US Army Ranger Tattoo Policy 2023 (Can Rangers Have Tattoos?)

The ever-changing societal norms also impact the regulations surrounding body art in the military and the Army Ranger tattoo policy is just as prone to regular tweaks.

The most recent update to the Army’s tattoo policy, sealed in June 2022, has further relaxed restrictions on body art.

But taking the latest changes into consideration, can Army Rangers have tattoos?

In this article, we will explore the current tattoo policy for Army Rangers to ensure that you are aware of the latest requirements.

2023 Army Ranger Tattoo Policy

Before we delve into the latest changes in the AR 670-1 tattoo regulation, it is important to note that the rules indeed apply to all Army members, regardless of whether they are aspiring soldiers, established Rangers, or officers.

The 2022 policy change lifted the ban on hand, neck, and ear tattoos, to some extent.

Previously, tattoos in those areas were completely prohibited, but now they are allowed under the following conditions:

  • Hands – Army Rangers can now have one tattoo on each hand, as long as the tattoo does not exceed 1 inch in length in any direction. Finger tattoos are also permitted, as long as they are not visible when the hand is closed.
  • Neck – A single tattoo on the back of the neck is now allowed, with a size limit of 2 inches in any direction.
  • Ears – Tattoos located on the back of the ears are allowed, as long as they do not exceed 1 inch in length in any direction.

Of course, there are many other areas of the body where tattoos are allowed. Essentially, any tattoo that can be covered by your collar is acceptable.

As it stands, the only fully prohibited area for tattoos is the face, and it is unlikely that this will change anytime soon.

It is also important to consider the design of your tattoo. Even if the tattoo is in an allowed area, it does not guarantee acceptance. The Army tattoo regulations (670-1) explicitly state that offensive tattoos are not permitted. This means that tattoos with racist, xenophobic, or gang-related content are prohibited.

Lastly, it is important to note that covering your tattoos (outside of the uniform) is not allowed. If your tattoos are not in the permitted areas or are deemed distasteful, using a bandaid or makeup to cover them is not permissible.

Tattoo Waivers

A tattoo waiver is a formal request made by an individual seeking permission to serve as an Army Ranger despite not meeting the standard tattoo policy requirements. This process allows candidates to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature, size, location, and content of their tattoos.

In the past, the Army had stricter regulations on tattoos, with limitations on size and visibility. However, in recent years, recognizing the need to attract and retain a diverse pool of talented individuals, the Army has revised its policies to provide exemptions and opportunities for qualified candidates with tattoos.

To obtain a tattoo waiver, aspiring Army Rangers must submit a detailed application that includes photographs and descriptions of their tattoos. The reviewing authority, typically the individual’s recruiting battalion or higher-level command, carefully assesses each case, considering factors such as the subject matter, size, and placement of the tattoo, as well as its potential impact on a professional appearance in military attire.

The tattoo waiver process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months, so patience is required.

Other Military Branches

It is important to note that just because your ink meets the requirements of the US Army Ranger tattoo policy does not mean it will be acceptable in other branches of the military.

The Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, Space Force, and US Marine Corps may have different standards for acceptable appearance. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the policy of each branch before applying, which you can easily do so by clicking on the links below: