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Navy has Enlistment Dependency Limits

Navy Dependency Waiver

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Published: January 7, 2011
Updated: November 21, 2020

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 ACTIVE DUTY
IF YOU ARE AND HAVE: THEN YOU ARE: NUMBER OF
DEPENDENTS AND
WAIVER LEVEL
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
Married
(NPS and PS)
Spouse only Eligible No waiver required
Married
(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
Married
(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
Married
(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 $1652 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.).



1,705 Responses to “Navy Dependency Waiver”


  1. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ashley,

    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:

    Chris,

    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:

    Aj,

    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?

    thanks.

  7. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Natalie,

    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:

    Mike,

    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:

    Tiffany,

    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:

    Chris,

    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:

    C.W.,

    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:

    Ray,

    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:

    Michael,

    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:

    Michael,

    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:

    Christian,

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

  26. Zach says:

    So I a have enlisted. And I’m worried because my wife wants to have third child if she gets pregnant will this effect my enlistment

  27. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Zach,

    The maximum number of dependents you can have and still potentially qualify to ship to boot-camp is four. Assuming you have yet to ship to boot-camp, and you have just three dependents (spouse and two children), if she gets pregnant, you will have four dependents. You must ensure that your records, specifically the dependency waiver, are updated to reflect the additional dependent as soon as you become aware.

  28. greg says:

    Son wants to join the Navy. Girlfriend is active duty and they have 1 child. Had lawyer draw up documents and those documents state, Mother has primary custody and they both have joint legal custody. Documents also state child support and paternity. Is there specific wording, we may need, so we can amend?

  29. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Greg,

    He should be able to take the current documents and have them reviewed; if they happen to be missing something, they may be able to tell him what that may be. Based on the limited info you provided, he may be fine.

  30. Melissa says:

    Hello!

    I want to join the navy as an officer. I am finishing up my bachelors now and going to grad school for masters or doctorate. I am 34 years old, married and have 5 children. My husband makes excellent money so we wouldn’t experience financial hardship by me joining. Would I be able to get a waiver?

  31. Jay says:

    I am actively looking at joining, completed almost everything except going to MEPS because I have to get docs in order for the waiver board. I am married with physical custody of three kids and another child that I have birth to but I have no physical custody, financial obligation or time with. His father has hin 365 and nothing illegal happened it was just the best interest of the child. My question is I have legal documents stating all that even documents stating who gets custody of the said child upon his father death, will the waiver board approve me at 4 dependents or do I have to have other legal documents in regards to said child?

  32. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Melissa,

    Officer programs does not have dependency restrictions.

  33. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Jay,

    Unless your four child was legally adopted leaving you with no legal claim to the child, you have five dependents based on what you wrote. A dependency waiver would not be authorized for five dependents.

  34. Ahmad says:

    I’m prior service (got out as an E-4 in the Navy) with 5 dependents, since then I have received my Bachelor’s Degree, what steps do I need to take to come back in as an Officer?

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ahmad,

    For Navy officer programs, you would have to contact an officer recrutier. Officer applicants do not have to meet the dependency requirements listed in this article.

  36. Crissy p says:

    Hi,
    I recently turned 31 years old in July. I’m married with one child, not biological to my husband. I have full custody of my child. I wanted to join the navy for years, but I wanted to at least enter with my bachelor’s degree. I will be completing my degree in December 2020. If I were to have another child in between, how would that work? Would I still be eligible to enlist? Enlisting in the Navy has been on my mind for some time now.

  37. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Crissy,

    Assuming your husband doesn’t have any children from previous relationships, you have two dependents (your child and husband). Joining would not be a problem due to dependency. If your husband does have children from other relationships, those would count as yours, too, for enlistment purposes.

  38. Crissy p says:

    Thank you so much!
    Your response was helpful.

  39. April [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Just curious to see if joining is a possibility. If a person has 4 years active duty , 5 children, and a college degree, and 39 years old are they eligible to enlist as an officer? Would the person need a waiver? Are they automatically disqualified due to age, dependents, etc. Spouse has a degree and a professional job.

  40. NCCM(Ret) says:

    April,

    Dependency is not a consideration for eligibility for commissioning programs. For age requirements, it depends on the Navy Officer program the person is applying to.

  41. Chante says:

    I am 27 year old mother of 4 children, I will soon be married I want to join the navy and become either an EOD or a navy seal, will I be able to join with my dependents. I heard my husband wouldn’t have to be claimed because I’m going active but I could be wrong.

  42. Chante says:

    I am 27 a mom of 4 and soon to be wife. Will I be able to join active duty to become an EOD or a seal? I heard I don’t have to claim my husband as a dependent if he has insurance already. But I could be wrong. I really want to became a navy seal but I also like EOD and I haven’t had any straight answers to what are my steps.

  43. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Chante,

    As a single parent, you would not be eligible for enlistment with four dependents; if you were married, you must claim him as a dependent unless he was already on active duty. If he is not on active duty, but is the father of the four children, he would also not be eligible.

  44. Luj says:

    My husband is active duty looking to do his 20 years. I am a Nursing Student who wants to join after obtaining my Bachelors degree, I am 29 now and will graduate by 30. We have four children, will I be able to enlist or go the officer route with a waiver due to having 4 children? My husband would still be active so he wouldn’t qualify as a dependent correct?

  45. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Luj,

    Being your husband is currently serving on active duty, he would not be counted as a dependant for enlistment purposes. An enlistment dependency waiver for four dependants is possible. For officer commissioning, there are no initial dependency restrictions.

  46. Jasmine says:

    So I took my asvab and got a 69 afqt, I have three children and a husband plus one child that I have no custody of and have no child support order. His father and i made the choice that he was thriving more with him. We have a court order that shows he has 365 days I have 0 and again no child support. His father even did an affidavit to state how we parent and what we do we have been doing this for five years. My paper work has now been sent for processing, do you think I will have any issues. The paper work even states that his parents will have custody if one or both of us parish again the judge signed off on all of this because we went into court in agreement.

  47. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Jasmine,

    For enlistment purposes, you still must count your child living elsewhere as a dependent. Who has custody, full time or not, is irrelevant.

  48. Jasmine says:

    Is my recruiter wasting my time then the NC1 said I shouldn’t have a problem but I dont know what to believe anymore because I have been told si many different things.

  49. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Jasmine,

    CNRC would have to read and consider the documents you have, but they don’t sound like they contain any provision that you have given up your parental rights — something that is usually transferred via an adoption. Have the NC1 submit what you have, but based on what you told me here, I think you may be counting the child in the dependency equation for enlistment purposes.

  50. Scar says:

    Hey, I been trying to figure out how the navy works , I am currently pregnant with my first child at 16 .my bf is 17 and will be going into the navy when he 18 after summer, I will already have delivered our child. I am wondering if I am not married to him will he be able to still continue to see his child ,or help me out with our child. Will I need to marry him in order for the navy to except the child and me? And I will be 17 once I give birth so I don’t think I can marry him in till I’m 18 but will I have to struggle with no help from him financially?

  51. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Scar,

    His name should appear on the birth certificate, and once the child is born, ensure there is a child support order — one that describes the physical custody arrangement. He would need that to join. I recommend he make an appointment for the both of you to sit down with a recruiter to discuss further specifics.

  52. Shanell says:

    Hello. I’m 26 years old and currently have two children from a previous marriage. I’m currently married to an Army Reserves soldier and we are expecting our third. Am I eligible to enlist? I was hoping to go for HM since I have 6 years of experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant or a Yeoman but at this point I just want to get my foot in the door.

  53. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Shanell,

    You are not be eligible for consideration with more than four dependents.

  54. Rafael says:

    Hi so I have 3 children from previous relationship never married I’m trying to enlist active duty. My recruiter told me I would need to sign over custody and wait 90 days unless I got married ? I do have a girlfriend and it’s a possibility but she has 4 kids aswell from a previous relationship. Would I need to claim her children as dependents if we marry ? They all are under the age of 18.

  55. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Rafael,

    Yes, when married, in addition to your own children, you would claim her and her children as dependents for enlistment purposes. The option your recruiter suggested appears to be your only option at this point. If you do transfer physical custody, ensure the order also provides for child support.

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

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