Join the Marine Corps

To ensure you have the latest information on current eligibility standards, you will need to contact your local recruiter. While much of what you see below doesn't change much, the opportunities for getting a waiver for a disqualifying mark varies depending on what recruiting region you are in and the current state of the economy.

  • Age - You can join at 17 with your parents' permission or otherwise enlist on your own between 18 and 29 years old.
  • Citizenship - You must either be a legal citizen of the United States or a permanent resident with valid documents.
  • Dependents - No single parents. If you are married or divorced, you can only have one child (and none on the way) and remain eligible.
  • Education - High school diploma; those with a GED may be able to get a waiver IF you are between 17 and 21, score an AFQT of 50 or more and a GT score of 105 or more on the ASVAB, and no moral/drug waivers are needed.
  • Drugs/alcohol - Recreational use can get a waiver. Dependency on alcohol or drugs is a disqualifications. Drug convictions are potentially waiverable, but selling drugs disqualifies. If you fail the drug test at MEPS, that will disqualify you and you will be immediately discharged.
  • Moral Disqualifications - Tattoos and other body decorations cannot be on the head or neck. Most tattoos must be covered by the service uniform and cannot cover more than a quarter of the exposed skin when wearing the physical training shorts and shirt. Offensive, racist, eccentric, drug, or gang decorations are disqualifying.

    No one may enlist if he is currently in a criminal or civil process (trial, sentence, parole, unpaid fine). It must be, at least, 90 days after parole, probation, or confinement was completed to be eligible.

    Waivers are required if you have numerous minor infractions or a couple of serious (traffic or misdemeanor) offenses. More serious violations, including felony offenses reduced to a misdemeanor, could possibly be waived by someone at the district level. It is possible, but not likely, for a felony to get a waiver, but that can only be granted by one of the nation's regional headquarters when they determine that recruiting rates are low.

  • Physical Fitness - Males must have 18% or less and females 26% or less Body Fat Percentage. Each applicant must take the Initial Strength Test (IST) and meet the following minimum standards. Males must complete 2 pull-ups, 44 crunches in 2 minutes, and a 1.5 mile run in less than 13:30. Females need to maintain a flexed arm hang of longer than 12 seconds, complete 44 crunches in 2 minutes, and a 1.5 mile run in less than 15 minutes.

    Each applicant must meet height and weight standards as well as passing the fitness tests. Recruiters will ask you about your medical history and you will be screened by a doctor at MEPS. There are numerous medical conditions or procedures that make applicants temporarily or permanently disqualified for service (see list HERE). Please talk to your recruiter about any specific concerns you may have.