Reference > World Factbook, 2008
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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
Military service age and obligation
 
 
CountryMilitary service age and obligation
Afghanistan22 years of age; inductees are contracted into service for a 4-year term (2005)
Albania19 years of age (2004)
Algeria19-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (6 months basic training, 12 months civil projects) (2006)
Angola17 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years plus time for training (2001)
Antigua and Barbuda18 years of age (est.); no conscript military service (2001)
Argentina18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Armenia18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Australia16 years of age for voluntary service; women allowed to serve in Army combat units in non-combat support roles (2001)
Austria18-35 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for male or female voluntary service; service obligation 7 months of training, followed by an 8-year reserve obligation (2006)
Azerbaijanmen between 18 and 35 are liable for military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; length of military service is 18 months and 12 months for university graduates (2006)
Bahamas, The18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Bahrain18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Bangladesh18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2005)
Barbados18 years of age for voluntary military service; volunteers at earlier age with parental consent; no conscription (2001)
Belarus18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Belgium16 years of age for voluntary military service; women comprise approx. 7% of the Belgian armed forces (2001)
Belize18 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 (2008)
Benin21 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; in practice, volunteers may be taken at the age of 18; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2006)
Bermuda18-23 years of age; eligible men required to register for conscription as needed into the Bermuda Regiment, which is largely voluntary; term of service 39 months (2007)
Bhutan18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Bolivia18 years of age for voluntary military service; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; one estimate holds that 40% of the armed forces are under the age of 18, with 50% of those under the age of 16; conscript tour of duty - 12 months (2004)
Bosnia and Herzegovina17 years of age for voluntary military service in the Federation and in the Republika Srpska; conscription abolished January 2006; 4-month service obligation (2006)
Botswana18 is the apparent age of voluntary military service; the official qualifications for determining minimum age are unknown (2001)
Brazil21-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 9 to 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 (2001)
Brunei18 years of age (est.) for voluntary military service; non-Malays are ineligible to serve (2007)
Bulgaria18-27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 9 months; as of May 2006, 67% of the Bulgarian Army comprised of professional soldiers; conscription into the Army to end as of 1 January 2008; Air and Air Defense Forces and Naval Forces became fully professional at the end of 2006; Bulgarian Armed Forces encountered difficulties meeting conscript quotas in April 2007 (2007)
Burkina Faso18 years of age for compulsory military service; 20 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Burma18 years of age for voluntary military service for both sexes; forced conscription of children, although officially prohibited, reportedly continues (2007)
Burundi16 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Cambodiaconscription law of October 2006 requires all males between 18-30 to register for military service; 18-month service obligation (2006)
Cameroon18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; the government makes periodic calls for volunteers (2006)
Canada16-34 years of age for voluntary military service; women comprise approximately 11% of Canada's armed forces (2006)
Cape Verde18 years of age (est.) for selective compulsory military service; 14-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Central African Republic18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Chad20 years of age for conscripts, with 3-year service obligation; 18 years of age for volunteers; no minimum age restriction for volunteers with consent from a guardian; women are subject to 1 year of compulsory military or civic service at age of 21 (2004)
Chile18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service, although the right to compulsory recruitment is retained; service obligation - 12 months for Army, 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2008)
China18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with 24-month 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 (2007)
Colombia18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the18-45 years of age for military service
Congo, Republic of the18 years of age for voluntary military service; women allowed to serve (2007)
Costa Rica18 years of age (2004)
Cote d'Ivoire18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Croatia18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary service; 6-month conscript service obligation; full conversion to professional military service by 2010 (2006)
Cuba17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation; both sexes subject to military service (2006)
CyprusGreek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG): 18-50 years of age for compulsory military service for all Greek Cypriot males; 17 years of age for voluntary service; females are not conscripted; age of military eligibility 17 to 50; length of normal service is 25 months with a minimum of 3 months (2006)
Czech Republic18-50 years of age for voluntary military service (2005)
Denmark18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscripts serve an initial training period that varies from 4 to 12 months according to specialization; reservists are assigned to mobilization units following completion of their conscript service; women eligible to volunteer for military service (2004)
Djibouti18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Dominican Republic18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Ecuador20 years of age for selective conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2006)
Egypt18-30 years of age for male conscript military service; service obligation 12-36 months, followed by a 9-year reserve obligation (2006)
El Salvador18 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16 years of age for voluntary service; 12-month service obligation (2006)
Equatorial Guinea18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Eritrea18-40 years of age for male and female voluntary and compulsory military service; 16-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Estoniacompulsory military service for men between 19 and 28; conscription lasts 11 months for junior NCOs and reserve platoon leaders; reserve officers and designated specialists have a different conscript service obligation; Estonia has committed to retaining conscription for men up to 2010 and, unlike Latvia and Lithuania, has no plan to transition to a contract armed forces; 17 years of age for volunteers; reserve commitment up to the age of 60 (2006)
Ethiopia18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Fiji18 years of age for voluntary military service; reserve obligation to age 45 (2006)
Finland18 years of age for male voluntary and compulsory national military and nonmilitary service; service obligation 6-12 months (2007)
France17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 1996; women serve in noncombat military posts (2005)
Gabon20 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2007)
Gambia, The18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Georgia18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Germany18 years of age (conscripts serve a 9-month tour of compulsory military service) (2004)
Ghana18 years of age for compulsory and volunteer military service (2001)
Greece18 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; 17 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation - 12 months for the Army, Air Force; 15 months for Navy; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)
Guatemalaall male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are liable for military service; conscript service obligation varies from 12 to 24 months; women can serve as officers (2007)
Guinea18 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Guinea-Bissau18 years of age for selective compulsory military service (2006)
Honduras18 years of age for voluntary 2 to 3-year military service (2004)
Hong Kong18 years of age (2004)
Hungary18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in June 2004; 6-month service obligation, with reserve obligation to age 50 (2006)
India16 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Indonesia18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year conscript service obligation, with reserve obligation to age 45 (2006)
Iran18 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; soldiers as young as 9 were recruited extensively during the Iran-Iraq War; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Iraq18-40 years of age for voluntary military service (2006)
Ireland17 years of age for voluntary military service; enlistees under the age of 17 can be recruited for specialist positions (2001)
Israel17 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druzes) and voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation: 36 months for men, 24 months for women, 48 months for officers; reserve obligation to age 41-54 for men and 24 for women (2007)
Italy18-27 year of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2005; women may serve in any military branch; 10-month service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 45 (Army and Air Force) or 39 (Navy) (2006)
Jamaica18 years of age for voluntary military service; younger recruits may be conscripted with parental consent (2001)
Japan18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Jordan17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription at age 18 was suspended in 1999, although all males under age 37 are required to register; women not subject to conscription, but can volunteer to serve in non-combat military positions (2004)
Kazakhstan18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years; minimum age for volunteers NA (2004)
Kenya18 years of age (est.) for voluntary service, with a 9-year obligation (2007)
Korea, North17 years of age (2004)
Korea, South20-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 24-28 months, depending on the military branch involved (to be reduced to 18 months beginning 2016); 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women, in service since 1950, admitted to 7 service branches, including infantry, but excluded from artillery, armor, anti-air, and chaplaincy corps; some 4,000 women serve as commissioned and noncommissioned officers, approx. 2.3% of all officers (2007)
Kuwait18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; reserve obligation to age 40 with 1 month annual training; women have served in police forces since 1999 (2006)
Kyrgyzstan18 years of age for compulsory military service (2001)
Laos15 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum 18-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Latvia18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2007; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2006)
Lebanon18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; in May 2005, conscript service obligation reduced from 12 to 6 months over a 2-year period; conscripts eligible to volunteer for 5 years of military service upon completing 6 months of conscript service; Lebanon is moving toward a predominantly professional armed forces (2005)
Lesotho18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Liberia18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Libya17 years of age (2004)
Lithuania19-45 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for volunteers; 12-month conscript service obligation (2006)
Luxembourg17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers under 18 are not deployed into combat or with peacekeeping missions (2004)
Macedonia18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Madagascar18-50 years of age for compulsory military service; 18-month conscript service obligation (either military or equivalent civil service) (2006)
Malawi18 years of age for voluntary military service; standard obligation is 2 years of active duty and 5 years of reserve service (2007)
Malaysia18 years of age for voluntary military service (2005)
Maldives18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Mali18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (2004)
Malta18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Mauritania18 years of age (est.); conscript service obligation - 2 years; majority of servicemen believed to be volunteers; service in Air Force and Navy is voluntary (2006)
Mexico18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment; conscripts serve only in the Army; Navy and Air Force service is all voluntary; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)
Moldova18 years of age for compulsory military service; 12-month service obligation (2006)
Mongolia18-25 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months in land or air defense forces or police; a small portion of Mongolian land forces (2.5 percent) is comprised of contract soldiers; women cannot be deployed overseas for military operations (2006)
Montenegrocompulsory national military service abolished August 2006
Morocco18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Mozambique18-30 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Namibia18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Nepal18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Netherlands20 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2004)
Netherlands Antilles16 years of age for National Guard recruitment; no conscription (2004)
New Zealand17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18 (2001)
Nicaragua17 years of age for voluntary military service; tour of duty 18-36 months (2007)
Niger18 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Nigeria18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Norway18-44 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women; 12-month service obligation, in practice shortened to 8 to 9 months; although all males between ages of 18 and 44 are liable for service, in practice they are seldom called to duty after age 30; reserve obligation to age 35-60; 16 years of age for volunteers to the Home Guard, who serve 6-month duty tours (2006)
Oman18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Pakistan16 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age of 18; the Pakistani Air Force and Pakistani Navy have inducted their first female pilots and sailors (2006)
Papua New Guinea18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Paraguay18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy (2006)
Peru18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1999 (2004)
Philippines18-25 years of age (officers 21-29) for compulsory and voluntary military service; applicants must be single male or female Philippine citizens (2007)
Poland17 years of age for male compulsory military service after January 1st of the year of 18th birthday; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscript service obligation shortened from 12 to 9 months in 2005; by 2008, plans call for at least 60% of military personnel to be volunteers; only soldiers who have completed their conscript service are allowed to volunteer for professional service; as of April 2004, women are only allowed to serve as officers and noncommissioned officers (2006)
Portugal18 years of age for voluntary military service; compulsory military service ended in 2004; women serve in the armed forces, on naval ships since 1993, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties (2005)
Qatar18 years of age for voluntary military service; land forces enlisted personnel are largely unprofessional foreign nationals (2005)
Romania18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription officially ended October 2006; all military inductees (including women) contract for an initial 5-year term of service; subsequent voluntary service contracts are for successive 3-year terms until the age of 36 (2006)
Russia18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; service obligation - 1 year; reserve obligation to age 50; foreign citizens and dual-nationality Russians are precluded from contract military service
note: Russia has adopted a mixed conscript-contract force; 30% of Russian army personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005; planning calls for volunteer servicemen to compose 70% of armed forces by 2010 with the remaining servicemen consisting of conscripts; as of November 2006, the Armed Forces had more than 60 units manned with contract personnel totaling over 78,000 contract privates and sergeants; 88 Ministry of Defense units have been designated as permanent readiness units and are expected to become all-volunteer by the end of 2007; these include most air force, naval, and nuclear arms units, as well as all airborne and naval infantry units, most motorized rifle brigades, and all special forces detachments; all personnel on ships and submarines will be contract servicemen beginning in 2009; more than 92,000 females serve on active duty with the Russian Armed Forces (2007)
Rwanda16 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Saint Kitts and Nevis18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Sao Tome and Principe18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Saudi Arabia18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2004)
Senegal18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (2004)
Serbia19-35 years of age for compulsory military service; under a state of war or impending war, conscription can begin at age 16; conscription is to be abolished in 2010; 9-month service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 60 for men and 50 for women (2007)
Seychelles18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Sierra Leone18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Singapore18 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 2-year conscript service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 40 for enlisted or age 50 for officers (2007)
Slovakia17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2006; women are eligible to serve (2006)
Slovenia17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2003 (2007)
Somalia18 years of age (est.) (2001)
South Africa18 years of age for voluntary military service; women have a long history of military service in noncombat roles dating back to World War I (2004)
Spain20 years of age (2004)
Sri Lanka18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Sudan18-30 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Suriname18 years of age (est.); no conscription
Swaziland18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; both sexes are eligible for military service (2005)
Sweden19 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation: 7-15 months (Navy), 8-12 months (Air Force); after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age 47 (2006)
Switzerland19 years of age for male compulsory military service; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; the Swiss Constitution states that "every Swiss male is obliged to do military service"; every Swiss male has to serve for at least 260 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by seven 3-week intermittent recalls for training over the next 10 years; women are accepted on a voluntary basis but are not conscripted (2005)
Syria18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months (18 months in the Syrian Arab Navy); women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2004)
Taiwan19-35 years of age for male compulsory military service; service obligation 16 months (to be shortened to 14 months as of July 2007 and to 12 months in 2008); women may enlist; women in Air Force service are restricted to noncombat roles; reserve obligation to age 30 (2007)
Tajikistan18 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Tanzania18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Thailand21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Timor-Leste18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Togo18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Tonga18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Trinidad and Tobago18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Tunisia20 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Turkey20 years of age (2004)
Turkmenistan18-30 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)
Uganda18-26 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military duty; 18-30 years of age for professionals; 9-year service obligation; the government has stated that recruitment below 18 years of age could occur with proper consent and that "no person under the apparent age of 13 years shall be enrolled in the armed forces" (2007)
Ukraine18-25 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months for Army and Air Force, 24 months for Navy (2004)
United Arab Emirates18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
United Kingdom16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55 (2007)
United States18 years of age; 17 years of age with written parental consent (2006)
Uruguay18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2007)
Uzbekistan18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Venezuela18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months; all citizens of military service age (between 18 and 50 years old) are obligated to register for military service (2007)
Vietnam18 years of age (male) for compulsory military service; females may volunteer for active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (3 to 4 years in the navy); 18-45 years of age (male) or 18-40 years of age (female) for Militia Force or Self Defense Forces (2006)
Yemenvoluntary military service program authorized in 2001; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Zambia18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Zimbabwe18-24 years of age for compulsory military service; women are eligible to serve (2007)

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