To become eligible for joining the U.S armed services, you are asked to meet a set of strict military requirements covering different criteria such as age requirements, physical requirements, citizenship requirements, and educational ones. Each of these will be displayed below.

Furthermore, as you know, the U.S. military has six branches of service: the  Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Space Force. Besides, in general, the major criteria eligibility requirements for joining the armed services are similar for all six. However, each brand has set its own requirements regarding age limits, test scores, fitness levels, and so on. Additionally, eligibility requirements may vary depending on the needs or vacancies of the current mission. In this case, the service might reserve the right to enlist recruits. 

The prevalent military requirements listed below apply to the U.S Armed Forces as a whole. Hence, for specifics, please contact your recruiter. Now, let’s look at these requirements! 


1. Age Requirements


The minimum entrance age requirement for the military and service academy is prescribed that applicants must be at least 17 years of age with parental consent or 18 without parental consent to enlist in any branch of the active military. Nevertheless, in each brand, the maximum age you can enlist for active duty, part-time reserve, and national guard are different from each other. Let’s take a gander at the table below to learn more about these differences: 

Coast Guard Marines Corps Navy Army  Air Forces Space Forces
Active Duty 17-32 17-28 17-39 17-35 17-39 17-39
Reserve 17-40 17-28 17-39 17-35 17-38 17-39
Guard n/a n/a n/a 17-35 17-39 17-39
Service Academies 17-22 17-23 17-23 17-23 17-23 17-39


2. Citizenship Requirements


Citizenship Military Requirements
Citizenship Military Requirements

2.1. For those who are U.S citizens


People who possess a valid alien registration form, I-551, or green card adopted by the US Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) are recognized as U.S citizens or Legal Permanent Residents. Please visit the official website of USCIS for more information on citizenship and naturalization 


2.2. For those who are not U.S. citizens


Although you might enlist in the military if you have properly documented noncitizens, your opportunities may be limited. If you are not a U.S citizen, you must: 

  • Have a Green Card, also known as a permanent resident card
  • Currently live in the U.S. 
  • Speak, read, and write English fluently 

Contact your recruiter for more advice on a specific situation. 


3. Educational and Testing Requirements 


Educational and Testing Military Requirements
Educational and Testing Military Requirements


3.1. Passing the ASVAB test


To be eligible for joining the U.S military, you are required to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) Test including 9 separate subtests in a computerized version. 

Candidates need to achieve a minimum score on what is called the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) computed using the Standard Scores from four ASVAB subtests:

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  • Word Knowledge (WK)

This score determines your eligibility for enlistment. Additionally, each branch has its own line scores for each job specialty. Let’s read more information regarding ASVAB Score. If you are planning on sitting for your ASVAB exam, take numerous Full ASVAB Practice Tests by Estudyme right away.


3.2. Holding a high-school diploma or a GED


One of the compulsory requirements for enlisting is holding a high school diploma or a GED. Although it should be noted that the armed services accept only a small number of people who have their GEDs each year, you can enhance your chances of qualifying with your GED by 

  • Earning some college credits and 
  • Scoring well on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) 

You can take GED Practice Tests covering 4 main subjects at GED Test Pro website if you have not had a high-school certificate. 


4. Health and Fitness Requirements 


Health and Fitness Military Requirements
You must pass a military entrance medical exam

Although each force sets its own physical requirements and fitness standards depending on the demands of its mission, generally speaking, you must pass a military entrance medical exam including a physical exam, hearing test, vision test, and height and weight measurements to enlist in almost all branches. Learn more about Medical Standards for The U.S. Military


5. Steps for Joining the Military


Firstly, you need to do some research to learn more about your options for joining the military, the six active-duty branches, their part-time counterparts, and the main differences between officers and enlisted members. Thereby, you might explore the career fields you can enter for each branch. After that, please contact a recruiter for more advice and information about the branch you are considering.

In case you decide to enlist, you will report to an MEP – also known as a military entrance processing station. Then, you’ll spend a day or two accomplishing pre-enlistment steps encompassing taking the ASVAB, having a physical exam, meeting with a career counselor, and if you’re accepted, taking the oath of enlistment. 

Subsequently, you’ll receive orders for basic training, usually to begin within a few weeks. However, if you enroll in a delayed entry program, you’ll go home and get orders for basic training within a year.


6. Contact a Recruiter or Apply Online


6.1. Air Force


  • Air Force: 1-800-423-USAF (1-800-423-8723)
  • Air Force Reserve: 1-800-257-1212
  • Air National Guard: 1-800-TO-GO-ANG (1-800-864-6264)


6.2. Army


  • Army and Army Reserve: 1-888-550-ARMY (1-888-550-2769)
  • Army National Guard: 1-800-GO-GUARD (1-800-464-8273)


6.3. Navy


  • Navy and Navy Reserve: 1-800-USA-NAVY (1-800-872-6289)


6.4. Marine Corps


  • Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve: 1-800-MARINES (1-800-627-4637)


6.5. Coast Guard


  • Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve: Chat with a recruiter or Find a Recruiter


6.6. Space Force


  • Space Force: 1-800-423-USAF (1-800-423-8723)

In conclusion, an overview of military requirements including age, citizenship, and educational and physical requirements have already been listed above. Hopefully, this information might be pretty useful for those who are going to enlist in the U.S military.