We all know that choosing to join the Army is one of the biggest decisions that one can make in life, but once you’ve decided, it’s going to be a matter of ” Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier”. On this article, we are going to do a highlight on how citizens of all commonwealth countries especially Kenya can join the British Army.
If you are applying to join the British Army from commonwealth countries ( Kenya included), for most roles, you must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years. You must also not have been away from the UK for 180 days in a row during this 5-year residency. You must have a valid passport that is valid for at least 2 years from your start date in the Army. To join as a Reservist, you must have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter stamped on your passport.
Also Read: How to Join the Kenya Army as a Cadet.
Until the day you join the British Army, you’re responsible for making sure that your visa is valid and you’re in Britain legally. If your visa expires, you might need to pay for yourself to come back to Kenya to apply for a new visa, before carrying on with your application.
To join as a soldier you must be at least 15 years and 7 months before you apply. If you’re under 18, you’ll also need parental consent to join.
To join as an officer you must be between 18 and 29
To join the British Army, you must be super fit. You will undergo a fitness test which must be passed in order to be admitted. If you’re looking to join as a soldier, you’ll go through a range of strength and stamina tests, as well as a run. These include carrying a Jerry can, a static lift and a 1.5 mile run. The weight, distance and speed you need to meet changes from role to role.
Tests you must pass if you are applying to join the British Army as an Officer.
There are four tests you’ll need to take during officer selection and the pre-entry tests.
1. Beep test:
Here, you will run between two lines, 20m apart in time with a beep. The beeps get steadily faster. Your score is based on the point where you can no longer keep up.
You must be able to perform 50 in two minutes.
- Males 44 in two minutes
- Females: 21 in two minutes
4. 1.5-mile run
- Males 10 min 30 sec
- Females 12 min 45 sec
It’s good to note that after assessment you need to keep fit so that you will be in great shape when training starts. Being in the Army is physically demanding, and you need to get your body ready for this by staying fit while you wait for your start date.
Being in the army can be tough both physically and mentally, in regards to this, you will do a medical test during the assessment to make sure that you’ve not got any underlying health problems. Below is a quick guide to the main conditions that can stop you from joining the British Army.
- Chronic abdominal diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Kidney disorders such as polycystic kidney disease or kidney stones.
- Donation of a kidney within the last two years.
- Kidney disease within the last two years.
- Spinal surgery (including internal fixation or fusion).
- Recurrent lower back pain.
- Spina bifida.
- Sickle Cell Disease.
- Congenital spherocytosis.
- HIV seropositivity / AIDS.
- Being a carrier of hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
- Past history of leukaemia or malignant lymphoma. Must be disease, treatment and review free for five years.
Bone or joint problems:
- Meniscectomy (knee cartilage operation) within the last year.
- Lower limb fractures with internal fixation (metalwork) within the last year.
- Loss of a limb.
- Complete loss of a thumb or big toe.
- Clubfoot (including past surgery).
- Chronic joint diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
- Reiter’s disease within the last five years.
- Osteochondritis dissecans.
- Asthma, strong asthma-like symptoms or treatment for related illnesses within the last four years.
- Chronic lung diseases such as emphysema, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis.
- Active tuberculosis.
- Current perforation of eardrum.
- Chronic ear diseases like cholesteatoma.
- Presence of eardrum ‘grommets’.
- Chronic eye diseases like glaucoma, keratoconus and retinitis pigmentosa.
- Surgery for a squint within the last six months
- Corneal problems like a corneal graft or recurrent corneal ulcers.
- Loss or dislocation of an eye lens.
- Cataract or cataract surgery.
- Detached retina.
- Epilepsy or more than one seizure or fit after the age of five. Any seizure or fit within the last ten years.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Currently pregnant or had a child in the last 3 months
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Alcohol or drug dependence.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- An active skin disease like eczema or widespread psoriasis.
- Loss of spleen (splenectomy).
- Having received transplanted organs.
- Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis requiring adrenaline injection.
- Severe nut allergy
- Circulation problems such as Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Diseases requiring long-term medication or replacement therapy.
If used drugs in the past, it won’t stop you from joining the British Army, but after you join, you must not misuse drugs. The British Army usually carries out random, compulsory drugs testing, and you can expect to be tested while you’re in training. If you fail any of the tests, you’ll probably be discharged from the army.
To join as a soldier in the British Army, you do not need any qualifications. However, there are some roles, which may be more technical, where some qualifications are needed. These details can be found in the role descriptions in the role finder.
You also don’t need a degree to become an officer in the British Army unless you want to serve as a Professionally Qualified Officer. They usually look for qualities rather than qualifications during the recruitment. You can start training to become an officer when you leave school at 18. You will have the chance to earn a degree while you’re serving – with the added benefit of earning a great salary at the same time. You will start with an annual salary of £18,305 (equivalent to Ksh 2,611,746.38) after training, plus pension.
Everyone makes mistakes and your criminal records don’t have to stop you from joining the British Army. Just be honest about your past history during the recruitment and you are good to go. During the application, make sure you tell them about any changes to your circumstances when it comes to offences. This includes waiting for a court appearance for a criminal offence.
If your tattoo is offensive, obscene or racist it will definitely stop you from joining the British Army. However, small tattoos that aren’t offensive in any way are not normally a problem, depending where they are on your body and how visible they are.
Somebody piercings will stop you from joining the British Army i.e Piercings that change the way you look, like a 4mm flesh tunnel or larger ones.
Also it good to note that for health and safety reasons, you will need to take off all jewellery before any physical activity in the application process. Once you have joined the Army, you will be told the rules for wearing body jewellery when on and off duty.
Once you’ve registered your interest to join the British Army, you will be asked for details including your nationality and age. This will tell you the type of role you can apply for (or if you can’t join). You’ll then need to apply online here, which will get you started on your Army journey either as a Regular full-time Soldier or as a Part-time Reservist (:
Nationalities from all the Commonwealth countries can apply to join the British Army.
Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji.
Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique.
Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland
Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Zambia
Benefits of Joining the British Army
1. You will have opportunities to travel outside for peacekeeping missions and sports from the regular training in Kenya.
2. You will get a good pay; An annual starting salary of £18,305 after training, plus pension.
3. You will get many professional qualifications ranging from GCSE to degrees. The best thing about the British Army is that you have opportunities for further education, all paid for by the Army.
4. You will be receiving six weeks of paid leave, plus public holidays.
5. Free access to best facilities e.g gym and coaches. With this, you can participate in international tournaments.
6. Free health care (medical and dental care) including prescription Travel and Subsidized accommodation charges.
7. You get paid as normal even if you get sick.
8. You are covered with life insurance. Life insurance provides emergency money to see your family just in case the mission goes bad. Immediate payment of £10,000 is given to a spouse for funeral costs and up to £250,000 compensation.
9. Fully paid paternity leave and fully paid maternity leave for up to 12 months.
10. Extremely good pension