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

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2017)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Algeria

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 19-30 years of age for compulsory service; conscript service obligation reduced from 18 to 12 months in 2014 (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Antigua and Barbuda

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Governor-General has powers to call up men for national service and set the age at which they could be called up (2012)

  • Argentina

    18-24 years of age for voluntary military service (18-21 requires parental consent); no conscription; if the number of volunteers fails to meet the quota of recruits for a particular year, Congress can authorize the conscription of citizens turning 18 that year for a period not exceeding one year (2012)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Australia

    17 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; women allowed to serve in most combat roles (2018)

  • 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 (2015)

  • Azerbaijan

    18-35 years of age for compulsory military service; service obligation 18 months or 12 months for university graduates; 17 years of age for voluntary service; 17 year olds are considered to be on active service at cadet military schools (2020)

  • Bahamas, The

    18 years of age for voluntary male and female service; no conscription (2012)

  • Bahrain

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for NCOs, technicians, and cadets; no conscription (2019)

  • 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 (2018)

  • Barbados

    18 years of age for voluntary military service, or earlier with parental consent; no conscription (2013)

  • 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 (2017)

  • Belgium

    18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1995 (2019)

  • Belize

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1; initial service obligation 12 years (2012)

  • 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 (2013)

  • Bermuda

    18-45 years of age for voluntary male or female enlistment in the Bermuda Regiment; males must register at age 18 and may be subject to conscription; term of service is 38 months for volunteers or conscripts (2012)

  • 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 (2012)

  • Bolivia

    16-49 years of age for 12-month voluntary male and female military service; Bolivian citizenship required; minimum age for combat duty is 18; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; 15-19 years of age for voluntary premilitary service, provides exemption from further military service (2017)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Botswana

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

  • Brazil

    18-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation is 10-12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service; an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals; women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in early 1980s, when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps (2012)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Bulgaria

    18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 2007; service obligation 6-9 months (2019)

  • Burkina Faso

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women may serve in supporting roles (2013)

  • 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; Burma signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 15 August 1991; on 27 June 2012, the regime signed a Joint Action Plan on prevention of child recruitment; in February 2013, the military formed a new task force to address forced child conscription (2013)

  • 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; mandatory retirement ages: 45 (enlisted), 50 (NCOs), 55 (officers), and 60 (officers with the rank of general) (2017)

  • 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) (2013)

  • Cambodia

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2012)

  • Cameroon

    18-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years; periodic government calls for volunteers (2012)

  • 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 (2012)

  • Central African Republic

    18 years of age for military service; no conscription (2019)

  • 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; while provisions for military service have not been repealed, they have never been fully implemented (2015)

  • Chile

    18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service, although the right to compulsory recruitment of males 18-45 is retained; service obligation is 12 months for Army and 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2015)

  • China

    18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, 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 (2018)

  • Colombia

    18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation is 18 months (2012)

  • Comoros

    18 years of age for 2-year voluntary male and female military service; no conscription (2015)

  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the

    18-45 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (2012)

  • Congo, Republic of the

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in the Armed Forces (2013)

  • 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 (2012)

  • Croatia

    18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2008 (2019)

  • Cuba

    17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation for males, optional for females (2017)

  • Curacao

    no conscription (2010)

  • 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; 12-month service obligation (2019)

  • Czechia

    18-28 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished 2004 (2019)

  • 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 (2016)

  • Djibouti

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 16-25 years of age for voluntary military training; no conscription (2012)

  • 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 (2012)

  • Ecuador

    18 years of age for selective conscript military service; conscription has been suspended; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; Air Force 18-22 years of age, Ecuadorian birth requirement; 1-year service obligation (2013)

  • Egypt

    18-30 years of age for male conscript military service; service obligation - 18-36 months, followed by a 9-year reserve obligation; voluntary enlistment possible from age 15 (2017)

  • 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 (2012)

  • 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 (2013)

  • Eritrea

    18-40 years of age for male and female voluntary and compulsory military service; 18-month conscript service obligation (2019)

  • Estonia

    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 (2016)

  • Eswatini

    18-30 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; compulsory HIV testing required, only HIV-negative applicants accepted (2013)

  • 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 (2013)

  • Fiji

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 55 (2013)

  • Finland

    at age 18, all Finnish men are obligated to serve 6-12 months of service within a branch of the military or the Border Guard, and women may volunteer for service; after completing their initial conscript obligation, individuals enter the reserves and remain eligible for mobilization until the age of 60 (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Gabon

    20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2013)

  • Gambia, The

    18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; service obligation 6 months (2012)

  • Georgia

    conscription abolished in 2016, but reinstated in 2017; 18 to 27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation is 12 months (2019)

  • Germany

    17-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription ended July 2011; service obligation 8-23 months or 12 years; women have been eligible for voluntary service in all military branches and positions since 2001 (2019)

  • Ghana

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service, with basic education certificate; no conscription (2019)

  • Greece

    19-45 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee's 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 18 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation is 1 year for the Army and 9 months for the Air Force and Navy; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2014)

  • 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 (2013)

  • Guinea

    no compulsory military service (2017)

  • 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 (2013)

  • Guyana

    18 years of age or older for voluntary military service; no conscription (2014)

  • Holy See (Vatican City)

    Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera Pontificia): 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 (2019)

  • Honduras

    18 years of age for voluntary 2- to 3-year military service; no conscription (2012)

  • Hungary

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 2005); 6-month service obligation (2019)

  • 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 pilots, and under consideration for Army combat roles (2019)

  • Indonesia

    18-45 years of age for voluntary military service, with selective conscription authorized; 2-year service obligation, with reserve obligation to age 45 (officers); Indonesian citizens only (2013)

  • 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; women exempt from military service (2019)

  • Iraq

    18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Israel

    18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druze) military service; 17 years of age for voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; 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) (2020)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Jamaica

    17 1/2 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

  • Japan

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

  • Jordan

    17 years of age for voluntary male military service; initial service term 2 years, with option to reenlist for 18 years; conscription at age 18 suspended in 1999; women are not conscripted, but can volunteer to serve in noncombat military positions in the Royal Jordanian Arab Army Women's Corps and RJAF (2013)

  • Kazakhstan

    All men 18-27 are required to serve in the military for at least one year. (2019)

  • Kenya

    18-26 years of age for male and female voluntary service (under 18 with parental consent), with a 9-year obligation (7 years for Kenyan Navy) and subsequent 3-year reenlistments; applicants must be Kenyan citizens and provide a national identity card (obtained at age 18) and a school-leaving certificate, and undergo a series of mental and physical examinations; women serve under the same terms and conditions as men; mandatory retirement at age 55 but personnel leaving before this age remain in a reserve status until they reach age 55 unless they were removed for disciplinary reasons; there is no active military reserve, although the Ministry of Defence has stated its desire to create one as recently as 2017 (2019)

  • Korea, North

    17 years of age for compulsory male and female military service; service obligation 10 years for men, to age 23 for women (2015)

  • 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; women, in service since 1950, are able to serve in all branches (2020)

    note:  South Korea intends to reduce the length of military service to 18 – 22 months by 2022

  • 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 (2018)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Laos

    18 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - minimum 18 months (2019)

  • Latvia

    18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription (abolished 2007); under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2019)

  • Lebanon

    17-25 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2019)

  • Lesotho

    18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women serve as commissioned officers (2019)

  • Liberia

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

  • 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) (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • 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 (2018)

  • 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 (2014)

  • 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 (2017)

  • 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

  • Mali

    18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service (men and women); 2-year conscript service obligation (2014)

  • 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 (2012)

  • Mexico

    18 years of age for compulsory military service (selection for service determined by lottery), conscript service obligation is 12 months; 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 (2012)

  • Moldova

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; male registration required at age 16; 1-year service obligation (2019)

    note: Moldova intends to abolish military conscription by 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; after conscription, soldiers can contract into military service for 2 or 4 years; citizens can also voluntarily join the armed forces (2017)

  • Montenegro

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2006 (2019)

  • Morocco

    19 years of age for compulsory military service (reintroduced in 2019); both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Namibia

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

  • Nepal

    18 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2019)

  • Netherlands

    17 years of age for an all-volunteer force; conscription abolished in 1996 (2019)

  • New Zealand

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

  • 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 (2017)

  • Niger

    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 (2017)

  • Nigeria

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

  • North Macedonia

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2007 (2019)

  • Norway

    19-35 years of age for male and female selective compulsory military service; 17 years of age for male volunteers (16 in wartime); 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. (2019)

  • Oman

    18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

  • Pakistan

    16-23 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 (2019)

  • Papua New Guinea

    16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; graduation from grade 12 required (2013)

  • Paraguay

    18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy; volunteers for the Air Force must be younger than 22 years of age with a secondary school diploma (2016)

  • Peru

    18-50 years of age for male and 18-45 years of age for female voluntary military service; no conscription (2013)

  • Philippines

    18-23 years of age (officers 21-29) for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Qatar

    conscription for males aged 18-35; compulsory service times range from 4 months to up to a year, depending on the cadets educational and professional circumstances; women are permitted to serve in the armed forces, including as uniformed officers and pilots (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

    note: in April of 2019, the Russian government pledged its intent to end conscription

  • Rwanda

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship is required, as is a 9th-grade education for enlisted recruits and an A-level certificate for officer candidates; enlistment is either as contract (5-years, renewable twice) or career; retirement (for officers and senior NCOs) after 20 years of service or at 40-60 years of age (2013)

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

  • 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 (2012)

  • Sao Tome and Principe

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service; 17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary service (2012)

  • Saudi Arabia

    17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; in 2018, women were allowed to serve as soldiers in the internal security services under certain requirements; in February 2021, the Saudi Government agreed to allow women to join the military and serve as soldiers 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 (2016)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Sierra Leone

    18-29 for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve; no conscription (2019)

  • 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) (2019)

  • Slovakia

    18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription in peacetime suspended in 2004; women are eligible to serve (2019)

  • Slovenia

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2003 (2019)

  • Somalia

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2012)

  • South Africa

    18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve in noncombat roles; 2-year service obligation (2019)

  • South Sudan

    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service; the Government of South Sudan signed agreements in March 2012 and August 2015 that included the demobilization of all child soldiers within the armed forces and opposition, but the recruitment of child soldiers by the warring parties continues; as of the end of 2018, UNICEF estimated that more than 19,000 child soldiers had been used in the country's civil war since it began in December 2013 (2018)

  • 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; mandatory retirement of non-NCO enlisted personnel at age 45 or 58, depending on service length (2019)

  • Sri Lanka

    18-22 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

  • Sudan

    18-33 years of age for male and female compulsory or voluntary military service; 1-2 year service obligation (2013)

  • Suriname

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • 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)

  • 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 (2019)

  • 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 (2019)

  • Tajikistan

    18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; 12-18 month conscript service obligation (2019)

  • Tanzania

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; 6-year commitment (2019)

  • 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 based on lottery (2018)

  • Timor-Leste

    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 18-month service obligation (2019)

  • Togo

    18 years of age for military service; 2-year service obligation; currently the military is only an all-volunteer force (2017)

  • Tonga

    Volunteers, 18-25; no conscription (2014)

  • Trinidad and Tobago

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military service (some age variations between services, reserves); no conscription (2019)

  • Tunisia

    20-23 years of age for compulsory service, 1-year service obligation; 18-23 years of age for voluntary service (2019)

  • Turkey

    President Erdo─čan 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 private 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 (2019)

  • Turkmenistan

    18-27 years of age for compulsory male military service; 2-year conscript service obligation; 20 years of age for voluntary service; males may enroll in military schools from age 15 (2013)

  • Uganda

    18-25 years of age for voluntary military duty (must be single, no children); 9-year service obligation (2019)

  • Ukraine

    conscription abolished in 2012, but reintroduced in 2014; 20-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation is 12 months (2019)

  • United Arab Emirates

    18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 17 years of age for male volunteers with parental approval; 24-month general service obligation, 16 months for secondary school graduates; women can volunteer to serve for 9 months regardless of education (2018)

  • 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 (2019)

  • United States

    18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; no conscription; 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 (2019)

  • 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 (2013)

  • 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 (2016)

  • Venezuela

    all citizens of military service age (18-60 years old) are obligated to register for military service and subject to military training, though mandatory recruitment is forbidden; the minimum service obligation is 24-30 months (2016)

  • 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) (2019)

  • Yemen

    18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 2-year service obligation (2018)

  • Zambia

    18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; 12-year enlistment period (7 years active, 5 in the Reserves) (2019)

  • 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 (2019)