If you’re thinking about joining the Marine Corps and already have some tattoos, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the latest Marine tattoo policy. If you have tattoos that violate the policy as it stands, you may not be eligible to join, or you may have to secure a waiver.
If you are already in the Marine Corps and are thinking about getting a new tattoo, it’s also really important that you read through the latest info on the Marine Corps’ tattoo policy. If you get a new tattoo that violates the policy, you may be subject to some sort of administrative punishment, and in some cases, you may even face being processed out of the service.
This article will break down what you can and can’t do when it comes to keeping your Moto-ink within tattoo regs.
Marine Corps tattoo policy basics
What kinds of tattoos are outright banned?
Per Marine Corps bulletin 1020:
Tattoos located anywhere on the body that are prejudicial to good order and discipline, or are of a nature to bring discredit upon the naval service, are prohibited. Examples include, but are not limited to, tattoos that are drug-related, gang-related, extremist, obscene or indecent, sexist, or racist.
There are no restrictions on the size or shape of any tattoo a Marine gets that can be completely hidden under their PT uniform, but the above policy regarding good order and discipline holds true, even for tattoos that remain hidden.
Visible tattoos should be no larger than the Marine’s hand (you should be able to cover the tattoo with one hand). Waivers may be granted for cosmetic tattoos that are larger than a hand but are used to cover up scarring from an injury or medical procedure.
Ring tattoos on your finger (such as a wedding band tattoo) are permitted as long as they are less than 3/8 of an inch wide.
Marines are only authorized to have a total of four tattoos that are visible outside of their green-on-green PT gear. Each of these tattoos must be smaller than the Marine’s flat hand. Band tattoos that wrap around the arm are permitted, but the band itself must be thinner than the width of the Marines extended fingers.
No tattoos are allowed on a Marine’s hands, or within two inches of their wrist bones on the arm. Likewise, tattoos cannot be within two inches of the elbow or knee.
Full sleeves and half sleeves are not authorized for Marines.
You can read the Marine tattoo policy in full by following this link.