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Careers Reserves Royal Navy


Whatever your education and qualifications, there are roles for everyone in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. There are some basic eligibility criteria that you’ll need to meet depending on the type of role you’re interested in. But generally all jobs are open to both men and women. 

To see which jobs you can do with the qualifications you have use the Role Finder. Or to find out about the general entry requirements, take a look below.

General eligibility


The age range for joining the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is 16 to 62 years old. For more information visit the When can I join page to see the age requirements in more detail.


If you’re too young to apply for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, don’t worry – you can still challenge yourself by joining the Sea Cadets. You’ll be able to develop new skills like teamwork and leadership while enjoying sailing, boating, rock climbing and more. 

If you still have questions, take a look at the specific age requirements for the jobs you’re interested in using the Role Finder.

Fitness standards

To serve in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, you will need to pass and receive the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) medical fitness certificate. You’ll usually hear this referred to as an ENG1. You will also need to meet our own medical standards, including colour vision (the way you see and interpret colours).

Medical criteria

To deal with everything that life in the RFA throws at you, you’ll need to be medically fit too. Here, you can find everything you need to know about the standards you need to meet, whether that’s to do with eyesight, pre-existing or temporary medical conditions

You’ll have your initial medical and eye examination somewhere near you. Your AFCO can arrange this for you.

Medical standards

For RFA roles you will need to pass the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) ENG1 medical examination. You must also meet the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s medical standards which may be above those of the ENG1.

Eyesight standards

The minimum standards for uncorrected and corrected vision vary for different branches in the Royal Navy and are determined by Royal Navy medical staff.

Whatever branch you are applying for your spectacle or contact lens correction must not be greater than +/- 6.00 dioptres. 

If you have impaired colour perception (colour blindness) this may restrict the branches that are available to you. 

Nationality & residency

When you join, you must have British Citizenship and have been living in the UK for at least four of the past five years. We can’t accept applications from asylum seekers or those with dual nationality of non-NATO countries.

Criminal convictions

If you’ve been convicted you may still be able to join the Royal Navy. However, if you’ve committed some kinds of offences or served certain types of sentences, you might be permanently barred from entering or re-entering the Royal Navy.

Security and CRB checks

For all branches of the Royal Navy you will need to complete a full Security Check.  This is done online and checks your details against Government data. For this you will have to declare all previous convictions, whether spent or not. Take a look at the MoD Form 493 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 to find out more about.

If you’re applying to the Medical or Dental branch of the Royal Navy there is a statutory requirement to get a suitability check by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). This check discloses your criminal record. If it’s appropriate, you’ll be issued with a Suitability Certificate. Your Armed Forces Careers Office can let you know how and when to get this certificate – together with details of jobs that require CRB clearance.

Get fit to join

If you’re thinking of joining the Royal Navy you’ll need to make sure you’re in great shape – and have the strength and stamina to survive, and make the most of, basic training. To help you get ready, we’ve put together a fitness programme which will get you in the zone.

When can I join?

You can join most Royal Navy branches from 16, up to your 37th birthday. The age limit for becoming an officer is different – and you must be within it when you enter Britannia Royal Naval College. If you’re too young, we can put you on a waiting list.


Have you seen?

The next step in the process is completing an application form.


Not found what you are looking for? Try our Role Finder tool

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