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Military Entrance Requirements

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Joining the Military > Military Entrance Requirements
While the Service branches have similar entrance requirements, each has its own admission standards based on the amount and type of recruits needed. The requirements listed here apply to the U.S. Military as a whole. For more specifics, it's best to contact a recruiter.
Age Requirements
Each branch of the Service has different requirements. Minimum entrance-age requirements are 17 with parental consent or 18 without parental consent.
  Army Marines Navy Air Force Coast Guard
Active Duty 17-42 17-28 17-34 17-27 17-27
Reserve 17-39 17-28 21-39 17-35 17-39
Guard 17-42 n/a n/a 17-35 n/a
 Academies 17-23 17-23 17-23 17-23 17-23

Age requirements may change. Please contact a recruiter for current age requirements.

Physical Requirements
Because of the varying physical demands on servicemembers in each branch, physical requirements vary greatly. These differences can vary even within each branch of the Service. Generally speaking, potential servicemembers should be in good physical condition, of appropriate weight, and able to pass a standard physical screening prior to entry. For more specific information, please contact a recruiter.
Educational Requirements
Success in any branch of the Military depends on a good education, and a high school diploma is most desirable. Candidates with a GED (General Education Development certificate) can enlist, but some Services may limit opportunities. It is very difficult to be considered a serious candidate without either a high school diploma or accepted alternative credential. In any case, staying in school is important for entering the Military.
Citizenship Requirements
U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens (people who have an INS I-151/I-551 "Green Card") may join the U.S. Military.

Noncitizens may enlist, but cannot re-enlist (extend their enlistment beyond their first term of service) unless they become naturalized U.S. citizens. However, after service of three years, additional residency requirements for citizenship can be waived. The Military does not assist in the immigration naturalization process.

For enlistment purposes, the United States includes Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas Islands, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands.

Citizens of certain countries may require a waiver to enlist. These include citizens of countries considered hostile to the interests of the United States. For more specific information on the current list of hostile countries, or for other specific questions, contact a recruiter.
(Source: US Department of Defense)