Every Question About Australian Army Tattoos Policy Answered

There are a million reasons to get inked – and never regret a thing. After all, your body is your temple – and a blank canvas. Tattoos express who we are, who we love and who we miss thanks to an art form that human beings have been indulging in for thousands of years. But if you’re contemplating a job in Australia’s defence forces, there may actually be a reason to worry about whether the ADF tattoo policy might just get in the way of your dream job with the navy, army or air force.

Australian army tattoos – Should you be worried?

It will come as no surprise that the priority of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is on military strength, excellence and the highest possible standards of behaviour among its 80,000+ strong ranks of personnel. And the ADF makes no secret that those extremely high standards also take the “appearance” of its personnel very seriously.

So while you may love the look and the location of your tattoos, the navy, air force and army tattoo policy might just leave you looking for a different role in life – or the nearest laser tattoo removal specialist near you!

Army tattoo policy FAQ

Without further ado, let’s try to answer all of your questions about the current ADF tattoo policy and whether your ink might need to be zapped off before you sign up:

Q: Are tattoos simply banned by the ADF?

A: Absolutely not. In fact, the ADF sees some Australian army tattoos as a way to express “a sense of identity, belonging and a form of remembrance”. Recently, a Lieutenant Commander was featured on the ADF website boasting about many a tattoo military-themed, including a Popeye on his bicep and a compass, world map and ship helm on his right shoulder.

Q: So Australian military tattoos are allowed, then?

A: Not quite! While there’s definitely no blanket tattoo ban in the ADF, the forces make clear that their policies about “personal appearance” are “strict”. Therefore, whether the ADF accepts your particular tattoos are “assessed on a case by case basis” by defence recruiting.

Q: Will my face tattoo be accepted?

A: No. While there is clearly some discretion about tattoos that are located elsewhere on your body, anything on your head, neck or face is strictly prohibited.

Q: How about that tattoo on my arm?

A: If your tattoo can be seen in a passport photo, that’s a big no. And you may also run into trouble with an arm tattoo that is located beneath a normal t-shirt sleeve. Unfortunately, that policy may also preclude your hand or finger tattoos.

Q: What about my cosmetic tattoos?

A: Often, people these days get cosmetic tattoos to hide or disguise things like serious burns, or major scars from injuries or surgery. In that case, the ADF is very likely to green-light these sorts of tats.

Q: How about tattoos with religious or cultural/ethnic themes?

A: As we said early, military or army tattoos – like Popeye or another tasteful design – may just get OK’d by ADF recruitment. And the same is also the case for other tats that the forces may deem to be reasonable – like ones in recognition of a person’s religion or cultural background. The key thing here is that any acceptable tattoo should not “bring undue attention to the member”, so it can’t be extreme, offensive or too prominent or over the top.

Is your tattoo military compatible?

The policies on army, air force and navy tattoos can change and also depends on your situation, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their appearance and behaviour FAQs or contact them directly for up to date information.

Are you worried your tattoos may hold you back from your dream job defending Australia in the army, navy or air force? Here at Disappear Ink, we use the latest generation Pico Laser Technology that causes minimal comfort for the most thorough laser tattoo removal Sydney-wide – at a price you can afford. Don’t let the ADF tattoo policy get in the way of a long and proud career with Australia’s armed forces, so get in touch with Disappear Ink today to learn more.

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