How to Return to Active Duty in the Navy

Once you have been released from active duty in the Navy, you will either serve in the Navy Reserves or be free from military duty. After experiencing life as a civilian, you may want to go back into the Navy. Your ability to do this depends on your Navy performance and the circumstances surrounding your discharge. The process to return to active duty is the same whether you're in the reserves or completely relieved of military service.

Step 1

Obtain a copy of your DD-214. You should have been given one when you were released from duty; however, if you can't find it, you can request a copy by completing an SF-180 and submitting it to the appropriate address on the form. You need to request an undeleted copy of your DD-214 so that the information about your discharge circumstances and re-enlistment possibilities are on the form.

Step 2

Look at the re-enlistment code on your DD-214 or discharge papers. If you have an RE code of RE-1, RE-R1, RE-1E, RE-5 or RE-7, you are eligible for reenlistment without a COMNAVCRUITCOM waiver. If your RE code is RE-2 (unless you applied for a commissioned officer position and didn't complete the process), RE-3A, RE-3C or RE-4, you aren't eligible to re-enlist under any circumstances. Any other RE means that you may re-enlist if you are granted a COMNAVCRUITCOM waiver, which is given by your local commanding officer.

Step 3

Visit a Navy recruiter to fill out a re-enlistment package. If you have only served one enlistment term, you will have to submit a re-enlistment application to the Perform to Serve Reenlistment Approval Program. The board that reviews applications provides the results once a month, so you will have to wait. Preference is given to sailors who are higher ranking and who don't have lengthy or serious disciplinary problems. If you have served more than one enlistment term, you may not need to go through the Perform to Serve Reenlistment Approval Program. Your recruiter will let you know if you need to complete that process.

Step 4

Complete your re-enlistment process after you receive approval. You will have to make another trip to the Military Entrance Processing Center for a physical and to sign your contract. In most cases, you won't have to go back to boot camp unless you have been out of the Navy for an extended period of time.

Tip

If you must go through the Perform to Serve Reenlistment Approval Program, you can opt to remain in your current rate or you can opt to cross-train to a rate that is short-staffed. Generally, re-enlistment approval is easier to get if you are willing to cross-train.

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