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Navy Waiver for Positive MEPS DAT

Navy Positive MEPS Drug Test Waiver

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Published: March 26, 2021
Updated: March 26, 2021

It was about 16 years ago that the Navy initiated an enlistment ban for any applicant from any branch of service who failed the drug portion of the MEPS Drug and Alcohol Test (DAT). The DAT test is administered to every applicant processing through MEPS for their initial physical. After the Navy, eventually, the other branches of service followed suit. All the way back in 2005, the ban was instituted for those who tested positive for drugs because of the high in-service discharge rate for those who had recieved a DAT waiver.

The Navy, effective, April 1, 2021, will lift the ban on enlistment for those who previously tested positive for marijuana (if the failure was due to ANY other drug, the ban remains with NO waiver authorized). The lifting of the ban will be for a two year period. During that period, data will be collected to ensure the Navy does not have to reinstate the ban for the same reasons it was created in the first place. The applicant will require a waiver for enlistment, and the waiver must be ultimately approved by Navy Recruiting Command (NRC).

The steps and documentation required for consideration is the following:

  1. A minimum of 90 days must have passed from the date of the positive DAT.
  2. The DAT result after the 90 days had passed must show a passing result.
  3. The applicant must submit a written statement explaining the circumstances around the marijuana usage.
  4. The applicant’s MEPS physical must be fully cleared and not considered as drug dependent.
  5. The local recruiter will complete an enlistment application with all required documentation.
  6. The local Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) commanding officer must provide a positive endorsement which describes the applicant’s potential for further service.
  7. The waiver documentation will be forwarded to the Region headquarters for an endorsement.
  8. Navy Recruiting Command will then consider the waiver upon receipt from the Region.

So, understand that this is not a fast process. Do not expect to walk into your local Navy recruiting station and be able to join and ship to boot-camp with in a week. It will take time! And, as you should expect, if the one fails the MEPS DAT Test a second time, the ban on enlistment will continue!

Over the years, I had countless inquiries about the enlistment ban. I held out some hope that someday this opportunity would once again present itself; frankly, I doubted it would ever happen. I am happy to hear a waiver is once again possible.

Don’t screw this opportunity up!

5 Responses to “Navy Positive MEPS Drug Test Waiver”

  1. Kp says:

    Am I correct in assuming this is for MEPs failures and first enlistment terms? I’m prior service army and was told by navy recruiting there are no waivers for prior.

    Adding your first comment for context: “I was given a general under honorable for weed on UA and as far as I know an R3 code. That was in 2017, do I have a chance with the navy?”

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No, the drug test waiver is only for those who failed the MEPS DAT for MJ, but that doesn’t mean they may not entertain it. I do not think the likelihood of your waiver being submitted for consideration is very good, but if you indeed have an RE-3, I suspect and RE-3J, then maybe? If it is an RE-4, you are not eligible at all.

  3. RW says:

    Any knowledge as to what ratings may be unavailable for someone applying through this DAT waiver program?

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The DAT waiver by itself would not exclude you from any additional jobs.

  5. RW says:

    Thanks Chief! Appreciate the response and the wealth of information on your site. Helps a lot for all future and current sailors.

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

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