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Can You Have Tattoos in the Australian Defence Force?

Thinking about joining the Army, Navy or Air Force? Your Tattoos Could Have an Impact.

The ADF has strict guidelines and expectations around the behaviour and appearance of its members. A long history and tradition of how ADF personnel dress, look and act carry through to this day, ensuring a noble and professional appearance is upheld at all times. While things like tattoos and piercings have widely been accepted as they have become more common in many workplaces in Australia, they may still have an impact on ambitions to join the Australian Army, Navy or Air Force.

Their official stance is that the acceptability of tattoos will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by Defence Force Recruiting to ensure the high standards of appearance are met at all times.

This is not to say they are not allowed. There are some clear rules around not having visible tattoos on the face, neck, head or anything that could be viewed as offensive. Some allowances are also noted for tattoos for cosmetic purposes and consideration for those done with religious or ethnic backgrounds. But as a whole, tattoos will be assessed and considered on a case-by-case basis and could be a factor in eligibility to serve. If you are considering a career in the Defence Force, it is recommended to contact them for guidance as it may affect your application.

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Australian Defence Force Policy


The ADF has strict policies regarding personal appearance. The acceptability of tattoos and body piercings is accepted on a case-by-case basis by their Defence Force Recruiting. If you are considering getting a tattoo, read the ADF policy guidance as it may affect your application.

ADF Policy

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