Navy Recruiting Requirements


The US Navy offers career opportunities in a wide variety of fields. Broadly classified under Enlisted and Officer Cadres, these positions can range from start-up positions as an enlisted sailor to senior officers. Anyone who wants to start a career can choose from at least two dozen areas ranging from administration to aviation and intelligence to supply and purchase. However, there are several important requirements a person must meet in order to be recruited to the US Navy.


  • For any position, the minimum age for joining the US Navy is 17 years with parental consent, and 18 years without it. For Active Duty Non-Prior Service, the maximum age for joining the Navy is 34 years. For Reserve Non-Prior Service, the maximum age is 39 years.


  • The US government specifies that you must be a legal citizen of the US to take up a career in the US Navy; this is a requirement for joining any branch of the Armed Forces. If you are not a US citizen, you may join the navy if you meet three requirements: You must have a permanent residence visa or an alien green card; you must have "established a bona fide residence"; and your "home of record" must be established in the United States. (See References 1.)


  • The US military stipulates that anyone employed in the Navy must be able to support his dependents. The Navy will provide certain benefits, including a housing allowance and medical benefits for dependents, but you must be able to demonstrate that you will be able to adequately support dependents when joining the navy. In some cases, the Navy may limit the number of dependents for whom it will provide benefits.

Financial Background

  • The military requires that a person be free of any financial encumbrance and the Navy in particular prohibits you from joining up if you have a history of passing bad checks not caused by bank error. Repossessions and "charge-offs" (credit card accounts canceled or suspended due to non-payment) may also limit your ability to enlist. Finally, if you have non-mortgage debt that exceeds half of the annual salary paid to a person of your pay grade in the Navy, you may also be ineligible for recruitment. All debt, including mortgage debt, must not be greater than 2-1/2 times the annual salary of a person of your pay grade in the navy.


  • To be recruited to Tier I as an enlisted soldier, the US Navy requires that you have a high school diploma or at least 15 college credits. The lowest grade at which a person can join, Tier III, does not require the completion of high school. To become a naval officer, a college degree is usually required.

Physical Qualifications

  • The Navy requires that a person meet minimum height/weight requirements and weight must be in proportion to height. For example, the Navy height/weight chart begins at 57 inches tall, with a corresponding weight of 127 pounds. (See References 3.)

Other Requirements

  • A Navy recruit must not have a history of criminal activity or a record of drug or alcohol dependency or abuse. You do not need to declare your sexual orientation at the time of recruitment, but must refrain from overt homosexual behavior once you are recruited. Single parents also cannot enlist in the Navy.

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