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Naval commanding officer adjusts the ribbons of Navy serviceman during a command uniform inspection and awards ceremony.

Served Before

Resuming Your Military Career in the Navy

What would you give to feel the pride of wearing the uniform again? As a former military servicemember, you have options in America’s Navy. There are opportunities to consider whether you were previously in the Navy or in another service branch, whether you were Enlisted or an Officer, whether you’re interested in full-time or part-time service moving forward.

If you’re considering going back to Active Duty service, you should start by contacting a Navy Recruiter to get details on potential affiliation options.

Any former servicemembers considering picking up where they left off in their military careers should also take the opportunity to learn about the Navy Reserve and think about the possibilities afforded by part-time service. It’s a great way to reconnect with the people and the mission, to regain access to rewarding benefits and further refine skills, and to complement the civilian life you have with the military life that is so often missed.

AFFILIATING WITH THE NAVY RESERVE

Entry Requirements for Former Servicemembers

The fact that you’re a military veteran means you should have some familiarity with the requirements. Start by reviewing the basics and contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter if you have any questions.

The goal is to make the affiliation process as simple and clear as possible for those with prior military experience – because your proven experience is something which is highly valued in the Navy Reserve.

Know the Basic Entry Requirements

If you’re a military veteran, you have previously qualified for military service. But some things may have changed over time. So make sure that you still meet the following requirements:

Citizenship

You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. naturalized citizen or a legal permanent resident alien of the United States. Foreign nationals and aliens must legally immigrate first and then apply for and receive a permanent resident alien card, also known as a green card, prior to enlistment. The Navy Reserve cannot assist with the immigration process. To be eligible, you must enlist prior to the expiration date on your green card. To be a Commissioned Officer in the Navy Reserve, you must be a native or naturalized U.S. citizen. You must also meet the mental, moral and physical standards for Navy service.

Age

The general age requirement for the Navy Reserve is that you must be between the ages of 18 and 39 and be able to have 20 years of total service by age 60.

Health

You must pass a physical exam to qualify for entrance. For military veterans, these requirements are normally determined on a case-by-case basis.

Education

As with standard military qualifications for all Enlisted personnel, the minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is required. For Officers, a degree from a four-year college or university is typically required. Note that any education and/or civilian experience acquired since you last served could potentially open up new possibilities for you in the Navy Reserve.

Because qualification and commitment details relate to your specific background and interests, you should contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for details. That’s whether your background is in the Navy or any of the other service branches.


Know the Basic Obligations

Serving in the Navy Reserve traditionally requires a minimum of one weekend a month (drilling) and two weeks a year (Annual Training). Most of the training can be arranged to take place close to home so relocation is not required. In general, this is what to expect from while serving in the Navy Reserve:

Drilling

Your regular training typically amounts to 16 hours each month at a nearby training site. There are hundreds of locations across the U.S. – check the map of Navy Reserve locations to find the site nearest to where you live. And note that you may be able to take advantage of flexible drilling options. This could involve fulfilling the annual commitment in a single extended mission or serving on weekdays if your civilian career makes weekend service difficult.

Annual Training

For at least two weeks each year, you will take part in advanced training that can take you across the U.S. or around the globe. This is typically a command exercise with your drilling Reserve detachment, but you may also have opportunities to pursue independent assignments that broaden your experience.

Service Commitment

For former servicemembers seeking Enlisted positions, the minimum Navy Reserve service requirement typically ranges from two to six years. Check out the NAVET chart and OSVET chart for more detailed information. For former servicemembers seeking Officer positions, the minimum service requirement may vary.

Enlisted Basic Training

If you’ve served in an Enlisted role in the Navy (NAVET) or any other service branch (OSVET), there’s no need to repeat Recruit Training (Boot Camp).

Officer Training

If you previously served as a Navy Officer (NAVET), there’s no need to repeat the prerequisite training for commissioning. You can simply apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program. If you served as in Officer in any other service branch (OSVET) or served in an Enlisted role (NAVET or OSVET) but now meet the requirements to become an Officer, you may also apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program. However, you will have to complete the 12-day Direct Commission Officer (DCO) Course in Newport, R.I.

As a military veteran, the service background you bring to the Navy Reserve is in great demand. And the advanced skills you can refine by serving part-time will be highly valued in the civilian sector.

Service Commitment

The amount of time you are required to serve depends upon many factors, including your interests, your background, your pursuit of an Officer or Enlisted position, or whether you are taking advantage of Navy education opportunities.

IN GENERAL:

Enlisted positions typically require an initial service commitment of four years (positions involving longer-term training may involve longer service obligations).
Officer positions typically require an initial service commitment of three to five years (again positions involving longer-term training may involve longer service obligations).
The best way to confirm the specific service commitment that will apply to you is to contact a recruiter.

Deployment Deferment for up to Two Years

If you're a former Navy servicemember (NAVET), be aware that you can receive guaranteed initial deployment deferment when you affiliate with the Navy Reserve.

  • Two-year involuntary mobilization deferment available if affiliating within six months of release from Active Duty
  • One-year involuntary mobilization deferment available if affiliating between seven and twelve months after release from Active Duty

Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for details.

Reserve Entrance Programs for Those Who've Served Before

There are different programs that allow you to affiliate with the Navy Reserve. Your eligibility for these programs depends upon your prior service background, how long it’s been since you were discharged from service, and a variety of other factors. Familiarize yourself with them.

As a military veteran, you should refer to the Reserve entrance program that best applies to you.


 

NAVET (NAVY Veteran)

If you were a member of the Navy or Navy Reserve (Enlisted or Officer) or are in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), the NAVET program will allow you to enter or recommit to the Navy Reserve.

If you are a former Enlisted Sailor affiliating within six years of discharge, you will most likely enter at your then-current pay grade and rate/rank. Otherwise, your pay grade and rate/rank may be modified based on Navy Reserve needs in specific ratings. Refer to the chart below for more information.

Questions? Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter.


 

OSVET (Other Service Veteran)

If you were an Enlisted member of a military branch other than the Navy, the OSVET program will allow you to enter the Navy Reserve.

If you are an Officer who held a commission from one of the other military branches, you may apply for a Navy Reserve direct commission. Refer to the Direct Commission Officer Program below.

If you are a former Enlisted servicemember affiliating within six years of discharge, you will most likely enter at your then-current pay grade and rate/rank. Otherwise, your pay grade and rate/rank may be modified based on Navy Reserve needs in specific ratings. Refer to the chart below for more information. Refer to the Rate/Rank Converter to see your equivalent rate/rank in the Navy Reserve.

Questions? Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter

 

OSVET Matrix
Years Since Discharge Permanent Pay Grade Temporary Pay Grade Minimum Term of Enlistment
Six or less E3 Same as held at discharge Four years
Over six to eight E3

One pay grade less than held at discharge (not less than E-3)

Four years
Over eight to ten E3 Two pay grades less than held at discharge (not less than E-3) Four years

 

Enlisted: Direct Procurement Enlistment Program (DPEP)

If you’ve served in the military before, this program allows you to potentially re-enlist at a higher pay grade – anywhere from E-3 to E-6 – depending on your background. Eligibility for DPEP takes into consideration your:

  • Prior experience as a servicemember
  • Any qualifying postsecondary vocational or technical training you’ve received
  • Any civilian work and supervisory experience you’ve attained

Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for program details.

Enlisted: Prior Service Reenlistment Eligibility – Reserve (PRISE-R) Program

If you are a recently separated or discharged Navy veteran (NAVET) or Other Service Veteran (OSVET) who is in a closed rating or who would otherwise be ineligible for reenlistment, this program can help you access new opportunities through a change of rating. Note: This program was formerly known as Recruiting Selected Conversion Reenlistment – Reserve (RESCORE-R).

Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for program details.

Officer: Direct Commission Officer Program

If you have previously served as an Officer in the military and would like to affiliate with the Navy Reserve, you should contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter to discuss your options. You will not need to complete any prerequisite Officer training.

If you are an Enlisted veteran who is now a college-educated professional in one of the specialty areas sought by the Navy Reserve, you may apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program and will need to complete the 12-day Direct Commission Officer (DCO) Course in Newport, R.I.

Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for program details.


 

Navy Health Care Specialty Focus Areas for Officers

Positions in various fields of health care are some of the most highly sought-after careers in America's Navy. If you are a civilian physician, dentist, nurse or specialist, you can enter the Reserve as an Officer in the community associated with your profession – and you may be eligible for advanced rank and pay.

Learn more about working part-time in any of these areas of Navy Health Care in the Navy Reserve:

Entry Process for Those Who've Served Before

The process of affiliating with the Navy Reserve is relatively simple and seamless. Recruiters will guide candidates through the process – helping you whether you qualify as a NAVET (Navy Veteran) or OSVET (Other Service Veteran) or through any of the other related entrance programs.

One of the first things you should do if interested in affiliating with the Navy Reserve is contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter.

As a military veteran – NAVET or OSVET – you must be able to complete 20 years of service by age 60. Beyond that, your eligibility and options depend upon a variety of factors.

You can discuss the specifics of your individual situation with your recruiter, find out whether you're eligible and be advised on what to do from there.

Secure Prior Service Documentation

If you’ve served before and are interested in the Navy Reserve, you’ll want to get a copy of your DD 214 form and make sure the information in it is complete and correct. To obtain a copy of your DD 214, simply submit form SF-180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.

Download the SF-180 form now.
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Expect Initial Processing

NAVETs and OSVETs will not be required to complete prerequisite training requirements to affiliate with the Navy Reserve. However, there will be a need to report for administrative processing and uniform fitting.

Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for details.

Potential Affiliation Bonuses Now Available

Depending upon your rating or specialty and whether you qualify as Enlisted or as an Officer, you could be earning a bonus from $5,000 to $20,000 when you affiliate with the Navy Reserve.

How Can Employment and Service Work Together?

There's important information that all potential Reservists, current Reservists and their civilian employers should be aware of. Learn more about employer support.

Find Your Equivalent Rate/Rank in the Navy Reserve

Rates, ranks and terminology that indicate a servicemember’s status differ by military branch. But grades (E-1 to E-9 for Enlisted and O-1 to O-10 for Officer) indicate how status equates across the uniformed services.

Once you know where you stand, you can see how your former pay grade compares.

The Navy Reserve will make every effort to place you in the same pay grade you previously held. Visit the Rate/Rank Converter to determine your equivalent rate/rank in the Navy Reserve.

Questions? Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter.