Am I eligible to be a Royal Marines Commando?

Royal Marines Commandos are the UK’s elite amphibious soldiers. You’ll be pushed to the limit every day, tackling new challenges in unique environments as part of a rapid reaction fighting force.

Before you can even begin the application process, you need to fulfil the eligibility criteria below. If you can do that, you can start your Royal Marines journey.


You don't need any qualifications to become a Royal Marines Commando but must be aged 16 to 32. To be an officer, you'll need A levels or above and must be aged 18 to 25. If you're under the age of 18, you'll need the consent of a parent or guardian.

For the Royal Marines you have to be:

  • At least 15 years old and 9 months when you apply
  • Over 16 years old on entry
  • Under 33 years old when you begin basic training

Please note, if you're seeking re-entry to the Naval Service, you may receive a waiver if you're outside these age requirements. To find out more, call 0345 607 5555.

If you're too young to apply, you can join the Royal Marine Cadets. This is a great way to develop your leadership and teamwork skills, while gaining a valuable insight into life as a Marine Commando. You can find out more here.


You need to be medically fit to deal with everything that life in the Royal Marines throws at you. Common conditions that may delay or bar your entry to the Naval Service include:

  • Asthma within the last four years (not including a single chest infection)
  • A break or joint strain that caused you to seek medical help
  • Any medical condition that requires regular prescription medication or review by your GP
  • If your BMI exceeds 28 or is under 18. There may be some exceptions to the upper BMI rate if your waist measures less than 94cm (This NHS calculator will help you determine your BMI)
  • Minimum height of 145cm
  • Minimum weight of 65kg

Please note, if you're seeking re-entry to the Naval Service, you may receive a medical waiver in some circumstances. To find out more, call 0345 607 5555.

If you're concerned about your medical eligibility, please click here for more detailed medical advice. If your condition is not fully explained, speak to your Careers Adviser who can contact the Naval Service Medical Team. You don’t have to discuss the problem with the Careers Adviser, they can simply pass your contact details directly to the Medical Team to ensure complete privacy.

Nationality and residency

Some roles have stricter nationality and residency requirements than others for security reasons, but in general you can join the Royal Marines if you're:

  • A national of the United Kingdom or Ireland
  • A Commonwealth citizen applying from inside your country and aged 18 or over. If a resident of the UK, you can apply at 16. You must hold a current in date passport and it's your responsibility to ensure that you have permission to be in the UK and that this permission is valid for the entirety of the recruitment process up to the point entry. (This does not apply to citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Malta and the Republic of Cyprus)
  • A dual Commonwealth or British national who is not required to complete national service (written evidence is required)
  • A British national living abroad

Criminal convictions

If you have a previous criminal conviction, you may still be able to join. However, if you’ve committed certain offences or served specific types of sentence, you might be permanently barred from entering or re-entering the Royal Marines.

You will be required to:

  • Complete a full Security Check
  • Declare all previous convictions, both spent and unspent

You can get more information on our site by reading the PDF here. Alternatively you can get further details from your local Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) or by calling 0345 607 5555.

Tattoos and piercings

Most tattoos and piercings won’t prevent you from joining the Royal Marines, providing:

  • Tattoos are not visible on a front-view passport (e.g. not on your face, throat area or in front of your ears)
  • Tattoos are not offensive or obscene (see our policy for full details)
  • Any piercings can be removed 

Tattoos on your hands are acceptable if they follow the guidelines outlined above. Flesh tunnels are a barrier to entry. If you have any questions about your tattoos and/or piercings, please contact a Careers Adviser.

You will need to complete a form describing your tattoos and must also show them during the selection process. You'll also be required to remove certain body jewellery before taking part in any physical activity.


Eligibility criteria can vary slightly from role to role. To see the requirements for a particular job, and to find out what you can do with the qualifications you have, visit our Role Finder.