Eligibility Check

To join the RAF you’ll need to meet certain criteria, like nationality, age, education and health. Some criteria apply to everyone joining the RAF; others only apply to specific roles. Take a look at the general RAF criteria below and select your preferred role to learn about some additional requirements you’ll need to meet.

Full Time

Select a role based on a full-time role

Spare Time

Select a role based on a spare-time role

All Full-Time Roles:

Personnel support (7 Roles)

Medical and medical support (15 Roles)

Logistics (6 Roles)

Force protection (5 Roles)

Intelligence (5 Roles)

Aircrew (5 Roles)

Air operations support (11 Roles)

Technical and engineering (13 Roles)

Nationality & Residency

To meet RAF nationality requirements, you need to be one of the following:

  • British citizen
  • British national
  • British/Dual national
  • Commonwealth citizen
  • Irish Republic national

To meet RAF residency requirements, you should have been a UK Resident for a minimum of five years immediately preceding application, and have spent no more than 28 days per year outside the UK within those five years.

UK residents of less than five years, or those who have spent more than 28 days per year outside the UK will require more eligibility checks. If this is you, call us for further advice.


Age Requirements

Age requirements vary depending on which role you choose. The youngest age for applying is 15 years and nine months for an Airman. The oldest is 55 years for a Medical Officer.

If you’re under 18 years of age, you’ll need consent from a parent or guardian before you apply. If you’re under the minimum age to join, follow our Altitude Facebook Page to get a feel for life in the RAF.


  • 16 - 30

Educational Requirements

Whatever your academic background, there are a range of great opportunities in the RAF. Some require minimal qualifications, others require specialist skills and/or a degree.

Check the educational requirements for your role, if unsure consult the RAF equivalent qualifications in case they are applicable.


GCSEs at Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) in English language and G (Grade 1 with effect from Aug 17) in Mathematics or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in English and Grade 6/Scottish National 4 in Mathematics.

All RAF ground trade recruits (except Air Traffic Controller – Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) must have or gain Functional Skills (FS) qualifications in English and Mathematics to graduate from Recruit Training. Your first chance to pass these tests, if you don’t already have the necessary FS grades, will be at the Pre-Recruit Training Course. The level of FS qualifications you need to achieve depend on the trade you are applying for; as, Dental Nurse, you will need to pass the Level 1 FS tests in Mathematics and English.

Even if you have other qualifications in Mathematics and English (like GCSE/SCEs), you will still have to take and pass the FS Mathematics and English tests.

You will also need to have Enhanced DBS clearance.

Fitness Requirements

All applicants must be fit in order to complete initial and specialist training, and perform their roles effectively. To assess fitness, every candidate undergoes two or three separate fitness tests as part of the application process: Selection Fitness Test, Pre-joining Fitness Test or Pre-recruit Training Course. The fitness requirements for these tests vary according to role, age and gender.

You can see the protocols for Press Ups & Sit Ups here:

PJFT/PRTC Protocols

You can download an MP3 file of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test below, listen to the introduction file first:


RAF MSFT: Bleep Test

You can see a video demonstration of the PRTC Fitness Test here:

RAF Fitness Test

A 12-week fitness plan with detailed information to help you get ready for all of the fitness tests can be downloaded here.

The Pre-Joining Fitness Test requires candidates to meet a high standard of strength and endurance. See the table below for detailed requirements.

AGE 2.4 Km Run Press-ups Sit-ups  
(Minutes) (Number) (Number)
  100% Pass 100% Pass 100% Pass  
15-16 11.39 20 35  
17-29 11.11 20 35  
30-34 11.36 19 32  
35-39 12 18 29  
40-44 12.26 17 26  
AGE 2.4 Km Run Press-ups Sit-ups  
(Minutes) (Number) (Number)
  100% Pass 100%  Pass 100% Pass  
15-16 13.54 10 32  
17-29 13.23 10 32  
30-34 13.47 9 29  
35-39 14.13 8 26  
40-44 14.48 7 23  

The Pre-Recruit Training Course includes press-ups and sit-ups as well as a multi-stage aerobics fitness test over three days. See the table below for detailed requirements.


AGE Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups  
  100% Pass 100%  Pass 100% Pass  
15-16 9.03 20 35  
17-29 9.10 20 35  
30-34 9.04 19 32  
35-39 8.09 18 29  
40-44 8.03 17 26  
AGE Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups  
  100% Pass 100%  Pass 100% Pass  
15-16 6.07 10 32  
17-29 7.02 10 32  
30-34 6.08 9 29  
35-39 6.04 8 26  
40-44 5.08 7 23  



Health Requirements

There are health requirements that must be met by all applicants:

1)    Body Mass Index requirements:

Age Male and female minimum Male and female maximum Male maximum with additional assessment Female maximum with additional assessment

18 +





16 to <18          





Calculate your BMI now, click here.


2)      Eyesight requirements vary for different roles. A requirement to wear glasses or contact lenses may be allowed for aircrew.

Get in touch if you have any questions about the health criteria, or would like to find out if any additional health requirements apply to your role of interest.

The recruitment Medical Risk Assessment

The Armed Forces require anyone who joins to be medically fit to serve worldwide.  New entrants to the Armed Forces undergo intensive training that is physically demanding and mentally taxing.  The RAF executive has a duty to ensure that you are sufficiently robust before you undergo military training.

The Medical Risk Assessment that all candidates undergo is intended to ensure that you satisfy the tri-Service medical entry criteria. Your application will be rejected if you fail to meet the minimum acceptable medical standard for entry. Your medical history is confidential and is not disclosed to those not authorised to hold this information.

Background Checks

All applicants are required to:

  • Declare any previous spent and unspent convictions
  • Check eligibility under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 through this summary of its provisions
  • Undergo a basic background check to obtain Security Check level clearance

Some roles also require applicants to declare spent convictions, and obtain additional clearance.


You must also be cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau as a condition of entry to the service. Ongoing clearance may also be required throughout your career.

Disqualifying Factors


The following are not permitted in the RAF. Extreme political affiliations, offensive tattoos or adornments, substance abuse and pending court appearances, for example, will automatically prevent you from being accepted into the RAF. See below for details.

  • Applicants who have been or are members of a group that stirs up racial hatred and violence are automatically disqualified
  • Candidates waiting to appear in court, or who have spent or unspent convictions may be excluded from certain roles and must declare this on application
  • The misuse of drugs, solvents and anabolic steroids can automatically exclude an applicant, but each case is considered upon its own merits
  • Tattoos, brands or bead implants that are deemed obscene or offensive will result in disqualification. Tattoos must not be visible above the neck collar or below the sleeve cuff while wearing uniform.
  • Body piercing which causes holes that do not close up is not permitted
  • Candidates who declare themselves to be an 'undischarged' bankrupt are ineligible to apply.

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your situation, and we’ll help you work out if you qualify.