When Can a Naval Veteran Re-Join the Active Duty Navy?

by Geoffrey St. Marie

For some career military, the chance to re-enlist after discharge is an attractive and meaningful option. For those in the Navy, re-enlistment usually entails entry into the reserves, where previous privileges and pay often remain in force for a certain time period.


Typically, Navy veterans cannot rejoin the regular Navy after discharge. They are usually encouraged to enter the Navy Reserves instead. Reservists can see active service in certain circumstances such as wartime. This occurs through what the Navy terms an entrance program.

Time Frame

If you were discharged less than or up to four years prior to re-enlisting in the reserves, you will probably be able to keep your previous pay-rate as well as your rank or commission. After this window, the Navy retains the right to alter them. The Navy Reserves also allow veterans of other armed services to enlist in its reserves.


While the Navy does employ some policies concerning the evaluation of your physical fitness and age upon re-entry, it attempts to decide these matters more on a "case-by-case" basis rather than through generic regulations. If you were originally discharged with a disability, the percentage disability given you may exclude you from re-enlistment in the reserves.

About the Author

Geoffrey St. Marie began writing professionally in 2010, with his work focusing on topics in history, culture, politics and society. He received his Bachelor of Arts in European history from Central Connecticut State University and his Master of Arts in modern European history from Brown University.

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