America's Navy offers various opportunities for former servicemembers who yearn to once again feel the pride of putting on a uniform and serving your country.
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. Others who desire serving part-time can explore opportunities within the Navy Reserve, which enables you to reconnect with the military mission, to regain access to rewarding benefits and further refine skills, and to complement the civilian life you have alongside the military life you often miss.
Navy Reserve Stories: Tom Sederback
Qualifications & Commitment
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR FORMER SERVICEMEMBERS
Military veterans have proven experience and some familiarity with our requirements, but you can review the basics here or contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter if you have any questions.
BASIC ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
- You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. naturalized citizen or a legal permanent resident alien of the United States.
- Foreigners must legally immigrate first and then apply for and receive a permanent residency 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.
- As 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.
To join the Navy Reserve, you must be between the ages of 17-41 for Enlisted programs and be able to have 20 years of total service by age 62. Age requirements for Officer programs vary.*
*If you are not yet 18, you need parental consent to join. Other restrictions or exceptions may apply depending on your job or program in the Navy.
You must pass a physical exam to qualify for entrance. For military veterans, these requirements are normally determined on a case-by-case basis.
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. Any education and/or civilian experience acquired since you last served could potentially open up new possibilities for you in the Navy Reserve. Qualification and commitment details relate to your specific background and interests, so you should contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for specific details.
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 you won't need to relocate. In general, this is what to expect while serving in the Navy Reserve:
Your regular training typically amounts to 16 hours each month at a nearby training site. There are hundreds of locations across the U.S. that offer flexible drilling options so you could fulfill your annual commitment in a single extended mission or serving on weekdays if your civilian career makes weekend service difficult.
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.
For former servicemembers seeking Enlisted positions, the minimum Navy Reserve service requirement typically ranges from two to six years. 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).
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, RI.
The amount of time you are required to serve depends on 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.
- 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 is best for 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
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. 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.
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.
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
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).
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 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 in Newport, RI.
The Direct Commission Officer Program is available to those who qualify in the following fields:
- Attorney (JAG)
- Aviation (Flight Support)
- Civil Engineering
- Human Resources
- Information Professional
- Information Warfare
- Naval Special Warfare/Naval Special Operations
- Public Affairs
- Purchasing, Supply & Logistics
- Surface Warfare Officer
Navy Health Care Specialty Focus Areas for Officers
If you are a civilian physician, dentist, nurse or specialist, you can enter the Navy 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, as recruiters will guide you through the process and help you determine whether you qualify as a NAVET (Navy Veteran), a OSVET (Other Service Veteran) or for any of the other related entrance programs.
As a military veteran – NAVET or OSVET – you must be able to complete 20 years of service by age 60. You can discuss the specifics of your individual situation with your recruiter, find out whether you're eligible and be advised on next steps.
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.
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.
HOW EMPLOYMENT & SERVICE WORK TOGETHER
There's important information that all potential Navy Reserve Sailors, current Navy Reserve Sailors 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, while grades (E-1 to E-9 for Enlisted and O-1 to O-10 for Officer) indicate how status equates across the uniformed services. The Navy Reserve will make every effort to place you in the same pay grade you previously held. Once you know where you stand, you can see how your former pay grade compares.