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Careers / Services / RFA
Joining Process
Careers / Services / RFA

Joining Process

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As a civilian organisation, our eligibility criteria are different to the Royal Navy, so if you’ve served in the past you could still join our fleet and continue your career.

In general, the criteria for the RFA are as follows, however, there are variations depending on the role and branch you’re applying to.


You need to be aged 17 years and six months to apply.

You need to be 18 to start employment.

There is no upper age limit to join the RFA.


Applicants must be British, Irish or Commonwealth citizens.

However, a number of career paths have nationality restrictions. Dual nationality will be considered providing the first nationality is British and certain residency criteria are met. Commonwealth citizens must meet the RFA residency criteria.

Overseas qualifications

If you have studied abroad you will need to approach ENIC to assess your educational qualifications against UK qualifications and provide this assessment to the RFA. This will need to be obtained prior to applying to the RFA. Your application will not be progressed without this.

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Qualified roles

For qualified roles you will need to have the ENG1 medical certificate, unrestricted for worldwide sea service.

Trainee roles

After successful interview you will be sent for the ENG1 examination, the MCA approved doctor will issue you with a certificate of fitness. This can certify you as:

  • Fit without restrictions (unrestricted) generally for a period of two years
  • Fit with restrictions (e.g. limiting your work to certain jobs or locations)
  • Temporarily or permanently unfit
  • You will require an Unrestricted ENG1 for 2 years to be accepted into the RFA

To find your nearest ENG1 approved doctor in the UK, please refer to the Seafarer medical certificates page on GOV.UK.

Joining process

Step 1

Check your eligibility 

Before you start the joining process, ensure you’re eligible.

We will request copies of certification to ascertain your suitability for the role.

Step 2


Having chosen the role that’s right for you, complete and return your application form.

Step 3

Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

You will be asked to attend an Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) close to your home where you will conduct the DAA. Prepare by using our practise test
practise DAA
Step 4


On successful completion of the test you will be invited to Portsmouth for a Suitability Interview that will confirm that you’re ready for the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB). Much like any other job interview, you’ll need to prepare. Your AFCO will be able to help with this if you ask them.
Step 5

Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

You will then be invited to attend the AIB, where you‘ll undertake one and a half days of physical and mental assessments.
Learn more about the AIB
Step 6


If successful, you will be offered a place at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) Dartmouth, where you will begin your initial training.

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