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Can Jamaicans Join the US Army?

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Which US City has the most Jamaicans? | Image Source: jamaicans.comCan Jamaicans Join the US Army?| Image Source:

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

As Jamaicans, we have been migrating to the United States for better opportunities for decades now. Many who have migrated, have found themselves in the U.S. Army,  leaving those of us left at home wondering, can Jamaicans join the U.S. Army? If so, how? 

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You see, the United States Army is one of the most respected military forces globally and offers numerous opportunities for individuals seeking to serve their adopted country. If as a fellow Jamaican citizen, you dream of joining the U.S. Army, it's essential to understand the eligibility criteria, requirements, and the application process. Thereโ€™s certainly more to it than just booking a flight and going. 

1. Legal Residency

The first and foremost requirement for Jamaican citizens aspiring to join the U.S. Army is legal residency in the United States. This typically means being a green card holder or having a valid visa that permits living and working in the U.S. without restrictions. Without legal residency, you absolutely will not be eligible to enlist in the U.S. Army.

2. Citizenship Status

While it is possible for non-U.S. citizens to join the U.S. military, there are certain limitations and specific conditions. Non-citizens must meet eligibility criteria, and in some cases, they may need to obtain U.S. citizenship during their military service. The path to citizenship through military service is known as "Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest" (MAVNI).

3. Age and Education

Once you have residency sorted out, which is usually possible through a family member living in the United States, to join the U.S. Army, you must meet age and education requirements. Typically, you must be at least 17 years old (with parental consent) and not older than 35. A high school diploma or equivalent is often required, although the Army may possibly make exceptions for individuals with specific skills or qualifications.

4. Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)

The ASVAB is a standardized test used by the U.S. military to assess an individual's aptitude for various military jobs. To qualify for specific military occupational specialities (MOS), you'll need to achieve a minimum score on the ASVAB. Your ASVAB score will help determine the roles for which you are eligible.

5. Background Check

A comprehensive background check is a standard part of the enlistment process. The U.S. Army will assess your criminal history, including any prior convictions, to determine your eligibility.

6. Physical Fitness

We all know that physical fitness is a fundamental aspect of military service. You will need to meet specific physical fitness standards, which may include tasks like running, push-ups, and sit-ups. Maintaining physical fitness is a continuous requirement throughout your military career.

7. Security Clearance (if applicable)

Depending on the military job you wish to pursue, you may need to obtain a security clearance. This process involves a thorough investigation into your background, including financial history, foreign contacts, and other factors. Eligibility for security clearance may have additional requirements.

8. Recruitment Process

To begin the enlistment process, contact a U.S. Army recruiter. They will guide you through the application process, provide information on job opportunities, and help you understand the specific requirements for your chosen military career.


  • You must complete your biometrics so that comprehensive background checks can be performed. Good moral character is essential. You can't have experienced any problems, such as specific kinds of criminal charges, in the previous five years.
  • You must also have an understanding of US history and government. There are 100 questions on many facets of US history, government, civics, and geography. As part of their preparation for the interview, candidates must study them.
  • As an applicant, you are expected to provide six right answers out of a possible ten during the interview.

So, can Jamaicans join the U.S. Army? Yes, they can. Joining the U.S. Army as a Jamaican citizen is possible but it involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, the first and most important being legal residency and, in some cases, U.S. citizenship. It's essential to research and understand the requirements thoroughly before pursuing this path. Contacting a U.S. Army recruiter is a crucial step to getting accurate and up-to-date information on the enlistment process and eligibility criteria. Serving in the U.S. Army is an honourable and challenging endeavour, and with the right qualifications, it can be a rewarding career choice for Jamaican citizens aspiring to serve the United States.

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References & Sources For Can Jamaicans Join the US Army?

  1. Richards, A. (2023, September 2). Want to join the US military as a green card holder from Jamaica? Loop News.
  2. Requirements to enlist in the U.S. military | USAGov. (n.d.).
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