Military Waiver Requirements for Enlistment


The military evaluates potential recruits in part on their medical, criminal, family and financial history. Candidates must meet certain standards in order to be accepted. The Department of defense designs these standards to ensure that all recruits will be capable of completing their training, serving in their posts and not causing undue disciplinary problems. In some cases, where you do not meet the minimum standard, you may be able to appeal using a military waiver. Each branch has its own process but the Department of Defense sets most standards. Your best resource will be your recruiter, however there are certain guidelines that will help you determine in advance if you will require a waiver.

Medical Waiver

You cannot request a waiver for ongoing disqualifying medical conditions; however, certain medical history disqualifiers may be eligible for waiver. These include a history of asthma or other respiratory disorders, medicated depression or other psychiatric disorders and orthopedic surgery or injury, among others. To have a waiver approved you will have to show that the condition no longer affects you, that you have gone without ongoing treatment for the condition for several years and that you will not require specialized medical treatment for the condition during your service.

Dependent Waiver

The military limits enlistment for candidates with multiple dependents and single parents. This requirement ensures dependents have a caregiver while the recruit is deployed and that his salary is sufficient to provide for them. Applicants without prior service, but with a spouse and dependents can use the dependent waiver. Single parents without custody may also use a waiver, however, those with custody may not.

Moral Waiver

You may use a moral waiver if you have certain disqualifying offenses in your criminal record. Qualifying offenses include six or more traffic violations, three or more civil minor offenses,or any single misdemeanor, felony conviction or plea. Having the conviction expunged, vacated, set aside or sealed will improve the likelihood that your waiver will be approved. Additionally, the officers reviewing the waiver will consider your “whole person” to judge whether you are rehabilitated. This means the time since offense, and your contributions to society since will impact the final judgment.

Drug or Alcohol Dependency

A history of drug or alcohol dependency will require a waiver. You will also need to show that you have overcome the dependency and are unlikely to relapse. This means that you must be clean and sober for at least two years before beginning the application. You must also show favorable performance in work or school since your rehabilitation and that you have strong motivation.

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