Another recurring heat of questioning in future army personnel is the worry of tattoos. We live in one era the emphasizes the prominence of expression that takes top top the type of what ahead generations considered “mutilation”. Even if it is or not that type of accusation holds any weight is generally left approximately the individual.

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But for those joining the military, it’s a various story. Although over there exists a long background between the military and also tattoos, all U.S. Military branches have standards around where, what, just how much, and how countless their members have the right to have former to

enlistment, and during service. This regulations ensure the all personnel maintain appearance requirements for the offered branch, lot in the same way each branch maintains standards concerning uniforms and uniform appearance. In addition, together it applies to the contents of the artwork, military regulation on tattoos is likewise in ar to minimization the establishment of unnecessary departments or senseless conflict in between service members.

As is regularly the case, every branch has its own an interpretation of what lot of octopus is acceptable, and the content and also location. During MEPS, recruits will certainly be offered a full physical to verify the he or she is fit because that duty. Throughout this time, you will certainly be looked over by a military doctor, that will assess if her artwork violates any of the army tattoo policy.

Navy Tattoo Policy

According to navy regulations, enlistment criter are based on four criteria,

Content: Obvious together it might seem, the marine doesn’t want its seafarers walking around covered in images of swastikas, corridor signs, or anything else that might jeopardize unit cohesion. Basically, if a tattoo pisses civilization off, or has the potential to piss human being off since it’s taken into consideration divisive, incendiary or extreme, the navy doesn’t desire it.


As an extension, if it’s generally considered obscene, or clear (sex, drugs, violence, rock n’ roll, and all that), it’s also violating policy. Acquire it extended up v something rather if you’re serious about joining.


 Location: The second criteria in tattoo policy, as lengthy as contents is approved, is the location. Together mentioned, the U.S. Armed forces is pretty big on appearance (why do you think every mishap/accident is determined as a “training exercise” as soon as it ends up ~ above CNN?). If a tattoo can’t be covered up by traditional uniform items, then it is considered excessive and the candidate is ineligible unless a waiver is procured. In short, tattoos on the head, face, neck, and sleeved arms room considered versus tattoo policy. For many, this waiver is normally not hard to get, especially if you room demonstrating persistence and giving the military ample factor to think you’d it is in a quality recruit.

Size: Every branch, the navy included, contends least one short sleeved uniform. Together such, the navy’s policy on tattoo policy on the eight is quite straightforward, albeit conservative: a tattoo need to be no bigger than your open hand. Every others will call for a waiver because that entrance.

Cosmetic: ns don’t know countless males that have finished up needing to pay fist to this regulation, however the navy does permit cosmetic tattoos. Eyebrow tattoos in place of herbal eyebrows room acceptable, detailed that they are naturally colored and also not purple, pink, etc and otherwise draw unnecessary fist to the future recruit. Lipstick tattoo standards are similar: if that complements the individual and also is organic colored, it’s thought about acceptable.

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Army Tattoo Policy

According to somewhat recent transforms in army regulations, tattoo plan is slightly much more relaxed 보다 the Navy’s policy although both were previously identical. Tattoos in the army are now considered okay ~ above the hands and ago of the neck as lengthy as they room not “extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist.” (Unfortunately, this has actually recently been readjusted as per army Regulation 670 – 1, reverting earlier to a hand tattoo prohibition. For those through hand tattoos, waivers room still one option. The procedure can be initiated by her recruiter, with finalization emerging at the Pentagon)

As because that the rest, here’s what is against the army’s tattoo policy:

-Anything all over that’s thought about extremist, indecent, sexist or racist. Like what? racial slurs, masochistic garbage, points of the nature. I won’t mention examples here, but you gain the idea.

-Tattoos associated with groups known to connect in extreme actions or propagate any type of kind the racial, gender, ethnic, and so on intolerance or hatred. (KKK, black color Panthers, PETA, Nazi tattoos, etc)

-Sexist tattoos related to a philosophical stance the degrades others based upon gender.

If you’re enlisting in the army and happen to have tattoos that space in violation that the army’s tattoo policies, choose the Navy, you might request a waiver from her recruiter. Possibilities are pretty great that a counseling session will be in order if it’s approved, though. And also while a commander can’t order a soldier to have actually a tattoo removed, possibilities are good your chain the command would certainly recommend it.

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Marine Tattoo Policy

Unlike the Army’s increasingly relaxing policies, marine tattoo plan only appears to it is in getting much more restrictive. In 2010, the Marine’s added a couple of specifics to existing regulations through the target of obtaining realigned through their “traditional values“; in a nutshell, the brand-new revisions specify just how much octopus is too lot ink in stimulate to preserve an figure of high criter of professionalism.

The complying with are considered unacceptable:

-Nothing new to the table here: anything taken into consideration sexist, racist, extremist, vulgar, eccentric, or otherwise offensive is prohibited.

-No squid is allowed on the head, neck, hands, fingers and wrists. But likewise now prohibited are full, 1/2, and 1/4 sleeves (if visible in authorize PT gear) and tattoos top top the inside of the mouth. Tattoos clearly shows in the PT uniform have to be no larger than Marine’s hand.

-Enlisted Marines who had sleeves before the revision, while they have the right to still be supported and proceed service, room no much longer eligible for enlisted-to-officer switch programs, recruiting duty, or maritime Corps security Guard duty.

-Tattoo bands, either partial or full, are authorized for enlisted Marines, as lengthy as they accounting a preferably of 1/4 of the arm or leg.

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Air force Tattoo Policy

As a part of Air pressure uniform regulation, airmen are expected come adhere come the military’s strictest tattoo policies, which need members of the Air pressure to pay because that tattoo remove out-of-pocket, in ~ a ar other than DoD facilities. If one airman opts to keep the banned tattoo/s, it could an outcome in it could result in disciplinary action; anything indigenous reprimand to bureaucratic separation. Prior to joining the waiting Force, candidates for enlistment will be supposed to have “excessive” tattoos removed.

-Again, anything taken into consideration generally attack (racist, sexist, etc), as with all other branches will avoid enlistment, unless a waiver is procured.

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-The wait Force specifies “excessive” as any tattoos covering an ext than 25% the the exposed human body part, and also go to good lengths to define the process of determining what’s “excessive” in an excellent detail here (p22)

-Cosmetic tattoos are also acceptable as soon as joining the wait Force, at least for women. Favor the Navy, they should be moderate, and look herbal to be taken into consideration acceptable for enlistment.