Health checks

Work in the RAF can be physically demanding. Before you join, you will have a medical assessment to make sure you meet our medical standards.

You can find guidance on medical fitness and eyesight below as well as a list of pre-existing medical conditions which could prevent you from joining the RAF. It’s a good idea to read the requirements carefully now to avoid disappointment at a later stage.

Height and weight

Some roles have a minimum height requirement. You will be told if this relates to your application. For all roles, minimum and maximum BMI standards apply.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a correlation of height and weight. Candidates who do not meet the minimum and maximum BMI criteria will not be accepted into the service. The BMI standards acceptable for entry into the RAF are:

 

Age Male and female minimum Male and female maximum Male maximum with additional assessment Female maximum with additional assessment
18 + 18 28 32 30
16 to < 18 17 27 27 27

 

If you are aged 18 years and over and have a higher BMI, you can still make an application provided your waist circumference is below 94 cm (for males) or 80 cm (for a females) and you are able to satisfy the AFCO Medical Examiner that you can meet the physical requirements of training. You will be assessed at the medical stage of your application, where a final decision on your fitness and medical suitability for service will be taken.

Eyesight

The minimum standards for both uncorrected and corrected vision vary for different roles and are determined by RAF medical staff.

Whatever role you’re applying for, your spectacle or contact lens correction must not be greater than -6 dioptres or +6 dioptres in any meridian. If you have impaired colour perception (colour blindness) it won’t prevent you from joining the RAF, but it may limit what roles you can choose. 

In order to be considered all prospective candidates must provide appropriate documentary evidence that they fulfil the following criteria:

a: The total preoperative refractive error was not outside the limits for selection, and in no case more than +6.00 or -6.00 dioptre [Equivalent Spherical Error (ESE)] in either eye.

b: The preoperative best spectacle corrected visual acuity was within selection limits.

c: At least 12 months have elapsed since the date of the last surgery or enhancement procedure.

d: The candidate is at least 22 years old.

If necessary, talk to your optician about what your eye prescription is and whether it may affect your application. Remember, you’ll need to take a copy with you of any acuity prescription from your optician when you go for your medical examination.

Medical conditions that preclude entry

Please refer to the list of medical conditions that preclude entry listed in this PDF file (opens in a new window). If you have any of the conditions listed, it means that you are unsuitable for entry into the RAF.

This list is provided for general guidance only and is not exhaustive. Other medical conditions which allow you to work in civilian employment and practice sports may still make you unsuitable for military service.

If you have a recurrent medical condition that isn't mentioned below, or if you aren't sure whether your medical history may affect whether you can join the RAF, please ask your AFCO. However, bear in mind that Armed Forces Careers Advisers and their office staff are not medically qualified and that all final decisions regarding medical suitability for entry are made by the RAF’s medical staff.

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