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Field Listing :: Military service age and obligation
This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of service obligation.
Country
Military service age and obligation(years of age)
Afghanistan 22 years of age; inductees are contracted into service for a 4-year term (2005)
Albania 19 years of age (2004)
Algeria 19-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (6 months basic training, 12 months civil projects) (2006)
Angola 22-24 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years; Angolan citizenship required (2009)
Antigua and Barbuda 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Argentina 18-24 years of age for voluntary military service (18-21 requires parental permission); no conscription (2001)
Armenia 18-27 years of age for voluntary or compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2007)
Australia 17 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; women allowed to serve in Army combat units in non-combat support roles (2008)
Austria 18-35 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for male or female voluntary service; service obligation 6 months of training, followed by an 8-year reserve obligation (2009)
Azerbaijan men between 18 and 35 are liable for military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; length of military service is 18 months and 12 months for university graduates (2006)
Bahamas, The 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2008)
Bahrain 17 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for NCOs, technicians, and cadets; no conscription (2008)
Bangladesh 16 years of age for voluntary military service; 17 years of age for officers (both with parental consent); conscription legally possible in emergency, but has never been implemented (2008)
Barbados 18 years of age for voluntary military service (younger requires parental consent); no conscription (2008)
Belarus 18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Belgium 18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription suspended (2008)
Belize 18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1 (2008)
Benin 21 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; in practice, volunteers may be taken at the age of 18; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2006)
Bermuda 18-30 years of age for voluntary or compulsory enlistment in the Bermuda Regiment; males must register at age 18; term of service is 38 months (2009)
Bhutan 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Bolivia 18-49 years of age for 12-month compulsory military service; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; 15-19 years of age for voluntary premilitary service, provides exemption from further military service (2009)
Bosnia and Herzegovina 18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2006; 4-month service obligation (2009)
Botswana 18 is the apparent age of voluntary military service; the official qualifications for determining minimum age are unknown (2001)
Brazil 21-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 9 to 12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service; an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals; women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in early 1980s when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps (2001)
Brunei 18 years of age (est.) for voluntary military service; non-Malays are ineligible to serve (2007)
Bulgaria 18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; as of May 2006, 67% of the Bulgarian Army comprised of professional soldiers; conscription ended January 2008; Air Forces and Naval Forces became fully professional at the end of 2006 (2008)
Burkina Faso 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in supporting roles (2009)
Burma 18 years of age for voluntary military service for both sexes; forced conscription of children, although officially prohibited, reportedly continues (2007)
Burundi military service is voluntary; the armed forces law of 31 December 2004 did not specify a minimum age for enlistment, but the government had previously specified that each recruit would need to have a primary school leaving certificate (2009)
Cambodia conscription law of October 2006 requires all males between 18-30 to register for military service; 18-month service obligation (2006)
Cameroon 18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; the government makes periodic calls for volunteers (2009)
Canada 17 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (with parental consent); 16 years of age for reserve and military college applicants; Canadian citizenship or permanent residence status required; maximum 34 years of age; service obligation 3-9 years (2008)
Cape Verde 18 years of age (est.) for selective compulsory military service; 14-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Central African Republic 18 years of age for selective military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2009)
Chad 20 years of age for conscripts, with 3-year service obligation; 18 years of age for volunteers; no minimum age restriction for volunteers with consent from a guardian; women are subject to 1 year of compulsory military or civic service at age of 21 (2004)
Chile 18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service, although the right to compulsory recruitment is retained; service obligation - 12 months for Army, 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2008)
China 18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with 24-month service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2009)
Colombia 18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 18-45 years of age for voluntary military service (2009)
Congo, Republic of the 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women allowed to serve (2007)
Cote d'Ivoire 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary male and female military service (2008)
Croatia 18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary service; 6-month conscript service obligation; full conversion to voluntary military service by 2010 (2006)
Cuba 17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation; both sexes subject to military service (2006)
Cyprus Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG): 18-50 years of age for compulsory military service for all Greek Cypriot males; 17 years of age for voluntary service; women may volunteer for a 3-year term; length of normal service is 25 months (2009)
Czech Republic 18-28 years of age for voluntary and 19-28 for compulsory military service (2008)
Denmark 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscripts serve an initial training period that varies from 4 to 12 months according to specialization; reservists are assigned to mobilization units following completion of their conscript service; women eligible to volunteer for military service (2004)
Djibouti 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2008)
Dominican Republic 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Ecuador 20 years of age for selective conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2008)
Egypt 18-30 years of age for male conscript military service; service obligation 12-36 months, followed by a 9-year reserve obligation (2008)
El Salvador 18 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16-22 years of age for voluntary male or female service; service obligation - 12 months, with 11 months for officers and NCOs (2009)
Equatorial Guinea 18 years of age (est.) for compulsory military service; women hold only administrative positions in the Coast Guard (2009)
Eritrea 18-40 years of age for male and female voluntary and compulsory military service; 16-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Estonia obligation for compulsory service ages 16-60, with conscription "likely" ages 18-27; service requirement 8-11 months (2009)
Ethiopia 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; theoretically, no compulsory military service, but the military can conduct call-ups when necessary and compliance is compulsory (2008)
Fiji 18 years of age for voluntary military service; reserve obligation to age 45 (2006)
Finland 18 years of age for male voluntary and compulsory - and female voluntary - national military and nonmilitary service; service obligation 6-12 months; mandatory retirement at age 60 (2008)
France 17-40 years of age for male or female voluntary military service; no conscription; 12-month service obligation; women serve in noncombat military posts (2008)
Gabon 20 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2007)
Gambia, The 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Georgia 18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Germany 18 years of age (conscripts serve a 9-month tour of compulsory military service) (2004)
Ghana 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Greece 19-45 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee's 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 17 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation - 1 year for all services; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2008)
Guatemala all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are liable for military service; conscript service obligation varies from 12 to 24 months; women can serve as officers (2008)
Guinea 18-25 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; 18-month conscript service obligation (2009)
Guinea-Bissau 18-25 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16 years of age or younger with parental consent, for voluntary service (2009)
Guyana 18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Honduras 18 years of age for voluntary 2 to 3-year military service (2004)
Hungary 18-50 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 6-month service obligation (2008)
India 16 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women officers allowed in noncombat roles only (2008)
Indonesia 18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation, with reserve obligation to age 45 (officers); Indonesian citizens only (2008)
Iran 19 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 17 years of age for Law Enforcement Forces; 15 years of age for Basij Forces (Popular Mobilization Army); conscript military service obligation - 18 months; women exempt from military service (2008)
Iraq 18-49 years of age for voluntary military service (2008)
Ireland 17-25 years of age for male or female voluntary military service (17-27 years of age for the Naval Service); enlistees 16 years of age can be recruited for apprentice specialist positions; maximum obligation 12 years; 17-35 years of age for the Reserve Defense Forces; EU citizenship or 5-year residence in Ireland required (2008)
Israel 18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druzes) and voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 36 months for enlisted men, 21 months for enlisted women, 48 months for officers; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), 24 (women) (2008)
Italy 18-27 year of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2005; women may serve in any military branch; 10-month service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 45 (Army and Air Force) or 39 (Navy) (2006)
Jamaica 18 years of age for voluntary military service; younger recruits may be conscripted with parental consent (2001)
Japan 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Jordan 17 years of age for voluntary military service; male conscription at age 18 - suspended in 1999 - resurrected in July 2007 in order to provide youth training necessary for job market needs; all males under age 37 are required to register; women not subject to conscription, but can volunteer to serve in non-combat military positions in the Royal Jordanian Arab Army Women's Corps (2009)
Kazakhstan 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years; minimum age for volunteers NA (2004)
Kenya 18 years of age (est.) for voluntary service, with a 9-year obligation (2007)
Korea, North 17 years of age (2004)
Korea, South 20-30 years of age for compulsory military service, with middle school education required; conscript service obligation - 24-28 months, depending on the military branch involved (to be reduced to 18 months beginning 2016); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women, in service since 1950, admitted to 7 service branches, including infantry, but excluded from artillery, armor, anti-air, and chaplaincy corps; some 4,000 women serve as commissioned and noncommissioned officers, approx. 2.3% of all officers (2008)
Kuwait 18-30 years of age for compulsory and 18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; women age 18-30 may be subject to compulsory military service; conscription suspended in 2001 (2009)
Kyrgyzstan 18 years of age for compulsory military service (2001)
Laos 15 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum 18-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Latvia 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; conscription abolished January 2007; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2009)
Lebanon 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2007)
Lesotho 18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Liberia 16 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Libya 17 years of age (2004)
Lithuania 19-26 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for volunteers; 12-month conscript service obligation; male registration required at age 16 (2009)
Luxembourg 17-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; soldiers under 18 are not deployed into combat or with peacekeeping missions; no conscription; Luxembourg citizen or EU citizen with 3-year residence in Luxembourg (2008)
Macedonia 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2007)
Madagascar 18-25 years of age for male-only compulsory military service; 18-month conscript service obligation (either military or equivalent civil service); 20-30 years of age for National Gendarmerie recruits (35 years of age for those with military experience) (2008)
Malawi 18 years of age for voluntary military service; standard obligation is 2 years of active duty and 5 years of reserve service (2007)
Malaysia 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2005)
Maldives 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Mali 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (2008)
Malta 17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Mauritania 18 years of age (est.); conscript service obligation - 2 years; majority of servicemen believed to be volunteers; service in Air Force and Navy is voluntary (2006)
Mexico 18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment; conscripts serve only in the Army; Navy and Air Force service is all voluntary; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)
Moldova 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 17 years of age for voluntary service; male registration required at age 16; 12-month service obligation (2009)
Mongolia 18-25 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months in land or air defense forces or police; a small portion of Mongolian land forces (2.5 percent) is comprised of contract soldiers; women cannot be deployed overseas for military operations (2006)
Montenegro compulsory national military service abolished August 2006
Morocco 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Mozambique 19-35 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary service; 2-year service obligation (2009)
Namibia 18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Nepal 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for military training; no conscription (2008)
Netherlands 20 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2004)
Netherlands Antilles 16 years of age for National Guard recruitment; no conscription (2004)
New Zealand 17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18; no conscription (2008)
Nicaragua 17 years of age for voluntary military service; tour of duty 18-36 months (2008)
Niger 17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; 2-year service term; women may serve in health care (2008)
Nigeria 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Norway 18-44 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women; 12-month service obligation, in practice shortened to 8 to 9 months; although all males between ages of 18 and 44 are liable for service, in practice they are seldom called to duty after age 30; reserve obligation to age 35-60; 16 years of age for volunteers to the Home Guard, who serve 6-month duty tours (2009)
Oman 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Pakistan 17-23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18; the Pakistani Air Force and Pakistani Navy have inducted their first female pilots and sailors (2009)
Papua New Guinea 16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription (2008)
Paraguay 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy (2007)
Peru 18-30 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription (2008)
Philippines 18-25 years of age (officers 21-29) for compulsory and voluntary military service; applicants must be single male or female Philippine citizens (2007)
Poland 18-28 years of age for male voluntary or compulsory military service; service obligation shortened from 12 to 9 months in 2005; conscription is to end in 2012; only soldiers who have completed their conscript service are allowed to volunteer for professional service; as of April 2004, women are only allowed to serve as officers and noncommissioned officers; reserve obligation to age 50 (2009)
Portugal 18 years of age for voluntary military service; compulsory military service ended in 2004; women serve in the armed forces, on naval ships since 1993, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties; reserve obligation to age 35 (2007)
Qatar 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Romania 18-35 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription officially ended October 2006; all military inductees (including women) contract for an initial 5-year term of service, with subsequent successive contracts for 3-year terms until age 36 (2009)
Russia 18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; service obligation - 1 year; reserve obligation to age 50; as of July 2008, a draft military strategy called for the draft to continue up to the year 2030 (2009)
Rwanda 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Saint Kitts and Nevis 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
San Marino 16-55 for voluntary service in Voluntary Military Force (2006)
Sao Tome and Principe 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Saudi Arabia 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2004)
Senegal 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (2004)
Serbia 19-35 years of age for male compulsory military service; under a state of war or impending war, conscription can begin at age 16; conscription is to be abolished in 2010; 6-month service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 60 for men and 50 for women (2007)
Seychelles 18 years of age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent); no conscription (2008)
Sierra Leone 17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent); no conscription (2008)
Singapore 18-21 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 2-year conscript service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 40 (enlisted) or age 50 (officers) (2008)
Slovakia 17-30 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2006; women are eligible to serve (2007)
Slovenia 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2003 (2007)
South Africa 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve in noncombat roles; 2-year service obligation (2007)
Spain 20 years of age (2004)
Sri Lanka 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 5-year service obligation (2007)
Sudan 18-33 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 12-24 month service obligation (2009)
Suriname 18 years of age (est.); recruitment is voluntary, with personnel drawn almost exclusively from the Creole community (2007)
Swaziland 18-30 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Sweden 18-47 years of age for male compulsory or voluntary military service; conscript service obligation: 7.5 months (Army), 7-15 months (Navy), 8-12 months (Air Force); after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age 47; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2009)
Switzerland 19 years of age for male compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; the Swiss Constitution states that "every Swiss male is obliged to do military service"; every Swiss male has to serve at least 260 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by seven 3-week intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2008)
Syria 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months (18 months in the Syrian Arab Navy); women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2004)
Taiwan 19-35 years of age for male compulsory military service; service obligation 14 months (reducing to 1 year in 2009); women may enlist; women in Air Force service are restricted to noncombat roles; reserve obligation to age 30 (Army); the Ministry of Defense has announced plans to implement an incremental voluntary enlistment system beginning 2010, with 10% fewer conscripts each year thereafter, although nonvolunteers will still be required to perform alternative service or go through 3-4 months of military training (2009)
Tajikistan 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2007)
Tanzania 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Thailand 21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2007)
Timor-Leste 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Togo 18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Tonga 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2008)
Trinidad and Tobago 18 years of age for voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); no conscription (2008)
Tunisia 20 years of age for compulsory military service, 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 1-year conscript service obligation (2007)
Turkey 20 years of age (2004)
Turkmenistan 18-30 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2007)
Uganda 18-26 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military duty; 18-30 years of age for professionals; 9-year service obligation; the government has stated that recruitment below 18 years of age could occur with proper consent and that "no person under the apparent age of 13 years shall be enrolled in the armed forces"; Ugandan citizenship and secondary education required (2009)
Ukraine 18-25 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months for Army and Air Force, 24 months for Navy (2004)
United Arab Emirates 18 years of age (est.) for voluntary military service; 18 years of age for officers and women; no conscription (2008)
United Kingdom 16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 16 years of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of the Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2008)
United States 18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; maximum enlistment age 42 (Army), 27 (Air Force), 34 (Navy), 28 (Marines); service obligation 8 years, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines) (2008)
Uruguay 18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2007)
Uzbekistan 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 1-year conscript service obligation; moving toward a professional military, but conscription will continue; the military cannot accommodate everyone who wishes to enlist, and competition for entrance into the military is similar to the competition for admission to universities (2007)
Venezuela 18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 30-month conscript service obligation; all citizens 18-50 years old are obligated to register for military service (2008)
Vietnam 18 years of age (male) for compulsory military service; females may volunteer for active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (3 to 4 years in the navy); 18-45 years of age (male) or 18-40 years of age (female) for Militia Force or Self Defense Forces (2006)
Yemen voluntary military service program authorized in 2001; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Zambia 18-27 years of age for voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); Zambian citizenship required; mandatory HIV testing on enlistment; no conscription (2009)
Zimbabwe 18-24 years of age for compulsory military service; women are eligible to serve (2007)
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