Joining the Reserves

The criteria and age limit required to join the Royal Navy Reserve varies depending on the branch and role you’re applying for. Here’s an overview:

Am I eligible?

  • Aged 16 to 42 for a rating role, and 17to 42 for an officer role, although the upper age limit depends on the service and your chosen specialisation. Use the role finder to find a specific age limit.
  • You can be aged 16 to 56 as an ex-regular rating and 20 to 56 as an ex-regular officer
  • British, Irish, Commonwealth or dual citizenship
  • No qualifications are required unless you’re applying for an officer role
  • You’ll need to be medically fit

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows



If you register your interest by phone, you’ll be asked a few basic questions to check you’re eligible to apply.

Find your role

Visit your local unit

Book a place at an informal presentation evening or live event at your local Royal Navy Reserve unit, where you’ll learn more about us and the options open to you.

Find your unit

Interview and Naval Service Recruitment Test

3) You will be invited to your nearest Armed Forces Career Office (AFCO) for an interview, where we will check your eligibility and outline the joining process. See how you can prepare here. We’ll also arrange for you to take the Naval Service Recruit Test (NRST), which covers basic English and Maths, problem solving and mechanical reasoning. You can practice here.

Practice test

Join your local unit

4) Join your local Unit for Attestation. This involves swearing allegiance to Her Majesty The Queen and signing the Official Secrets Act. At this point you’ll be a Phase 0 recruit, and will attend weekly drill nights, however you won’t be able to start formal training until you pass your medical and fitness test.


Medical and eye test

You’ll need to take a medical, an eye-test and the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT), which is a 2.4 km run on a treadmill at a fitness centre near you. Make sure you get yourself into shape, both to pass the test and prepare for your initial training.

What's training like?

Part one: 20 training nights at your local unit, or weekends at other units all across the UK. This basic phase covers naval knowledge, parade training and building your physical fitness.

Part two: 2 weeks of training at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, covering weapon handling, sea survival swimming and an overnight exercise on Dartmoor. For an officer role, this period of training will take place at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

And at the end you’ll have your official passing out parade to start your career as a Royal Naval Reserve.

Find your unit.