Another recurring line of questioning in future army personnel is the concern of tattoos. Us live in an era the emphasizes the importance of expression that takes on the type of what ahead generations thought about “mutilation”. Even if it is or no that sort of accusation holds any type of weight is typically left approximately the individual.

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But because that those authorized the military, it’s a various story. Although over there exists a long background between the military and also tattoos, all U.S. Army branches have actually standards about where, what, exactly how much, and how plenty of their members can have former to

enlistment, and during service. These regulations ensure that all personnel keep appearance criter for the offered branch, lot in the same means each branch maintains standards concerning uniforms and also uniform appearance. In addition, together it uses to the contents of the artwork, armed forces regulation top top tattoos is additionally in place to minimization the establishment of unnecessary departments or senseless conflict between service members.

As is frequently the case, each branch has actually its own definition of what amount of octopus is acceptable, as well as the content and location. During MEPS, recruits will certainly be given a complete physical to verify the he or she is fit because that duty. During this time, you will certainly be looked end by a army doctor, who will evaluate if her artwork violates any type of of the armed forces tattoo policy.

Navy Tattoo Policy

According to marine regulations, enlistment requirements are based on four criteria,

Content: Obvious as it might seem, the navy doesn’t want its sailors walking about covered in photos of swastikas, corridor signs, or anything rather that could jeopardize unit cohesion. Basically, if a tattoo pisses world off, or has actually the potential to piss human being off due to the fact that it’s considered divisive, incendiary or extreme, the marine doesn’t desire it.


As one extension, if it’s generally considered obscene, or clear (sex, drugs, violence, rock n’ roll, and all that), it’s likewise violating policy. Get it covered up with something rather if you’re serious about joining.


 Location: The second criteria in tattoo policy, as lengthy as contents is approved, is the location. As mentioned, the U.S. Military is pretty large on appearance (why execute you think every mishap/accident is determined as a “training exercise” as soon as it ends up top top CNN?). If a tattoo can’t be extended up by conventional uniform items, then it is thought about excessive and also the candidate is ineligible uneven a waiver is procured. In short, tattoos top top the head, face, neck, and sleeved arms room considered against tattoo policy. For many, this waiver is typically not hard to get, particularly if you space demonstrating persistence and giving the military ample reason to believe you’d be a quality recruit.

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

Cosmetic: ns don’t know many males that have ended up needing to pay attention to this regulation, but the navy does permit cosmetic tattoos. Eyebrow tattoos in ar of herbal eyebrows room acceptable, provided that they are normally colored and not purple, pink, etc and otherwise attract unnecessary attention to the future recruit. Lipstick tattoo standards room similar: if that complements the individual and also is organic colored, it’s taken into consideration acceptable.

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Army Tattoo Policy

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

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

-Anything everywhere that’s taken into consideration extremist, indecent, sexist or racist. Favor what? racial slurs, masochistic garbage, things of the nature. I won’t mention examples here, however you gain the idea.

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

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

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

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Marine Tattoo Policy

Unlike the Army’s progressively relaxing policies, naval tattoo policy only appears to it is in getting an ext restrictive. In 2010, the Marine’s included a couple of specifics come existing regulations with the aim of gaining realigned with their “traditional values“; in a nutshell, the new revisions specify exactly how much octopus is too lot ink in bespeak to preserve an illustration of high criter of professionalism.

The following are considered unacceptable:

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

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

-Enlisted Marines who had sleeves prior to the revision, if they have the right to still be promoted and proceed service, are no longer eligible for enlisted-to-officer switch programs, recruiting duty, or maritime Corps protection Guard duty.

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

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Air pressure Tattoo Policy

As a part of Air force uniform regulation, airmen space expected come adhere come the military’s strictest tattoo policies, which call for members of the Air force to pay because that tattoo removal out-of-pocket, in ~ a place other than DoD facilities. If one airman opts to keep the prohibited tattoo/s, it could an outcome in it could an outcome in disciplinary action; anything native reprimand to bureaucratic separation. Before joining the waiting Force, candidates for enlistment will certainly be intended to have actually “excessive” tattoos removed.

-Again, anything taken into consideration generally offensive (racist, sexist, etc), just like all various other branches will protect against enlistment, uneven a waiver is procured.

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-The waiting Force specifies “excessive” as any kind of tattoos covering an ext than 25% that the exposed body part, and also go to good lengths to explain the procedure of determining what’s “excessive” in an excellent detail below (p22)

-Cosmetic tattoos are likewise acceptable when joining the air Force, at least for women. Prefer the Navy, they should be moderate, and look organic to be considered acceptable because that enlistment.