The Army's Policy on Tattoos

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

The Army's Policy on Tattoos

The Army’s tattoo policy has lightened up, but it’s still strict. In 2015, the Army changed its tattoo regulations upon realizing that its strict restrictions were making it lose out on recruits. It’s no wonder, considering the fact that 30 percent of people aged 25 - 34 have a minimum of one tattoo. While the Army’s regulations on tattoos has softened over the last few years, there are certain tattoos that recruits and soldiers can’t have. There are also restrictions on where tattoos can be placed.

What tattoos does the Army restrict? Regardless of where they are located, the Army prohibits recruits and soldiers from having tattoos that are offensive, which can include tattoos that are:

  • Extremist

  • Sexist

  • Racist

  • Indecent

What tattoos does the Army allow?

While it’s always smart to consult your unit leader before getting a new tattoo, in general, as long as your tattoo doesn’t fall into one of the above categories, it’s safe to assume that the Army’s policy will be accepting of your tattoo. However, there’s one big caveat — it can’t be visible in uniform. You cannot have a tattoo on your head, face, neck (above the t-shirt line), wrists, hands or inside your mouth, eyes or ears. There is one exception to the rule, though. The Army will allow a single ring tattoo on each hand, but it can’t extend farther than a physical ring would extend on your finger.