How to Enlist in the US Navy SEALs

To become a SEAL, you must be in the Navy. There are three paths you can choose from to become a Navy SEAL:

Path 1: Enlist as a civilian (Choose Path #1 if you’ve never been in the military)

Path 2: Enlist while in the Navy and apply for a transfer

Path 3: Enlist from another branch of military service

If you are not in the military or if you are in another service, you can join through a Navy recruiter. Active duty Sailors can request a transfer to come to BUD/S.

Each year about 1,000 Sailors are given the opportunity to attend SEAL training. Men who have played in competitive sports such as water polo, rugby, lacrosse, swimming, wrestling and boxing; have high academic achievements; and have the ability to learn quickly have the best chance of success at BUD/S. Men with two-year or four-year degrees are almost twice as likely to succeed at BUD/S as compared to those without a degree.

Applicants must also pass:

  • SEAL Physical Screening Test (PST)
  • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
  • Psychological Battery Test (the C-SORT)

Higher scores on all of these tests correlate with a higher probability of success during SEAL training.

Path 1: Enlist As A Civilian By Visiting Your Local Navy Recruiter

Step 1: Visit your local Navy Recruiter

Tell the recruiter you want to become a SEAL. Get your SEAL contract. During your initial meeting, you will be screened for basic Navy eligibility. The recruiter will ask questions about your education, age, citizenship, medical history and police background.

The first meeting might also include a practice ASVAB, the test used to determine mental aptitude for military service. The practice test is a 30-minute timed test and covers arithmetic reasoning, math knowledge, word knowledge and paragraph comprehension.

To prepare for your initial meeting with the recruiter, take the following documents with you:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • High School Diploma
  • A 10-year history of addresses where you’ve lived
  • Name and address of employers for whom you’ve worked

For each item in the history, be prepared to provide:

  • Three personal references with name, phone number and address
  • Addresses of people who can verify the three references information

If you meet basic requirements and do well on the practice ASVAB, the recruiter will put you in contact with the regional Naval Special Warfare/Special Operations Mentor or coordinator. Navy SEAL Mentors will help guide you through Navy SEAL specific requirements and help you train for your PST. Mentors will also be the ones to give you your Delayed Entry Program (DEP) qualifying PST.

Step 2: Get a Navy contract

Your local recruiter will schedule you to:

  • Take the ASVAB
  • Get a physical
  • Get a background screening at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).
  • Generally, after your ASVAB and physical, you may have to wait to receive a SEAL contract. But you’ll be allowed to take the C-SORT and PST.

If you are qualified, you will need to accept a contract into the Navy as any other job classification.

You will take the ASVAB the first day, you may get a physical, on the same day, or the next, which will include:

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Range of motion
  • Drug testing
  • Medical history

Generally, on the same day as your physical, you will sit down with a job counselor to find out if you are qualified to become a Navy SEAL. If you are qualified, you will need to accept a contract into the Navy as any other job classification.

The contract will have a boot camp date on it, which will likely change once you get a SEAL contract. Once you have signed your Navy contract, you will be in the Delayed Entry Program, and your Special Warfare/Special Operations mentor will put you on a physical training regimen designed to help you prepare for the Physical Screening Test. Until you have taken and passed a Physical Screening Test, you cannot receive a SEAL contract.

Step 3: Get a Navy SEAL contract

Once you have signed a Navy contract, you are eligible to take a PST. Contact the Special Warfare/Special Operations mentor or coordinator to take the test.

Once you have taken and passed the PST, your Recruiter or Mentor will request a reclassification for you into the SEAL program. This will generate a SEAL contract, which will supersede the Navy contract you originally received.

Follow the workout regimen dictated by your Mentor because you will need to pass an additional PST 14 days before boot camp in order to keep your SEAL contract. Strong, committed physical preparation is key to maximizing your chance of success.

Path 2: Apply For A Rating Transfer If You Are Already In The Navy

Step 1: Notify your command

If you are already in the Navy serving in another rate, you should first notify your command of your desire to become a Navy SEAL by submitting a Special Request Chit. Your chain of command IS NOT responsible for determining your eligibility, but they must be notified before you proceed.

Step 2: Ask your Navy Career Counselor to complete the Navy Career Counselor Worksheet (NC Worksheet)

To notify Naval Special Warfare Command of your desire to go to training for a chance to become a SEAL, you must contact the following people:

  • Your career counselor
  • Leading petty officer or leading chief petty officer

Your career counselor should fill out the online NC Worksheet and submit it. The Naval Special Warfare Recruiting Directorate will process the worksheet and contact you via e-mail within five days to inform you whether or not you meet basic eligibility requirements.

Step 3: Pass a Physical Screening Test (PST)

If you meet the requirements, you must schedule a PST. It is important to show up and pass the PST. If you do not show up for a PST as scheduled or if you fail a PST, you are disqualified from taking the test again for 45 days. You will receive a page 13 from Naval Special Warfare Recruiting Directorate after taking the PST. This form must be included with your application package.

Step 4: Apply if you pass the PST

You will need to do several things to complete an application package. The package will be submitted by your career counselor, on your behalf, to Naval Special Warfare for consideration.

The SF-88 is no longer needed. The 1306/92 is only required after selection to BUD/S. The 2807-1 is to be filled out by the applicant and the 2808 is to be filled out by the Dive Medical Officer.

You will need to have the following:

  • Dive physical
  • Signed/completed: PDF DD 2807-1
  • Signed/completed: PDF DD 2808
  • Signed/completed: PDF NAVPERS 1200/6 “Dive Medical Sreening Questionnaire”
  • Signed/completed: PDF NAVPERS 1306-7 “Navy Personnel Action” – Initiated by your career counselor

Submit the following to your detailer:

  • The SF-88 is no longer needed. The NAVPERS 1306/92 is only need after selection to BUD/S.
  • ASVAB certification form (in your records)
  • Dive physical (comprised of the following forms: DD 2807-1, 2808, NAVPERS 1200/6)
  • Last three evaluations
  • Signed/completed: PDF NAVPERS 1306-7 “Navy Personnel Action”
  • Signed/completed: Physical Screening Test (obtained from the SEAL + SWCC Scout Team once you complete and pass your PST.)

Submit your information via fax or Email. The detailer should make a determination on your application to Naval Special Warfare within four to eight weeks.

Step 5: Prepare for Naval Special Warfare Prep School

If your package is approved, you’ll receive orders to Naval Special Warfare Preparatory Course in Great Lakes, Ill. You must take and pass a PST within 30 days of your departure for Great Lakes, Illinois. If you do not pass this PST, your Naval Special Warfare orders will be cancelled.

Path 3: Transfer Into The Navy From Another Military Branch And Apply For The SO (SEAL) Rating

Step 1: Visit your local Navy Recruiter 45 days before you separate from your current branch of service

About 60 days before you separate from the military branch in which you currently serve, request a statement of service from your current command. This statement will include dates of active duty service and may include multiple enlistments, breaks in service, changes in grade and other information related to your service.

About 45 days before you separate, visit your local Navy recruiter. Tell him or her that you want to join the Navy to become a SEAL. The local recruiter should be able to tell you if the Navy is currently accepting men who have prior military experience into the SEAL program. If the Navy is, the recruiter will put you in contact with the local Special Warfare/Special Operations mentor or coordinator.

During your initial meeting with the recruiter, take the following documents with you:

  • Statement of Service
  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • High School Diploma
  • A 10-year history of addresses where you’ve lived

For each item in the history, be prepared to provide:

  • Three personal references with name, phone number and address
  • Addresses of people who can verify the three references information

Step 2: Separate from your current branch of service

Once you have separated from the military, the recruiter will help you begin the process of joining the Navy. While your recruiter helps you with your basic Navy requirements, the Special Warfare/Special Operations mentor or coordinator will help you with the Naval Special Warfare-specific requirements.

Step 3: Go to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)

Your local recruiter will schedule you to go to MEPS. While at MEPS, you will find out if you pass the initial qualifications to become a Navy SEAL. If your military entrance scores don’t qualify you for the SEAL program, you may need to retake the ASVAB. You may also have to take a screening physical.

Step 4: Schedule to take the Physical Screening Test (PST)

You should schedule a PST with your Naval Special Warfare/Special Operations Mentor or coordinator. Once you have taken the test, you will receive a Page 13 that you must take to MEPS for inclusion in your package. Once you have submitted the Page 13 for your package, you are done until you are contacted by your local recruiter.

Step 5: Get your SEAL contract

If you’ve met all the requirements to become a SEAL and are selected for Naval Special Warfare, your recruiter will contact you to schedule another visit to MEPS. You will receive your SEAL contract from MEPS. It will identify what rank you will be upon entering the Navy.

Once you have signed your SEAL contract, you will be in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), and your Naval Special Warfare/Special Operations Mentor or coordinator will put you on a physical training regimen designed to help you prepare for your final PST and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S).

You will need to pass one more PST 14 days before you leave for Navy Indoctrination in Great Lakes, Illinois. After the indoctrination is complete, you will begin the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School.