Can Marines Have Tattoos?

You may not need tattoo removal to join the USMC. Each branch has its own specific regulations about what and where body art is acceptable. Recently, the U.S. Marine Corps has changed its policy, being more lenient with some tattoos.

“Our tattoo policy over the years has attempted to balance the individual desires of Marines with the need to maintain the disciplined appearance expected of our profession.”
– Gen. Robert B. Neller

Unauthorized Locations for Marines’ Tattoos

  • Neck
  • Area two inches or less above the center of the elbow and one inch or less below.
  • Area two inches or less above wrist
  • Hands, with the exception of a single band tattoo on one finger that is no more than 3/8 of an inch thick.
  • The area two inches above and below the center of the kneecap.

If your tattoo is on the hands, neck or face, find a location and book a time to speak with one of our laser specialists.

In an article published by Marine Corps Times, these new rules were outlined, and are as follows:

US Marine Corps Rules & Guidelines for Tattoos

  • Tattoos on the chest must be below the collarbone. They must not be visible when a Marine is wearing a crew-neck T-shirt.
  • Any tattoos on Marines’ backs must be below the seventh vertebrae.
  • Any band tattoos that can be seen in a physical training uniform can’t exceed three inches or the width of the wearer’s four fingers, while joined and extended.
  • Tattoos on the upper arms can’t fall within two inches of the elbow so full sleeve tattoos are prohibited.
  • Any tattoos on the lower arm must be at least an inch below the elbow.
  • Marines’ tattoos must be at least two inches above the wrist.
  • Marines can have a single band tattoo on one finger. The tattoo’s width must not exceed 3/8 of an inch.
  • Marines must be able to cover any tattoos on their upper legs that show in a PT uniform with their hand. They also must be at least two inches above the knee.
  • Any tattoos on the lower leg must be at least two inches below the knee.
  • Marines must be able to cover any single tattoos on their feet with their hand.


2024 Marine Corps Tattoo Policy

For the most updated United States Marine Corps tattoo policy, read the marine corps bulletin 1020.

Other US Military Tattoo Policies

See US Army Tattoo Policy
See US Navy Tattoo Policy
See US Air Force Tattoo Policy
See US Coast Guard Tattoo Policy
See US National Guard Tattoo Policy

Complete Tattoo Removal Discounts For US Military

Heroes Get 20% Off Tattoo Removal

Removery offers 20% off for our standard military discount with valid military ID or recruiters letter, and 50% off discount on Complete Removal Packages for non-compliant military tattoos .

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Laser Removal for Tattoos That Violate USMC Policy


While these new policy changes have made it more acceptable to have tattoos and be a Marine, some tattoos may still keep you from being able to join. If you need to remove your tattoo(s) in order to enlist, find a Removery location near you.

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