How old do I need to be to join the Regular Army?
To join as a regular soldier you need to be at least 16 years old, although you can start the application process earlier, with your parents' permission. If you're under 18, you'll also need parental consent to join. You should be in Army phase 1 training before your 33rd birthday.
To join a regular officer you need to be between 18 - 25, although you can apply for sixth form and university sponsorship before you reach this age. However, current Army policy allows applicants to enter the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) after their 26th birthday and before their 29th birthday in the AGC (SPS), AGC (ETS), ACG (RMP) and RAMC (MSO), or if they are a serving soldier. Higher age limits for professional or specialist applicants may apply.
If you're going from serving soldier to officer, you can attend AOSB up to the age of 28 provided that you arrive at RMAS before your 29th Birthday. Your career profile and realistic potential as a Deferred Entry officer must be carefully considered. It is vital to compare your prospects in the ranks and as a Late Entry Officer, against your long term prospects as a DE officer.
How old do I need to be to join the Army Reserve?
You can apply to become a Reservist soldier when you're 17 years and 9 months - ready to start when you turn 18. You can join until the day before your 50th birthday. There are higher age limits for some specialist roles.
You can apply to become a Reservist officer when you're 17 years and 9 months - ready to start when you turn 18. The last point that you can apply to join is when you're 48 years and 9 months, although there are higher age limits for professional or specialist applicants.
Not old enough?
If you're not old enough to join yet, there are loads of ways to get involved,Camouflage
tells you about the jobs we do and the kit we use.
Become an Army Cadet
If you're between 12 and 18 you can enjoy sports, expeditions, outdoor adventure and loads of Army-themed activities as a member of the Army Cadet Force. You can learn survival skills and weapons handling, work towards a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and even get some extra qualifications. There are 1700 detachments throughout the country so there’s bound to be one near you.
What are the nationality / residency rules for joining?
Soldiers from across the Commonwealth and other countries have a long and proud tradition of service in the British Army. The Army welcomes applicants from certain countries and overseas territories, but you may need to have lived in the UK for a set period of time to be eligible for certain roles.
- British citizens, British subjects under the Nationality Act, 1981, British Protected Persons or Commonwealth Citizens.
- If you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country, you'll need to have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before you start an application to join the Army. You must not have been out of the UK for a continuous period of more than 180 days (6 months) during this 5 year period. A passport is required with validity for 4 years from the date of entering Army service. Your UK Residency status and Passport will be checked at application.
To join the Army Reserve, you need to:
- Prove that you either have British citizenship, or if you are a Commonwealth Citizen, Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite leave to Enter must be stamped on your passport (Settlement) in the UK.
- Citizens of the Irish Republic joining the Army Reserve must be living in the UK to be eligible to join
- Refugees and Asylum Seekers are not eligible to apply to join the British Army. All candidates who have a Visa must provide proof of this throughout the recruiting process.
How fit and healthy do I need to be?
Your GP must fill in a medical questionnaire and you will have to pass a full Army medical.
Soldier fitness standards:
You will go through a range of strength and stamina tests, as well as a 1.5-mile run. The standards you need to meet in these tests depend on your choice of unit and job. Your Careers Adviser and the staff at the centre will be able to tell you more about the requirements for a specific role. All soldiers will be tested on static lift, jerry can and a run.
Officer fitness standards:
Part of the assessment process is the beep test, which is used to measure your cardiovascular fitness - running between two lines, 20 m apart, within a fixed time. The interval between beeps steadily decreases, so you have to run faster. Your score is determined by the time at which you can no longer keep up. Other tests include sit-ups and press-ups.
Males: Level 10.2 Females: Level 8.1
Males & Females: 50 in two minutes
Males: 44 in two minutes Females: 21 in two minutes
1.5 mile run
Males: 10 min 30 sec Females: 12 min 45 sec
What qualifications do I need to join?
To join as a soldier, you do not need any qualifications, except in some of the specialist roles.
To join as an officer, you'll need 35 ALIS points (34 for SNQs) from 7 GCSE/SNQ subjects, with a minimum grade C/2 in English Language, Maths and either a science or a foreign language; plus 180 UCAS Tariff points from a maximum of 3 subjects (4 for Scottish Highers and excluding General Studies) with a minimum of 2 at National Level 3 (excluding AS Levels) or National or International equivalent.
To go from serving soldier to officer, you'll need GCSE passes or equivalent in 5 subjects, including English Language and Mathematics at Grade C (or above) or the nationally recognised equivalent. If you do not meet this criteria you will undergo an assessment at the Army School of Education, Worthy Down, before being recommended for the selection process.
Can I still join with a criminal conviction?
Everyone makes mistakes and a criminal conviction doesn’t have to stop you from joining the Army. Be honest about your past history when you come in for a chat, and we might be able to offer you that all-important second chance.
With the chance to learn a trade and skills that last a lifetime, Army life is a great way to make a fresh start.
Some convictions are forgotten – or ‘spent’ – after a rehabilitation period. The length of this period depends on the offence. You must tell us about any unspent convictions you have. For some jobs you’ll need to tell us about any convictions when you apply, whether spent or not. You need to be honest – if you hide a conviction before joining up, you could be prosecuted later.
For more information and guidance, read the Guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
Updating us during your application
At all times during the application process, you need to make sure that you tell us about any changes to your circumstances when it comes to offences. This includes waiting for a court appearance for a criminal offence, for any reason (including jury service) other than as a witness, until the outcome of the hearing is known. This may cause a delay to your application.
Will my tattoos / piercings stop me joining?
If your tattoo is offensive, obscene or racist it will prevent you from joining the Army. Small tattoos that aren't offensive in any way are not normally a problem, depending where they are on your body and how visible they are. Tattoos on your head and face are not acceptable. If you have a tattoo, the best thing is to go to your nearest Army Careers Centre and ask them to check if it's okay.
Some body piercings will stop you joining, or re-joining the Army. If you have piercings that change the way you look, eg flesh tunnels that are larger than 4mm, or those which might affect the way in which your body works, eg some genital piercings.
For health and safety reasons, you will be asked to take off all jewellery before undergoing physical activity as part of your application and selection process. Once you have joined the Army, you will be told the rules for wearing body jewellery when on and off duty.
What's the Army policy on drugs?
If you've used drugs in the past, it won't normally prevent you from joining the Army, but after you join, you must not misuse drugs. The Army carries out random, compulsory drugs testing, and if the tests find you have been using drugs, you are highly likely to be discharged.
Can I rejoin the Army Reserve?
Yes, as long as you have:
- been trained and completed service in last 6 years.
- Medical discharge category of MFD and MLD acceptable.
- 18 - 59 for a soldier and 18 - 59 for an officer (higher age limit for some professional or specialist applicants)