gang culture. The Air Force also bans any tattoo that is affiliated with extremist religion, philosophies, and any religious blasphemy.

The Air Force also has a ban on branding tattoos in all areas, visible or not. If you have a tattoo that fits into any of these above descriptions then it is highly likely that you will get denied.

If you happen to have a tattoo that is in any way obscene, such as depicting an obscene or disturbing act, or if it falls under the USAF guidelines for obscenity, then you will also get denied.

The rules around tattoos are relaxed in many ways, but the Air Force quite rightly has a ban on any obscene and discriminatory tattoos, meaning you will not be allowed to join if you have them.

Cosmetics: A Gray Area In Military Tattoo Policies

Air Force Relaxes Tattoo Policy

One type of tattoos that may confuse some people are cosmetics, like permanent eyeliner or eyebrows.

These are currently allowed in all branches. Just make sure they are natural-looking in color and shape to adhere to the regulations pertaining to face tattoos.

The team at Empire Resume hopes this information about tattoo policies in the military has been helpful. Were always here to help with your career planning needs and deliver results, guaranteed!

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What Are The Military Rules On Tattoos

The main takeaways regarding the Army Tattoo Policy are:

  • There is no limit to the number of tattoos you can have.
  • You can NOT have tattoos on your wrists / hands, neck, or face.
  • The only exception to this is a ring tattoo, one per hand.
  • Sexist, racist, extremist, and indecent tattoos are NOT allowed.

National Guard Tattoo Policy

The most common question I get is about tattoo policies for National Guard members. It is definitely not something I know the answer to, so instead of giving my own opinion on whether they are allowed or not allowed, I decided to write this article.

The National Guard has many different tattoo policies based on duty position and rank. This includes which tattoos are permitted and which are not, the location of the tattoos, and how big they must be. You can read about them in more depth if you scroll down however, its important that you understand that every state has different rules for their own National Guardsmen too . The rules may be similar but each state decides who falls under what guidelines .

In addition to the federal tattoo regulations, some state National Guards may have their own policies as well. In order to make sure you dont get in trouble for a tattoo, make sure you check with your state first. This can easily be done on your alphabetically last state or it can be done here on the NGBs site.

The first thing youll want to do is find out what size a tattoo would have to be before it is allowed. This is because some tattoos are not allowed at all and others require certain sizes of tattoos depending on where they are placed.

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Air Force Relaxes Tattoo Policy Allows Sleeves

The Air Force on Tuesday announced it will no longer limit the size of airmen’s body tattoos, in a significant shift that opens up the door to popular sleeve tattoos.

The policy change is slated to take effect Feb. 1.

The change in regulations will allow both arm and leg sleeves, Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, deputy chief of staff for Air Force manpower, personnel and services, told in an exclusive interview Friday at the Pentagon.

“As a next step in this evolution, we are opening the aperture on certain medical accession criteria and tattoos while taking into account our needs for worldwide deployability and our commitment to the profession of arms,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in a statement.

The service is axing its “25 percent rule,” which prohibits tattoos that cover more than a quarter of an exposed body part. That rule was added to the Air Force Guidance Memorandum, or AFI 36-2903, “Dress and Personal Appearance,” in 1998, then updated with a measuring tool in 2010, said Air Force spokesman Maj. Bryan Lewis.

Tattoos will now be allowed on the chest, back, arms and legs and will not be restricted to size, according to Grosso. “Size will not be a factor anymore,” she said.

Grosso added, “Old policy, current policy, anything that’s inappropriate, racist, sexist, inappropriate picture — those have never been acceptable and will still not be acceptable.”

Can You Have Neck/face/hand Tattoos In The Air Force


No, tattoos on the face, neck, and hands are not permitted with the exception of a single ring tattoo on a hand.

Airmen are allowed to have one full-band ring tattoo on one of the two hands.

Otherwise, the hands are off limits along with the entire neck and face.

The face also extends to the rest of the head, including the scalp.

You can use the t-shirt test to determine if you have any tattoos that would violate the current Air Force tattoo policy.

Any tattoos that are visible over the t-shirt collar are violations of the Air Force tattoo policy for 2021.

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Current Tattoo Regulations For The Us Air Force

Similar to other military branches, any tattoo that has a negative impact on morale, discipline, or good order is prohibited. Keep in mind that tattoos of a nature to bring discredit upon the Air Force are included in the above categories, and are similarly banned. Designs that advocate sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination are likewise prohibited, both in and out of uniform. These rules may seem obvious, but some tattoos may include symbols or design elements that can easily violate the regulations. Prospective Airmen should use their best judgment when evaluating their tattoos.

Any tattoos above the collarbone, such as on the neck, head, face, tongue, lips, and/or scalp, are prohibited. For example, a tattoo that can be seen on the neck while wearing an open collar, front-fastening, blue or utility uniform is not permitted. But, cosmetic tattooing is allowed when its needed to correct a medical condition, illness, or injury. Women are also permitted to have permanent makeup, like eyebrows and eyeliner, as long as the cosmetic tattooing looks natural and is of a conservative, tasteful nature. Additionally, tattoos on otherwise permissible areas of the body cannot be seen through the fabric of your uniform.

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