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.

  • Afghanistan

    not available

  • 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)

  • Algeria

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 19-30 years of age for compulsory service (all Algerian men must register at age 17); conscript service obligation reduced from 18 to 12 months in 2014; conscripts comprise approximately 70% of the military (2021)

  • Angola

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

  • Antigua and Barbuda

    18-23 years of age for voluntary military service for both males and females; no conscription (2021)

  • Argentina

    18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription suspended in 1995; Argentinians 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 (2021)

  • Armenia

    18-27 years of age for voluntary or compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation, which can be served as an officer upon deferment for university studies if enrolled in officer-producing program; 17-year-olds are eligible to become cadets at military higher education institutes, where they are classified as military personnel; citizens aged 27 to 50 are registered in the military reserve and may be called to serve if mobilization is declared (2021)

    note - conscripts comprise about half of the military's active personnel

  • 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 (2021)

    note - in 2019-2020, women comprised about 19% of the ADF

  • Austria

    registration requirement at age 17, the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service (6 months), or optionally, alternative civil/community service (9 months); males 18 to 50 years old in the militia or inactive reserve are subject to compulsory service; in a January 2012 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 (2021)

  • Azerbaijan

    men age 18-35 years for compulsory military service; service obligation 18 months (non-university graduate) or 12 months (university graduates); 17 years of age for voluntary service; 17-year-olds are considered to be on active service at cadet military schools (2021)

  • Bahamas, The

    18 years of age for voluntary male and female service; no conscription (2021)

  • Bahrain

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for NCOs, technicians, and cadets; no conscription (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • Barbados

    Voluntary service only; 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 (2021)

  • 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, depending on academic qualifications; 17-year-olds are eligible to become cadets at military higher education institutes, where they are classified as military personnel (2021)

    note - conscripts comprise an estimated 40% of the military

  • Belgium

    18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1995 (2021)

    note - in 2020, women comprised about 9% of the Belgian 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 (2021)

  • Benin

    18-35 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; a higher education diploma is required; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2021)

  • Bermuda

    females and males who are Commonwealth citizens and 18-45 years of age for voluntary enlistment in 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 (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • 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 one year; Search and Rescue service can be substituted for citizens who have reached the age of compulsory military service; duration of this service is 2 years (2021)

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 35 or after 15 years of service for E-1 through E-4, mandatory retirement at age 50 and 30 years of service for E-5 through E-9, mandatory retirement at age 55 and 30 years of service for all officers; conscription abolished in 2005 (2021)

  • Botswana

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • 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; 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 (2021)

    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; recruits from the army, navy, and air force all undergo 43-week initial training (2021)

  • Bulgaria

    18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 2007; service obligation 6-9 months (2021)

  • Burkina Faso

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women may serve in supporting roles (2021)

  • 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; the armed forces law of 31 December 2004 did not specify a minimum age for enlistment, but the government claimed that no one younger than 18 was being recruited (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) (2021)

  • Cambodia

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (conscription only selectively enforced since 1993) (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

    note(s) - in 2020, women comprised 15.9% of the CAF; Canada opened up all military occupations to women in 2001

  • Central African Republic

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

  • Chad

    20 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service, with a 3-year service obligation; 18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary service; no minimum age restriction for volunteers with consent from a parent or guardian; women are subject to 1 year of compulsory military or civic service at age 21 (2021)

  • Chile

    18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; selective compulsory service (18-45); service obligation is a minimum of 12 months for Army and 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2021)

    note - women comprise approximately 18% of the armed forces

  • China

    18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service (not needed), with a 2-year 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 (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

    note - in 2020, conscripts reportedly comprised about 50% of the Colombian military's active force

  • Comoros

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

  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the

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

  • Congo, Republic of the

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in the armed forces (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 (2021)

  • Croatia

    18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2008 (2021)

  • Cuba

    17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation for men; women may volunteer (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • Czechia

    18-28 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished 2004 (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

    note(s) - women have been able serve in all military occupations, including combat arms, since 1988; 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

  • Djibouti

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

  • Dominican Republic

    17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; recruits must have completed primary school and be Dominican Republic citizens; women may volunteer (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • Egypt

    voluntary enlistment possible from age 16; 18-30 years of age for male conscript military service; 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 (2021)

    note - over half of the military, as well as a considerable portion of the Central Security Force, is comprised of conscripts

  • 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 NCOs (2021)

  • 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

    18-40 years of age for male and female voluntary and compulsory military service (18-27 for female conscription); 18-month conscript service obligation, which includes 4-6 months of military training and one‐year of military or other national service (military service is most common); note - in practice, military service reportedly is often extended indefinitely (2021)

  • Estonia

    men 18-27 for compulsory military or governmental service, conscript service requirement 8-11 months depending on education; NCOs, reserve officers, and specialists serve 11 months; women can volunteer and as of 2018, women could serve in any branch of the military (2021)

    note(s) - conscripts comprise about half (approximately 3,000-3,300) of the Estonian military's 6,500 active personnel and serve in all branches, except for the Air Force, which does not have conscripts; in 2020, women comprised about 10% of the professional military force

  • Eswatini

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

  • Ethiopia

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no compulsory military service, but the military can conduct callups when necessary and compliance is compulsory (2021)

    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

  • Fiji

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 55 (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

    note(s) - Finland trains approximately 21,000 conscripts each year; since 2017, between 1,000 and 1,700 women have volunteered for military service annually

  • France

    18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 2001); 1-year service obligation; women serve in noncombat posts (2021)

    note(s) - 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 5-year contracts; in 2019, women comprised approximately approximately 16% of the uniformed armed forces (21% including civilians) 

  • 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 (2021)

    note(s) - 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

  • 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 (2021)

    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 (2021)

  • Greece

    19-45 years of age for compulsory military service; 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 volunteers; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2021)

    note - approximately 40-50% of the Greek military is comprised of conscripts

  • 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 conscripted; conscript service obligation varies from 1 to 2 years; women can serve as officers (2021)

  • Guinea

    Voluntary and selective conscripted service, 9-24 mos (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • Guyana

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

  • Holy See (Vatican City)

    Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps: 19-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; must be Roman Catholic, a single male, and a Swiss citizen, with a secondary education; service is for 26 months (2021)

  • Honduras

    18 years of age for voluntary 2- to 3-year military service; no conscription (2021)

  • Hungary

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 2005); 6-month service obligation (2021)

  • India

    16-18 years of age for voluntary military service (Army 17 1/2, Air Force 17, Navy 16 1/2); no conscription; women may join as officers, currently serve in combat roles as Air Force pilots, and under consideration for Army and Navy combat roles (currently can fly naval reconnaissance aircraft) (2021)

  • 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 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 - approximately 80 percent of Artesh ground forces personnel are conscripts, while Navy and Air/Air Defense Force personnel are primarily volunteers; approximately 60 percent of the IRGC is reportedly comprised of conscripts

  • Iraq

    18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 2003) (2021)

    note - in late 2021, the Iraqi Government approved a draft conscription law for the Council of Representatives to debate

  • 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); Irish citizen, European Economic Area citizenship, or refugee status (2021)

  • 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 liability 48 months for officers, 32 months for other ranks, 24 for women;  conscript service obligation - 32 months for enlisted men and about 24 months for enlisted women (varies based on military occupation), 48 months for officers; pilots commit to 9-year service; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), age 24 (women) (2021)

    note(s) - 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; as of 2021, conscripts comprised about 70% of the IDF ground forces

  • Italy

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in any military branch; Italian citizenship required; 1-year service obligation; conscription abolished 2004 (2021)

  • 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 1-year of service, soldiers can continue on with the JDF or seek other opportunities with law enforcement (2021)

  • Japan

    18 years of age for voluntary military service (maximum enlistment age 32); no conscription (2021)

  • Jordan

    17 years of age for voluntary male military service (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 18 years; conscription abolished in 1991; however, 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, 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 (2021)

  • Kazakhstan

    All men 18-27 are required to serve in the military for at least one year (2021)

  • 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), with a 9-year obligation (7 years for Kenyan Navy) and subsequent 3-year re-enlistments; applicants must be Kenyan citizens (2021)

  • Korea, North

    17 years of age for compulsory male and female military service; service obligation 10 years for men, to age 23 for women (reportedly reduced in 2021 to 7-8 years for men and 5 years for women) (2021)

    note(s) - the bulk of the KPA is made up of conscripts; as many as 20 percent 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

    18-28 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum conscript service obligation varies by service- 21 months (Army, Marines), 23 months (Navy), 24 months (Air Force); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service  (2021)

    note(s) - 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; in 2021, about 330,000 of the military's active personnel were conscripts; South Korea intends to reduce the length of military service to 18 – 22 months by 2022

  • 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

    17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; Kuwait reintroduced one-year mandatory service for men aged 18-35 in May 2017 after having suspended conscription in 2001; service is divided in two phases – four months for training and eight months for military service (2021)

  • Kyrgyzstan

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary male military service in the Armed Forces or Interior Ministry; 1-year 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 (2021)

  • Laos

    18 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - minimum 18 months (2021)

  • Latvia

    18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription (abolished 2007) (2021)

  • Lebanon

    17-25 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2021)

  • Lesotho

    18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women can serve as commissioned officers (2021)

  • Liberia

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

  • Libya

    not available

  • Lithuania

    19-26 years of age for conscripted military service (males); 9-month service obligation; in 2015, Lithuania reinstated conscription after having converted to a professional military in 2008; 18-38 for voluntary service (male and female) (2021)

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

  • Luxembourg

    18-26 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 1969); Luxembourg citizen or EU citizen with 3-year residence in Luxembourg (2021)

  • Madagascar

    Madagascar has an all-volunteer military; 18-25 years of age for males; service obligation 18 months; women are permitted to serve in all branches (2021)

  • Malawi

    18 years of age 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 (2021)

  • Malaysia

    17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent and proof of age); mandatory retirement age 60; women serve in the Malaysian Armed Forces; no conscription (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • Mali

    18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service (men and women); 2-year conscript service obligation (2021)

  • Malta

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

  • Mauritania

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • Mauritius

    service is voluntary (2021)

  • 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 one-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 (2021)

  • Moldova

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; male registration required at age 16; 1-year service obligation (2021)

  • Mongolia

    18-27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 1-year conscript service obligation in army or air forces or police for males only (can be exchanged for a 24‐month stint in the civil service or a tax voucher); after conscription, soldiers can contract into military service for 2 or 4 years; citizens can also voluntarily join the armed forces (2021)

  • Montenegro

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

  • Morocco

    19-25 years of age for 12-month compulsory military service (reintroduced in 2019); both sexes are obligated to military service (2021)

  • Mozambique

    registration for military service is mandatory for all males and females at 18 years of age; 18-35 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary service; 2-year service obligation; women may serve as officers or enlisted (2021)

  • Namibia

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • Nepal

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

  • Netherlands

    17 years of age for an all-volunteer force; conscription remains in place, but the requirement to show up for compulsory military service was suspended in 1997 (2021)

    note - in 2020, women comprised about 10% of the military

  • New Zealand

    17 years of age for voluntary military service (men and women); soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18; no conscription; (2021)

    note - New Zealand opened up all military occupations to women in 2000; in 2019, women accounted for 17.5% of the uniformed personnel of the NZDF

  • 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 (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • Nigeria

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • North Macedonia

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

  • Norway

    19-35 years of age for male and female selective compulsory military service; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women; 19-month service obligation; conscripts first serve 12 months from 19-28, and then up to 4-5 refresher training periods until age 35, 44, 55, or 60 depending on rank and function (2021)

    note(s) - Norway conscripts about 8,000 individuals annually; Norway was the first NATO country to allow females 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

  • Oman

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

  • Pakistan

    16 (or 17 depending on service)-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 (2021)

  • Papua New Guinea

    16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription (2021)

  • Paraguay

    18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary 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 (2019)

  • 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) (2021)

  • Philippines

    18-23 years of age (officers 21-29) for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

  • 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, on naval ships since 1992, 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; voluntary military service lasts 12 months; reserve obligation to age 35 (2021)

  • Qatar

    conscription for males aged 18-35 introduced in 2013; compulsory service times range from 4-12 months, depending on the cadets educational and professional circumstances; women are permitted to serve in the armed forces, including as uniformed officers and pilots (2021)

  • Romania

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

  • Russia

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; one-year service obligation (Russia offers the option of serving on a two-year contract instead of completing a one-year conscription period); reserve obligation for non-officers to age 50; enrollment in military schools from the age of 16, cadets classified as members of the armed forces (2021)

    note - as of 2021, conscripts reportedly comprised about 250,000 of the Russian military's active duty personnel; 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

  • Rwanda

    18 years of age 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 (2021)

  • 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 service in the military (2019)

  • 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

    17-40 for men; no conscription; as of 2021, women (aged 17-40) 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 (2021)

  • Senegal

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 20 years of age for selective conscript service; 2-year service obligation; women have been accepted into military service since 2008 (2021)

  • Serbia

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

  • Seychelles

    18-28 years of age for voluntary military service (18-25 for officers); 6-year initial commitment; no conscription (2021)

  • Sierra Leone

    18-29 for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve; no conscription (2021)

  • Singapore

    18-21 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 1/2 years of age for voluntary enlistment (with parental consent); 2-year 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 (2021)

    note(s) - all conscripts undergo basic military training and most serve in the Armed Forces, but some go into the Police Force or Civil Defense Force; conscripts reportedly comprise approximately 80% of the defense establishment

  • Slovakia

    18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription in peacetime suspended in 2004; women are eligible to serve (2021)

  • Slovenia

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

  • Somalia

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

  • South Africa

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve in noncombat roles; 2-year service obligation (2021)

    note - in 2019, women comprised about 30% of the SANDF

  • South Sudan

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 12-24 months service (2021)

  • Spain

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service by a Spanish citizen or legal immigrant, 2-3 year obligation; women allowed to serve in all SAF branches, including combat units; no conscription (abolished 2001), but Spanish Government retains right to mobilize citizens 19-25 years of age in a national emergency (2021)

  • Sri Lanka

    18-22 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • Sudan

    18-33 years of age for male and female compulsory or voluntary military service; 1-2 year service obligation (2021)

  • Suriname

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2021)

  • 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 female and male (age 18), and requires 9-12 months of service (conscripts about 5,500 men and women per year) (2021)

  • Switzerland

    18-30 years of age generally for male compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; 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 (2021)

    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 (2021)

    note - the SAF is largely comprised of conscripts

  • Taiwan

    starting with those born in 1994, males 18-36 years of age may volunteer for military service or must complete 4 months of compulsory military training (or substitute civil service in some cases); men born before December 1993 are required to complete compulsory service for 1 year (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 in December 2018, the last cohort of one-year military conscripts completed their service obligations (2021)

  • 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 (2021)

    note - approximately 15-16,000 men are drafted annually for compulsory military service

  • 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 (2021)

  • Thailand

    21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males register at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation varies by educational qualifications (2021)

    note - information varies, but conscripts reportedly comprise as much as 50% of the RTARF; around 100,000 males are drafted each year

  • Timor-Leste

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 18-month service obligation (2021)

  • Togo

    18 years of age for military service; 2-year service obligation; the military is an all-volunteer force (2021)

  • Tonga

    Volunteers, 18-25; no conscription (2021)

  • Trinidad and Tobago

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service (some age variations between services, reserves); no conscription (2021)

  • Tunisia

    men 20-23 years of age for 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 (2021)

    note(s) - conscripts comprise approximately 20-25,000 of the Tunisian military's personnel

  • Turkey

    President Erdoğan on 25 June 2019 signed a new law cutting 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 will remain 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 will be 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 (2021)

  • Turkmenistan

    18-30 years of age for compulsory male military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2.5 years for the Navy); 20 years of age for voluntary service; males may enroll in military schools from age 15 (2021)

  • Uganda

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military duty (must be single, no children); 9-year service obligation (2021)

  • Ukraine

    conscription abolished in 2012, but reintroduced in 2014; 20-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation is 12 months (2021)

    note(s) - the Ukrainian military has a mix of conscripts (14,000 conscripted in 2021) and professional soldiers on contracts; by law, conscripts cannot serve on the frontlines, but have the opportunity to sign short or long-term contracts upon the expiration of their terms of service; women can volunteer and have served in the Ukrainian armed forces since 1993; as of 2021, women comprised approximately 20% of the military; in late 2021, the Ukrainian Government began requiring women between 18 and 60 who are fit for military service and work in a broad range of professions to register with Ukraine's armed forces
     

  • United Arab Emirates

    18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men (compulsory service initiated in 2014); 17 years of age for male volunteers with parental approval; males 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 (2021)

  • United Kingdom

    slight 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 military services including ground combat roles; conscription abolished in 1963 (2021)

  • United States

    18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; 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 (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard); all military occupations and positions open to women (2021)

    note - in 2019, women comprised about 18% of the total US military

  • Uruguay

    18-30 years of age (18-22 years of age for Navy) for male or female voluntary military service; up to 40 years of age for specialists; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2021)

  • Uzbekistan

    18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; 1-year conscript service obligation for males (conscripts have the option of paying for a shorter service of one 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 (2021)

  • 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 years old) are obligated to register for military service and subject to military training, although “forcible recruitment” is forbidden (2021)

  • Vietnam

    18-27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (females eligible for conscription, but in practice only males are drafted); conscription typically takes place twice annually and service obligation is 2 years (Army, Air Defense) and 3 years (Navy and Air Force) (2021)

  • 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) (2021)

  • Zambia

    18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (16 with parental consent); no conscription; 12-year enlistment period (7 years active, 5 in the Reserves) (2021)

  • 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)