How to Join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth Citizen

Join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth Citizen

Do you want to join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth citizen? Check out this guide to joining the RAF is you’re from a Commonwealth country.

As of November 2018, the British Armed Forces have increased the number of Commonwealth citizens that they will accept. This number will increase to 1,350 Commonwealth recruits per year. So, 1,000 of these positions will be for the Army, with 300 for the Royal Navy, and 50 for the RAF.

While the positions are still limited, you can join the RAF as a commonwealth citizen. So, let’s take a look at the requirements for joining the British Armed Forces, and the RAF, as a Commonwealth citizen.

Join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth Citizen

Eligibility to Join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth Citizen

Joining the RAF as a Commonwealth citizen is more viable now with the increased Commonwealth recruiting numbers. However, there are still eligibility criteria you must meet before you can join:

  • Nationality – To join the RAF, you must be either a British citizen, British national, British/Dual national, Commonwealth citizen, or Irish Republic national;
  • Age Requirements – You must be aged 16-47 in order to join the RAF.

List of Commonwealth Countries

If you are a citizen of any of the following countries, then you are eligible to join the RAF as a Commonwealth citizen: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brunei Darussalem, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Conclusion – Join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth Citizen

As you can see, joining the RAF as a Commonwealth citizen is more possible than ever! If you’d like to learn more, check out our guide: How to Join the Royal Air force.

Join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth Citizen

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61 thoughts on “How to Join the Royal Air Force as a Commonwealth Citizen

    • Jacob Senior says:

      Hi Benson,

      Applicants to the RAF must be aged between 16 and 47 years old. So yes, you can apply to join the RAF as a Commonwealth citizen at age 34.

      Kind regards,
      The How2Become Team.

    • Safdar says:

      I m a F.16 Crew chief in Pakistan Air Force.i wil be retired in one year.my age is 43.Can i apply in Royal air force as a common wealth.

  1. Bjay Zimmerli says:

    Hi im Bjay Zimmerli and im 17 going 18 this year november,and im from Barbados (Commonwealth) and i would like to join the RAF UK as an Photographer

  2. Christina says:

    Hi I’m 33 and from Ireland is it possible to join as air cabin crew ? Even tho, I live In Ireland and Irish . ? Regards Christina

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Michael,

      You would be eligible to join the RAF, yes. However, the age requirements could pose a problem – as the majority of candidates are younger. Why not apply and let us know how you get on?

      Best of luck.

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

    • Emma says:

      Hi I’m from Fiji I’m 20 years old and I’m interested in applying for general technician. I Saw that the recruitment for commonwealth citizens who havent met the 3yrs in the UK is now closed any idea when it will reopen.

  3. Jae says:

    I started to apply but was halted by the section where you have to input your address. It only allows you to input a UK address. I enquired and received an email from the RAF stating that certain residency conditions still applies. Commonwealth Citizens have to live in the UK for a minimum of three years instead of the five years reason being- security clearance.

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi there,

      Norway is not a part of the commonwealth, so you would likely need to apply for British citizenship first. However, since you’ve lived in the UK for more than 10 years, this should be fairly straightforward!

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

    • Desert says:

      hai
      I had done a live chat with a RAF agent , they said to join RAF for a common wealth citizen we need not only 3 year residence but also ILR( indifinet leave to remain in uk) . it is absolutely point less talking about 3 year residence can join and on later they said we need ILR, for people from Commonwealth country needed 10 years to get ILR

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi there,

      India is in the commonwealth, so you should be fine to apply – however you will need indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Joseph,

      In terms of how long the process takes – there’s no set timeframe. It comes down to how many other applicants are being assessed, and the individual facets of your application.

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

  4. Peter obu says:

    Hi Jordan,
    I have two questions;
    Am a heavy equipment operator, can i apply as an officer?
    My second question, is the height requirement strict?

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Peter,

      As long as you meet the nationality requirements/other eligibility criteria, and you can pass the physical tests, then you should have no issues with applying!

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

  5. Taiwo says:

    hello
    Am from Nigeria just rounded up my masters in criminology, University of Lagos
    please i will like to do my internship with RAF.
    Thanks

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi there,

      You certainly can do this, as a successful time spent in the army will definitely improve your chances of being accepted into the RAF. To speak more in-depth about how to do this, however, you would need to speak to the army directly, as they should be better placed to advise.

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Tim,

      Since New Zealand is in the commonwealth, you’d be eligible to apply! Why not give it a go and let us know how you get on?

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Lauryn,

      It really depends on whether the Army are currently accepting commonwealth candidates – which they weren’t doing at the end of last year. Our suggestion is to contact them and find out, as they were full to capacity before, but it may well be the case that they are recruiting again.

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi there,

      You certainly can, since India is in the commonwealth you are eligible to apply. Why not give it a go and let us know how you get on?

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

  6. David Bob says:

    I am a 34 year old man and i am from Nigeria what are the processes to apply to RAF as a commonwealth citizen because on the process of applying they asked of my post code but it said only UK postcode so how do i go about it

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi there,

      For specific issues such as this, the best thing to do would be to contact the RAF directly, as they should be able to assist further.

      Sincerely,

      The How2Become Team

  7. Joseph says:

    do you have to live in England for a certain amount of time before joining if I am from new zealand, but was born in England?

  8. Timothy Cutajar says:

    I’ve been a Maltese Citizen since birth, and I’m 27 years old, I have 10 years experience as and aircraft maintenance mechanic on civil aircraft. And I’ve worked in the UK for some time and obtained a airport security pass at Stansted airport. I’ve talked with the RAF on live chat and they’ve said I’m not eligible since I haven’t been a resident for the past 3 years. Is that the end of the road for me?

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Timothy, after your chat with their livechat it sounds like you will need to have UK residency for 3+ years to apply. This does not mean the end of the road though as once you have been a resident for the specified time you will be eligible to apply 🙂

  9. Christopher says:

    Hello I am 19, an Irish republic citizen and I would like to join the RAF to become a pilot; do I need to be a UK resident first for 3 years? It is not clear to me if Irish Republic citizen can apply without UK residency or not. Many thanks Chris

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Christopher, you will need to have had UK residency for at least 5 years immediately preceding your application.

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Suveer, the MOD announced that UK Armed Forces no longer need to enforce the 5-year residency requirement. The RAF do still require applicants meet certain residency requirements as part of the security clearance.

  10. Jeffery Hayaku says:

    Hi Team,

    I am a Papua New Guinean (PNG) male and am so excited to learn of this possibility to join the British Army as a commonwealth citizen. My biggest worry though is my age. Am now 37, turning 38 next year 2021.

    I am a current serving commissioned officer in the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF). Presently I am holding the position of a line pilot (fixed wing) in the PNGDF Air Transport Wing (PNGDF ATW) since completing my pilot training at the BAE Systems Flying College in Australia back in 2015. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance at all of putting to use what I’ve learnt since then due to my organisation having faced some very difficult challenges over all those years. Thus, my operational flying experience is nil plus I have only 259 flying hours that I have logged from my training days.

    Reading this article is actually like seeing a light in the tunnel for me. And I must say that I am very interested to apply to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a pilot so that I can refresh my skills once more and subsequently put to practice what I have been trained to do and ultimately achieve my dream of becoming a full fledged military aviator.

    Given my scenario please advise if there’s any hope at all of me submitting an application for a lateral transfer to the RAF.

    Kind regards,

    Jeffery Hayaku

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Jeffery, the age limit varies between roles but there are roles available for anyone aged between 16 and 47.

      At 37 there are definitely roles you will be eligible to apply for.

  11. Jeffery Hayaku says:

    Hi Team,

    I am a Papua New Guinean (PNG) male and am so excited to learn of this possibility to join the British Army as a commonwealth citizen. My biggest worry though is my age. Am now 37, turning 38 next year 2021.

    I am a current serving commissioned officer in the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF). Presently I am holding the position of a line pilot (fixed wing) in the PNGDF Air Transport Wing (PNGDF ATW) since completing my pilot training at the BAE Systems Flying College in Australia back in 2015. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance at all of putting to use what I’ve learnt since then due to my organisation having faced some very difficult challenges over all those years. Thus, I only have 259 flying hours that I have logged from my training days and nil operational flying experience.

    Reading this article is actually like seeing a light in the tunnel for me. And I must say that I am very interested to apply to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a pilot so that I can refresh my skills once more and subsequently put to practice what I have been trained to do and ultimately achieve my dream of becoming a full fledged military aviator.

    Given my scenario please advise if there’s any hope at all of me submitting an application for a lateral transfer to the RAF.

    Kind regards,

    Jeffery Hayaku

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Odumegwu, thank you for your question!

      To apply for a role in the RAF you must have resided in the UK for 5 continuous years preceding your application. You may considered with 3 years of residency subject to further checks.

  12. Babtholomew tay says:

    Hello, I’m a 19 year old Malaysian and have a Degree for Professional Piloting in the National Defence University? Is it possible for me to be a pilot in the RAF?

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Babtholomew, as long as you meet the minimum eligibility criteria you can apply – you will need to pass the relevant tests for a pilot role.

  13. Kris says:

    Hi….i am from india….is it possible to join the RAF as a pilot at the age of 40….i have never done any flying or aviation training before…but i am highly intersted, physically fit and motivated

  14. alex says:

    Hello there I am from Ivory Coast I live in London for 10 years now and I am 29 year old, and I have indefinite to remain I would like to join Royal Air Force but my country is not in commonwealth. I also have indefinite leave to remain as residence permit in the uk, could I join Royal Air Force or not.

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Liam, great question! To be eligible to apply you must be a British or Commonwealth citizen, or a British, Commonwealth or Irish Republic national.
      With regards to residency, you must have been a UK resident for at least 5 years prior to applying.

  15. Zaheeruddin Al Qayyam says:

    Peace be upon you ! I’m 19 year old Indian; so I’m a commonwealth citizen. I do not have British citizenship. I’ve never lived in UK.
    Can I directly apply to RAF or first I’ve to live for 5 years in UK, though I’m commonwealth ?

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