Joining from the Royal Air Force

A life in the Royal Navy is a rewarding one filled with adventure, possibilities – and job security. With over 100 roles available, whatever your background, interests or walk of life, there’s a role for you.

Ready to join? Eligibility criteria can be found below.

Entering the Royal Navy from the RAF requires a few additional steps to the standard joining process. Your application will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.

Check you’re eligible and find out more about the joining process:


Check your eligibility

Firstly you’ll need to confirm your eligibility for transfer:

  • 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. (Tattoos on hands will be considered for transfers to become a Royal Marine.)
  • You should be ‘Medically Fully Deployable’ at the time of application.
  • If you are subject to any form of career warning or rehabilitation period for criminal convictions (service or civilian) you will not be eligible for transfer to the Royal Navy until these are lifted or spent.
  • The selection process for transfer from the RAF to the Royal Navy can only be undertaken in the UK. If you’re serving overseas we are unable to cover travel costs between the UK and your current unit location.

Request a transfer

Secondly you’ll need to request a transfer to the Royal Navy through your Divisional System. If the application is initially approved by your unit and HQ Air Command (Manning), it will be forwarded to Captain Naval Recruiting (CNR) for consideration.


Submit your application

If approved by CNR, your application will be forwarded to a nominated Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) for processing. You will be contacted through your unit to submit an application via the Royal Navy website.



On approval to transfer, you will be given a clear offer of employment including details of your pay, engagement length and any required training for you to consider before committing to a Return of Service (RoS).



Should you accept a transfer offer, you will undergo a selection process at your local AFCO to ensure you meet the standards required for Naval Service re-entry, this includes:

  • Royal Navy Recruit Test (if required on a case-by-case basis).
  • Interview at your AFCO to assess your suitability for a career in the Royal Navy.
  • Full entry medical conducted by an AFCO Medical Examiner at a Careers Office (your current RAF medical documentation will be required for this appointment).
  • Specific Royal Navy Branch Aptitudes if required (PTI, PDA/FATS).

Start your training

Once you’ve passed all the stages, you’ll also need to pass a Security Check. After that you’ll be given details about your provisional place at HMS Raleigh where you’ll complete your Basic Training. Your local AFCO will provide some joining instructions, and tell you what kit you need. After Basic Training, you’ll then begin the professional training that’s unique to your role.

What's the training like?