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Other Service Veterans Enlisting Navy

OSVET Enlisting Rules

Updated: January 27, 2016

With the Army recently announcing a reduction in force, and due to the fact many have inquired over the years how an other service Veteran (OSVET) of another service can join the Navy, it is time to put the very basics out there on how to accomplish that. The information is taken from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command Instruction 1130.8J (Change 8), and as new policy updates occur, the information in this post will be updated to match it.

For the purposes of Navy enlistment, what exactly is an OSVET? According to OPNAVINST 1100.4, an OSVET is an applicant whose last tour of active duty or active duty for training was in a branch of service other than the United States Navy. The applicant has been discharged or released for more than 24 hours and completed a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks of active duty and active duty for training (including boot-camp). If the applicant has less than the minimum 12 weeks, they are considered to be non-prior service for this purpose.

An OSVET must meet the basic eligibility requirements for general enlistment to include passing the physical to the accession standards.

An OSVET must qualify for a rating or program that is critically undermanned per the most current Career/Reenlistment Objectives (CREO) listing. The qualification is based on ASVAB line scores that are less than two years old.

An OSVET’s prior service must be properly documented on an original or certified copy of the Department of Defense Form 214 (DD Form 214) copy 4. The applicant must meet the Reenlistment Code (RE) eligibility requirements. Many RE codes do require a waiver, and some are outright ineligible for consideration.

OSVETs discharged in paygrades E1 through E3 cannot have more than five years broken service; those discharged in paygrades E4 through E6 cannot have more than six years broken service.

Applicants who were discharged in pay grades E-1 through E-4 must have six or fewer years of prior service. Those discharged in pay grade E-5 must have 10 or fewer years, and if discharged in pay grade E-6, 14 years of prior service is the maximum. Navy High Year Tenure (HYT) limits do not apply for E-4 and below OSVETs unless the OSVET has served in the Navy previously.

For E-5 and above, all prior active military service will be used to compute the HYT limit.

OSVETs separated with severance pay, whether voluntary or involuntary, are eligible for reenlistment and will have their severance pay recouped from future retirement monies.

OSVETs are not required to attend Navy boot-camp but are required to complete a Naval Orientation Course at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes in Great Lakes, Illinois.

Those are the very basics for enlisting into the Navy as an OSVET, but keep in mind, the process can be cumbersome, and the Navy MUST also have an opening for one with prior service — these openings are limited, so have patience. See your local Navy recruiter for greater details about the program requirements and availability and how they would affect you specifically.

39 Responses to “OSVET Enlisting Rules”

  1. Joshua [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Can one still retire at 20 years total military service regardless if, for example 5 years Marines and 15 Navy?
    Or do you have to do 20 Navy regardless.
    Is there a Navy Instruction that references these rules

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It is a total of your military time, and the combination of where you served that time doesn’t matter. You could do five years in the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines and it would count the same as if you did all 20 in just one service. It is the law, not an instruction.

  3. Nathan says:

    Do you know or have any info on which jobs the Navy currently considers critically undermanned?

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The active duty Navy used to publicly publish what was called a CREO list, but now they use the C-Way program which is only accessible with access — I do not have that access, so I cannot give you an answer.

  5. Nathan says:

    Oh ok makes sense thanks anyway though.

  6. Paolo says:

    So even a prior service applicant will have to take a new ASVAB? If i get out with 6 years of service and attempt to join the navy, i cannot use the ASVAB i used to enlist in the Army?

  7. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Correct. You must ASVAB line score qualify for the rating you are applying; similarly, prior Navy personnel must retake the ASVAB unless they are reenlisting in their previous rating.

  8. JJ says:


    I’m a prior service Marine enlisting in the Navy reserve and about to sign a contract for IS within the next 24 hours likely. Before I do, however, I wanted to do a little fact checking. I know it’s a tad late, but really I was going to re-enlist somehow anyway. So I guess I’m looking more for peace of mind.

    My sole want behind going Navy was for the EOD program – active duty. It came as a shock to me that not only was I going to have to enlist in the reserve as a prior service vet to even get in, but that there were no EOD reserve opportunities available (according to my recruiter at that time) but that it would essentially be a cinch once I swore into the reserves. Is this true? My understanding is that the Navy only has rates available that are undermanned. So why would they accept a package whatnot to go active duty for a rate that wasn’t even an option in the reserve?
    I ask this only because my recruiter, while having been exceptional working with me, has not been doing the job that long. I just want to feel like I’m getting all the correct information.
    I have a near perfect ASVAB and I’m well above the minimum requirements for the PST, but I’m 29 and the clocks ticking. Do I even have a snow balls chance in hell? Is there anyway to get an edge?

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I do not know what the individual rating availabilities are, but I will tell you that only expect to be what you affiliate for. Do not join thinking you will be changing your rating anytime soon — in your case, only expect to be an IS; similarly, don’t expect to move to active duty anytime soon — if there was an opening, they would have put you in it. Once in the Reserve, it is up to your reserve center CO to release you, and of course, an opening must be available.

    Go forward thinking your chances are the same as the snowball’s — and consider any improvement on the snowball’s chances in the future a bonus.

  10. JJ says:

    Roger. That’s all I needed to hear. Thank you for your time.

  11. josh says:

    I am an Army reservist currently, i was active Army approximately 1 year ago, i served 3 years active infantry. I am on a mission to become a Navy SEAL. It has been a dream and goal of mine for sometime now I just never actually pursued it. The biggest problem i am running into is the need for a conditional release from my current reserves unit. I was supposed to re class MOS’s but its been a full year and may be 2 more years before they even have an available slot for me. So I need assistance in getting the proper paper work for that. I also am having trouble getting into to touch with a recruiter here in Colorado.

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The Navy can do nothing to push or help your process of gaining the approval via the DD-368 you need. All the recruiter can do is drop it off and hope they sign it. Were you on a three year contract while on active duty, or did you discharge early? And, if you did discharge early, what was the reason — what is your RE-Code?

    As far as finding a local recruiter in Colorado, have you called the office closest to you? If you do not know the phone number, send me via email your zip code and I can obtain it for you.

  13. Rea says:

    Hello Sir,

    I’m a prior service who served in the Army for 3 years. I just left the service 2 years ago with RE-code 3. I read from the links from here that RE-code 3 (parenthood) is ineligible without a waiver from the commander of recruiting command, which gives me a little bit of hope. I’m a healthcare specialist in the Army equivalent to Hospital Corpsmen in the Navy. I am considering to return to military service and have few questions. When I left the service, I came back to school and finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. I am interested to join AD Navy Nurse Corp. Do you know if there’s a signing bonus or retention bonus for nurses? (specifically, Critical Care Nurses). As far as my basic pay grade goes, will my pay grade be O-1 with over 3 years of service when I get commissioned? I really wanted to go back and serve again, but I’m trying to calculate if I can afford to take the pay cut once I rejoin. Also, reading from the article above, I have to retake ASVAB?


  14. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I am not aware of any bonuses for nurses. Yes, your prior enlisted time counts toward longevity for basic pay. Officer programs do not require an ASVAB score.

  15. CARLOS [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    So I was a prior Navy Active Duty (GM2), I decide to finish my contract and go to the civilian life to finish college. I finish my associates and the Federal Law Enforcement Training academy under the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. Now I want to come back into Active Duty Navy for SWCC or SB, but for some reason every Recruiter is been turning me around to go and talk to a Prior Service Recruiter who also told me to go and talk to a AD Recruiter. If the SF community is hurting in trying to bring in candidates, Why is it so hard to come back in?

    Im 27 years old. Never had a NJP or UCMJ charge. My RE code is 1. Stated on my Memeber 4 of my DD214. Finally, I want to re join as a SB, but I can’t find the help I need.

    Any help is highly appreciated. Thank you.

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The RE-code and type of discharge is only part of it. This page you are asking your question on is for Other Service Vets, you are a NAVET; the basic rules are on this page.

    How long have you been out? How long were you in? If you meet the basic requirements on that page, then while standing at your recruiter’s desk, have him call the NRD PS recruiter and Warrior Challenge recruiter — demand a path to application and guidance. If they cannot help you and you meet the basics, it could be that NAVET billets are used up for the year (not sure why they would not tell you that), but someone should be able to give you specifics.

  17. CARLOS [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Well, the reason I came to you guys is beacause when I got out, I joined the Army Reserves in the mean time while I was doing my college. So I think I am considered a prior service from another branch. I got out of Active in April 2013. Still in the Army Reserves until 2019, but I know I can get a DD Form 368 (Conditional Release) with the intent to go back active.

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You are a NAVET.

  19. CARLOS [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Ok. So then I should be able to walk in to a recruiter and talk to them right?

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Of course you can talk, but you cannot start any processing until you have your conditional release (the 368).

  21. CARLOS [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    I understand. Thank you very much.

  22. .......... says:

    Can anyone explain to me how STATE service in an Army National Guard unit is calculated for an OSVET’s ADSD? Every regulation I’ve seen mentions FEDERAL service and normal (non-actived) national guard time is not federal service. Infact, you are stripped of those state awards you receive if you return to federal service.

  23. NCCM(Ret) says:


    After you attended basic and any follow-on schools, you were then issued a DD-214. That document states what periods of active military your service has been. When you get your NGB-22, that will show your Guard time.

  24. Tolbert says:

    my first choice for the enlisting was the navy, I ended up joining the army instead because the recruiters were more helpful….,,,. A couple of years in and one year away from ets-ing. I’m really interested in joining the navy , is it possible to go active duty as an OSVET or is the reserves my only option ? And how difficult is it to enlist as prior service ?

  25. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you are still in the Army, I advise you to stay if you plan on the military as a career. If you get out, there is no way of knowing if you can get back in — the opportunities change regularly and are unpredictable. OSVET is a classification — not a program per se. You would be a prior service OSVET when attempting to join anything other than the Army. You would be able to join either the Reserve or active duty if otherwise qualified and an opening exists.

  26. Caira says:


    Im an Army vet with who is in the process of joining the Active Navy as an OSVET. I know I have to take a PRT at RTC Great Lakes, but will I also be required to take a PRT once at my A-school? Also what can I expect while taking the refresher course? And how long can I expect to be there?

  27. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Expect to take the PRT while in-processing, and if while in A school you happen to be there when the Navy wide PRT is scheduled, then you will take it then, too. Expect the in-processing/indoc to take about two months (I do not recall the actual length of the indoc course for an OSVET, but it isn’t very long as compared to boot-camp itself) — not only the course, but you will be waiting for the actual A school orders to be written based on whatever your class convening date will be. You will get fitted for uniforms, and learn proper wear; you will learn everything from rank structure to basic shipboard stuff.

  28. Chaoe says:

    Good morning,

    I was discharged one week before a 14week OUST graduation for Infantry, I was discharged for adjustment disorder. I was wanting to know if I could enlist through OSVET, would I have to go through BCMR to change “adjustment disorder” to “anxiety due to other medical condition?” I currently have on my DD214—RE 3 JFV

  29. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Changing your separation code would not change anything — you would still require a RE-code waiver and the facts concening the discharge would be considered. RE-code waivers are very difficult to get because there are currently no problems finding enough people that have not already had a shot at serving and were not able to complete their enlistment. Keep in touch with your local recrutier, and if an opportunity arises, he or she may process you.

  30. John B says:

    I am just looking for clarification after reading through some NAVET/OSVET information.

    I was enlisted on active duty Navy from ’05-’09. I am currently enlisted in the Air National Guard until Jan ’18. I’ve completed 2 deployments while in the ANG, which counts as “active duty time.”

    Does that mean my last active duty service time is considered the ANG and I’d be an OSVET, or does it revert back to my Navy enlistment and I’d be a NAVET? (I read earlier replies on this page from Carlos, who seemed to be in a similar situation and you said he’s a NAVET, but I don’t know if he had any active deployments in the Army Reserves like I did in the ANG)

    Just want to make sure I’m 100% clear on it.

  31. NCCM(Ret) says:

    John B.,

    If you served in the Navy previously, you are a NAVET.

    For instance, “Navy High Year Tenure (HYT) limits do not apply for E-4 and below OSVETs unless the OSVET has served in the Navy previously.”

  32. Jeff says:

    Thank you for all of your previous OSVET help. We corresponded on page 25 of the “Basic Requirements” page. I started the active duty process in July and right away, my recruiter was adamant I had to ship before age 35. Finally, two weeks ago he figured out OSVET’s could be 40 years old. Soon my re-3 code was given a waiver and my packet sent to the ECM. So there is the update on all that.

    My issue is with the ECM part of the equation. I understand we have to qualify for an undermanned rating, does that mean we are confined to enlisting in those ratings?

    The second issue is that he said the packet goes to the “head ECM of the Navy”. I asked him if he meant the ECM of a specific rating. He said no “the overall ECM”. Is this true? I checked boxes saying electronics, computers and intel but never filled paperwork stating a specific rating. Was I supposed to pick one or three ratings for those ECM’s to look at? I’m trying to get a sense of where my packet went.

  33. Jeff says:

    Good evening,

    Fortunately or unfortunately I found an answer to my last question.

    Thursday the 6th I went to MEPS to pick a job, only to find out my ECM rating request packet was never sent. I did in fact have to submit five ratings of interest. I did that and it was sent Friday. I was informed this morning that I am ineligible for all intel ratings because I didn’t finish my intel school in the Army. I didn’t fail the school and I still retain my clearance. I was told I could cross rate into intel later on. Also, I was told I don’t have to submit another ECM packet, just pick a job.

    Does any of this sound realistic? I can’t enlist into any of the eight intel ratings because I didn’t finish intel school? If I’m ineligible now, why would they let me cross rate later? Can one ECM speak for all eight ratings? I needed a packet for these ratings but not for other ratings? This all sounds fishy. Two week days must be a record for an ECM determination. Do I have any recourse?

  34. Randy says:

    Good Afternoon,

    I am currently AD Marines and am looking to enlist into the Navy once my contract is up at the end of this year. Can I go straight into Active Duty Navy? Or will I go into the Navy Reserves? I have a color deficiency, but I have looked everywhere online and can only find that I can’t do anything with aviation or special forces.. Are there any other options I cannot do? I was thinking about Corpsman with FMF since I am quite familiar with how Marines work. Will I have to retake the ASVAB? I just want to get an idea of what type of answers I’ll be getting when I call the recruiter.

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:


    There are numerous ratings you cannot do if you are color blind. On each of the Navy rating pages there is a qualifications section; in that section I annotate if you must have normal color perception or not.

    To whether a rating or program will be available when you decide to affiliate with the Reserve, there will be no way of knowing that until you get to that point. I do not recommend getting out of the Marine Corps with you believing that you can just walk in and join the Navy — prior service openings are not numerous, and they can be very picky about who they take. If you are stateside, go see an active duty recruiter and sit down and discuss options and procedures. Too many folks get out of one service thinking they can walk in and join another, and they get hit with reality then have to start researching plan B. Limit your risk — go start dialog.

  36. Leighton says:

    I’m currently in the process of talking to a Navy recruiter for AD. I’ve got 5 years in AD (Marines) and 6 years in the Army Reserve. Is there still the long wait time for a PS to go AD? I’m interested in CTN/CTR/IT, or something like that.

  37. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The wait will always seem long because of the process — especially if the rating Enlisted Community Manager must weigh in.

  38. Larry says:

    Can a service member carry over leave earned while in the Army to the Navy? What instruction can I find this answer in?

  39. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you have been discharged, then your leave account would have been settled. I know of no provision that allows what you suggest.

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