Entry requirements for former servicemembers Qualifications & Commitment

Am I eligible to pursue part-time Navy Reserve service? How many years would I be agreeing to serve? Here, get information about Navy Reserve qualifications and the typical Navy Reserve commitment for those who've served before.

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Reserve Lieutenant Suzanne Lyons, Geophysicist. I still have very meaningful work, and I get to train people to to go out the door and hunt down and capture terrorists and it’s fantastic.

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The fact that you’re a military veteran means you should have some familiarity with the requirements. Start by reviewing the basics and contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter if you have any questions.

The goal is to make the affiliation process as simple and clear as possible for those with prior military experience. Because your experience is something which is highly valued in the Navy Reserve.

Know the Basic Entry Requirements

If you’re a military veteran, you have previously qualified for military service. But some things may have changed over time. So make sure that you still meet the following requirements:

  • Citizenship: You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. naturalized citizen or a legal permanent resident alien of the United States. Foreign nationals and aliens must legally immigrate first and then apply for and receive a permanent resident alien card, also known as a green card, prior to enlistment. The Navy Reserve cannot assist with the immigration process. To be eligible, you must enlist prior to the expiration date on your green card. To be a Commissioned Officer in the Navy Reserve, you must be a native or naturalized U.S. citizen. You must also meet the mental, moral and physical standards for Navy service.
  • Health: You must pass a physical exam to qualify for entrance. For military veterans, these requirements are normally determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Age: The general age requirement for the Navy Reserve is that you must be between the ages of 18 and 39 and be able to have 20 years of total service by age 60.
  • Education: As with standard military qualifications for all Enlisted personnel, the minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is required. For Officers, a degree from a four-year college or university is typically required. Note that any education and/or civilian experience acquired since you last served could potentially open up new possibilities for you in the Navy Reserve.

Because qualification and commitment details relate to your specific background and interests, you should contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for details. That’s whether your background is in the Navy or any of the other service branches.

Know the Basic Obligations

Serving in the Navy Reserve traditionally requires a minimum of one weekend a month (drilling) and two weeks a year (annual training). Most of the training can be arranged to take place close to home so relocation is not required. In general, this is what to expect from committing to serve in the Navy Reserve:

Drilling: Your regular training typically amounts to 16 hours each month at a nearby training site. There are hundreds of locations across the U.S. – check the map of Navy Reserve locations to find the site nearest to where you live. And note that you may be able to take advantage of flexible drilling options. This could involve fulfilling the annual commitment in a single, extended mission or serving on weekdays if your civilian career makes weekend service difficult.

Annual Training: For at least two weeks each year, you will take part in advanced training that can take you across the U.S. or around the globe. This is typically a command exercise with your drilling Reserve detachment, but you may also have opportunities to pursue independent assignments that broaden your experience.

Service Commitment: For former servicemembers seeking Enlisted positions, the minimum Navy Reserve service requirement typically ranges from two to six years. Check out the NAVET chart and OSVET chart under Entrance Programs for more detailed information. For former servicemembers seeking Officer positions, the minimum service requirement may vary. Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for details.

Enlisted Basic Training: If you’ve served in an Enlisted role in the Navy (NAVET) or any other service branch (OSVET), there’s no need to repeat Recruit Training (Boot Camp) again.

Officer Training: If you previously served as a Navy Officer (NAVET), there’s no need to repeat the prerequisite training for commissioning. You can apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program. If you served as an Officer in any other service branch (OSVET) or served in an Enlisted role (NAVET or OSVET) but now meet the requirements to become an Officer, you may also apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program. However, you will have to complete the 12-day Direct Commission Officer (DCO) Course in Newport, RI.

As a military veteran, the service background you bring to the Navy Reserve is in great demand. And the advanced skills you can refine by serving part-time will be highly valued in the civilian sector.

Deployment Deferment for up to Two Years

If you're a former Navy servicemember (NAVET), be aware that you can receive guaranteed initial deployment deferment when you affiliate with the Navy Reserve.

  • Two-year involuntary mobilization deferment available if affiliating within six months of release from Active Duty
  • One-year involuntary mobilization deferment available if affiliating between seven and twelve months after release from Active Duty

Contact your career counselor or the Career Transition Office (CTO) to learn more.