Founded by JF Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps is a service organization that sends American volunteers to developing countries to help with various projects.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s a beautiful initiative with great goals, but there’s one rule that many potential volunteers find quite controversial: Corps’ stance on tattoos.
If you’ve been considering getting inked but are worried that it may prohibit you from serving, here’s what you need to know about the Peace Corps tattoo policy.
Peace Corps Tattoo Policy – All You Need to Know
Defining the tattoo regulations at Peace Corps is quite difficult – because there are many!
So, can you have tattoos in the Peace Corps?
As things stand, the organization doesn’t have one rule book for all. Peace Corps focuses on adjusting tattoo regulations to the place where volunteering is performed. Different countries have different approaches to body ornaments and the organization must ensure that the local community is 100% comfortable with volunteers. Hence, the restrictions on allowed body areas and types of tattoos will differ.
At the moment, the organization volunteers in over 60 countries. The range of regulations is vast, with some countries being way more relaxed about tattoos than others.
Looking at the general picture, however, you will stand a good chance of getting accepted into the Peace Corps if:
- your tattoos are easy to cover
- your tattoos aren’t on the head, face, hands, or neck
- your tattoos are easy on the eye
Like many other similar organizations, the biggest no-go areas for Peace Corps are the aforementioned head, face, hands, and neck. If you have tattoos in these areas, the chances of getting accepted are slim – unless they are relatively small and can be easily covered by a band-aid or make-up.
The guidelines regarding tattooed body areas need to be followed first and foremost. However, it’s also important to consider the type of tattoo you want to get.
For example, even if you’re planning to get a small and easily coverable tattoo on your arm, the design may still not be allowed. Specifically, any tattoos with explicit or offensive language or imagery are likely to get you rejected. The same goes for anything that could be associated with gangs, drugs, or violence.
In short, the best type of tattoo to get if you’re planning on joining the Peace Corps is one that is:
- not too big or visible
- easy to cover up
Pick the Country First
As already mentioned, the tattoo policy at Peace Corps will differ depending on the country you want to volunteer. So, if you’re set on a particular destination, it’s a good idea to check the specific regulations before getting inked.
In case you already have a tattoo that’s not welcome in the country of your choice, don’t worry – there’s still a chance you can get accepted. The organization will work with you to find the best way to cover it up while volunteering.
Alternatively, you can always choose to apply for a country that’s more tattoo-friendly. If you’re not set on a particular destination, this may be the best option for you.