Royal Air Force Pilot requirements
All applicants must pass an occupational health assessment – this is to ensure that you are medically fit for military duty. We also look for any issues that could have an impact on your ability to carry out your specialist role during your RAF career.
Medical standards for entry into the RAF are laid down by law, so we must test all potential recruits. The health assessment includes hearing and eyesight tests; we'll also investigate any illnesses you may have suffered in the past.
View Royal Air Force pilot requirements
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a correlation of height and weight. Candidates who do not meet the minimum and maximum BMI criteria will not be accepted into the service. The BMI standards acceptable for entry into the RAF are:
|Age||Male and female minimum||Male and female maximum||Male maximum with additional assessment||Female maximum with additional assessment|
|16 to < 18||17||27||27||27|
If you are aged 18 years and over and have a higher BMI, you can still make an application provided your waist circumference is below 94 cm (for males) or 80 cm (for females) and you are able to satisfy the AFCO Medical Examiner that you can meet the physical requirements of training. You will be assessed at the medical stage of your application, where a final decision on your fitness and medical suitability for service will be taken.
The minimum standards for both uncorrected and corrected vision vary for different roles and are determined by RAF medical staff.
Whatever role you’re applying for, your spectacle or contact lens correction must not be greater than -7 dioptres or +8 dioptres in any meridian. If you have impaired colour perception (colour blindness) it won’t prevent you from joining the RAF, but it may limit what roles you can choose.
If necessary, talk to your optician about what your eye prescription is and whether it may affect your application. Remember, you’ll need to take a copy with you of any acuity prescription from your optician when you go for your medical examination.
Medical conditions that preclude entry
Please refer to the list of medical conditions that preclude entry listed in this link:
If you have any of the conditions listed, it means that you are unsuitable for entry into the RAF.
This list is provided for general guidance only and is not exhaustive. Other medical conditions which allow you to work in civilian employment and practice sports may still make you unsuitable for military service.
If you have a recurrent medical condition that isn't mentioned below, or if you aren't sure whether your medical history may affect whether you can join the RAF, please ask your AFCO. However, bear in mind that Armed Forces Careers Advisers and their office staff are not medically qualified and that all final decisions regarding medical suitability for entry are made by the RAF’s medical staff.
When you apply to join the RAF as an Officer to be a pilot, you will be expected to demonstrate an appropriate attitude to physical fitness through regular training and participation in physical activities. As part of the selection process, and in addition to a medical examination, you will be required to undertake a Selection Fitness Test (SFT) in the form of a gender and age fair health based test in order to demonstrate your physical preparedness to enter Initial Training. Candidates will be required to achieve SFT standard for their age and gender through a combination of tests involving a 2.4 km treadmill run, press ups and sit ups.
To be eligible to apply for any RAF job, you must fall into one of the following categories:
- British Citizen
- British National
- British/Dual National
- Commonwealth Citizen
- Irish Republic National
If you do not fall into one these categories, you are ineligible to join the RAF.
For security reasons, there are stricter nationality requirements for some jobs. For a few, you must have been a UK citizen and UK resident since birth.
As well as meeting nationality requirements, you must also meet certain residency criteria to be eligible to apply for a job in the RAF.
UK Resident for a Minimum of 5-years
If you have been resident in the United Kingdom for a minimum period of 5 years immediately prior to your application, and have not spent more than 28 days per year outside of the UK during this time, then you meet our residency criteria. You should register your interest as normal.
If you have spent more than 28 days per year outside the UK in the last 5 years, then we will need to complete further checks on your eligibility. During the application process you will be asked to explain why you have spent over 28 days outside the UK. In the meantime, provided that you meet our other eligibility criteria, you should register your interest as normal.
UK Resident Between 3 and 5 years
If you have been resident in the UK for more than 3 years but less than 5 years immediately prior to making your application, and have not spent more than 28 days per year outside the UK during this period then we will need to complete further checks on your eligibility during the application process. In the meantime, provided that you meet our other eligibility criteria, you should register your interest as normal.
UK Resident less than 3 years
If you have been resident in the United Kingdom for less than 3 years, but fall into one of the following categories then we will need to complete further checks on your eligibility during the application process. In the meantime, you should register you interest as normal.
- You spent time abroad for travel/ study gap year reasons.
- You lived abroad because your parents were employed by the UK government (including HM Forces) in a foreign country.
- You are a British citizen with at least one parent who is a British citizen and you lived with your parents abroad and you attended secondary school within the European Economic Area or a Commonwealth Country.
If you do not fall into one of the above categories, then you are ineligible to apply to the RAF at this time.
Further eligibility checks
If you meet our nationality requirements but further checks need to be made on your residency, you will need to provide the following documents at a later stage in the application process:
- Birth certificate
- Educational qualifications
- Overseas Police Certificate (only required if you have spent over 6 months in a foreign country)
- Supporting documentation when relevant (eg, References from travelling companion if on Gap Year)