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Special Air Service (Reserve)


Special Air Service Reserves (SAS (R)) comprising of 21 SAS(R) and 23 SAS(R) were formed in 1947 and 1959 respectively. SAS(R) are tasked to the highest level and can operate in difficult and often changing circumstances, sometimes in absence of guidance and within situations that have significant operational and strategic importance.

The kind of individuals required to operate successfully in these circumstances are not found in abundance. The selection process for entry into SAS(R) seeks to identify the qualities and potential of those suitable for service within SAS(R).

Volunteers for SAS(R)

SAS(R) accept male volunteers who have no previous military service aged 18 to 32 years and 364 days or male volunteers who have had previous military service with any part of the Regular or Reserve Armed Forces (RN, RM, Army, and RAF) up to the age of 34 years and 364 days. Volunteers must be able to commit to considerable training demands and willing to deploy overseas.

SAS(R) Support Staff are not required to pass selection however must maintain a level of fitness and commitment. Age Limits 18 to 42 years and 364 days. The specific trades required in support of SAS(R) are:

  • Drivers, Chefs, Vehicle Mechanics, Vehicle Electricians, Clerical staff and Royal Marine Reserves willing to transfer to the units.
  • Medical Staff are also required however they must have either previous military service with qualifications to CMT1 level or a civilian who holds a national qualification in emergency response, paramedic or nursing.

What Is SAS(R) Selection?

The SAS(R) Selection Course is run twice per year. It is both physically and mentally demanding and comprises of 2 main components:


Aptitude is a progressively arduous phase, requiring greater expenditure of physical energy, designed to select volunteers with the right qualities. It is emphasised to stand any chance of success you must be physically fit at the start of the course. The qualities required are:

  • Physically and mentally robust
  • Self Confident
  • Self Disciplined
  • Able to work alone
  • Able to assimilate information and new skills


On passing aptitude you will undertake continuation training which is an intensive period of instruction and assessment on Special Forces tactics, techniques and procedures, including weapons and standard operating procedures (SOP's). This is progressive with the emphasis on individuals assimilating new skills while under physical and mental pressure. At the end of the continuation you will be trained to an operationally deployable status.


You will require a very high level of commitment and determination as both Aptitude and Continuation are conducted over a set number of weekends and periods of continuous training totalling approximately 80 days over a 12 month period. Such commitment is dependant on the support of your employer and family.

Progressive training

Within 12 months of completing Selection candidates will enter a period of probation which will require the completion of a basic parachute course and a communication course. On completion of these courses and the probation period candidates will be eligible for mobilisation. Throughout your career training and skill development will be continuous as soldiers are required to maintain a high level of proficiency in a diverse range of skills.

Contact us

SAS(R) units are located throughout the UK. To contact your nearest location use the contact form within the Recruitment page of this site or the listed telephone points of contact. Those wishing to transfer as a support staff member are also required to complete the contact form.

Initial Medical and Physical Criteria

Volunteers with no military experience and those re-entering the services after 1 year are required to comply with the Initial Medical and Physical Criteria for joining the Army. You will be required to complete 2 online medical questionnaires. There are a number of conditions that will make a person permanently unsuitable for entry into the Army and these can be found in the AFCOForm 5 (downloadable from the right-hand column).

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

You will be required to give details of any civil convictions you may have which are considered 'unspent' under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 before your application to join the Army can be considered. A form giving advice to applicants joining HM Armed Forces giving specific details will be sent for completion.

Nationality and residency

You must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a British, Commonwealth, British Protected Citizen or an Irish National or hold Dual nationality with one on the fore-mentioned.
  • You must have resided in the UK for a period of 5 years immediately prior to making an application.

In summary

SAS(R) provides an opportunity for soldiers to work within a unique, independent organisation which takes pride in its heritage, role and professionalism. Service is physically and intellectually challenging, but the rewards are significant.

In addition to a strong sense of purpose in embracing the challenges of a complex world, SAS(R) provides challenge and adventure with the additional benefit of Special Forces pay rates. It also provides an excellent grounding for those who aspire to serve with the Regular UKSF units.

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