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Navy has Enlistment Dependency Limits

Navy Dependency Waiver

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Published: January 7, 2011
Updated: February 13, 2019

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.

For the Navy Reserve only: a single parent with physical custody of a dependent is eligible provided the appropriate level waiver is granted (Waiver authority: 1-4 dependents, NRD).

Unmarried or Divorced
(NPS 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 – 3= NRD CO
4 or more = Ineligible
(NPS and PS)
Spouse only Eligible No waiver required
(NPS enlisting in pay grades E1 to E4 and PS enlisting in pay grades E1 to E4 with broken service)
Minor/non-minor dependents Eligible with appropriate level waiver 2 = No waiver required
3 – 4 NRD CO
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 – 5 NRD CO
6 or more = Ineligible
(PS enlisting under continuous service)
Minor/non-minor dependents Eligible No waiver required
NRD – Navy Recruiting District; PS – Prior Service; NPS – Non Prior Service

If one is required, the dependency waiver process starts with the 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. (Read policy update below concerning NAVCRUIT 1130/13)

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 projected military basic pay is at $1600 per month or more and your monthly expenditures total near to that amount. The absence of these additional expenses is even more noticeable when little or no savings and/or checking account balances are indicated. If there is a glaring issue, it is best to identify and correct those before joining as they could hinder your ability to deploy. Not being able to deploy could lead to discharge.

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.

Policy Update (Feb 2016): There has been a change to the dependency waiver matrix for those entering in pay grade E-1 through E-4. For married applicants with three dependents, a CNRC waiver is no longer required — the waiver is now just a local Navy Recruiting District waiver. Those with four dependents still require the CNRC level waiver, and those with five dependents remain ineligible for waiver consideration.

Policy Update (May 2016):: The waiver approval authority for all Dependency waivers has been fully delegated to each of the local Navy Recruiting District Commanding Officers. See waiver chart above for waiver authority matrix.

Policy Update (November 2017):: The Enlistee Financial Statement (NAVCRUIT 1130/13) is no longer required to be filled out; however, depending on the local requirements for waiver consideration, the financial information it defined is likely to still be required in another form (handwritten statement, etc.).

1,675 Responses to “Navy Dependency Waiver”

  1. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Unless you have a professional skill with years of supervisory experience that directly translates to a Navy enlisted job, you would not be able to enlist as an E-5. Without prior service or such a skill with experience (with ECM approval), the highest rank you can enlist in the Navy is as an E-3, and that would depend on whether you have enough college credits or other substantive history to qualify for it; or whether you enlist in a rating that comes with advanced paygrade.

    The maximum dependents you can have is four to enlist at less than an E-5. If your husband was able to reenlist, then you may be eligible for waiver consideration at that time because then you would be at the maximum of four.

  2. Chris says:

    Hi I am 31 years old. I am also married I do not have any biological Kids of my own but my wife has five three that live with us. Would I still be able to join the navy or would I need a waiver???

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:


    With six dependents, you would not be eligible for waiver consideration.

  4. Aj says:

    Hi, I’m 26, prior service with a total of 5 dependents. Will I be able to join?

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You could as long as you are eligible to reenlist in paygrade E-5 or above.

  6. Natalie says:

    Hi, got a question i want to join the Navy.
    i have two children ages 3 and 6, i have full custody and child support from my ex husband. how does that affect me joining?
    if i should decided to get married, my partner has child. hows that process affect me joining? do i need to legally adopt the child? to be able to claim him in the process?


  7. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The Navy is currently running a pilot program for single parents to join active duty. You would have to contact your local recruiter to see if you qualify for joining as a single parent.

    If you get married, then any and all dependents your new spouse has would count as your dependent for joining purposes — that does NOT mean that benefits would be allowed (for the new spouse, yes; for a child, it would depend, and that is a different process not completed by recruiting command). So, if you did get married, based on the limited information you provided, you would have four dependents — your two children, your spouse, and the spouse’s child. Four is the maximum dependents you can have, and a waiver would be required for them as stated in the article.

  8. Mike says:

    Question, I am currently active duty E6. Married, with 5 children. Would my wife be eligible to join the navy seeing as how our children are already under the Tricare umbrella?

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:


    She would not. For enlistment waiver purposes, all five children would count as her dependents — because you are on active duty, you would not count. If you were not on active duty, she would have six dependents for waiver purposes. I wish I had better news.

  10. Tiffany says:

    Me or my husband want to join the Navy we have no prior service and have 4 kids 15,14,12 & 10yrs old. Any reason we couldn’t get a wavier

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Individually, you each have five dependents. With five dependents, you would not be eligible for waiver consideration.

  12. Chris [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    I am unmarried I have 3 biological kids and 3 non biological kids. I am trying to go in as an Officer I have a B.S degree what are the stipulations on officers with kids?

  13. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Although the selection board may consider your dependency status, unlike for those enlisting, your dependents would not require a waiver or render you automatically ineligible.

  14. wiliam pa says:

    There are new updates on requirements I may not know. I am a veteran but my wife is looking to join the USNAVY but we have 4 kids. Can she join the navy? with 4 kids and I am a veteran (HUSBAND). and what is the 2020 age restriction?

  15. NCCM(Ret) says:

    William Pa,

    Only while serving on active duty would you not count as a dependent for enlistment purposes. With four children and yourself, she would not be eligible due to having five dependents.

    The maximum age for a non-prior service applicant is 39 years of age. The person must ship to boot-camp before their 40th birthday.

  16. C.W. says:

    I need advice on my situation. My fiance and I well she has two kids from previous relationship and together we only have one they are all going to be living with us and I’m joining to better our lives together and that was not an issue 10 years ago how should I go around this

  17. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you plan to be married, I advise you to get married before joining to let the military consider the waiver for the four dependents (spouse and three children).

    If you plan to join as a single parent, then you need to have court documents show the physical custody and child support arrangement.

  18. Ray says:

    I’m 30 years old engaged with 2 little girls 4,2 and 1 boy on the way.would like to know if I’m eligible to join the navy. It’s literally only my spouse and I taking care of the kids how would I be able to manage me Beijing away and my family being set.

  19. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It sounds like your fiance and children live with you meaning you both share physical custody of the children; as a single parent, you would not be eligible. You would be eligible for waiver consideration with four dependents once you get married. I highly recommend you contact your local Navy recrutier so he/she can go over the specifics in detail as they relate to your circumstance.

    Congratulations on the boy!!

  20. Michael says:

    I might be on the wrong place, but i am going back to meps for inspect after 4 months after my feet waiver approval. I’ve been going back two times to meps for consults since my initial exam on dec and i remember the faces of each staff working there lol. What does the inspect consists of? Do i have to go through all the exams? Because it’s been 4 months since my initial.

  21. NCCM(Ret) says:


    An inspection physical is required if you return to MEPS after 30 days of your full MEPS physical exam, and again each time you return to MEPS if 30 days has passed from your last physical inspection. The inspect checks height and weight; to see if anything has changed from your last visit (a series of questions — not an exam unless required); and if female, a pregnancy check.

  22. Michael says:

    i see. So there will be no duck walk, eye, urine or blood test?

  23. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Correct, unless your health has changed since the physical — if that is the case, they would expect the medical records in advance of your next visit.

  24. Christian says:

    Good morning,
    Today I found out that my wife is pregnant and a few months in. I am in DEP already but this is going to be our fourth child and I am not sure where I fall on this issue. Am I going to be booted out of DEP and the Navy for having 5 dependents?

  25. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A dependency waiver for five dependents is not authorized, so they would have to discharge you.

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Unless otherwise noted, content written by Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(RET).

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