How Long Does a Military Waiver Take to Get Approved?

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

how long does a military waiver take to get approved

Anyone with a medical history or legal record who wishes to join the military must submit waivers to qualify. If you can relate to this dilemma, you might wonder: how long does a military waiver take to get approved?

The time it takes for waivers to get granted depends on the issue being waived. The entire military waiver process and approval could range from three weeks to three months.

It would depend on the type of military waiver, the military branch (Army, Navy, Air Force), and other specific details of the applicant.

What is a Military Waiver?


Every branch of the military has a set of requirements for people wanting to enlist.

Requirement examples include:

  • Age should be between 17 and 39 years old
  • A citizen of the country you wish to serve
  • High school graduate or equivalent
  • Mentally, emotionally, and physically conditions
  • Good moral standing (no crime record)
  • Pass the military placement exam

Note that these requirements will vary depending on the position you wish to serve and the military branch you want to join.

Military waivers help people who lack one or two of these requirements. For example, if a minor traffic offense disqualifies you from enlisting in the military, a moral waiver (approved by a waiver-granting official) could help clear your traffic violations.

Types of Military Waivers


Different types of waivers exist, but the three most common are moral, medical, and age waivers.

1. Age waiver

You need to request an age waiver if your age during your application doesn’t meet the maximum enlistment age. You have to be at least 17 years old to enlist in any branch of the military. However, maximum age requirements can vary.

Military Branch Active Duty Enlistment
U.S. Army 17-35
Coast Guard 17-22
Air Force 17-39
Navy 17-39
Marine Corps 17-28

Not all age waiver requests get approved. It depends on your age, experience, and specialization, as well as the recruiting person and military branch positions that need to be filled.

2. Medical waiver

Many military positions will disqualify you from enlisting if you have a medical condition. However, you can still join the military if you receive a medical waiver. You need to request the right one.

  • Military Physical health waiver – Every enlistee undergoes a medical exam, and those diagnosed with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, HIV, cirrhosis, and other serious health conditions may be unfit to join the military. Health waivers could give these people a second chance.
  • Military Mental health waiver – If you were diagnosed with bipolar disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and other mental illnesses, you’d need this waiver to join the military.

If you submit a military depression waiver, you’d have to include documents proving misdiagnosis or your depression has been resolved.

  • Drug waiver – An Air Force drug waiver is required when an enlistee was confirmed positive for the presence of non-hard drugs like marijuana and alcohol at the time of the original physical exam. This kind of drug waiver may also be provided on a Navy or Army case-to-case basis.

In most cases, medical waivers take approximately 30 days to receive. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to go in for additional health exams, which could extend the waiver waiting time as well.

3. Moral waiver

Also known as “conduct waiver” or “felony waiver,” this type of waiver is for would-be enlistees that have been convicted of minor crimes. Approval for this kind of waiver depends mainly on your current legal status and the severity of your criminal record.

Juvenile offenses, misdemeanor crimes, traffic offenses, and similar convictions can be considered. Expect around three weeks to 3 months for waiver results.

Tips to Obtain a Military Waiver


There is no guarantee of getting your army medical waiver approved.

However, following these tips could reduce the risk of getting your military waiver denied:

  • Do your best to craft the letter. When you write a waiver letter for military consideration, double-check your spelling and grammar.
  • Tell the truth. If you are handling your depression with medication, indicate it in your letter and attach a prescription from your doctor. You may feel vulnerable admitting your personal issues, but this indicates you’re facing the problem and can be why you’d be granted a mental health waiver.
  • Attach relevant documents. If you’re requesting moral waivers, attach letters of recommendation from your church, community leaders, local police, and others who could attest to your character.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Can I get a re-3 waiver?

RE3 is a reenlistment eligibility code for individuals not qualified for continued service in the Army, but their disqualification can be waivered. To get a re-3 waiver in your favor, you have to submit documentation that your past issue has been resolved.

What are my chances of getting a medical waiver approved?

If you need to get a medical waiver for the Army, Navy, or Air Force, you first need to get better. If you found out you had high blood sugar levels during your first medical exam and brought this down to healthier levels with weight loss and medication, your chances of receiving a waiver will increase.

Most medical waivers are given to applicants who no longer have symptoms of their past medical issues, no longer take medication, and have little to no risk of facing the same issue.

Of course, the waiver-granting official will still have the last say.


The army waiver process timelines vary on a case-to-case basis. There is no way to guess how long you’ll receive results, nor do military services provide schedules. The Navy, Army, or Air Force waiver process may also have different considerations or the number of higher-ups required to sign the approval/disapproval.

How long does a military waiver take to get approved? If you require any of the waivers above, you just have to wait. After all, the reason you require a waiver is to plead your case in hopes the military would make an exception and let you enlist.

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