US Air Force announces new tattoo policy

(KRQE/WFLA) – You might be seeing more ink in the Air Force.

The military branch is easing up on its tattoo policy to bring in new recruits. A statement released by the U.S. Air Force Thursday outlined a new tattoo policy.

The previous rule stated recruits with tattoos covering more than 25 percent of their bodies could be disqualified from joining. That rule has been thrown out.

The change in regulations will allow both arm and leg sleeve tattoos. Tattoos will now be allowed on the chest, back, arms and legs and will not be restricted to size.

The policy change takes effect Feb. 1.

Tattoos are still banned on the neck, face and head.

The Air Force hopes the new rules will help with recruiting because tattoos are so commonplace now.

Air Force field recruiters say almost half of all applicants and recruits have tattoos. They say one in five of those had enough tattoos to require a review or even disqualify them.

Of course, different branches of the military have different rules for tattoos.

The Navy appears to be the most lenient, allowing neck tattoos, sleeves and even markings behind the ears. The Marines have also eased their tattoo rules in recent years but still restrict sleeves. The Army does allow sleeves, but does not allow ink on necks or hands. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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