Here's What Paperwork You Need Before Joining the Military

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Hawaii State Department holds passport fair
Representatives with the Hawaii State Department assist customers during a passport fair at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Post Office, March 10, 2019. (Sgt. Jesus Sepulveda Torres/U.S. Marines)

The recruiting process inevitably brings mountains of paperwork with it. The older you are, the more you will have to do, as you will have more history behind you! Here is a list of some documents and items you should scrounge up to prepare. Ultimately, the speed with which you get in is determined largely by how fast you can complete the paperwork.

Things you might need:

  • Driver's license
  • Social Security card
  • Green card (if applicable)
  • Passport (if you have one)
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage license or divorce papers (if applicable)
  • Legal records (if needed)
  • Credit report (if needed)
  • Your school diplomas and/or degrees (the actual ones, NOT copies)
  • School transcripts
  • Résumé
  • Records, locations and contact info of all places where you have worked the past 5-10 years
  • Recommendations (officer applicants)
  • Addresses where you have lived the past 7-10 years
  • Travel dates and locations of any place you have traveled outside the United States over approximately the past 10 years
  • Contact information for people you have known up to 10 years ago
  • Copies of medical records for any significant conditions you may have had recently
  • Awards, trophies and achievements (and proof thereof)

This is a long list. It's best if you first go through your paperwork, note down what you will need and collect everything together before you actually begin filling out forms. And remember, be patient; everyone has to go through the same long process!

Interested in Joining the Military?

We can put you in touch with recruiters from the different military branches. Learn about the benefits of serving your country, paying for school, military career paths and more: sign up now and hear from a recruiter near you.

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