You may not need tattoo removal to join the USMC. Each branch has their own specific regulations about what and where body art are acceptable. Recently, the U.S. Marine Corps has changed their policy, being more lenient with some tattoos. In an article published by Marine Corps Times, these new rules were outlined, and are as follows:
Unauthorized Locations for Marines’ Tattoos
- Area 2 inches or less above the center of the elbow and 1 inch or less below.
- Area 2 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 2 inches above and below the center of the kneecap.
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 3 inches or the width of the wearer’s four fingers, while joined and extended.
- Tattoos on the upper arms can’t fall within 2 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 2 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 2 inches above the knee.
- Any tattoos on the lower leg must be at least 2 inches below the knee.
- Marines must be able to cover any single tattoos on their feet with their hand.