Army Eligibility Requirements and Waivers FAQ | goarmy.com
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Future Soldiers take the oath of enlistment.

For Enlisted Soldiers

To become an enlisted Soldier in the U.S. Army, you must:

  • Prove you are U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card)
  • Be between 17-35 years old
  • Achieve a minimum score on the ASVAB test
  • Meet medical, moral, and physical requirements
  • Be a high school graduate or equivalent

 

For Officers

Becoming an Army Officer is different from enlisting as a Soldier. Officers are responsible for leading Soldiers and planning missions. Training and initial requirements for accepting a commission as an Officer vary, but generally, to qualify you must:

  • Be a college graduate by the time you are commissioned as an Officer
  • Be between 18 and 32 years old
  • Meet medical, moral, and physical requirements
  • Eligible for a secret security clearance

 

If qualified, there are four main paths to becoming an Army Officer: The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), direct commission, Officer Candidate School (OCS), or attending the U.S. Military Academy.

Learn about the four paths to become an Army Officer.

For full requirements, fill out the contact form to get in touch with a recruiter.

Have you previously served in the military? See prior service requirements.

LEARN HOW TO JOIN

THE PROCESS TO BECOME AN ENLISTED SOLDIER

To join the Army, you must take the oath of enlistment. It’s the process of officially becoming an Army Soldier. During this process, you will talk to a recruiter, attend Basic Combat Training (BCT), and choose your Army job. Recruits will generally take these six steps to become enlisted Soldiers:

1. Pass a background check
2. Take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Your score on this test will determine which Army jobs you are qualified to hold
3. Pass an Army medical exam
4. Meet with a recruiter to discuss and accept your Army job
5. Take an Oath of Enlistment
6. Ship to Basic Combat Training

After you have completed Basic Combat Training, you will then attend Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for specialized instruction in the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) you have chosen. Upon graduating AIT, you will receive orders to join your unit.

 THE PROCEESS TO BECOME AN OFFICER

There are four main paths to becoming an Army Officer: The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), direct commission, Officer Candidate School (OCS), or attending the U.S. Military Academy. 

Although the process may vary based on your preferred path, these are the steps you’ll generally take to become an Officer: 

1.     Take a standardized test (e.g. ACT or SAT)
2.     Pass an Army medical exam
3.     Talk to an Army representative about your path and any funding or scholarship opportunities
4.     Attend commissioning source
5.     Graduate with a degree
6.     Attend the Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC)
7.     Join your unit

Learn about the four paths to become an Army Officer.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I AM FOUND TO BE INELIGIBLE TO JOIN THE ARMY?

In many cases, ineligibility means you will not be able to join in the Army or other military branches. However, in some circumstances the Army will provide waivers to help ensure potential recruits are able to join and serve. For questions about specific Army waivers and your potential eligibility, talk to a local recruiter to learn more about available options.

CAN I JOIN THE ARMY IF I AM OLDER THAN THE MAXIMUM AGE FOR ENLISTMENT?

The maximum age to join the Army as an enlisted Soldier is 35, and you must enter active duty prior to your 36th birthday. For Officers, you must accept your commission by age 32. However, restrictions can be lifted based on the need for certain roles. Recruits can receive an age waiver, so long as they can retire with 20 years of military service by age 55. Talk to a recruiter to get a better understanding of the demand for certain roles.

CAN I JOIN THE ARMY IF I HAVE A MEDICAL DISQUALIFICATION?

Yes, it is still possible to enlist with a medical disqualification. Medical waivers are issued on a case-by-case basis. If you have a medical disqualification or would like to learn more about joining with a medical condition, contact an Army recruiter today.

IF I HAVE A FELONY OR A CONVICTION, CAN I STILL JOIN?

Generally, felons and individuals who have several convictions are ineligible to join the Army. However, moral waivers or felony waivers are available to interested recruits in some cases. Contact a recruiter for more information.

MY ASVAB SCORES ARE TOO LOW. DOES THIS MEAN I CAN NO LONGER JOIN?

Not necessarily. The Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) helps the Army determine who is or isn’t qualified to become an enlisted Soldier. However, we understand extenuating circumstances can impact one’s ability to test or test well. The Army does offer ASVAB waivers for potential recruits. The easiest way to learn about your eligibility, the waiver process, and your next steps is to talk with your recruiter.

CAN I JOIN WITH ASTHMA? WHAT ABOUT POOR VISION OR HEARING?

In some cases, yes. Asthma is only disqualifying if it occurred after an applicant’s 13th birthday. Hearing, vision, and asthma qualifications are typically determined by medical exams and are not service-specific. If a doctor denies an applicant, that applicant can still request an asthma, vision or hearing loss waiver.

I HAVE ADHD. CAN I JOIN THE ARMY?

Yes. Previously ADD or ADHD was automatically disqualifying, but today it is only disqualifying if the applicant has been treated with ADD/ADHD medicine within the previous year or if they display obvious signs of the condition. If you are concerned about ADHD medical prescriptions, talk to your recruiter about potential options.

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 Soldier’s body, without exception.

ARE THERE HEIGHT AND WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS? WHAT IF I AM TOO SHORT OR HEAVY TO JOIN?

Yes, there are height and weight restrictions to join the Army, but they vary by age and gender. Reference the table below to find your minimum height and weight requirements.

MEN’S HEIGHT AND WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS
Height In InchesMinimum WeightAge 17-20 Maximum WeightAge 21-27 Maximum WeightAge 28-39 Maximum WeightAge 40+ Maximum Weight
5891    
5994    
6097132136139141
61100136140144146
62104141144148150
63107145149153155
64110150154158160
65114155159163165
66117160163168170
67121165169174176
68125170174179181
69128175179184186
70132180185189192
71136185189194197
72140190195200203
73144195200205208
74148201206211214
75152206212217220
76156212217223226
77160218223229232
78164223229235238
79168229235241244
80173234240247250
WOMEN’S HEIGHT AND WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS
Height In InchesMinimum WeightAge 17-20 Maximum WeightAge 21-27 Maximum WeightAge 28-39 Maximum WeightAge 40+ Maximum Weight
58 91 119 121 122 124
59 94 124 125 126 128
60 97 128 129 131 133
61 100 132 134 135 137
62 104 136 138 140 142
63 107 141 143 144 146
64 110 145 147 149 151
65 114 150 152 154 156
66 117 155 156 158 161
67 121 159 161 163 166
68 125 164 166 168 171
69 128 169 171 173 176
70 132 174 176 178 181
71 136 179 181 183 186
72 140 184 186 188 191
73 144 189 191 194 197
74 148 194 197 199 202
75 152 200 202 204 208
76 156 205 207 210 213
77 160 210 213 215 219
78 164 216 218 221 225
79 168 221 224 227 230
80 173 227 230 233 236

For the most up-to-date information on these restrictions, talk to a recruiter or calculate your BMI requirements. If you do not meet the specific requirements, you can talk to a recruiter about next steps and possibly submit a height or weight waiver.

ARE THERE PHYSICAL FITNESS REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN?

Yes, there are physical fitness requirements to join the Army. The Army’s Physical Fitness Test (APFT) is used to assess the physical endurance of a recruit. APFT is a 3-part fitness event: 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a timed 2-mile run. Recruits must pass the APFT to graduate boot camp.

The APFT physical fitness requirements vary by age and gender. Reference the table below to find your minimum fitness requirements.

The Army will continue to use the APFT until further notice.

MEN’S APFT PHYSICAL FITNESS REQUIREMENTS
AGEPUSH-UPSSIT-UPS2-MILE RUN
17-21354716:3
22-26314317:3
27-31303617:5
32-35263418:4
WOMEN’S APFT PHYSICAL FITNESS REQUIREMENTS
AGEPUSH-UPSSIT-UPS2-MILE RUN
17-21134719:4
22-26114320:3
27-31103621:4
32-3593423:00

If you have any questions regarding the APFT or your physical fitness requirements, talk to your recruiter.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS A WAIVER?

It can take up to three months to fully process a waiver. However, the turnaround time can vary in length depending on the type of waiver requested.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR AN ARMY WAIVER?

Applying for an Army waiver is as simple as requesting a form. However, it should be noted that the point of the waiver is for the applicant to prove they overcame a disqualifying issue that would otherwise prevent them from joining the Army. Once the waiver has been submitted, a comprehensive review will take place and it will be determined if the individual can join.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY WAIVER IS DENIED?

Unfortunately, waiver denials are often the final decision and there is no recourse. Keep in mind, the waiver process is technically considered an appeal of ineligibility.

WHAT OFFENSES OR MORAL BEHAVIOR-RELATED ISSUES CANNOT BE WAIVED?

  • Individuals under civil restraint including parole, confinement, or probation are not eligible for waivers
  • Individuals subject to civil court conviction or adverse disposition for more than one serious offense, or serious offenses with three or more other offenses (apart from traffic) will not be eligible for a waiver
  • Anyone found trafficking, selling, or distributing narcotics, including marijuana, is not eligible for a waiver
  • Anyone with three or more convictions related to driving while intoxicated, drugged, or impaired in the past five years prior to application will not be eligible
  • Anyone convicted for five or more misdemeanors is not eligible
  • Individuals who are unable to pass a drug or alcohol test or anyone with charges pending will not be eligible for a waiver