Navy Enlistment Dependency Requirements

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.

Because Navy Recruiting Command may require the labeling and listing of a person as a dependent, it does not apply to entitlement of pay and allowances, medical care, exchange and commissary privileges, or other benefits. Such determinations are made only after accession (shipping to boot-camp) or Reserve affiliation.

Navy Dependency Waiver Limits

The United States Navy dependency waiver limits are for general enlistment to the Active and Reserve components. These dependent limits do not extend beyond the enlisting or affiliation process.

You can use the charts, Active Duty of Reserve, below to determine your potential eligibility based on the current instructions.

Active Duty Navy Enlistment Dependent Limits
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 Eligible with appropriate level waiver 1-2= CNRC
3 or more = Ineligible
No custody of dependents Eligible with appropriate level waiver 1-2= NTAG CO
3 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 (max 2 minors) = NTAG CO
4 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 1 - 3 (max 2 minors) = Eligible
4 - 5 (max 2 minors) NTAG CO
6 or more = Ineligible
Married
(PS enlisting under continuous service)
Minor/non-minor dependents Eligible No waiver required
CNRC - Commander, Navy Recruiting Command; NTAG - Navy Talent Acquisition Group; PS - Prior Service; NPS - Non Prior Service
Navy Reserve Affiliation Dependent Limits
FOR NAVY RESERVE COMPONENT
IF YOU ARE AND HAVE: THEN YOU ARE: NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS AND WAIVER LEVEL
Unmarried or Divorced
(NPS and PS)

Note: FTS programs must meet AC dependency requirements
No dependents Eligible No waiver required
Dependents Eligible with appropriate level waiver 1-3 (Max 2 Minors)= CNRC
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 1-2 = No waiver required
3-4 (max 2 minors) = NTAG 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 1-3 (max 2 minors) = No waiver required
4-5 (max 2 minors) NTAG CO
6 or more = Ineligible
Married
(PS enlisting under continuous service)
Minor/non-minor dependents Eligible No waiver required
NTAG - Navy Talent Acquisition Group; PS - Prior Service; NPS - Non Prior Service

For enlistment and affiliation purposes, a divorce decree or adoption decree verifies a change of custody, not dependency.

Active Duty single applicants, (male and female), who have dependents must have relinquished physical custody of dependents by court order (see Policy Update below concerning single applicants with dependents).

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.

All dependency waiver requests will be accompanied by the applicant's personal statement regarding plans for post-accession care of minor dependents. This may include, but not limited to, plans for geriatric care, special education, rehabilitation and other miscellaneous social related requirements, etc.

For applicants who have filed for divorce proceedings, the potential exists that they will be granted custody of dependents or be required to provide support for the previous spouse or dependents. The uncertainty surrounding future custody and financial support requirements, waivers will not be considered until all proceedings are final. Applicants should be informed that without a written, formal settlement, e.g., final divorce decree or its equivalent, etc., a waiver will not be considered.

Navy Veterans (NAVETs) or Other Service Veterans (OSVETs) with RE-R1 or RE-1 re-enlistment codes and enlisting in critical ratings or Navy Enlisted Classifications (NEC’s) who enlist within 180 days from separation have no dependency restrictions provided they were not separated for the following reasons:

  1. Failure to comply with OPNAVINST 1740.4 (family care plan).
  2. Parenthood or dependency issues.
  3. Pregnancy.

All other NAVETs or OSVETs have up to 90 days from separation to process without meeting the dependency requirements shown in the tables above.

Dependency Waiver Interview

During your waiver interview, The interviewer will:

  1. Determine if you are handling present personal and financial affairs in a mature, competent, and responsible manner.
  2. 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.
  3. Will gain full acknowledgement that you are fully aware of the service requirements, deployments, and the separation from family members.

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 your background investigation (initiated after you enter the Delayed Entry Program), a thorough check will be make into your finances.

Significant Policy Updates

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.).

Policy Update (July 1, 2021): The maximum total number of dependents allowed has been reduced.

Policy Update (May 23, 2022): The Navy begins a two year pilot program which allows for active duty single parent applicants with a maximum of two dependents to be processed for enlistment. The applicant must have a Family Care Plan. A Family Care Plan will establish and document written plans to care for minor children or dependent adults while the Sailor is absent.