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Eligibility & qualifications

Did you know?

Both men and women can become Medical Officers but first you'll need to have:

  • A minimum of five GCSEs or Scottish Standard Grades at grade C or above (including English Language and Maths)
  • British, Irish, Commonwealth or British dual nationality

If you're at a UK university, you can apply for a medical cadetship for your final three years at medical school.  You can apply for a qualified doctor position from Foundation Year One to be selected to enter post full GMC registration and Foundation Year Two (needs to include Emergency and General Practice experience)

If you have tattoos that are visible in parade uniform you won’t be allowed to join. There are several other eligibility criteria that you need to meet as well. Please take a look at the tabs below.

To join you must have:

British, Irish, Commonwealth or Dual British nationality (British and other). If you’re a Commonwealth citizen, you must have resided in the UK for the last 5 years.

What nationality are you?

Select an option below:

Eligibility in detail



To join you must be:

  • At least 23 years old when you apply
  • At least 25 years old on entry
  • Under 55 years old when you begin basic training (or under 46 if you still need to qualify from Medical School)



To join you need to have British, Irish, Commonwealth or British dual nationality. If you’re a Commonwealth citizen you must have continuously resided in the UK for the last 5 years with no single period of absence in excess of 180 days. However, this residency requirement does not apply to citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Malta and the Republic of Cyprus.

Criminal convictions


If you’ve been convicted you may still be able to join. Certain kinds of offences or serving certain types of sentences, might however permanently prevent you from entering or re-entering the Royal Navy.

Security and CRB Checks

For all branches of the Royal Navy you will need to complete a full Security Check. This is done online and checks your details against Government data. You will have to declare all previous convictions, whether spent or not. To find out more, take a look at the MoD Form 493 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Tattoos and piercings


Most tattoos or piercings are not a problem but if they’re offensive, obscene or excessive in size or number you won’t be allowed into the Royal Navy. 

If your tattoos are visible in parade uniform you won’t be able to join. This means any tattoos on your head, neck and hands.

When you apply to join you’ll need to fill in a form describing your tattoos and their locations and show them to us during you medical examination.


If you have body piercings which cause holes that don’t close up (known as flesh tunnels) you will not be able to join the Royal Navy. If the holes have healed up or are in the process of doing so without leaving a hole, you will be eligible.

For health and safety reasons you will have to remove certain body piercing jewellery before taking part in any physical activity during the application and selection process.

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