But Here Are Some General Guidelines To Follow:
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.
What Is Not Allowed
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.
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.
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What Tattoos Are Allowed In The Marines
Heres an easier way to remember this: Tattoos are OK under PT.
That is, under a properly fitting standard physical training uniform , a Marine can have unlimited tattoos of all shapes, sizes, colors, etc.
Of course, even under the PT, there are restrictions regarding content of tattoos, but well get to that in a bit.
Outside of the PT uniform , a Marine is permitted up to four tattoos and no more.
Also, these four tattoos must adhere by the following standards:
- A tattoo, or group of tattoos, located anywhere on the lower arm is allowed only if it can be covered by the Marines hand with his or her fingers extended and joined with the thumb flush against the side of the hand. The measurement will be from the base of the palm to the tip of the fingers and from the outside of the thumb to the outside of the palm.
- Band tattoos are permitted so long as the band does not exceed three inches or the width of the Marines four fingers extended and joined, whichever is greater. This goes for both Officers and enlisted Marines.
- On the arms, no tattoos are permitted within two inches of the wrist-bone.
- Also on arms, the tattoo cannot be located within two inches above or below the elbow.
- And on knees, the same two-inch above/below rule applies.
While hand tattoos are prohibited in the Marines, a wedded Marine can get a pass.
They can have a single band tattoo of no more than 3/8 of an inch in width on one finger.
But this is decided on a case-by-case basis.
New Usaf Tattoo Policy
- Removes the 25% rule a rule that stated Airmen could not have tattoos that were larger than 25% of their body
- Eliminates size restrictions on tattoos located on arms, chest, back, and legs
- Clearly defines the tattoo locations that are not permitted
- Allows for only one single-band ring tattoo, located on only one finger and one hand
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Army Relaxes Tattoo Policy Approves Some Hand Neck Ink As It Faces Recruiting Shortfall
Sgt. David Stanfield from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade demonstrates his fandom with a Star Wars-themed tattoo ahead of the Star Wars movie premiere on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Soldiers can now sport ink on their hands, behind their ears and on the back of their necks, according to an updated Army tattoo policy published Thursday, June 23, 2022.
Soldiers can now sport ink on their hands, behind their ears and on the back of their necks, according to an updated Army tattoo policy published Thursday aimed largely at helping recruiters avoid the lengthy waiver process to bring recruits with body art into the service.
Army officials said the new policy would better align the service with social norms on tattoos and make the enlistment process simpler for recruits with tattoos in some areas of their bodies that were previously banned. The updated policy was issued this week by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and went into immediate effect for soldiers and incoming recruits.
We always review policy to keep the Army as an open option to as many people as possible who want to serve, said Maj. Gen. Doug Stitt, the Armys director of military personnel management. This directive makes sense for currently serving soldiers and allows a greater number of talented individuals the opportunity to serve now.
The policy still bans tattoos from soldiers faces and the front of their necks, and it limits ring tattoos on fingers to one per hand.
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.”
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An Updated Approach To Tattoo Policy
Under new guidelines enacted during Iraq and Afghan combat in 2015, the seemingly arbitrary number of four tattoos on the arms and legs was replaced with a more detail oriented approach. Under the new policy, the number of tattoos isnt specified instead limits are focused on where the ink can be located and its subject matter.
The following graphic shows where tattoos are and are not accepted in the US Army in 2020.
On the visible part of the arm tattoos must be one inch below the elbow and tattoos cannot extend onto the wrist or hands. For upper arm pieces, tattoos must start two inches above the elbow.
Tattoos on the legs must be either two inches above or two inches below the knee, leaving the areas of skin on the knee untouched. As long as these placement rules are followed no number limit for tattoos is specified.
Tattoos on the back and torso are less restricted regarding size and placement as long as they dont pass the shirt collar and extend onto the neck.
What Tattoos Are Allowed In The Army
Well, the Cliff Notes version of the Armys tattoo policy goes something like this:
The wrist down and the neck up are off limits, with the exception of a single ring tattoo, otherwise its fair game.
While this might help to understand the policy in general terms, its actually a bit more nuanced than this.
Its true that there are no limits as to how many tattoos, and the size of those tattoos, a soldier can have on their arms, legs, chest, and torso.
You can be tatted up pretty good in the Army.
And while you cannot have any hand tattoos , you can have one ring tattoo per hand, located where you would naturally wear a ring.
Finally, permanent makeup such as eyebrows and eyeliner is allowed only on women, and must be applied conservatively and with modesty.
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Popular And Acceptable Military Tattoos
With a better understanding of what is and is not acceptable under the current Army tattoo policy, we can now look at more popular styles and trends in military tattoo design.
Many of the brave men and women that serve in our nations armed forces choose designs highlighting their patriotism such as American flags and bald eagles. Other popular designs are more specific to a soldiers service and many choose to get dog tags or the insignia of their military branch inked on their bodies. Some soldiers even get different missions and operations that they participated in commemorated with tattoos.
The weapons of war are definitive elements in every soldiers life. These tools of the trade are also often incorporated into military tattoos.
The following galleries depict some of the popular styles of military tattoo:
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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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.
Cosmetics: A Gray Area In Military Tattoo Policies
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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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,
Space Force Neck Tattoo Policy Is A Go For Launch
By Hannah Ray Lambert | May 25, 2022
Guardians are officially allowed to have one small neck tattoo each, longer mustaches, and more makeup under the new Space Force grooming and uniform policy. But neck tattoos are still verboten for airmen, even though both services fall under the larger Department of the Air Force umbrella.
The new grooming and uniform policy was officially announced Tuesday, May 24, but rumblings about the changes began earlier this month, when what appeared to be a memo outlining the new standards was leaked on the popular Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco. It permitted neck tattoos for Space Force recruits, but emphasized that they were not permitted for Air Force recruits, puzzling many observers and resulting in social media comments like, In space, no one can see your neck.
Under the new guidance, guardians may have tattoos on their chests, backs, arms, legs, and feet, but chest and back tattoos cannot be visible through any uniform combinations or while wearing an open-collar uniform, according to the policy. A single tattoo no larger than 1 inch in diameter is allowed on the neck or behind the ear, but only so long as its placement meets the following requirements:
We published a Space Force Guidance Memorandum today announcing updates to grooming and uniform policy that reflect the nations sixth-service identity and culture. #SemperSupra
United States Space Force May 24, 2022
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Your Simple Guide To Military Tattoo Policies For 2021
No military regulation has been more closely watchedand more frequently changedthan the dos and donts of tattoos. Last week, the Marine Corps revised its policy, allowing the sleeve tattoo and also permitting officers more than four tattoos visible in uniform. Both officers and enlisted can now tat themselves up as much as they want, as long as its not on the face or neck. And hands may sport only one finger ring tattoo. The reason for the change is simple: recruiting and retention. Nearly half of young adults have tattoos, and many have several. The new Marine Corps Bulletin 1020 emphasizes balance between decorum and practicality: The American people expect Marines to be disciplined, physically fit, and ready to accomplish any mission. They also expect Marines to represent the nation they are sworn to protect.
The new policy, the bulletin goes on to say, ensures that the Marine Corps maintains its ties to the society it represents and removes all barriers to entry for those members of society wishing to join its ranks.
With the new Marine Corps policy, the service branches regulations on tattoos are now nearly identical. If youre curious about these rulesand the slight variations among themheres an updated comprehensive guide:
All five major branches of service agree that there must be no tattoos on these body parts:
All other branches prohibit neck tattoos visible above a crew neck shirt.