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Frequently Asked Questions relating to eligibility to enlist in the Defence Forces

Who can apply for enlistment into the Defence Forces?

  • Irish Citizens
  • A Refugee under the Refugee Act 1996
  • Nationals of EEA States, i.e. The European Economic Area consists of the member states of the European Union along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
  • An applicant shall ensure that he or she has the lawful entitlement to reside in the State for the period of service provided for in section 53 of the Defence Act 1954 i.e. the term of original enlistment which is 12 years. This 12 year period can comprise of 5 years in the Permanent Defence Force and 7 years in the Reserve Defence Force for general service recruits.

What circumstances would make a person ineligible for enlistment?

There are a number of situations that would make a person ineligible for enlistment in the Permanent and Reserve Defence Forces. Some examples of these are: -

  • A person discharged from the Defence Forces (Permanent or Reserve) or the Military, Naval Police or Air Service of any other country or state because of misconduct or as a result of being found medically unfit
  • Persons belonging to An Garda Síochána
  • A person convicted by a civil court of a serious offence
  • A person in receipt of a disability pension
  • A person undergoing an apprenticeship
  • An asylum seeker

I have tattoos can I join the Defence Forces?

Tattoos which appear above the collar of shirt will prohibit entry to the Defence Forces.