Navy announces changes to tattoo policy

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Norfolk, Va. – The U.S. Navy announced a change to its existing tattoo policy on March 31.

The new policy will allow Sailors to:

  • Have one tattoo on their neck that does not exceed one inch in any direction.
  • Have visible tattoos below the elbow or knee — no longer restricting their size or amount.
  • Allow Sailors with sleeve tattoos to be assigned to Recruit Training Command and Recruiting Command positions — previously not allowed.
160331-N-PL185-001 WASHINGTON (March 31, 2016) An illustration depicting expanded U.S. Navy tattoo policies. (U.S. Navy photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lorenzo John Burleson/Released)

160331-N-PL185-001
WASHINGTON (March 31, 2016) An illustration depicting expanded U.S. Navy tattoo policies. (U.S. Navy photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lorenzo John Burleson/Released)

The policy regarding the content of the tattoos remains the same — Tattoos must not be racist, sexist, extremist or indecent, nor bring discredit upon the naval service. Additionally, tattoos shall not advocate discrimination based on sex, race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.

The Navy says the policy change is being made due to the increased popularity of tattoos for those currently serving and in the population from which the Navy draws recruits. This is to ensure the Navy does not miss opportunities to bring in talented young men and women who are willing to serve.

The changes go into effect on April 30.

More information can be found in NAVADMIN 082/16.

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