Royal Navy Eligibility Criteria: Become A Navy Rating

Royal Navy servicemen and women are amongst the most elite military personnel in the world. Naturally, with such a high learning curve and set of requirements, you will need to make sure that you meet the Royal Navy eligibility criteria. Below we have listed the Navy eligibility criteria in full, so that you can see whether you’ve got what it takes.


In order to join the Royal Navy, you must be over the age of 16. However, there are places available in the Wellbeck Defence Sixth Form College for people who are 15 years of age. Candidates who are under the 18 will need parental or guardian consent. Please remember that the age requirements for each role can vary, so be sure to research the particular role that you are seeking to achieve prior to application.

If you’re too young to apply for the navy right now, then don’t worry, because you can still join the Sea Cadets. The Sea Cadets help to prepare young people for a life in the Navy, with an emphasis on leadership, group and practical skills.

The upper age limit for Royal Navy is 36, again depending on the role that you are applying for. Once you join the Navy, you will be enlisted for a period of minimum 4 years.

Medical standards

Again, the medical standards required for joining the Royal Navy will depend upon the role that you are applying for. There are various assessments required for every single role, and every single one of these will require you to take a medical exam. It’s important for the Navy to ensure that you are prepared medically and physically for Navy life – as it’s a hugely demanding and difficult career, whilst also being very rewarding.

Below are a list of conditions which could prohibit you from joining the Royal Navy:

  • A history of asthma.
  • Medical conditions which require the sufferer to take regular medication.
  • A BMI of higher than 28, or below 18.
  • Height below 151.5cm. Submariners must be 157.

There are a range of disorders or problems which could disqualify you from selection, and these include:

  • Eye disorders. You will be subject to eye tests during the medical, and conditions such as glaucoma, keratoconus or double vision could prove a serious obstacle.
  • Heart disease. Any past or current history of heart conditions, or high blood pressure, could present an obstacle.
  • Neurological problems. Epilepsy, a history of seizures, multiple sclerosis, a history of headaches or migraines, could present an obstacle.
  • You can find a detailed log of all the medical conditions which could be a problem, via the Royal Navy 2018 Eligibility Guidelines

Royal Navy Interview Questions and Answers


Certain positions have stricter criteria and nationality requirements than others, but for the most part the expectations of the Navy are that candidates meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a national of the United Kingdom or Ireland.
  • If you are a British national who lives abroad then you are still eligible to apply.
  • If you are a commonwealth citizen applying from inside your own country, then you must be 18 or older. Residents of the UK can apply at the age of 16 or older. It is a requirement for all applicants to have an in-date password, and that they have the legal right/permission to be in the UK.
  • If you are a dual Commonwealth or British national, then you are still eligible to apply, but you cannot be someone who is currently expected to complete national service with another armed forces.

Criminal Convictions

A criminal record will not completely rule you out, but there is a strong chance that it will count against you. It really depends on the type of offence you have committed, and when it was committed. Certain offences will permanently bar you from entry into the Navy.

In order to apply for the Navy, you’ll need to complete processes such as:

  • A security check.
  • Declaring all previous convictions and criminal history.
  • A DBS check
  • Furthermore, your financial history matters too. If the Royal Navy deems that you have financial commitments, or loans, which joining the armed forces would impede payment of, then you are unlikely to be accepted. Likewise, if you have been declared bankrupt then you are also unlikely to be eligible.

Tattoos and Piercings

The Royal Navy has very recently relaxed its policy when it comes to tattoos and piercings, however there are still certain things that will prohibit you from joining. These include:

  • Tattoos which are on the face, throat or front of ears.
  • Tattoos which could be deemed offensive.
  • Piercings which cannot be removed.
  • During application, you will need to fill in a detailed form describing each and every one of your tattoos, and you should expect to show these to the assessors during selection.

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