Navy has Enlistment Dependency Limits

Navy Dependency Waiver

If you are enlisting into the Navy with dependents (dependent definition) in an entry level paygrade (E-1 to E-4), historically some encounter family hardships due to financial situations soon after enlisting. Navy Recruiting Command wants to eliminate from consideration those who cannot balance the demands of family and service, or who would experience a financial hardship at the onset of naval service. You can use the chart below to determine your potential eligibility based on the current instructions.

Unmarried or Divorced
and PS)
No dependents Eligible No waiver required
Custody of dependents Ineligible No waiver authorized
No custody of dependents Eligible with appropriate level waiver 1 or 2= NRD CO
3 = CNRC
4 or more = Ineligible
(NPS and PS)
Spouse only Eligible No waiver required
(NPS enlisting in paygrades E1 to E4 and PS enlisting in paygrades E1 to E4 with broken service)
Minor/non-minor dependents Eligible with appropriate level waiver 2 = NRD CO
3 or 4 = CNRC
5 or more = Ineligible
(NPS enlisting in paygrades E5 and above and PS enlisting in paygrades E5 and above with broken service)
Minor/non-minor dependents Eligible with appropriate level waiver 2 or 3 = Eligible
4 = NRD CO
5 = CNRC
6 or more = Ineligible
(PS enlisting under continuous service)
Minor/non-minor dependents Eligible No waiver required
NRD – Navy Recruiting District; CNRC – Commander, Navy Recruiting Command; PS – Prior Service; NPS – Non Prior Service

If one is required, the dependency waiver process starts with the Enlistee Financial Statement (Enlistee Financial Statement Form 1130/13). Incidentally, everyone enlisting with dependents will complete an Enlistee Financial Statement, even if a waiver is not required, and you will be interviewed by a Navy Recruiting Division Chief or person higher in the chain-of-command prior to enlistment processing.

The interviewer will:

  1. Determine if you are handling present personal and financial affairs in a mature, competent, and responsible manner.
  2. Determine if you can meet current and expected financial obligations within the first six-months of naval service.
  3. Counsel you concerning potential problems that may be experienced at the onset of enlistment relating to financial matters and the assignment to possible dependent restricted tours.

NOTE: A prior bankruptcy is not by itself a disqualifier for enlistment eligibility; however, it may affect the job you are qualified for because of the various security clearance requirements.

During the interview, your Enlistee Financial Statement will be reviewed with you either face-to-face or telephonically. The interviewer and chain of command will become suspicious of entries that are missing or unrealistic. All questionable areas must be resolved.

You will not be enlisted if it appears they are unable to meet current and expected financial responsibilities within the first six-months of Naval Service.

Completing the Enlistee Financial Statement:
The Enlistee Financial Statement is for use by all applicants with dependents. Prior to preparation, you shall sign the Privacy Act Statement on the Enlistee Financial Statement. The financial statement will be prepared in your own handwriting.

No special criteria for the amount of monthly expenditures to be entered for housing, food, utilities, etc. can be established due to the variation in circumstances present in each individual case; however, for the benefit of those who must determine whether a dependency waiver is to be granted, questionable or unrealistic entries must be fully explained. An example of a questionable entry would be $100 per month for food when the applicant has three dependents. While use of food stamps could explain the low amount, this must be explained in detail and attached to the form.

A realistic breakdown of monthly expenditures for most families would include additional categories that are not indicated on the financial statement (e.g., clothing, automobile expenses that are not included in car payments [gas, oil, tires, tune-ups, insurance, etc.], entertainment, miscellaneous). Entry of these expenses are especially applicable when your income is reported at $500 or $600 per month or more, and monthly expenditures total $300 or $400 per month. The absence of these additional expenses is even more noticeable when little or no savings and/or checking account balances are indicated. In order for the total debt and total monthly payment data to have greater relevance for personnel reviewing the financial statement, each outstanding debt, and the monthly payment for each debt, must be indicated.

Signature of your spouse is mandatory, unless you are legally separated, spouse resides outside the geographical area or refuses to sign. If this is the case, note the reason in item 16 of the form.

Note: If you are in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) over 90 days or you acquire dependents while in DEP, you are required to complete an updated Enlistee Financial Statement prior to shipping to boot camp. Changes in dependency status must be reviewed, and if necessary, waived by the appropriate authority.

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716 Responses to “Navy Dependency Waiver”

  1. NCCM(ret) says:


    CNRC dependency waivers are difficult and a lot of work for the recruiter – CNRC has been considering dependency waivers for up to 4 dependents, but your local command may have put further restrictions on running them. That said, if possible, I would recommend that you pursue the Reserve as it would give you and your husband much more flexibility when it comes to assignments/locations that would keep ya”ll located close enough not to cause an issue for your children because there is no guarantee you will be co-located with your husband.

  2. Mohira says:

    My husband and I have filed for bankruptcy chpter 7 since last year 2011 and have had successfully been discharged of debts. I had just passed my physical and am waiting for a financial interview. Hubby works for the DOD and we have two children, therefore I have 3 dependents as I was told. What will I most likely be interviewed about and am I likely to get approved? what will they ask me or interview me about?

  3. NCCM(ret) says:


    Normally the interview would happen the day that you went to MEPS for the physical – I would ask your recruiter why one has not been completed yet.

    The questions will attempt to determine the stuff listed in the middle of this post under, “The interviewer will”. If your current finances are in order and will remain that way, you should be OK.

  4. joseph says:

    my friend got married in vegas and didn’t realize he was legally married till 1 day before he leaves till boot-camp. is there anything he can do? any information would be great. he is really stressing out about what could happen.

    i am also concerned if he would be facing any drastic charges. he filled out his forms to the best of his knowledge and he does not want to be charged as a liar, he is afraid to tell his recruiter tomorrow but i think it would be in his best interest if he did. thank you, i hope u get this in time.

  5. NCCM(ret) says:


    He needs to tell his recruiter ASAP. Get the paperwork completed/added – he needs his marriage certificate and financial statement – if there are no children or other dependents involved that would force a waiver, then he may be able to leave for boot-camp on time.

  6. joseph says:

    thank you for the fast reply! however seince he was not aware of this, i dont think he has a birth certificate (or atleast not the offical one) can this be processed while he is in boot camp? and can he get charged with that military law? he is considering quitting dep and just trying to reenlist later.

  7. NCCM(ret) says:


    People get married all the time. Getting a birth certificate doesn’t take long – he won’t have any problem as long as he isn’t beyond waiverable limits for dependents. Don’t sweat it, and tell the recruiter!

  8. joseph says:

    thank you NCCM, he told his recruiter and he was instructed that since it was not a certified copy he can order one after boot camp and try to process it at A-school, does this sound right? His recruiter also told him if they question it, simply explain that you did not have the proper legal paperwork at the time. i understand there is a credit check for married couples will this effect him in any way? sorry i have a lot of questions, he is my best friend and i want to make sure he knows some good advice. he is very nervous and in a haze trying to get ready to ship out. thank you.

  9. Mohira says:

    I’ve been waiting for a financial interview and 3dependent waiver for three weeks now? I’ve passed the physical. Does the waiver have to get approved first before getting the financial interview which I was told will be done over the phone. Is the interview done afar from TN or will it be locally done by navy personnel in my area? How long is the waiver wait?

  10. NCCM(ret) says:


    It should not take this long, and again, the waiver authority in Tennessee WILL NOT contact you. Has your recruiter followed up to see where your package is? The person in charge of waiver processing at NRD LA should be able to tell your recruiter where it is, exactly.

  11. Mohira says:

    I was told I’m not the only one whose waiver is getting to be approved. They said to just wait for the phone call. Does the waiver get approved first then interview afterwards? I’ve been calling the recruiter every week for three weeks now, said don’[t konw anyting but just wait for the call?

  12. NCCM(ret) says:


    The phone interview will happen before the waiver can be sent to TN because the local Commanding Officer, or someone he delegated, has to interview you and complete a recommendation for the waiver package.

  13. Martin says:

    Hello, my son is 20 and is interested in a Navy carreer. He has a 9-month old daughter who lives with the mother in another state. He made a high enough score on the A test. From this blog though I gather he will still need a NRD CO dependant waiver. Is this correct and is it difficult/time consuming to acquire approval? If the mother has filed child support documents will this suffice? Thanks for your response in advance.

  14. NCCM(ret) says:


    CO waivers are usually completed the same day the person is at MEPS to complete their physical. The child support order should suffice, but of course the order has to be reviewed by the Navy processors to be certain.

  15. kristen says:

    My husband is trying to enlist in the Navy right now and we were told we needed the dependency waiver for him to enlist. We currently have 2 children, but I’m pregnant, which we haven’t discussed with the recquriter yet. I worry that his waiver will be denied since we are both currently unemployeed. Currently, we both draw unemployment and are searching for work but we survive off our $480 a week. which is less that $2000 a month. We really have no bills other than our utilities since my mom and dad pay all of our other bills, ie. cell phone and internet. Should we just discontinue working with the requriter or continue and hope for the best?

  16. NCCM(ret) says:


    The debt ratio the waiver authority will be concerned with is your current debt against an estimate of what you will be making while in the service.

    You should disclose the fact you are pregnant to the recruiter – whether you have 3 or 4 dependents the waiver authority is the same – currently, there is 4 (you and three children).

  17. Kristen says:

    we finished our financial waiver today for a crnc waviver. Ab out how long does it take to get your approval? Also will someone be contacting us for an on the phone interview?

  18. NCCM(ret) says:


    I assume you were at the MEPS and had your physical today? If so, and you had an interview (either over the phone or in person) with the local waiver authority then you will have to wait about three days for your physical’s lab results to come back before your waiver package can be sent to CNRC. This Friday is the last processing day until after the New Year, so if my assumptions are true, you may hear back about your waiver before Christmas, but you will not be able to process until January. Now, if you have completed your physical and your labs are back, you may hear about your waiver by Friday as CNRC will try not to leave any unanswered waivers before the holiday break.

    CNRC will not contact you, the local interview is all that is required.

  19. Kristen says:

    The navy recruiter told us the crnc review had to be done before meps and the phisical. Goodness…. Perhaps we need to talk to someone else!

  20. NCCM(ret) says:


    Is there custody documents that have to be reviewed to determine who has custody of a dependent? Whatever the case, a waiver cannot be done until you are otherwise qualified to have one, meaning that your ASVAB and physical has to be completed before the waiver can happen.

  21. Kristen says:

    No, my husband and I are still married so they must not be waiting for custody papers. Hummm I guess I will call the recruiter tomarrow and find out exactly what the plan is. Maybe he wanted to review the paper work before we take the next step for meps.

  22. Daniel says:

    i was curious how long it generally takes to get a dependency waiver passed for two dependents. I am married and have one child. I have taken the asvab and received a 94% AFQT score. I also have turned in the proper paper work to be eligible for E3 enlistment. My recruiter says that i need to receive a phone call from Command and to keep my phone on me. It has been two weeks and still no call. Starting to feel that i am being pushed aside due to my age being 29.

  23. NCCM(ret) says:


    For a two dependent waiver, you should complete the waiver the same day you go to the MEPS for your physical. My guess is that it has less to do with your age and more to do with the fact that the Navy is not processing anyone until after the holidays (the Navy portion of the MEPS is closed until January 3, 2012). You need to pin your recruiter down and get a better answer than, “wait for a phone call.”

  24. Daniel says:

    thank you soo much. this explains alot and i will be sure to ask about it.

  25. Daniel says:

    Um one more thing. was told that i couldn’t go to meps for my physical till after my dependency waiver was passed.

  26. NCCM(ret) says:


    It is unorthodox, not to mention the poor use of his time, for a commanding officer to consider a waiver before an applicant is otherwise fully qualified (ie., physically, mentally, etc.), so it is more likely that you are waiting on the Division Chief to contact you to go over your debt to ensure everything is in order before you proceed; that said, more specific times and expectations should have been set for you.

  27. Daniel says:

    i have talked to the Divison cheif already and called again today (after i got your messagae) to see what is going on. however, that may have been a bad move on my part. but i was informed that it is on commands desk and that they are still doing waivers during the shut down. but processing won’t take place till jan 3rd anyway so even if i get my waiver passed i still can’t fininsh processing till after the holidays anyway.

  28. NCCM(ret) says:


    Right, the earliest you can process is January 3rd.

    You should do fine. Relax, and enjoy the Holidays!

  29. Samantha says:


    My husband is currently trying to join the Navy. We have 2 children so that would make 3 dependents from what I understand. We have been waiting nearly 3 months to get a waiver from our recruiter. We turned in all of his paperwork around the beginning of November and as of last week he was just getting his Police/Driving record check started. He has already taken the ASVAB and the recruiter said he has to wait and cannot go to MEPS until after we get an answer about whether his waiver is approved or denied. From what I have been reading from peoples previous posts and your replies is that he should be going to MEPS first then seeing if he gets an approval on his waiver. Am I understanding this correctly? Either way can you tell me what we should do? He’s 28 and we really need to know one way or the other so we can figure out what to do. Thanks for the help!!

  30. NCCM(ret) says:


    Because of the very limited number of available openings, local commands are doing an extraordinary amount of pre-work for dependency waivers. From my understanding, and I hope to know more soon, the issue is much more about the availability of jobs than anything. I visited a recruiting station today and was told something again I have heard more and more recently – that a highly qualified male was sent home from MEPS because no seats (jobs) were available.

    I recommend that your husband continue to pursue other opportunities, and if/when the Navy’s approval comes, and it is a better option than the alternative path, then join the Navy.

    I’m afraid things won’t open up until the economy gets back on track. I wish I could offer more in the way of information at this time.

  31. zak says:

    I am married. my wife has 4 kids.3 of which don’t live with us most of the time.Can I go ahead and declare that I have only 2 dependants(wife n one kid).

  32. NCCM(ret) says:


    No. You have 5 dependents.

  33. zak says:

    Means I am hundred percent ineligible. But the thing is my my wife does not have legal custody of the 3 kids.

  34. NCCM(ret) says:


    Unless the children have been adopted by someone else, they are considered her and your dependents.

  35. alex says:

    Hello, wife and I decided we will try to get pregnant a month or two before going to Bootcamp. I already have 1 child from previous relationship so that makes 2 dependent on my application (wife and child). First we plan to hold it until i get finish bootcamp, but realizing my wife dilemma since we are in our 30′s we badly want to have a baby of our own (we are been trying for sometimes). I am planning to go Geo Bachelor and visit my family 2-3 times per month and i know it will be hard for us to conceive a child this way. I talked to my recruiter about this and said “as long as i dont know” that wife is pregnant if I reach bootcamp. What would happen if i reach bootcamp and tell RTC about my wifes pregnancy and additional dependents. Will i be sent home? or charged of anything? I am on DEP and waiting for 6 months for my shi-pdate. Thank you.

  36. NCCM(ret) says:


    If she gets pregnant before you ship to boot-camp, you are obligated to tell your recruiter and to get the appropriate waiver before you ship.

    I recommend that you get settled in the Navy before adding to your responsibilities.

  37. Meg says:

    Hi, my husband is joining the navy he is 20 and im 18 we got married young because of him joining, we’ve been together 3 tears dating wise. My problem is I might be pregnabt, this wasnt planbed and im still unsure. But if I am will he still be able to leave his set date which is in june. And if he has to get a waiver will he be eligible seeibg as we have no income and are staying withfamily. Im in nursi.g school and currently dont have a job, and he doesnt wanna job just in case they give him a chance to leave early. If I am tge baby wouldnt be here till october or november.

  38. NCCM(ret) says:


    Getting a waiver for two dependents should not be difficult to get as long as your debt isn’t too high. His recruiter can go over the financial statement with the two of you – keep in mind, they will use his expected income while in the Navy, not his current income – ya’ll should be fine.

  39. Adrienne says:

    A friend suggested I enlist and get into linguistics to help support my family. I have 3 children and my husband. I am currently a stay at home mom, and my husband has a job with a temp agency after being laid off of a good job nearly two years ago. In order to consolidate expenses, we moved in with my mother and we split the bills. Everything is paid up, when tax time rolls around half goes into savings. I think my husband has some medical debt but I’m not sure. We were considering having my mother come with us as she’s not really in good enough condition to live alone and could help with the kids. That would mean 5 dependents and render me completely ineligible, wouldn’t it?

  40. NCCM(ret) says:


    Yes, if she became your dependent, then she would count as a 5th person to be considered which would render you ineligible.

  41. Dianne says:

    Hi, my son’s name is on the birth certificate of his son. He is not married and has never had financial or physical custody of his child who lives with and is supported by the mother and her family. What form is necessary for him to enlist as active military? He is not relinquishing custody as he has never had custody and the mother will continue to support the child. The local recruiter told him he needs a court order relinquishing custody and there will be a 90 day hold after that is done. Does this sound right to you? Thanks for your help, this is rather confusing.

  42. NCCM(ret) says:


    Your son needs to go to court and establish child support; the child support order will establish who has physical custody of the child. He shouldn’t need to wait the 90 days because he is not in fact transferring custody, but that determination will be made by the Navy Recruiting Legal department.

  43. Dianne says:

    Thank you for your prompt response. We will begin that process.

  44. Derrick says:

    Hi I’m 23 with a wife, a six month old, and a little one on the way. I want to join the navy and meet all the other criteria to join, however, my credit is terrible. I had to fill out a financial statement and now hope that I can get approved to enlist. My credit isn’t bad because of my own doing, well at least not all of it. I have medical bills that are in collections but I was a victim of identity theft and as a result I have a few accounts on my credit report that I had nothing to do with also I have found that someone opened a bank account in my name that also went into collections. It’s a mess but I’m trying to pay everything off and convince my debtors that it wasn’t me who ran up these bills. I really want to enlist and hope these things don’t prohibit my enlistment. Does anyone have advice or has anyone been in a situation like mine?

  45. NCCM(ret) says:


    The Navy will take into consideration the bills that you have verses the income that you are expected to make, if your debt to income ratio is too high, then you will be disapproved for a dependency waiver until you can get your credit and debt in order.

    The responsibility of ensuring your credit history is accurate is yours – if you cannot convince the creditors it wasn’t you, you are really going to have a hard time convincing the Navy.

  46. Robert says:

    I have 2 kids of my own and my wife has two kids. Would I be ineligible to join the navy.

  47. NCCM(ret) says:


    Yes, because you would have to claim five dependents, you would be ineligible for enlistment.

  48. ronika says:

    Hi I am 25 soon to be 26 and I have four children and is separated from my husband who is the father of my children he lives 500 miles away I’m consisdering giving custody of my children to my mom and joining the navy if I were to keep my children would I qualify for a dependent waiver for the fourth child and also I’m aware that if I do I have to do a dependent waiver that the navy also does a check of finanicials my credit is not so good what are some for sure amounts of debt that would prevent me from passing a financial check pls I need your help… What is the best thing for me to do with so many things against me??

  49. NCCM(ret) says:


    Unless you gave your children up for adoption, you would not be eligible to join. Currently, because you are married, you have 5 dependents you would have to claim – the fact that you are separated is irrelevant – for enlistment, waivers are not allowed for those with 5 dependents. If you divorced your husband, you still would have 4 dependents – giving up physical custody does not change dependency status – and being single with any dependents is disqualifying for active service.

  50. Robert says:

    Why would I be ineligible to join?

  51. NCCM(ret) says:


    For enlisting into the Navy, there is a dependent limit one can have (as indicated in the chart above) – with 5 dependents, there is no waiver authorized.

  52. Robert says:

    Ok so my other question is….if I was not married and I had two kids that I sign custody to my mom could I then be able to join. And if so if I got married after I was already enlisted would that be ok to have 5 dependents

  53. NCCM(ret) says:


    Once you gave up custody of the children, you would not be able to reacquire custody of those children until your first enlistment is completed. Also, if you get a divorce, give up custody, and are still able get the dependency waiver for the two dependents needed to enlist – then remarried the same woman – I am sure it would be viewed as a fraudulent exercise, and you would be discharged.

  54. Robert says:

    We are not married yet we or getting married this year but we have not went ahead with it because of all the requirements….but I’ve wanted to join for a long time…and I’m ok with my first enlistment not being able to get custody back….but if I get enlisted and then get married afterwards then it would be ok

  55. NCCM(ret) says:


    Understood. Technically, it would be okay. The reason for the dependency restrictions are because of the financial hardships families will have when attempting to support so many. Large families are more expensive for the military to move, not to mention the medical and other benefits they would consume. Once married, you would incur the cost of moving your new family to your ultimate duty station – base housing is not guaranteed (Basic allowance for housing is a fixed amount and more than likely not near enough to support so many dependents). You would struggle financially at the rank of E-5, I can not imagine trying to support 5 people as an E-2 or 3.

    You may really want to be in the Navy, but you really need to think this through, if you already plan on getting married.

  56. Robert says:

    Ok right now our income is pretty low I make only like 600 a month and I been taking care of my family off that and my fiance makes about 700 so that’s like 1300 a month…will I ne making anywhere close to that

  57. Robert says:

    I say that because currently they are young and don’t need to much…but as theft get older its going to cost more and in 4 yrs I should ne making more money then when I started right

  58. Kara says:

    My husband is joining the Navy. We have two children. He was told that they are absolutley not giving out waivers right now for people with two dependents or more which goes against what I have been reading. They told him that he can only join thr reserves. He got a AFQT of 95 and aced the electrical and coding parts of the ASVAB. He really wants active because he wants to make a career out of the military. Is this true that they are not giving out waivers anymore?? Also, he was told that he could go definitely go active after a year and a half, yet I was reading that it is near impossible to do this?

  59. NCCM(ret) says:


    It isn’t unheard of, its possible that the local recruiting headquarters placed a further restriction on what dependency waivers they will process, but this is the first time I have heard anyone having a problem with having a dependency waiver forwarded (those who are well within the debt to income ratio). The fact that the waiver authority for active duty and Reserve dependency waiver for three dependents is the same, does make your situation seem a bit odd.

    No recruiter can guarantee that the Reserve Center would release him, nor can he guarantee that an active duty billet would be available if they did. As a matter of fact, based on his logic, he is telling your husband to wait a year and a half and he could go on active duty and skip the Reserve all together. So, he must be privy to a date when the current dependency waiver restriction will be lifted? I am being a little sarcastic – something doesn’t sound right.

  60. Kara says:

    Thank you for the information. He is going to get sworn in this week so I am going to tell him to try and talk to someone else about the waiver situation. Thanks again! That was a very big help.


  61. 'eve says:

    Hello I am trying to enlist in the Navy and have already achieved a qualifying score on the ASVAB. I have 3 dependents and had to fill out a dependency waiver. My recruiter informed me that they are waiting to send it off to be approved because another candidate also sent one off this month and they wouldn’t want to send in too many and have mine denied. We are not in any debt and my husband received veteran’s benefits. Do waivers become denied often?

  62. NCCM(ret) says:


    If a waiver gets forwarded, it is approved based on merit.

    Your recruiter’s command may be restricting the number of dependency waivers they forward to CNRC. Of note, and it is no reflection on you, if a command is sending a lot of waivers to that level of the chain of command, it could be an indicator that the recruiters may need to adjust where and how they recruit – spacing those waivers out isn’t really a bad thing from the local command’s prospective (it’s a management thing).

  63. Amanda says:

    We are trying to figure out if my mother qualifies as a dependent. She is already on full disability with Social Security and on Medicare. Does anyone know about this type of situation? We would appreciate any answers and help. Thanks :)

  64. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you are claiming her on your taxes, then you have to claim her as a dependent for enlistment purposes; however, this does not mean that she would be eligible for medical care, exchange and commissary privileges, or other benefits. The determination (processing) as to whether or not she would qualify as a dependent for the purpose of benefits lies with the personnel department of your first command.

  65. Seth says:

    I have a son, and I am engaged. Is there any way that I could enlist for active duty without giving up parental rights or getting married.

  66. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you have physical custody of your son, then you must give up the physical custody via the court and ensure you have a child support order.

  67. lynette says:

    Good Morning,

    This site has been very helpful. I have a son that will leave for boot camp in June. He wanted to get married to his girlfriend but she already has two kids from a previous relationship and is now pregnant with his child. His recruiter advised him not to marry because of the dependant rule. My question is after he finishes bootcamp will he still be able to marry her right away? We have tried to tell him to wait until after he establishes himself. Also the state has actual custody of her other two kids, even though they live with her. Would he have to establish custody of the unborn child 1st if they are not married and then have someone take custody of the child for him to remain in the Navy?

    Thank you!

  68. NCCM(ret) says:


    If he is only waiting to get married so he can start qualified to join without the required waiver, that is an attempt to circumvent the process – it would be unfair to his first command; a new Sailor with four dependents will struggle, and there is a potential that he will become a burden to the Navy. The reason the waiver process exists is to allow the Navy to enter into this type of situation with everyone’s eyes wide open. Before he gets married, he should ensure that he is of a rank that provides enough income and that his finances are secure.

    If he is planning on remaining single and gaining physical custody of the child, then that is another situation which will have the same type of issues – single parents with custody are not allowed to enlist on active duty. If he does not seek custody, then when the child is born, he must establish, via the courts, custody and child support – he cannot have physical custody of the child (of course he can have visitation rights).

  69. Rachel S says:

    Hi, my husband wants to join the Navy & we have one child & would like to have another. After we fill out the dependency waiver, who do we take it to? He has not started the enlistment process & we are wondering if we could fill out the dependency waiver 1st & meet with someone to discuss it, to find out if joining the Navy would even be financially feasable for us at this time. How could we go about doing this? Thank you for your time & attention.
    Rachel S

  70. NCCM(ret) says:

    Rachel S.,

    His recruiter would be the point of contact; the recruiter would be the one that would tell you if his waiver is feasible.

  71. Rachel S says:

    Thank you for the quick reply :)

  72. Daniel says:


    My wife would like to join the navy but we have 2 children and not the best credit history. I am a Marine vet of Afganistan and Iraq and we had made some bad choices early in our marriage some due to the stresses of war and some completly our own. My wife is now 29 and would like to serve. Most of our debt is in my name.I am currently using my g.i. bill to further my education and for the income. Do you feel that is a good choice for our family and do you think she would qualify? Thank you for your time.

  73. NCCM(ret) says:


    First, I would like to thank you for your service.

    Whether or not a waiver would be approved for your circumstance depends more on your current debt compared to your family’s potential earnings when in, then just your credit history.

    You having already served, you will know if the service is the right place for your wife and family – the fact that you are asking indicates to me that you already know the idea is sound. So, if your wife is totally on board, and she is the one that wants to be in, keep moving forward with the process until she is either in or told no.

    Do not forget about the Reserve option if active duty does not pan out.

  74. kameren Smith says:

    i have a fiance and he is joining the navy. he said that a recruiter told him that we had to get married before he left is that true? we also have a 5 month old son.

  75. NCCM(ret) says:


    Getting married is one way, or he would have to go to court and get a court order that establishes physical custody (to you) and child support. Either way should suffice.

  76. kay says:

    My fiancée is sworn into the navy leaving for bootcamp in September. im four months pregnant and haven’t him yet because I’m afraid he will be kicked out. If we tell his recruiter what will happen

  77. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you are expecting his child, you should tell him. He then has an obligation to share that information with his recruiter.

  78. kay says:

    What will his recruiter do about it once he tells them? We only have a small amount of debt between us, will they still accept him with a baby on the way? We plan on getting married after he gets back from basic, would marrying sooner help?

  79. NCCM(ret) says:


    Until the baby is born, there really isn’t much that can be done besides documenting his records. Getting married before he goes, if you already have it planned anyway, isn’t a bad step to take – talk to his recruiter. What you don’t want is him getting to boot-camp and announcing that he is a new father, wants the benefits, and didn’t provide the information up front before he left.

  80. kay says:

    Thank you so much for your help. I just didn’t want him to kicked out because of this. Is their a strong chance that he will?

  81. dani says:

    hello im 28 Disabled Vet USMC getting VA and SSD. we have so so bad credit mostly small medical bills, she has a degree in culinary arts and wants to enlist we have three children which i take care of since she works full time. she wants to be a (CS) in the navy would there be any problem with anything enlisting active duty.

  82. NCCM(ret) says:


    Much would depend on your debt to income ratio. Go see a recruiter.

    Thank you for your service and sacrifice, Marine.

  83. dani says:

    Thank you,and you are welcome……

  84. Taylor says:

    I’m rather confused about the custoody issues and have been unable to sort it out through reading these posts.
    My husband and I went to talk to a recruiter a few weeks ago. My husband scored an 80 on the practice Asvab and is very interested in EOD. However, we both have children with former spouses (I have three. He has one.) Neither of us have legal or physical custody of said children and only he is court ordered to maintain health insurance. We both pay child support which in no way meets 50% of our childrens care. We are in good financial standing and have no criminal background.
    I have listened to and read about dependency depending on who has custody of the children, who provides how much care, who is court ordered to do what etc etc and it seems too change case by case. In our case it seems to be 5 is 5 have a nice day despite the fact we have standard visitation, no children living with us or being claimed on either of our civilian taxes.
    The recruiter suggested we get divorced, but i maintain it would, as you stated earlier, be fraudulent to do so just to re-marry as soon as he had leave. Nothing at all was said about going over this issue at MEPS. I’m sure you’re tired of the same old questions in different words, but is there NOTHING that can be done?

  85. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Not tired of clearing up any confusion people may have.

    Your fears are valid, with the five dependents, he would be ineligible for enlistment – no waivers authorized.

    If eligible for an officer program, dependency would not be an issue.

  86. carlo says:

    hi, i have 2 dependents living with their mother outside the country. Do i need to apply for the waiver. how long will normally it takes to process this.

  87. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Once you have your court records that show custody and your order to pay child support, it takes no time at all, as long as you are otherwise qualified. You must show that you do not have physical custody and that you are providing support for your children, no matter what part of the planet they live on.

  88. Cyd says:

    Hi, I am interested in joining the Navy. I actually started the process a little over a year ago. My recruiter and I couldn’t agree on a time for me to go to MEPS and I haven’t heard from him since. I’d left several messages, but never could reach him. I sort of lost hope then. However, I am more ready than ever now. I am 23, married with twin daughters. Would I require a waiver? And will I have to start my process from scratch? Also, I have no criminal background, but my husband does, that won’t effect me, right? I’ve been reading about debt to income ratio. What’s the limit? And to be clear it would include my husbands debt as well? Thank you. This blog is very informative.

  89. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you took the ASVAB, it is good for two years – if you have never been to MEPS, I am not sure what you mean about starting from scratch again, as you never got bast scratch the first time :)

    Yes, you will require a dependency waiver, your husband’s and your debt will both be considered as family debt. And no, your husbands criminal record will not have a bearing on your enlisting unless he is currently incarcerated.

    I don’t recall the maximum debt to income ratio; I am sure it has been tweaked over time, and you would more than likely figure it wrong and be miss lead if I gave you a number – not that you couldn’t do the math correctly, it is just that the income and debt numbers you would use would more than likely be wrong. Let the recruiter figure this out, but you can have all your know debt/expenses on paper before you get to him/her.

  90. Cyd says:

    Thanks so much!

  91. Dre says:

    I just filed Bankruptcy last march and my 341 meeting with creditors (Informal court hearing ) will be this month of May and will wait for my discharged for my debts after 60 days.I will be shipping out for Bootcamp on July i am coming with a non clearance rating. I told my recruiter about everything the filing, the hearing the discharged time frame all about the bankruptcy and HE SAID i should be okay as long i tell them at Bootcamp and remember my filing date. Just to make it sure, do i need any waiver before i ship out or any paperwork to change on my appliction? Or financial statement ? What will they ask me during boot? I disclosed this with my recruiter and put it in my monthy DEP cerf. I notify my recruiter as early as possible during navy DEP my filing was inevitable due to failed business venture. Will i be discharged or will they let me continue.

    Thank you


  92. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You will need a letter stating that you don’t need to attend any further court proceedings; that letter must be submitted to gain approval that you can ship off (if the court proceedings are not finalized at least 30 days before you ship).

    You tell them at MEPS before you go, you do not wait until you get to boot-camp. As a matter of fact, make sure you continue to document it on your DEP recertification form that you fill out each month. You should be okay, but it has got to be documented – more sooner than later – I am sure he has notified his chain of command, but if he has yet to do it, insist that he does. Nobody likes surprises!

  93. scott says:

    I’m three months away from boot camp, my fiancée just told me she is pregnant, what willl happen when I tell my recruiter? Will I be kicked out?

  94. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The recruiting station would inform the local district of the additional dependent, and if you require a dependency waiver (you have another dependent besides the new baby that is on the way), then that waiver would be processed. If the baby is due after you ship to boot-camp, then you will ship on your normal date and after the baby is born you will need to get the proper documentation together to claim dependency (child support order, etc.). If the baby is born before you ship, you will need to get the child’s SSN number, birth certificate, custody documentation and child support order together before you can ship.


  95. Manny says:

    Hello, kinda similar to the above comment by Scott, I am about 108 days away from shipping out to boot camp and my wife and I just found out we are going to be parents! As excited as I am I contacted my recruiter and told him the situation. He told me to come into the office and we will get started on the paperwork. He also mentioned not to sweat it to much as the waiver for married couples usually has a better outcome. From what I know we will have to have an interview and fill out another financial statement which is fine as we are very comfortable with money now and we will be making a bit more with E-3 military pay. I just wanted to get you opinion on how long and how difficult getting a dependency waiver is. Thank you and any answers would be appreciated.

  96. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Assuming it is your first child and you will ultimately have just the two dependents (wife and child), then the waiver should take really no time at all and be a no brainer as long as your debt to income ratio is within expectations.

    If you now have more than two dependents, and the waiver has to go to CNRC for approval, then it will take a lot longer to get a response.

  97. Kelvin says:

    Hey I have a question I’m 28 divorced with 3 kids, does that make me I eligible for the navy

  98. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you have physical custody of the children, then you are not eligible for active duty; if you do not have physical custody, then you would require a waiver by Navy Recruiting Command – if your divorce decree does not address custody and child support, then you will need additional documentation that does.

  99. Kelvin says:

    No I don’t have custody and I’m not on child support either

  100. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you have 3 minor dependent children that you do not have physical custody of, then you will need to demonstrate, with court documents, that you pay child support for each child.

  101. Kelvin says:

    Ok thanks

  102. Shai says:

    Hi, I wanted to know if I am able to rejoin the navy in a different rate? I was phased out due to overmanned rate ABF. I have never been in trouble and have both my pins.

  103. NCCM(Ret) says:


    My recent understanding is that NAVET billets will be opening soon – if you qualify for an undermanned rating, your chances of getting back in are looking up. Go see a recruiter.

  104. Shai says:

    I just spoke with one and they said No time soon. So I guess I can go reserves for now and try to apply for FTS.

  105. stacy says:

    So from reading all of this if a person half 4 kids n married they are ineligible for the military.


    1. What if they had a degree that would help with the finances (would get paid more)?

    2. What if they got a divorce and started paying child support for kids would that be okay?

    3. Just so happen after he/she divorce later they remarry?

    It’s already hard to raise kids in this economy not knowing if you’re going to work day by day, how much harder can it be if you know you’re going to have steady income?

  106. NCCM(Ret) says:


    1. Having a degree would not matter; for enlistment, any more than 4 dependents is disqualifying.
    2. Having 4 dependents could receive waiver consideration – your debt to income ratio would be scrutinized.
    3. Divorcing to attempt to gain waiver consideration would be a fraudulent act.

    The military has dependency standards for enlistment to curb Servicemembers’ hardship that may affect a command’s ability to operate.

    There is no restriction on dependency if you are able to gain an officer commission (if you have a four year degree and are accepted).

  107. Tina says:

    My son is single and the father of two young children. He provides support for them without a court order. He does not have custody of them. Is he eligible to join the Navy? What documentation does he need?

    The recruiters are very vague about what he needs to do. They keep saying he needs a child support order. They have not explain the process and what an order will do.

  108. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Active Component single applicants, (male and female), who have dependents must have relinquished physical custody of dependents by court order. Absent a court order, a child support order awarded by the state that the child resides-in may be used to determine eligibility for enlistment. The court order or child support order (with appropriate official signature) is required prior to processing for enlistment.

    He must demonstrate via a court order that he does not have physical custody, and that he provides for the support of the child. Once he has that documentation, and if he is otherwise fully qualified, he will be considered for a dependency waiver – absent that documentation, he is not eligible to process.

    In a nut shell, he must demonstrate that the children will be taken care of during his enlistment via proper court documents.

  109. Jason says:

    I am considering enlisting because I was laid off 3 months ago ad I always wanted to serve our country. I am married with 3 children, one of which has a disability and gets SSI for that. I have about 3 months left of savings and I am currently getting the 400 from unemployment a week. Is it likely that I will getting denied or should I go through with the process to find out,if so will they deny me for reserves also?

  110. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You should contact your local recruiter. There is no way I can give you a solid answer because so much goes into it, from your ASVAB score, education, references, debt to income ratio, etc.

    If otherwise qualified, you would be eligible for consideration for both active or reserve.

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