Requirements to Join the U.S. Navy
- You must be 18 to 34 to join the Navy, although those who are 17 can also enlist with parental approval. American citizens qualify, including citizens of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. Non-citizens can enlist if they have a Permanent Residence visa (green card) and establish a residence of record in the United States.
- Single parents, which include those who have joint custody of a child by court order, cannot enlist. However, if an ex-spouse takes full custody of his or her child, a person can enlist. Those who have more than two dependents are not allowed. Dependents are defined as anybody, such as children or parents, who rely on someone else for half or more of their support.
- You must be a high-school graduate or hold an equivalent certificate from home study or GED. However, even without a diploma, you are considered a graduate if you've successfully finished 15 semesters or 22 quarters worth of college courses, or 675 hours at a vocational or technical school.
- The Navy tests for drug use twice: first, at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and again just before recruit training. You are also asked several questions about alcohol and drug use. Previous legal offenses, including those involving traffic offenses and crime, may bar you from enlistment. Always answer all questions truthfully so the recruiter can assess your history accurately. Finally, you must be able to prove that you can meet all your financial obligations under the pay grade you join.
- When seeing a recruiter, you need to take several official documents including a birth certificate, Social Security card, high school diploma or college transcript and your green card, if you're not a citizen. In addition, you'll need a list of the following: all your workplaces and residence addresses since your 16th birthday, character references with phone numbers and addresses, places visited outside the U.S., current medications, medical problems and police involvement.