Royal Navy Eligibility Criteria

richard_mcmunn_entrepreneurQualifications and education can differ for everyone as they consider a position in the Royal Navy. General eligibility criteria can be discussed in detail, but also understand that depending on the branch of Naval Services you may need to meet additional criteria.




To join the Royal Navy candidates must be 15 years and 9 months old when they apply and 16 years of age when training begins. Candidates must also be under 37 years of age during basic training. If someone is too young to apply there is the Sea Cadets program that will help train candidates in which skills, teamwork and leadership are learned towards entry into the Royal Navy.

For Royal Naval Reserves the upper age limit depends on the service one enters and the specialisation of the candidate. For specific age requirements look at jobs/ranks.

Fitness Standards

Physically demanding positions like those in the Royal Navy have specific fitness tests for joining. As long as a candidate can pass the tests and are considered fit enough to successfully take on their duties a person can join the Navy.


Selection testing requires a 2.4 km run on a treadmill, which determines if candidates pass the time test for the age group. Anyone aged 15 to 24 needs to pass the 2.4 km run in under 11 minutes and 13 seconds as a male or 13 minutes 15 seconds as a female. Ages 25 to 29 have 11 minutes 38 seconds or 13 minutes 50 seconds, respectively. Age 30 to 34 must run the distance in 12 minutes 8 seconds or 14 minutes 28 seconds, respectively. Anyone age 35 to 39 must run the 2.4 km in 12 minutes 34 seconds or 15 minutes 9 seconds, for male or female.

There is an exception to the above for a Royal Navy Diver. Anyone wishing to join the diving team must complete the same distance in 10 minutes and 30 seconds or less, no matter what the age group.

Medical Criteria

The medical standards to fit in with include having a medical and eye exam. Certain standards may affect the ability to be accepted such as pre-existing conditions, temporary medical conditions, or eyesight issues.

  • Height and weight: the requirement is for a candidate to be at least 151.5 cm for all Naval Service Jobs. Submarine service requires a minimum of 157 cm. A minimum weight requirement is 65 kg and the candidate must be within a healthy BMI range.
  • Certain pre-existing medical conditions or ongoing illnesses will disqualify a candidate. Temporary conditions may be passed once corrected, it depends on the temporary illness.
  • Respiratory issues like asthma, musculoskeletal conditions that affect the back or joints, heart or cardiovascular disorders, and certain skin disorders may exclude a candidate.


Eyesight Requirements

Correction for eye sight issues can be no greater than plus or minus 6.00 dioptres. Chaplains can be plus or minus 7.00. Colour blindness can also restrict certain positions or branches within the Navy.

Nationality and Residency

The Royal Navy requires a person to be a national of Ireland, Britain or the Commonwealth. Dual nationality is accepted, but certain roles are stricter than others. For residency if a person is living abroad, but a national of the UK Commonwealth then short term security clearance can be offered until the residency criteria is meet. Written evidence is required to show nationality. For Commonwealth citizens a person must live inthe UK for the last 5 years and have no period of 180 days absence from the UK. The Republic of Ireland, Republic of Cyprus, and Malta are not held to the previous statement about 5 years residency requirement.

How to Join the Royal Navy

Criminal Convictions

The Royal Navy does not exclude convictions as a reason to reject a candidate; however, certain sentences or offences may be considered inappropriate for joining the Royal Navy, re-entering the Navy, or completely bar a person from joining.

Security and CRB checks are conducted meaning a full security check of a person to check against government data. For medical or dental areas of the Royal Navy a Criminal Records Bureau check is also

Tattoos and Piercings

Tattoos are not considered a problem with the Royal Navy unless they are obscene, offensive, or excessive in number. Tattoos that are not hidden under parade uniform are not accepted. Piercings that lead to flesh tunnels i.e. the holes won’t heal are not accepted. Jewellery must be removed for safety purposes.