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Military service age and obligation

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This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of service obligation.

  • Afghanistan

    not available

    note: the Taliban dismissed nearly all women from the former Afghan Government security forces, except those serving in detention facilities and assisting with body searches 

  • Albania

    19 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 18 is the legal minimum age in case of general/partial compulsory mobilization; conscription abolished 2010 (2021)

    note: as of 2020, women comprised about 14% of the military's full-time personnel, including 20% of the officers

  • Algeria

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service for men and women; 19-30 years of age for compulsory service for men (all Algerian men must register at age 17); conscript service obligation reduced from 18 to 12 months in 2014 (2022)

    note: as of 2020, conscripts comprised an estimated 70% of the military

  • Angola

    20-45 years of age for compulsory and 18-45 years for voluntary military service for men (registration at age 18 is mandatory); 20-45 years of age for voluntary service for women; 2-year conscript service obligation; Angolan citizenship required; the Navy is entirely staffed with volunteers (2021)

  • Antigua and Barbuda

    18-23 years of age for voluntary military service for both men and women; no conscription (2022)

  • Argentina

    18-24 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription suspended in 1995; citizens can still be drafted in times of crisis, national emergency, or war, or if the Defense Ministry is unable to fill all vacancies to keep the military functional (2022)

    note - as of 2021, women comprised over 21% of the active duty military

  • Armenia

    18-27 for voluntary/contract (men and women) or compulsory (men) military service; contract military service is 3-12 months or 3 or 5 years; conscripts serve 24 months; men under the age of 36, who have not previously served as contract servicemen and are registered in the reserve, as well as women, regardless of whether they are registered in the reserve can be enrolled in contractual military service; all citizens aged 27 to 50 are registered in the military reserve and may be called to serve if mobilization is declared (2022)

    note: as of 2021, conscripts comprised about half of the military's active personnel; as of 2018, women made up about 13% of the active duty military

  • Australia

    17 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription (abolished 1973); women allowed to serve in all roles, including combat arms, since 2013 (2022)

    note 1: foreign nationals who are permanent residents, particularly New Zealanders, or those who have applied for citizenship or overseas candidates who have appropriate experience and qualifications from an overseas military can apply to join the ADF 

    note 2: in 2020-2021, women comprised nearly 20% of the military

  • Austria

    registration requirement at age 17, the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; men above the age of 18 are subject to compulsory military service; women may volunteer; compulsory service is for 6 months, or optionally, alternative civil/community service (Zivildienst) for 9 months (2022)

    note 1: as of 2019, women made up about 4% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 2: in a January 2013 referendum, a majority of Austrians voted in favor of retaining the system of compulsory military service (with the option of alternative/non-military service) instead of switching to a professional army system; approximately 40% of those liable to compulsory service have opted in favor of  alternative civil/community service

  • Azerbaijan

    18-35 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 17-35 years of age for voluntary service for men and women (2022)

    note: as of 2018, women made up an estimated 3% of the active duty military

  • Bahamas, The

    18 years of age for voluntary male and female service; no conscription (2022)

  • Bahrain

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for non-commissioned officers, technicians, and cadets; no conscription (2022)

    note: the BDF hires foreign nationals, Sunni Muslims primarily from Arabic countries and Pakistan, to serve under contract; as of 2020, foreigners were estimated to comprise as much as 80% of the military; the policy has become a controversial issue with the primarily Shia population; during the 2011, the BDF reportedly deployed mostly foreign personnel against protesters

  • Bangladesh

    16-21 years of age for voluntary military service; Bangladeshi nationality and 10th grade education required; officers: 17-21 years of age, Bangladeshi nationality, and 12th grade education required (2022)

  • Barbados

    voluntary service only (men and women); 17 years, 9 months to 17 years, 11 months with letter of consent from a parent or guardian, or be in the age range of 18-25 years at the start of recruit training; citizens of Barbados by descent or naturalization (2022)

  • Belarus

    18-27 years of age for compulsory military or alternative service; conscript service obligation is 12-18 months, depending on academic qualifications, and 24-36 months for alternative service, also depending on academic qualifications; 17-year-olds are eligible to become cadets at military higher education institutes, where they are classified as military personnel (2022)

    note: conscripts can be assigned to the military, to the Ministry of Interior as internal or border troops, or to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (alternative service); as of 2020, conscripts comprised an estimated 40% of the military

  • Belgium

    18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished in 1995 (2022)

    note 1: in 2020, women comprised about 9% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 2: foreign nationals 18-34 years of age who speak Dutch or French and are citizens of EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland may apply to join the military

  • Belize

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient, but conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1; initial service obligation 12 years (2022)

  • Benin

    18-35 years of age for voluntary and selective compulsory military service; a higher education diploma is required; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript service is 18 months (2022)

  • Bermuda

    men and women who are Commonwealth citizens and 18-45 years of age can volunteer for the Bermuda Regiment; service is for a minimum period of three years and two months from the date of enlistment; service can be extended only by volunteering or an executive order from the Governor; annual training commitment is about 30 days a year, which includes a two-week camp, weekends, and drill nights (2022)

  • Bhutan

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; militia training is compulsory for males aged 20-25, over a 3-year period; in 2021, the Royal Bhutan Army graduated from a year-long training course the first batch of 150 women to be allowed to serve in combat roles; previously, women were allowed to serve in medical and other non-combat roles (2022)

  • Bolivia

    compulsory for all men between the ages of 18 and 22; men can volunteer from the age of 16, women from 18; service is for 12 months; Search and Rescue service can be substituted for citizens who have reached the age of compulsory military service; duration of this service is 24 months (2022)

    note: foreign nationals 18-22 residing in Bolivia may join the armed forces; joining speeds the process of acquiring Bolivian citizenship by naturalization

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 35 or after 15 years of service for junior enlisted personnel, mandatory retirement at age 50 and 30 years of service for non-commissioned officers, mandatory retirement at age 55 and 30 years of service for all commissioned officers; conscription abolished in 2005 (2021)

    note: as of 2019, women made up about 7% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Botswana

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2022)

  • Brazil

    18-45 years of age for compulsory military service for men (women exempted); only 5-10% of those inducted are required to serve; conscript service obligation is 10-12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service (2022)

    note: in 2020, women comprised approximately 9% of the Brazilian military

  • Brunei

    17 years of age for voluntary military service; non-Malays are ineligible to serve (2022)

    note: the Gurkha Reserve Unit (GRU) employs about 500 Gurkhas from Nepal, the majority of whom are veterans of the British Army and the Singapore Police Force who have joined the GRU as a second career

  • Bulgaria

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 2007; service obligation 6-9 months (2022)

    note 1: in 2021, women comprised about 17% of the Bulgarian military's full-time personnel

    note 2: in 2020, Bulgaria announced a program to allow every citizen up to the age of 40 to join the armed forces for 6 months of military service in the voluntary reserve

  • Burkina Faso

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women may serve in supporting roles (2022)

  • Burma

    18-35 years of age (men) and 18-27 years of age (women) for voluntary military service; no conscription (a 2010 law reintroducing conscription has not yet entered into force); 2-year service obligation; male (ages 18-45) and female (ages 18-35) professionals (including doctors, engineers, mechanics) serve up to 3 years; service terms may be stretched to 5 years in an officially declared emergency (2021)

  • Burundi

    18 years of age for voluntary military service (2021)

  • Cabo Verde

    18-35 years of age for male and female selective compulsory military service; 2-years conscript service obligation; 17 years of age for voluntary service (with parental consent) (2022)

  • Cambodia

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (conscription only selectively enforced since 1993); women may volunteer (2022)

    note: in 2018, women made up an estimated 6% of the active duty military and 88 women held the rank of general

  • Cameroon

    18-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years (2021)

  • Canada

    17 years of age for voluntary male and female 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 (2022)

    note 1: Canada opened up all military occupations to women in 2001; in 2020, women comprised about 16% of the CAF

    note 2: the CAF offers waivers to foreign nationals applying for military service only in exceptional cases — to individuals on international military exchanges, for example, or to candidates who have specialized skills in high demand

  • Central African Republic

    18 years of age for military service; no conscription (2021)

  • Chad

    20 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service for men with an 18-36 month service obligation (information varies); women are subject to 12 months of compulsory military or civic service at age 21; 18-35 for voluntary service; soldiers released from active duty are in the reserves until the age of 50 (2022)

  • Chile

    18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; selective compulsory service (there are usually enough volunteers to make compulsory service unnecessary); service obligation is a minimum of 12 months for Army and 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2022)

    note: as of 2021, women comprised approximately 18% of the armed forces

  • China

    18-22 years of age for men for selective compulsory military service, with a 2-year service obligation; women 18-19 years of age who are high school graduates and meet requirements for specific military jobs are subject to conscription; women may also volunteer; all officers are volunteers (2022)

    note: the PLA’s conscription system functions as a levy; the PLA establishes the number of conscripts needed, which produces quotas for the provinces; each province provides a set number of soldiers or sailors; if the number of volunteers fails to meet quotas, the local governments may compel individuals to enter military service 

  • Colombia

    18-24 years of age for compulsory (men) and voluntary (men and women) military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; conscripted soldiers reportedly include regular soldiers (conscripts without a high school degree), drafted high school graduates (bachilleres), and rural (campesino) soldiers who serve in their home regions (2022)

    note: in 2020, conscripts reportedly comprised about 50% of the Colombian military's active force with approximately 60-90,000 conscripts brought into the military annually

  • Comoros

    18 years of age for 2-year voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2021)

  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the

    18-45 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 18-45 years of age for compulsory military service for men; it is unclear how much conscription is used (2021)

    note: in eastern Congo, fighters from armed groups, and in some cases government security forces, have been accused of forced recruitment of child soldiers

  • Congo, Republic of the

    18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription ended in 1969 (2021)

  • Cote d'Ivoire

    18-25 years of age for compulsory and voluntary male and female military service; conscription is not enforced; voluntary recruitment of former rebels into the new national army is restricted to ages 22-29 (2022)

  • Croatia

    18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2008 (2022)

    note: as of 2019, women comprised about 13% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Cuba

    17-28 years of age for compulsory (men) and voluntary (men and women) military service; conscripts serve for two years (2022)

  • Cyprus

    Cypriot National Guard (CNG): 18-50 years of age for compulsory military service for all Greek Cypriot males; 17 years of age for voluntary service; 14-month service obligation (2022)

    note: the CNG accepts all foreign nationals of at least partial Cypriot descent under age 32 as volunteers; dual citizenship Cypriot origin citizens, who were born in Cyprus or abroad, have the obligation to serve in the CNG on repatriation, regardless of whether or not they possess a foreign citizenship; a person is considered as having Cypriot origin where a grandparent or parent was/is a Cypriot citizen

  • Czechia

    18-28 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished 2004 (2022)

    note: as of 2019, women comprised about 13% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Denmark

    18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscripts serve an initial training period that varies from 4 to 12 months depending on specialization; former conscripts are assigned to mobilization units; women eligible to volunteer for military service; in addition to full time employment, the Danish military offers reserve contracts in all three branches (2022)

    note 1: women have been able serve in all military occupations, including combat arms, since 1988; as of 2019, they made up about 8% of the military's full-time personnel; conscientious objectors can choose to instead serve 6 months in a non-military position, for example in Beredskabsstyrelsen (dealing with non-military disasters like fires, flood, pollution, etc.) or overseas foreign aid work

    note 2: foreigners who have lived in Denmark for at least 1 year or in another EU country for 6 years may apply to join the armed forces, provided they are fluent in Danish 

    note 2: Denmark has had compulsory military service since 1849

  • Djibouti

    18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2021)

  • Dominican Republic

    17-21 years of age for voluntary military service (men and women); recruits must have completed primary school and be Dominican Republic citizens (2022)

    note: as of 2021, women made up approximately 20% of the active duty military

  • Ecuador

    18 years of age for selective conscript military service, although conscription was suspended in 2008; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; Ecuadorian birth requirement; 1-year service obligation; females have been allowed to serve in all branches since 2012 (2022)

    note: in 2017, women made up an estimated 3% of the military

  • Egypt

    voluntary enlistment possible from age 16 for men and women; 18-30 years of age for conscript service for men; service obligation 14-36 months, followed by a 9-year reserve obligation; active service length depends on education; high school drop-outs serve for the full 36 months, while college graduates serve for lesser periods of time, depending on their education (2022)

    note: as of 2020, conscripts were estimated to comprise over half of the military, as well as a considerable portion of the Central Security Force

  • El Salvador

    18 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16-22 years of age for voluntary male or female service; service obligation is 12 months, with 11 months for officers and non-commissioned officers (2022)

    note: as of 2016, women made up about 6% of the active duty military

  • Equatorial Guinea

    18 years of age for selective compulsory military service, although conscription is rare in practice; 2-year service obligation; women hold only administrative positions in the Navy (2021)

  • Eritrea

    Eritrea mandates military service for all citizens between the ages of 18 and 40 (18-27 for women if conscripted); 18-month conscript service obligation, which includes 4-6 months of military training and 12 months of military or other national service (military service is most common); in practice, military service is often extended indefinitely; citizens up to the age of 55 eligible for recall during mobilization (2022)

    note: as of 2020, women were estimated to make up as much as 30% of the Eritrean military

  • Estonia

    18-27 for compulsory military or governmental service for men; conscript service requirement 8-11 months depending on education; non-commissioned officers, reserve officers, and specialists serve 11 months; women can volunteer, and as of 2018 could serve in any military branch (2022)

    note 1: conscripts comprise approximately 3,000-3,300 of the Estonian military's 7,000 active duty personnel and serve in all branches, except for the Air Force, which does not have conscripts; after conscript service, reservists are called up for training every 5 years; Estonia has had conscription since 1991

    note 2: the Estonian Defense Forces rely largely on reservists who have completed compulsory conscription in the previous 10 years to fill out its active duty and Territorial Defense units during a crisis; a total of approximately 230,000 Estonians are enrolled in the mobilization registry

    note 3: in 2020, women comprised about 10% of the full-time professional military force

  • Eswatini

    18-30 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2021)

  • Ethiopia

    18-22 years of age for voluntary military service (although the military may, when necessary, recruit a person more than 22 years old); no compulsory military service, but the military can conduct callups when necessary and compliance is compulsory (2022)

    note: in November 2021, the Ethiopian Government issued a nationwide state of emergency that enabled officials to order military-age citizens to undergo training and accept military duty in support of the Tigray conflict; the order also recalled retired military officers to active duty

  • Fiji

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 55 (2022)

  • Finland

    at age 18, all Finnish men are obligated to serve 5.5-12 months of service within a branch of the military or the Border Guard (length of service depends on the type of duty), and women 18-29 may volunteer for service; there is also an option to perform non-military service which lasts for 8.5 or 11.5 months; after completing their initial conscript obligation, individuals enter the reserves and remain eligible for mobilization until the age of 50 for rank-and-file and 60 for non-commissioned and commissioned officers (2022)

    note 1: the military trains approximately 21,000 (20,000 Army) conscripts each year; as of 2019, women made up about 4% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 2: Finland has had conscription since 1951

  • France

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (abolished 2001); 12-month service obligation; women serve in noncombat posts (2022)

    note 1: in 2019, women comprised approximately approximately 16% of the uniformed armed forces 

    note 2: men between the ages of 17.5 and 39.5 years of age, of any nationality, may join the French Foreign Legion; those volunteers selected for service sign five-year contracts

    note 3: in 2018, Parliament passed a law that would require military service for all genders beginning in 2024; Prime Minister MACRON included the measure in his platform hoping that it would reinvigorate a sense of civic duty; the service would include two components: the first would take place around age 16 and include one month of training and civic service, while the second component would last between three months and a year and be more geared towards defense and security duties; France began a pilot for the program in 2019

  • Gabon

    20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • Gambia, The

    18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (18-22 for officers); no conscription; service obligation 6 months (2021)

  • Georgia

    18-27 years of age for voluntary active duty military service; conscription abolished in 2016, but reinstated in 2017 for men 18 to 27 years of age; conscript service obligation is 12 months (2022)

    note 1: approximately 6-7,000 individuals are called up annually for conscription for service; approximately 25% enter the Defense Forces, while the remainder serve in the Ministry of Internal Affairs or as prison guards in the Ministry of Corrections

    note 2: as of 2019, women made up about 6% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Germany

    17-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (must have completed compulsory full-time education and have German citizenship); conscription ended July 2011; service obligation 7-23 months or 12 years; women have been eligible for voluntary service in all military branches and positions since 2001 (2022)

    note: in 2021, women accounted for about 12% of the German military

  • Ghana

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service, with basic education certificate; no conscription (2022)

  • Greece

    19-45 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 12-month obligation for all services (note - as an exception, the duration of the full military service is 9 instead of 12 months if conscripts, after the initial training, serve the entire remaining time in certain areas of the eastern borders, in Cyprus, or in certain military units); 18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (2022)

    note 1: compulsory service applies to any individual whom the Greek authorities consider to be Greek, regardless of whether the individual considers himself Greek, has a foreign citizenship and passport, or was born or lives outside of Greece; Greek citizens living permanently outside of Greece have the right to postpone their conscription; they are permanently exempted from their military obligations when they reach the age of 45 years old

    note 2:
    up to 50% of the Greek military is comprised of conscripts

    note 3: as of 2019, women comprised approximately 19% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Guatemala

    all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are eligible for military service; in practice, most of the force is volunteer, however, a selective draft system is employed, resulting in a small portion of 17-21 year-olds being conscripted; conscript service obligation varies from 1 to 2 years; women may volunteer (2022)

    note: as of 2017, women comprised up to 10% of the active military

  • Guinea

    Voluntary and selective conscripted service, 9-24 mos (2022)

  • Guinea-Bissau

    18-25 years of age for selective compulsory military service (Air Force service is voluntary); 16 years of age or younger, with parental consent, for voluntary service (2022)

  • Guyana

    18 years of age or older for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

  • Haiti

    not available

  • Holy See (Vatican City)

    Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps: 19-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; must be a single Roman Catholic male with Swiss citizenship who has completed basic training with the Swiss military and can obtain a certificate of good conduct; qualified candidates must apply to serve; the service contract is between 2 and 25 years (2022)

  • Honduras

    18 years of age for voluntary 2- to 3-year military service (men and women); no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2017, women made up over 4% of the active duty military

  • Hungary

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 2005); 6-month service obligation (2022)

    note: as of 2019, women comprised approximately 20% of Hungary's full-time military personnel

  • India

    ages vary by service, but generally 16.5-27 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2022)

    note 1: in 2022, the Indian Government announced that it would begin recruiting 46,000 men aged 17.5-21 annually to serve on 4-year contracts under a process called the Agnipath scheme; at the end of their tenure, 25% would be retained for longer terms of service, while the remainder would be forced to leave the military, although some of those leaving would be eligible to serve in the Coast Guard, the Merchant Navy, civilian positions in the Ministry of Defense, and in the paramilitary forces of the Ministry of Home Affairs, such as the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles

    note 2: as of 2022, women made up about .59% of the Army, 1.1% of the Air Force, and 6% of the Navy

    note 3: the Indian military accepts citizens of Nepal and Bhutan; descendants of refugees from Tibet who arrived before 1962 and have resided permanently in India; peoples of Indian origin from nations such as Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India; eligible candidates from “friendly foreign nations” may apply to the Armed Forces Medical Services 

    note 4: the British began to recruit Nepalese citizens (Gurkhas) into the East India Company Army during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816), and the Gurkhas subsequently were brought into the British Indian Army; following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India, and Great Britain allowed for the transfer of the 10 regiments from the British Indian Army to the separate British and Indian armies; six regiments of Gurkhas (aka Gorkhas in India) regiments went to the new Indian Army; a seventh regiment was later added 

  • Indonesia

    18-45 years of age for voluntary military service, with selective conscription authorized (males, age 18), but not utilized; 2-year service obligation, with reserve obligation to age 45 (officers) (2021)

  • Iran

    18 years of age for men 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 is 18-24 months, depending on the location of service (soldiers serving in places of high security risk and deprived areas serve shorter terms); women exempt from military service (2021)

    note: as of 2019, approximately 80% of Artesh ground forces personnel were conscripts, while Navy and Air/Air Defense Force personnel were primarily volunteers; conscripts reportedly comprised more than 50% of the IRGC

  • Iraq

    18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

    note: service in the armed forces was mandatory in Iraq from 1935 up until 2003

  • Ireland

    18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service recruits to the Defence Forces (18-27 years of age for the Naval Service); 18-26 for cadetship (officer) applicants; 12-year service (5 active, 7 reserves) (2022)

    note: as of 2021, women made up about 7% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 2: the Defense Forces are open to refugees under the Refugee Act of 1996 and nationals of the European Economic Area, which include EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway

  • Israel

    18 years of age for compulsory military service; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; Jews and Druze can be conscripted; Christians, Circassians, and Muslims may volunteer; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation is 32 months for enlisted men and about 24 months for enlisted women (varies based on military occupation); officers serve 48 months; pilots commit to 9 years of service; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), age 24 (women) (2022)

    note 1: women have served in the Israeli military since its establishment in 1948; as of 2021, women made up about 35% of IDF personnel; more than 90% of military specialties, including combat specialties, were open to women and more than 3,000 women were serving in combat units; the IDF's first mixed-gender infantry unit, the Caracal Battalion, was established in 2004

    note 2: as of 2021, conscripts comprised about 70% of the IDF ground forces

    note 3: the IDF recruits non-Israeli Jews and non-Jews with a minimum of one Jewish grandparent, as well as converts to Judaism; each year the IDF brings in about 800-1,000 foreign recruits from around the world

  • Italy

    17-25 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (some variations on age depending on the military branch); voluntary service is a minimum of 12 months with the option to extend in the Armed Forces or compete for positions in the Military Corps of the Italian Red Cross, the State Police, the Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza, the Penitentiary Police, or the National Fire Brigade; recruits can also volunteer for 4 years military service; conscription abolished 2004 (2022)

    note: women may serve in any military branch; as of 2019, women made up about 6% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Jamaica

    no conscription; 18-23 for voluntary military service (17 with parental consent); 18-28 for the reserves; since 2017, the JDF's standard mode of recruitment is to enroll recruits ages 18-23 through the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC); in the JNSC, soldiers receive basic military, vocational, and life skills training; upon completion of 12 months of service, soldiers can continue on with the JDF or seek other opportunities with other government agencies (2022)

  • Japan

    18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (maximum enlistment age 32); no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2020, women made up about 7% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Jordan

    17 years of age for voluntary military service for men (women can volunteer to serve in noncombat military positions in the Royal Jordanian Arab Army Women's Corps and RJAF); initial service term 2 years, with option to reenlist for up to 18 years; conscription was abolished in 1991, but in 2020 Jordan announced the reinstatement of compulsory military service for jobless men aged between 25 and 29 with 12 months of service, made up of 3 months of military training and 9 months of professional and technical training; in 2019, Jordan announced a voluntary 4-month National Military Service program for men and women aged between 18-25 years who have been unemployed for at least 6 months; service would include 1 month for military training with the remaining 3 months dedicated to vocational training in the sectors of construction and tourism (2022)

    note: most women serve in the medical service; outside the medical service, women comprised about 1.5% of the military as of 2019

  • Kazakhstan

    all men 18-27 are required to serve in the military for 12-24 months (2022)

  • Kenya

    no conscription; 18-26 years of age for male and female voluntary service (under 18 with parental consent; upper limit 30 years of age for specialists, tradesmen, or women with a diploma; 39 years of age for chaplains/imams); 9-year service obligation (7 years for Kenyan Navy) and subsequent 3-year re-enlistments; applicants must be Kenyan citizens (2022)

  • Korea, North

    17 years of age for compulsory military service for men and women; service obligation 10 years for men, 5 years for women (some information indicates service for men was reduced in 2021 to 7-8 years) (2022)

    note: the bulk of the KPA is made up of conscripts; as many as 20% of North Korean males between the ages of 16 and 54 are in the military at a given time and possibly up to 30 percent of males between the ages of 18 and 27, not counting the reserves or paramilitary units

  • Korea, South

    18-35 years of age for compulsory military service for all men; minimum conscript service obligation varies by service - 18 months (Army, Marines), 20 months (Navy), 21 months (Air Force); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (2022)

    note 1: women, in service since 1950, are able to serve in all branches, including as officers, and in 2020 comprised about 7.5% of the active duty military

    note 2: in 2022, about 330,000 of the military's active personnel were conscripts; the military brings on over 200,000 conscripts each year

  • Kosovo

    service is voluntary; must be over the age of 18 and a citizen of Kosovo; upper age for enlisting is 30 for officers, 25 for other ranks, although these may be waived for recruits with key skills considered essential for the KSF
    (2021)

  • Kuwait

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; Kuwait reintroduced 12-month mandatory service for men aged 18-35 in May 2017 after having suspended conscription in 2001; mandatory service is divided in two phases – 4 months for training and 8 months for military service; women were allowed to volunteer in 2021 (2022)

    note: the National Guard is restricted to citizens, but in 2018, the Army began allowing non-Kuwaitis to join on contract or as non-commissioned officers; that same year, it also began allowing stateless people (Bidoon) to join

  • Kyrgyzstan

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary male military service in the Armed Forces or Interior Ministry; 12-month service obligation (9 months for university graduates), with optional fee-based 3-year service in the call-up mobilization reserve; women may volunteer at age 19; 16-17 years of age for military cadets, who cannot take part in military operations (2022)

  • Laos

    18 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; minimum 18-month service obligation (2022)

  • Latvia

    18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription (abolished 2007) (2022)

    note 1: in July 2022, the Latvian Government announced that it was reinstating mandatory military service for men aged 18-27 (women voluntarily) beginning in July 2023; service would be for one year in the Land Forces or alternatively in internal affairs, health, or welfare structures

    note 2: as of 2019, women comprised about 16% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Lebanon

    17-25 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2020, women comprised about 5% of the active duty military

  • Lesotho

    20-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

  • Liberia

    18-35 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2020, women made up less than 1% of the active military

  • Libya

    not available

  • Lithuania

    19-26 years of age for conscripted military service for men; 9-month service obligation; in 2015, Lithuania reinstated conscription after having converted to a professional military in 2008; 18-38 for voluntary service for men and women (2022)

    note 1: Lithuania conscripts up to 4,000 males each year; conscripts are selected using an automated lottery system

    note 2: as of 2019, women comprised about 12% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Luxembourg

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (abolished 1969) (2022)

    note 1: since 2003, the Army has allowed EU citizens 18-24 years of age who have been a resident in the country for at least 36 months to volunteer

    note 2:
     as of 2019, women made up about 8% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Madagascar

    18-25 years of age for men and women; service obligation 18 months; no conscription; women are permitted to serve in all branches (2022)

  • Malawi

    18 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; high school equivalent required for enlisted recruits and college equivalent for officer recruits; initial engagement is 7 years for enlisted personnel and 10 years for officers (2022)

  • Malaysia

    17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service for men and women (younger with parental consent and proof of age); mandatory retirement age 60; no conscription (2021)

    note - in 2020, the military announced a goal of having 10% of the active force comprised of women

  • Maldives

    18-28 years of age for voluntary service; no conscription; 10th grade or equivalent education required; must not be a member of a political party (2022)

  • Mali

    18 years of age for men and women for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2022)

  • Malta

    18-30 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

  • Mauritania

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

  • Mauritius

    service is voluntary (2022)

  • Mexico

    18 years of age for compulsory military service for males (selection for service determined by lottery); conscript service obligation is 12 months; those selected serve on Saturdays in a Batallón del Servicio Militar Nacional (National Military Service Battalion) composed entirely of 1-year Servicio Militar Nacional (SMN) conscripts; conscripts remain in reserve status until the age of 40; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment; cadets enrolled in military schools from the age of 15 are considered members of the armed forces; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2022)

    note: as of 2022, women comprised about 15% of the active duty military

  • Moldova

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; male registration required at age 16; 12-month service obligation (2022)

    note: as of 2019, women made up about 20% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Monaco

    the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince is staffed by French nationals (2022)

  • Mongolia

    18-27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (can enter military schools at age 17); 12-month conscript service obligation for men in the army, air forces, or police (can be extended 3 months under special circumstances); conscription service can be exchanged for a 24‐month stint in the civil service or a cash payment determined by the Mongolian Government; after conscription, soldiers can contract into military service for 2 or 4 years; volunteer military service for men and women is 24 months, which can be extended for another two years up to the age of 31 (2022)

  • Montenegro

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2006 (2021)

    note: as of 2019, women made up about 6% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Morocco

    19-25 years of age for 12-month compulsory and voluntary military service for men and women (conscription abolished 2006 and reintroduced in 2019) (2022)

  • Mozambique

    registration for military service is mandatory for all men and women at 18 years of age; 18-35 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary service for men and women; 2-year service obligation (2021)

  • Namibia

    18-25 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2018, women comprised more than 20% of the active duty military

  • Nepal

    18 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2020, women comprised about 5% of the active duty military

  • Netherlands

    17 years of age for voluntary service for men and women; the military is an all-volunteer force; conscription remains in place, but the requirement to show up for compulsory military service was suspended in 1997; must be a citizen of the Netherlands (2022)

    note: in 2019, women made up about 11% of the military's full-time personnel

  • New Zealand

    17 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18; no conscription (2022)

    note 1: New Zealand opened up all military occupations to women in 2000; in 2019, women accounted for about 18% of the uniformed full-time personnel

    note 2: as of 2022, the NZDF’s program for recruiting foreign volunteers had been suspended

  • Nicaragua

    18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; tour of duty 18-36 months; requires Nicaraguan nationality and 6th-grade education (2022)

  • Niger

    has conscription, although it is reportedly not always enforced; 18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory or voluntary military service; enlistees must be Nigerien citizens and unmarried; 2-year service term; women may serve in health care (2022)

  • Nigeria

    18-26 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

  • North Macedonia

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2007 (2021)

    note: as of 2022, women made up about 10% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Norway

    19-35 years of age for selective compulsory military service for men and women; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women volunteers; 12-19 month service obligation; conscripts first serve 12 months between the ages of 19 and 28, and then up to 4-5 refresher training periods until age 35, 44, 55, or 60 depending on rank and function (2022)

    note 1: Norway conscripts about 8,000 individuals annually; it has had compulsory military service since 1907

    note 2: Norway was the first NATO country to allow women to serve in all combat arms branches of the military (1985); it also has an all-female special operations unit known as Jegertroppen (The Hunter Troop), which was established in 2014; as of 2021, women comprised about 20% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 3: beginning in 1995, the military began offering Icelandic citizens the opportunity to apply for admission to officer schools in Norway with an associated education and service contract under special reasons and based on recommendations from Icelandic authorities; as early as 1996, Norway and Iceland entered into a cooperation agreement on the voluntary participation of Icelandic personnel in Norwegian force contributions in foreign operations

  • Oman

    18-30 years of age for voluntary military service (women have been allowed to serve since 2011); no conscription (2022)

  • Pakistan

    16 (or 17 depending on service) to 23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18; women serve in all three armed forces; reserve obligation to age 45 for enlisted men, age 50 for officers (2022)

  • Papua New Guinea

    18-27 for a general enlistee or 18-30 for an officer cadet; no conscription (2022)

  • Paraguay

    18 years of age for compulsory (men) and voluntary (men and women) military service; conscript service obligation is 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy; conscripts also serve in the National Police; volunteers for the Air Force must be younger than 22 years of age with a secondary school diploma (2022)

    note: as of 2021, women made up about 6% of the active military

  • Peru

    18-50 years of age for male and 18-45 years of age for female voluntary military service (12 months); no conscription (abolished in 1999) (2022)

    note: as of 2019, women made up about 10% of the active duty military

  • Philippines

    18-25 (enlisted) and 21-29 (officers) years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2020, women made up about 6% of the active military; women were allowed to enter the Philippine Military Academy and train as combat soldiers in 1993

  • Poland

    18-28 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription phased out in 2009-12; professional soldiers serve on a permanent basis (for an unspecified period of time) or on a contract basis (for a specified period of time); initial contract period is 24 months; women serve in the military on the same terms as men (2022)

    note 1: as of 2019, women made up about 7% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 2: in May 2022, Poland announced a new 12-month voluntary military service program with recruits going through a 1-month basic training period with a military unit, followed by 11 months of specialized training; upon completion of service, the volunteers would be allowed to join the Territorial Defense Forces or the active reserve, and have priority to join the professional army and be given preference for employment in the public sector; the program is part of an effort to increase the size of the Polish military

  • Portugal

    18-30 years of age for voluntary or contract military service; no compulsory military service (abolished 2004), but conscription possible if insufficient volunteers available; women serve in the armed forces, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties; contract service lasts for an initial period from two to six years, and can be extended to a maximum of 20 years of service; initial voluntary military service lasts 12 months; reserve obligation to age 35 (2022)

    note: as of 2019, women made up about 12% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Qatar

    conscription for men aged 18-35 introduced in 2013; compulsory service times range from 4-12 months, depending on educational and professional circumstances; since 2018, women have been permitted to serve as volunteers in the armed forces, including as uniformed officers and pilots (2022)

    note 1: as of 2020, the military incorporated about 2,000 conscripts annually

    note 2: Qatar recruits foreign contract soldiers to overcome manpower limitations; as of 2020, it was estimated that as much as 85% of the military was comprised of foreigners

  • Romania

    18 years of age for voluntary service for men and women; all military inductees contract for an initial 5-year term of service, with subsequent successive 3-year terms until age 36; conscription ended in 2006 (2021)

  • Russia

    18-27 years of age for compulsory service for men; 18-40 for voluntary/contractual service; women and non-Russian citizens (18-30) may volunteer; men are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; 12-month service obligation (Russia offers the option of serving on a 24-month contract instead of completing a 12-month conscription period); reserve obligation for non-officers to age 50; enrollment in military schools from the age of 16 (2022)

    note 1: in May 2022, Russia's parliament approved a law removing the upper age limit for contractual service in the military; in November 2022, President Vladimir PUTIN signed a decree allowing dual-national Russians and those with permanent residency status in foreign countries to be drafted into the army for military service

    note 2: the Russian military takes on about 260,000 conscripts each year in two semi-annual drafts (Spring and Fall); as of 2021, conscripts comprised an estimated 30% of the Russian military's active duty personnel and most reserve personnel were former conscripts; in April of 2019, the Russian Government pledged its intent to end conscription as part of a decade-long effort to shift from a large, conscript-based military to a smaller, more professional force; an existing law allows for a 21-month alternative civil service for conscripts in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities for those who view military duty as incompatible with their beliefs, but military conscription offices reportedly often broadly ignore requests for such service

    note 3: as of 2020, women made up about 5% of the active-duty military

    note 4: since 2015, foreigners 18-30 with a good command of Russian have been allowed to join the military on 5-year contracts and become eligible for Russian citizenship after serving 3 years; in October 2022, the Interior Ministry opened up recruitment centers for foreigners to sign a 1-year service contract with the armed forces, other troops, or military formations participating in the invasion of Ukraine with the promise of simplifying the process of obtaining Russian citizenship

  • Rwanda

    18 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship is required; enlistment is either as contract (5-years, renewable twice) or career (2021)

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis

    18 years of age for voluntary military service (under 18 with written parental permission); no conscription (2022)

  • San Marino

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; government has the authority to call up all San Marino citizens from 16-60 years of age to serve in the military (2022)

  • Sao Tome and Principe

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service; 17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary service (2021)

  • Saudi Arabia

    men (17-40) and women (21-40) may volunteer for military service; no conscription (2022)

    note 1: in 2021, women were allowed to serve in the Army, Air Defense, Navy, Strategic Missile Force, medical services, and internal security forces up to the rank of non-commissioned officer

    note 2: the National Guard is restricted to citizens, but the regular Saudi military has hired foreigners on contract for operations associated with its intervention in Yemen

  • Senegal

    18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 20 years of age for selective conscript service; 2-year service obligation; women have been accepted into military service since 2008 (2022)

  • Serbia

    18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished January 2011 (2021)

    note: as of 2019, women made up about 6% of the military's full-time personnel 

  • Seychelles

    18-28 (18-25 for officers) years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 6-year initial commitment; no conscription (2022)

  • Sierra Leone

    18-29 for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve; no conscription (2022)

  • Singapore

    18-21 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 16.5 years of age for voluntary enlistment (with parental consent); 24-month conscript service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 40 (enlisted) or age 50 (officers); women are not conscripted, but they are allowed to volunteer for all services and branches, including combat arms (2022)

    note 1: under the Enlistment Act, all male Singaporean citizens and permanent residents, unless exempted, are required to enter National Service (NS) upon attaining the age of 18; most NS conscripts serve in the Armed Forces, but some go into the Police Force or Civil Defense Force; as of 2020, conscripts comprised over half of the defense establishment

    note 2: as of 2017, women made up about 7% of the active force

    note 3: members of the Gurkha Contingent (GC) of the Singapore Police Force are mostly recruited from a small number of hill tribes in Nepal; the GC was formed in 1949 originally from selected ex-British Army Gurkhas

  • Slovakia

    18-30 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription in peacetime suspended in 2004 (2021)

    note: as of 2019, women made up around 12% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Slovenia

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished in 2003 (2021)

    note: as of 2019, women comprised about 15% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Somalia

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscription is authorized but not currently utilized; women may volunteer (2021)

    note: in 2019, the Federal Government of Somalia renewed its commitment to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers by signing a roadmap detailing measures and practical actions to prevent violations against children, release children associated with armed forces, and reintegrate them into communities; the signing followed a similar accord committed to ending the use of child soldiers signed by both the Somali Transitional Government and the UN in 2012

  • South Africa

    18-22 (18-26 for college graduates) years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 2-year service obligation (2022)

    note: in 2019, women comprised about 30% of the military

  • South Sudan

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscription only for men; women may volunteer; 12-24 months service (2022)

    note: in 2019, women made up less than 10% of the active military

  • Spain

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 24-36 month initial obligation; women allowed to serve in all branches, including combat units; no conscription (abolished 2001), but the Spanish Government retains the right to mobilize citizens 19-25 years of age in a national emergency; 18-58 for the voluntary reserves (2022)

    note 1: as of 2019, women comprised about 13% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 2: the military recruits foreign nationals with residency in Spain from countries of its former empire, including Argentina, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela

  • Sri Lanka

    18-22 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2022)

  • Sudan

    18-33 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service for men and women; 1-2 year service obligation (2022)

    note: implementation of conscription is reportedly uneven

  • Suriname

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2022)

  • Sweden

    18-47 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; 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; compulsory military service, abolished in 2010, was reinstated in January 2018; conscription is selective, includes both men and women (age 18), and requires 9-12 months of service (2022)

    note 1: Sweden conscripts about 5,500 men and women each year

    note 2: as of 2021, women made up about 11% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Switzerland

    18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may volunteer; every Swiss male has to serve at least 245 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by six 19-day intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2022)

    note: conscientious objectors can choose 390 days of community service instead of military service

  • Syria

    18-42 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2022)

    note: the military is comprised largely of conscripts

  • Taiwan

    starting with those born in 1994, men 18-36 years of age may volunteer for military service or must complete 4 months of compulsory military training (5 weeks of basic training followed by 11 weeks of specialized training with field units); civil service can be substituted for military service in some cases; men born before December 1993 are required to complete compulsory service for 12 months (military or civil); men are subject to training recalls up to four times for periods not to exceed 20 days for 8 years after discharge; women may enlist but are restricted to noncombat roles in most cases; as part of its transition to an all-volunteer military, the last cohort of 12-month military conscripts completed their service obligations in December 2018 (2022)

    note: as of 2021, women made up about 15% of the active duty military

  • Tajikistan

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service for men; 24-month conscript service obligation; in August 2021, the Tajik Government began allowing men to pay a fee in order to avoid conscription (2022)

  • Tanzania

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; 6-year commitment (2-year contracts afterwards); selective conscription for 2 years of public service (2022)

  • Thailand

    18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; 21 years of age for compulsory military service for men; men register at 18 years of age; volunteer service obligation may be as short as 6 or 12 months, depending on educational qualifications; conscript service obligation also varies by educational qualifications, but is typically 24 months (2022)

    note 1: serving in the armed forces is a national duty of all Thai citizens; conscription was introduced in 1905; it includes women, however, only men over the age of 21 who have not gone through reserve training are conscripted; conscripts are chosen by lottery (on draft day, eligible draftees can request volunteer service, or they may choose to stay for the conscription lottery); approximately 75-100,000 men are drafted for military service each year and conscripts reportedly comprise as much as 50% of the armed forces

    note 2: as of 2020, women comprised about 8% of active-duty military personnel

  • Timor-Leste

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; compulsory service was  authorized in 2020 for men and women aged 18-30 for 18 months of service, but the level of implementation is unclear  (2021)

  • Togo

    18 years of age for military service; 2-year service obligation; no conscription; women have been able to serve since 2007 (2022)

  • Tonga

    voluntary military service for men and women 18-25 (16 with parental approval for non-combat positions); no conscription (2022)

  • Trinidad and Tobago

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (some age variations between services, reserves); no conscription (2022)

    note: as of 2017, women comprised about 14% of the active duty military

  • Tunisia

    20-23 years of age for male compulsory service, 1-year service obligation; individuals engaged in higher education or vocational training programs prior to their military drafting are allowed to delay service until they have completed their programs; 18-23 years of age for voluntary service; women may volunteer (2022)

    note 1: as of 2021, approximately 20-25,000 active military personnel were conscripts

    note 2: women have been allowed in the service since 1975 as volunteers only, although as recently as 2018, the Tunisian Government has discussed the possibility of conscripting women; as of 2018, women constituted less than 7% of the military and served in all three services

  • Turkey (Turkiye)

    mandatory military service for men, age 20-41; service can be delayed if in university or in certain professions (researchers, professionals, and athletic, or those with artistic talents have the right to postpone military service until the age of 35); 6-12 months service; women may volunteer (2022)

    note 1: in 2019, a new law cut the men’s mandatory military service period in half, as well as making paid military service permanent; with the new system, the period of conscription was reduced from 12 months to six months for privates and non-commissioned soldiers (the service term for reserve officers chosen among university or college graduates remained 12 months); after completing six months of service, if a conscripted soldier wants to and is suitable for extending his military service, he may do so for an additional six months in return for a monthly salary; under the new law, all male Turkish citizens over the age of 20 are required to undergo a one month military training period, but they can obtain an exemption from the remaining five months of their mandatory service by paying 31,000 Turkish Liras

    note 2:
    as of 2019, women made up about 0.3% of the military's full-time personnel

  • Turkmenistan

    18-30 years of age for compulsory male military service; 24-month conscript service obligation (30 months for the Navy); 20 years of age for voluntary service (including females); males may enroll in military schools from age 15 (2022)

  • Uganda

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military duty for men and women; 18-30 for those with degrees/diplomas in specialized fields such as medicine, engineering, chemistry, and education, or possess qualifications in some vocational skills; 9-year service obligation (2022)

  • Ukraine

    conscription abolished in 2012, but reintroduced in 2014; 20-27 years of age for compulsory military service; prior to the Russian invasion of February 2022, conscript service obligation was 12-18 months, depending on the service (2022)

    note 1: following the Russian invasion in 2022, all nonexempt men ages 18 to 60 were required to register with their local recruitment offices and undergo medical screening for possible service; the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) accepts volunteers, 18-60 years of age; since the invasion, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have volunteered for the regular armed forces, the TDF, or to work in civilian defense activities 

    note 2: women have been able to volunteer for military service since 1993; as of September 2022, approximately 50,000 were serving

    note 3: since 2015, the Ukrainian military has allowed foreigners and stateless persons, 18-45 (in special cases up to 60), to join on 3-5-year contracts, based on qualifications; following the Russian invasion in 2022, the military began accepting medically fit foreign volunteers on a larger scale, with an emphasis on persons with combat experience; wartime volunteers serve in the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, typically for 6 months

  • United Arab Emirates

    18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men (compulsory service initiated in 2014); 17 years of age for volunteers with parental approval; men can volunteer up to age 40; 24-month general service obligation, 16 months for secondary school graduates; women can volunteer to serve for 9 months regardless of education (2022)

    note 1: compulsory service may be completed in the uniformed military, the Ministry of Interior, the State Security Service, or other institutions designated by the military leadership

    note 2: the UAE military employs a considerable number—estimates range from a low of about 30% to as much as 70% of the force—of foreign personnel on contract; the UAE has also hired foreign mercenaries for some operations during its intervention in Yemen  

  • United Kingdom

    some variations by service, but generally 16-36 years of age for enlisted (with parental consent under 18) and 18-29 for officers; minimum length of service 4 years; women serve in all military services including combat roles; conscription abolished in 1963 (2022)

    note 1: as of 2019, women made up about 11% of the military's full-time personnel

    note 2: the British military allows Commonwealth nationals who are current UK residents and have been in the country for at least 5 years to apply; it also accepts Irish citizens

    note 3: the British Army has continued the historic practice of recruiting Gurkhas from Nepal to serve in the Brigade of Gurkhas; the British began to recruit Nepalese citizens (Gurkhas) into the East India Company Army during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816); the Gurkhas subsequently were brought into the British Indian Army and by 1914, there were 10 Gurkha regiments, collectively known as the Gurkha Brigade; following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India, and Great Britain allowed for the transfer of the 10 regiments from the British Indian Army to the separate British and Indian armies; four of the regiments were transferred to the British Army, where they have since served continuously as the Brigade of Gurkhas 

  • United States

    18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for voluntary service for men and women; no conscription (currently inactive, but males aged 18-25 must register with Selective Service in case conscription is reinstated in the future); maximum enlistment age 34 (Army), 39 (Air Force), 39 (Navy), 28 (Marines), 31 (Coast Guard); 8-year service obligation, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active duty (Navy), 4 years active duty (Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard); all military occupations and positions open to women (2022)

    note: in 2020, women comprised 17.2 % of the total US military (16.9% of enlisted; 18.9% officers; highest was Air Force with women comprising 21.1% of its total personnel); a small number of American women were involved in combat during the Revolutionary (1775-1783), Mexican (1846-1848), and Civil (1861-1865) Wars, but they had to disguise themselves as men and enlist under aliases; the first official US military organization for women was the US Army Nurse Corps, established in 1901; during World War I, the US Navy and Marine Corps allowed women to enlist; nearly 350,000 women served in the US military during World War II; the 1991 Gulf War was the first war where women served with men in integrated units within a war zone; in 2015, women were allowed to serve in direct combat roles

    note 2: non-citizens living permanently and legally in the US may join as enlisted personnel; must have permission to work in the US, a high school diploma, and speak, read, and write English fluently; minimum age of 17 with parental consent or 18 without; maximum age 29-39, depending on the service; under the US Nationality Act, honorable service in the military may qualify individuals to obtain expedited citizenship; under the Compact of Free Association, citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands may volunteer; under the Jay Treaty, signed in 1794 between Great Britain and the US, and corresponding legislation, Native Americans/First Nations born in Canada are entitled to freely enter the US and join the US military

  • Uruguay

    18-30 years of age (18-22 years of age for Navy) for voluntary military service for men and women; up to 40 years of age for specialists; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2022)

    note: as of 2017, women comprised about 19% of the active military

  • Uzbekistan

    18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; 12-month conscript service obligation for men (those conscripted have the option of paying for a shorter service of 1 month while remaining in the reserves until the age of 27); Uzbek citizens who have completed their service terms in the armed forces have privileges in employment and admission to higher educational institutions (2022)

  • Venezuela

    18-30 (25 for women) for voluntary service; the minimum service obligation is 24-30 months; all citizens of military service age (18-50) are obligated to register for military service and subject to military training, although “forcible recruitment” is forbidden (2022)

    note: as of 2017, women made up more than 20% of the active duty military

  • Vietnam

    18-27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service for men and women (in practice only men are drafted); service obligation is between 24 (Army, Air Defense) and 36 (Navy and Air Force) months (2022)

  • West Bank

    not available

  • Yemen

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2001; 2-year service obligation (note - limited information since the start of the civil war in 2014) (2021)

  • Zambia

    18-25 years of age (16 with parental consent) for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription; 12-year enlistment period (7 years active, 5 in the Reserves); all citizens are required to register at 16  (2022)

  • Zimbabwe

    18-22 years of age for voluntary military service (18-24 for officer cadets; 18-30 for technical/specialist personnel); no conscription; women are eligible to serve (2021)