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Navy has Enlistment Dependency Limits

Navy Dependency Waiver

Updated: October 12, 2017

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.

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.

1,499 Responses to “Navy Dependency Waiver”

  1. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Do you mean already in Navy DEP, or has that someone already shipped to boot-camp? Either way, it would not be something that would keep a person from transferring to an overseas location (this single person would not have physical custody of the child).

  2. Dan says:

    Hello, I am pursuing the DPEP program for MA and enlisting as a E-5 or E-6 in the reserves. I am married and have 3 minor children. Will this present any problems for me and through DEERS?

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A waiver for four dependents (spouse and three children) is possible regardless of the level of pay-grade you may enlist or affiliate.

  4. Dan says:

    Thanks for the prompt reply. My recruiter is telling me the maximum is four dependents, however the chart provided States otherwise. Is there something official that I can reference or cite?

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The recruiting manual is the reference, but I don’t understand why you are having a problem if all you have is four dependents. If you have a fifth dependent, then you must enlist as an E-5 or higher, you would not be eligible. Getting approved for E-5 or higher under DPEP is a very difficult thing, you must have quite a bit of supervisory experience in the field — absent that, the ECM would not bother. But, again, if all you have is four dependents as you describe here, I don’t understand your problem.

  6. Meagan says:

    My husband has been in the Navy for 11 years, and may end up getting out within 3 years with high year tenure. We have 3 kids and I am considering joining if he is not able to stay in and retire with the Navy. Will I be eligible?

  7. Shakya says:

    I have two children and I’m getting a divorce and I will have my kids will be with me instead of their father can I still join the navy with two kids or no

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Based on the limited information, you would be eligible for enlistment with a Dependency waiver.

  9. Lee says:

    I am 39 years old and I want to join the Navy. I was enlisted in the Marine Corps and served my time. I got out under honorable conditions. In a few months I will have my doctorate degree. Could I still join? I want to go through direct commission. What would be the highest rank?

  10. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It would depend on the Navy officer program that you would qualify and apply — some have age limits of up to 42 years, and others much less. I have heard of medical doctors entering with an advanced pay grade, but I can’t say I have heard of other designators that may. You would need to talk to an officer recruiter for more specifics.

  11. angela [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    hello my husband and is considering going into the navy but was told by the navy recruiter that he couldn’t claim my son as a dependent because that was his natural son is this true and if so what can be done about this. thank you

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Because you are married, your son MUST be added to your husband’s application. The instructional guidance is clear — either there is a misunderstanding or his recruiter is just flat wrong. Whther or not your son will be considered a dependent for purposes of benefits is a separate matter not part of the recruiting process, but generally, he would get benefits (just cannot be guaranteed at enlistment). But, your son MUST be in your husband’s application, no exceptions.

  13. John says:

    I am currently married with two kids and wanting to enlist. My wife and I are considering getting a divorce. As long as I am technically married can I enlist before a judge actually signs the final decree for the divorce? Will I be able to change my status after boot camp and set up a family care plan? Does that include them being covered under Tricare? Thanks for your time

  14. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You are not eligible for active duty enlistment while pursuing a divorce when you have children. Once the divorce is final, and if your divorce papers indicate that you do not have physical custody, then you can join.

  15. John says:

    Thank you and thank you for your service, would the family care plan include my kids being covered under Tricare?

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A family care plan (FCP) is not something you would be getting because your children won’t be living with you if your wife has full physical custody of your children after the divorce. The FCP has absolutely nothing to do with benefits — it is a device used to determine that those who require it have a place for their children to live while the member is deployed — absent a care plan for those that must have it makes them not worldwide deployable and normally leads to discharge (when active duty). If you were to pursue the Navy Reserve as a single parent with custody of a child, then a FCP would be required for enlistment/affiliation.

    As part of the divorce, I assume, you will be obligated to pay child support; normally, your own children will be considered as your dependents eligible for benefits.

  17. Crissy says:

    My asvab score is 75 and I am a 30 year old single mother trying to enlist in Navy Reserves for CTI rate. I keep getting mixed answers on my kids coming with me after boot camp to my C school. it is over a year long. I am not married and never been married. Can they come and would I live off base in an apt? Is there a way to set this up prior to leaving next year? Trying to see all my options. It is frustrating, that as a single mom, I cannot serve my country and pursue my dream as a CTI without a huge amount of road blocks. :( Hoping for the best!

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I am asking the question about PCS move for those in the Reserve, and when I get that answer, I will post it here; however, unless something has changed, I thought CTI to be only an active duty program — has your recruiter checked to see if CTI is possible for entry level into the Reserve? And, whether or not you would be ASVAB line-score eligible for CTI to be able to take the required DLAB?

  19. Mikaela says:

    I’m 25 married with three kids. I’m currently a nursing major and I’m considering joining when I get into the actual nursing program. I want to try join the nursing candidate program do I have to need to dependents? I believe if I get accepted I’d join as an officer.

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Your question, “do I have to need to dependents?” I am not fully sure of what you are asking. Yes, you must list your dependents as part of your application. If you are applying to an officer program, you will not require a waiver for them.

  21. Mikaela says:

    Sorry. I apparently didn’t proof read. Haha! It was “do I have too many dependants”. That equals 4 dependants. There isn’t much info out there on this topic. Thank you!

  22. Tony says:

    I am taking steps toward joining the navy. I am a father to a 16 month boy, I currently am still in a relationship with the mother but have no intentions of getting married for various reasons. My question is if I give the mother total custody will my son still receive the benefits that the Navy has to offer?

  23. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You cannot have custody of a child while single and join the Navy. Custody is NOT dependency — a child can still be your dependent when you do not have physical custody. Also, just because a child is listed as a dependent on your application, it does not necessarily mean that benefits would be forthcoming for the child. Whether or not a child will receive benefits is not decided by recruiting command. The Navy may require that you prove paternity (if born out of wedlock) before benefits will be afforded.

  24. Tony says:

    I appreciate your response sir. I just need to know the correct steps I should take in order to insure that I will be eligible for active duty considering my situation.

  25. Tony says:

    So as long as my son is not under my custody by court order. Would I still be able to claim him as a dependent upon enlisting and be eligible for active duty under the US NAVY?

  26. Bob [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Hello I have just been listed in the US Navy and I am going for a s.o. contract I have a baby on the way and I was advised by my recruiter to not sign the birth certificate for my unborn child but I will be present for the birth of my child but soon after I’ll be sent off to boot camp for training. My recruiter has advised me to put my child down as my dependent but has also advised me to not sign the birth certificate my question is is this a true statement can I or can I not sign my child’s birth certificate before going off to training the day my child is born thanks so much sincerely Bob

  27. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Sign the birth certificate if it is your child. Once the baby is born, immediately go to the court and obtain a child support order. It is ridiculous what you are being advised. Do things right the first time. If you don’t insure your child is claimed by you in the beginning, and you fail to get the support order, then you may have to go through the additional steps of proving the child is yours via a paternity test. Additionally, in doing so brings up the question as to why you withheld the information — don’t put yourself in that predicament. The worst case is, if the baby is born before you leave for boot-camp, you may have to be rolled out the period of time it takes to get the support order — those don’t take mush time, really.

    Again, ridiculous.

  28. Peyton says:

    Hi, I’m married with no kids, my wife is on a long vacation out of country. She would refuse to sign the enlistee financial statement anyway, because she doesn’t want me to join the military. There is no way to convince her to sign, but I know she would support me eventually after I sign the contract. If I fill the form without her signature, do I need to tell the reason or need proof for it?

    By the way, is there any more paperwork that needs her signature on? Thank you sir

  29. NCCM(Ret) says:


    When she refuses to sign after a discussion with the recruiter, that would be annotated on the financial statement (you cannot just join without her knowledge — she does not have to sign the document). Also, you must provide her SSN verification (SSN card or a print out from the SSA), birth certificate, your marriage license, etc before you can proceed.

  30. Peyton says:


    In case she refuses to sign, will it be an issue for me later on (security clearance, choosing station)? I assume she is still able to receive the military’s benefit even though she doesn’t sign the paperwork, is it correct?

  31. John says:

    I want to claim my nephew as dependent because my sister is currently not working because she has to watch the kid and my brother-in-law is not making enough to support the family. They live in China. What do I need to do or where do I start the process if I’m able to? I’m single with no dependent, been in for 3 years and currently E-4 right now.

  32. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You would have to ask your personnel office, but beyond adopting the child, I can’t think of a way.

  33. Martina says:

    Not a dependent waiver question, but one about dependents in general. Can children be on more than one DEERS? My ex is in the AF, my 2 sons are obviously in his DEERS and have been for a while but they live with me full time. If my current husband joins the navy, do they count as his dependents despite this? If so, would this leave them being on both persons DEERS? Hope this made sense, and hope even more that you’re able to answer.

  34. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, of course, but that doesn’t equal with dependents rates for BAH. DFAS monitors all that to ensure adherence to policy.

    To whether or not your current husband must list and be accountable for your children; yes, for enlistment purposes, he does, but that does not mean that the children will gain benefit because of it. For enlistment, ALL potential dependents must be listed and considered — even if they are already listed as someone else’s dependent — even if they were your children and they didn’t live in the same country as you.

  35. Sarah says:

    I am a married mother of four and have been told that my husband will be the fifth dependent. Is there anyway to still enlist or am I out of luck? Any waivers or is there a way to sign over temporary custody? Thanks!

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Giving up temporary custody does not change dependency status. The child would have to be adopted by someone else or become an adult. No waivers are authorized for five dependents.

  37. Sarah says:

    My husband is not a US citizen. Does he have to count as a dependent or is their a way to exclude him?

  38. NCCM(Ret) says:


    He would count even if he lived apart from you in his home country. I wish I had better news.

  39. Sarah says:

    Thank you. We considered a divorce but we are filing for his citizenship so that could ruin that. If all of the children are not biologically his, do they still count as his dependent? I am wondering if he could join once he is a citizen.

  40. Heather says:

    I am currently in the DEP program and have 21 days til ship out for basic training. My fiancé and I were advised by our recruiter not to get married until after A school. This was fine until my fiancé recently lost her job due to her employer moving to another military station (she is a nanny). This puts us in a financial bind. If we were to get married now, would I simply update my status during PDays after shipping? Or would my ship date be delayed due to paperwork, etc. through my recruiter. Also, would I be at risk of losing my rating and/or having my ship date delayed?

  41. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you were to get married right now, then all that has to happen is you must provide her SSN card, your marriage license, and other required documents. You should have no problem having that completed before ship date. Are there children involved? If so, their documents would be required, too. And, if a waiver required, then that needs to be completed. No idea why a recruiter would advise someone to wait — it isn’t fair to the Navy nor the applicant.

  42. Heather says:

    She has a child, but he is from a previous marriage and is supported 50% by his biological father. I do not plan on claiming him as a dependent until or if his father’s responsibility is removed later in life.

  43. Heather says:

    What other required documents are needed? And is there a place for me to get these and have them completed to turn in to my local recruiter’s office. My recruiter is on leave due to a family emergency so I’m trying to do my best to gather any information I can during this time. Thank you for your help.

  44. NCCM(Ret) says:


    That is irrelevant. Once married, the child must be listed — even if the child does not live with you. It does not mean you would get additional BAH, but must be listed just the same. Also, if not listed, if the child lives with you, the child will not be made part of your transfer orders.

  45. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You will need the child’s birth certificate and SSN card. Do you not have the supervisor’s phone information? Is your recruiter the only point of contact you have?

  46. Heather says:

    Yes, sir. My recruiter responded via text now and told me to come in on Monday and speak to his boss. I’ll bring the documentation you recommended and will proceed forward then. Thank you again for all your information.

  47. Heather says:

    One more question: Will having her child listed require me to have a waiver now? The clarified question is, “Is he considered a 2nd dependent which will then require a waiver?” Perhaps that is why my recruiter encouraged me to wait.

  48. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Two dependents do not require a waiver. The waiver chart is part of the article for these comments.

  49. Dan R says:

    Hello, I have been a reservist for about 3 months now after utilizing the DPEP program and now a MA1. I have heard mixed things, but the question that I have is do I have to take a advancement exam to keep my current rank or am I exempt because of the DPEP program and the lengthy process that it took for me to enlist all over again?


  50. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Dan R.,

    I assume you are asking for when/if you make the move to active duty? If you are eligible to go from Reserve to Active, there is a billet available for your rate (rating and pay grade) and you meet the other requirements of MILPERSMAN 1306-1505, and you are selected at the pay grade for your rating via C-Way, then you would not be required to take an exam to maintain the pay grade and rating.

  51. Dan R says:

    Thank you for that information. To be more specific, I will not be transferring to the active component, and as for right now remain a reservist. So as a reservist would I have to take the exam to keep the rank of MA1 after taking advantage of the DPEP program or would I essentially be exempt?

  52. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Dan R.,

    I am asking around because I do not know for sure. When I get an answer, I will post it. In the meantime, I recommend having your CCC contact the SELRES ECM at (901)874-2914 if he/she doesn’t specifically know the answer.

  53. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Dan R.,

    I have been assured that once you complete the training pipeline and petty officer indoc, your rate becomes permanent. No advancement exam required.

  54. Leslie says:

    I am married and have two kids. What are the benefits for my family and I if I enlist for active duty . I am 27 years old. Will my family be with me?0

  55. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, after your initial schooling (boot-camp and the “A” school for your rating), unless you transfer to a remote location unaccompanied like Diego Garcia, your family will be allowed to transfer with you as part of your orders. The family’s move will be funded and paid for by the Navy.

    You will, of course, draw Basic Pay based on your pay grade and time in service along with other pays you may be eligible for like BAH.

    Your family members, after they are entered into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), will be issued a dependent identification card that will allow them to access military bases to use medical facilities (or use Tricare for off base medical); your family will be enrolled for dental insurance, too — there are co-pays, and yes, orthodontics are partly covered under the plan (it’s how we paid for my kids braces). They also have access to the commissaries and exchanges, golf courses, bowling alleys, and other forms of entertainment that may be on the various bases.

  56. Debbie says:

    I am currently married and looking to join the navy. We have 3 children under the age of 18 and we have 4 children that are above the age of 18 and live in their own place. Would the children that do not live with me be consider a dependent?

  57. NCCM(Ret) says:


    All children who are over the age of 18 who are claimed on your tax return would also count as dependents. In addition to all the other documents, you and your husband’s most recent tax returns (if not filing jointly) would be required.

  58. mkichel says:

    I have joint custody of our children wiith my ex-wife, will I be eligible to join the Navy

  59. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It would depend on the wording concerning the physical custody of the children in the divorce/custody papers. Bring them to a recruiter for review.

  60. Jeff says:

    I have 4 dependents (including spouse) I make a pretty comfortable living but want to serve my country and currently trying to join the Navy Reserve. My pay grade of E-3 does not cover my monthly expenses while at boot camp and A school. My wife is self employed and does reasonably well. $40,000 a year. For the family dependency form they want her pay stub however. Having no paystub as a freelance photographer. Will they consider this income? I also have close to $10,000 on hand and $30,000 in my 401k that I can take funds from if needed. My employer will pay me for any non voluntary deployment just not the initial training (boot camp). I have zero concerns about my financial obligations while training. Is a waiver possible with a self employed spouse. I can print a summary of her YTD deposits roughly $29,000 at this point. I have an expensive home which is throwing off my waiver but I make just under 7,000 net as a civilian. I guess the only concern would be not going bankrupt during boot camp. My A school is only 2 weeks long.

  61. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I would ask if completed contracts, copies of receipts of payments for services rendered, or a copy of last year’s tax return showing her income would be acceptable. Yes, they would consider that income.

  62. Kris says:

    A recruit is asking for more Dependent documents, not sure as to why (we can’t really talk for long), however, he said something with a case number or judge signature. He is not married, has 1 dependent via court. What exactly am I supposed to send?

  63. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The child support order.

  64. Henry says:

    Hello I am not married and I have 3 kids that I do not have court ordered custody of will I still be able to enlist in the navy ?

  65. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You would be required to show that you provide court ordered support for the children.

  66. Henry says:

    Thank you for responding but what if I was never married and I wasn’t ordered to pay child support ?

  67. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The court documents are required for enlistment. I suggest that you contact your local recruiter to ensure you get exactly the court support order you need for the state your children are in.

  68. Henry says:

    Okay so basically I would have to pay child support in order to enlist?

  69. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A court or child support order is required by all single active duty and Reserve applicants who have out of wedlock children prior to processing. The order must be from the state the child resides. That is per regulation.

  70. Henry says:

    Okay I understand this is my last question what if I have 3 kids that live with me and there mom together but we are not married ? Would i still need a court order ?

  71. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, of course. Without the order you are a single parent with physical custody of dependents, and you would not be eligible. What about getting married?

  72. Henry says:

    Okay I see and marriage is not a problem for me, so if I was married then all in would need is a waiver ?

  73. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As long as there are no other dependents involved — if your wife has additional children, then you would not be eligible because that would put you over the limit (cannot have more than four). As I said, I recommend that you sit down with a recruiter and ensure you are otherwise fully qualified (ASVAB score, education, conduct, etc.).

  74. Henry says:

    Thank you so much I really appreciate it.

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