How Foreigners can Join the British Armed Forces

How to Join the British Army, British Air Force, and British Navy as a Foreigner

The British Armed Forces are the military services of the United Kingdom (UK/ Britain) and consist of: the British Army, the land warfare service branch; the Royal Air Force, the aerial warfare service branch; the Royal Navy, the sea warfare service branch; and the Royal Marines, a highly specialised amphibious light infantry force. They are tasked with defense of the country, its overseas territories, and the Crown dependencies and also promote UK's interests, support international peacekeeping efforts and provide humanitarian aid. The Commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces is Queen Elizabeth II, to whom members of the forces swear allegiance.

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United Kingdom's military primarily recruits British citizens, however, foreign nationals from Commonwealth countries can be recruited into the British Armed Forces. Commonwealth soldiers have had a long and distinguished history serving in Britain's Armed Forces. They proved to be brave on the battlefield during the First and Second World Wars and most recently on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their service is highly valued for their important contribution in defending the UK.

The Commonwealth, also known as the Commonwealth of Nations, is an intergovernmental organization of 53 independent Countries that were mostly colonies and territories of the former British Empire. 

On 11 July 2013, the UK Government announced that foreign nationals from Commonwealth countries who wish to join the British Armed Forces (Regulars) will need to demonstrate that they have lived in the United Kingdom for the last 5 years. In addition, non-British recruits to the Reserves will be required to have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. In 2016, defense officials relaxed the rules and the 5-year residency requirement was waived to allow 200 Commonwealth recruits every year to fill certain specialist positions in the Regular Armed Forces. This does not apply to those who want to join the Reserves.

Commonwealth nationals can now be able to apply for positions including Medical Technician, Logistic Supply Specialist, Chef, General Fitter, Mariner, Metalsmith, Recovery Mechanic, Vehicle Mechanic, Petroleum Operator, Marine Engineer, Gunner Logistics Specialist and Engineering Logistic Specialist. The applicants should also be of good health, physically fit, can communicate well in both written and spoken English, and can self-fund travel to the UK for recruitment.

Note: Nepalese citizens are recruited from Nepal to join the British Armed Forces in its Brigade of Gurkhas.
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For more information on how foreigners can be recruited into the British Armed Forces, visit the official website www.army.mod.uk

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