Joining from overseas...

Okay, so from the start... I'm an Australian citizen in my (very) early 20's wanting to join the British army. I'm fairly sure I'm CP3 but as far as medical conditions go, that's all I'm aware of. I'm training for fitness each day, measured out 2.4km with my car and working on running it easier and faster, I do push-ups and pistols, stuff like that. I have about a year left on a working holiday visa as I was in the UK last year, but if necessary I'll get a new visa when the time comes.

I've been doing research as best I can, given that the internet is varied and frustrating on the matter. I've tried the "contact us" bit on some official sites but they seem to like just referring me to another website, sometimes helpful and sometimes just as vague, so I figured I'd try something like this, too. I've also taken some "practice" tests for BARB, I think they called it, and seemed to do okay. I figure the real ones will be harder but I should manage.

So what I gather of the process so far is this:

1. I submit some info online.
2. They send me something, I fill it out and send it back.
3. It gets processed, and assuming that works they give me a time/place to be in the UK. I have to be ready to stay for "2-3 months" and pay my own airfare (should only need one-way if I still go with my current visa).
4. The first time I go in is for the academia (tests, interview, etc.) I think. If that goes well, they either give me a time/place for the next bit or will contact me.
5. The next stage they take me (us) somewhere else for physical/medical tests and if that goes well I begin training "soon".

That may not be exactly correct, so feel free to enlighten me.

The main thing that bothers me is steps 4 and 5. Not what they actually entail, that I'm fine with, but here's the thing: I'm not exactly rich. I have $4k saved at the moment, which I'm thinking is half that in pounds, and expect to pay about $1k for the plane ticket (one way). I'm happy with living in a tent between times, then checking into a hotel to shower and shave to be presentable for meetings. I've done that before, sans meetings.

What worries me is how they will contact me. I could probably keep a mobile phone charged somehow, in fact I still have one from my last visit, mind the sim card will have expired. But if they mean to send me a letter, that's another story. Obviously my finances will increase before I get there, but I doubt I can afford a place for 2-3 months and then wait for "soon" to arrive. I thought of opening a PO box, but apparently they want an address (then really, what's the point of the PO box?) for that anyway. Anyone know if that's do-able without an address, or have a better idea?

Hell, if they'd let me I'd just walk to the office each day and ask if they had a time yet, but of course I get the feeling that's not exactly procedure.

Another thing I wondered about is the erm... I forget what you call it, National Insurance Number or something? Do I need one of those? I know I would have had to get one if I wanted a regular job, but I think it can take a while, so I'm not really clear on that. Unless they'd let me get one after joining, I'd need somewhere to collect mail for that, too, I think. I've not found any mention of it on the army sites I've checked, but I know the officials can overlook things sometimes.

So yeah, this is mainly a search for clarification, anything I missed, etc. There's bound to be something.

(If you're wondering, my ideal jobs would be Paras or Infantry, but naturally it depends what's actually on offer. I did find the theoretical run-time requirements here, so that should be useful.)
Lame Duck,

I think that you might find that you are flogging a dead horse. The Army are about to make a whole load of guys redundant soon, so the idea of recruiting from overseas is in itself redundant.

Secondly, if I remember right, you can only ever apply for a working holiday visa once, and it allows up to a total of 6 months employment during a 12 month period. There is no way that you are going to be accepted into the British Army on a working holiday visa!

Unless you have dual nationality (British/Australian) or a permanent resident visa you’d best apply to the Australian Army.
Actually, I suppose it isn't technically a working holiday visa anymore. The one I got is a Tier 5 (youth mobility scheme) and it allows for two years residence and work, with no recourse to public funds. From what I gathered from army websites, it sounds like if I actually got in, my immigration status would be in a kind of suspended state. I'd get a kind of ID or something to this effect. They've never indicated that I'd need to prepare a working visa for the (possible) duration of service, just something that would keep me legal until I got in or went home.
My partner was accepted into the Army on a working holiday visa, and he's Australian too. He just had to get it extended so that it had the required time on it. BUT it does seem a little bit unlikely to all happen without a residence here to be honest...

EDIT- I say extended, it was really a new visa I think.
fluteytooty said:
My partner was accepted into the Army on a working holiday visa, and he's Australian too. He just had to get it extended so that it had the required time on it. BUT it does seem a little bit unlikely to all happen without a residence here to be honest...

EDIT- I say extended, it was really a new visa I think.
It probably was, as I don't think the working holiday or YMS (in the new system) can be extended.

When you say without a residence, do you mean because of the address issues? Or because of restrictions? I know there is mention that some jobs aren't available without a period of residence, but they seem... unwilling to mention precisely which ones.
With regards to how well recruiting is going at the moment, i'm suprised the army has not put a hold on applications from commonwealth countries. Has this ever happened in the past?
This is the process involved for those applying from overseas as commonwealth or citizens of the Irish Republic through the Army Overseas Recruitment Cell.

1. Apply online using form on

2. The Army Overseas Recruitment Cell (AORC) will send you an email with requirements for applying:

Thank you for your recent correspondence with regard to applying to join the British Army.

Please be aware of the following eligibility criteria:

That a maximum of two applications to enlist are permitted. No further attempts will be allowed through the British Army Overseas Cell.
You MUST be British/British Dual National/Citizens of the Irish Republic or Commonwealth citizen to be able to join the British Army.
You MUST be over 16 years of age, and apply before your 32nd Birthday.
You MUST have a UK sponsor, who knows you and is willing to sponsor you. We will be contacting them for confirmation before your application can proceed.
You MUST have accommodation in the UK.
You MUST have enough money to pay for your own flight and to enable you to live in the UK for up to 6 months.
You MUST have a minimum of 4 1⁄2 years remaining on your passport.
All applicants MUST have completed Secondary Education up to the age of 16; we will require verification of this.

If you satisfy all of the above requirements and send all of the proof requested below your enquiry will be processed.

Please send the following information.
-Your full name (surname last),
-Your date of birth,
-Your Nationality
-Your full postal address, including country. We will not send mail C/O a third party or a business/college address.
-A photocopy of your passport to show your passport expiry date. If you are applying by e-mail you need to provide the issue and expiry date as we are unable to open attachments.
-Your UK Sponsor's full name, address and contact number.
-You MUST include any previous application number.

Please note: Due to the high levels of interest to this office, if you do not provide us with all of the requested information we will be unable to proceed with your application. In line with data protection, all incomplete applications and all related correspondence will be destroyed

Thank you

British Army Overseas Cell
3. Send the required info provided you satisfy the given requirements. The sponsor is just a UK resident who serves as a point of contact between you and the army. The sponsor is also there for immigration purposes. Visit the home office website for more info. The sponsor does not necessarily accommodate you, just sign a couple of documents for you.

4. You will be sent an application pack just like UK residents do. The difference being that you will have the RG8 medical forms and the Criminal Offences Form attached. Usually, for UK residents, these are filled in after the application is handed in. You will complete all the forms, attached any requested info and send your application to the AORC using the addressed envelope enclosed.

5. Your application will be assessed and if successful, you will receive a letter informing you about the available vacancies in the army, and that you will be required to travel to UK within 3 months from date of letter. Your application will be sent to the nearest Army Careers and Information Office (ACIO) depending on where you will be staying in UK.

Once in the UK, you will undergo a very similar process to that of other applicants. Make sure you notify your careers advisor that your application is already done and should have been sent to your office by recorded delivery from the AORC. The better prepared you are, the quicker you'll go through the stages involved. Have a look at the other threads on ARRSE relating to fitness and requirements, BARB tests and research on your chosen jobs.

Have a look at this to see what you will have to go through:

I applied online during the month of Feb 09, sent my info via email the following month. Received application pack in May and sent it back that same month. I was notified my application was successful in Aug and travelled to UK in Oct. Did my ADSC in Jan and will be starting phase 1 next July as a fitter in the RE. My process was a bit longer cos I didn't make it in time for ADSC prior to the Xmas recess, was supposed to go on the 6th of Jan but was cancelled cos of bad weather. Eventually I went on the 26th of Jan.

You will complete NI paperwork and take the Oath of Allegiance (Attestation Ceremony) after you pass ADSC and get a date for phase 1 training. Your careers advisor will guide you through that when you're there.

Any MODS who want to place this post in a more prominent place for the benefit of those applying from overseas, go ahead and do so.
Where did you join from Rdim? If I may ask? Have you done your oath yet?? I'm going in August and haven't yet. As to joining from overseas, don't believe the whole you just pass selection and 6 weeks later you are in basic. With the current situation, depending on your job choice it could be 6 months to a year. I guess lame fox the best thing is to come over here and rent a place and work whilst you do the proccess. Then you can get an address and be occupied whilst you wait. What unit are you looking to join mate?
Thanks for the info...

Well, since my visa only goes for one more year, I'm not sure I'd be able to work long enough there. But if they're so swamped with applicants right now, might I be better off just saving and getting fit this year and applying next year?

With the visa, I think Australian citizens get a few months (not working obviously) without having one at all. I'm thinking three. So maybe, if I'd saved enough money, I can just hop over to France or something for a weekend to refresh it when needed (assuming there's not a cooldown time, in which case I'd just have to pay for a longer holiday visa).

Is there trouble getting all jobs at the moment or is it specific fields they have too much of?

And what exactly is required of the sponsor? There are people there who know me, but if it's expensive or difficult for them that's another matter...

@ Jono_nz,
Besides my interest in infantry or paras, I don't have very specific goals at the moment. Not that I wouldn't like to, but a lot of the information on exactly what I can do has been pretty vague (due to colour perception, and without a period of residency mainly) so I figure it's best to practice for what I want and just be open to whatever they offer me.
Sponsor is just a UK resident who serves as a point of contact between you and the army. Also the sponsor is there for immigration purposes. Visit the home office website for more info.

The sponsor does not necessarily accommodate you, just sign a paper for you.

Honestly, if I were you I'd join the Australian forces. You'll definitely get fitter and your piece of action. If you really want to join the British Army or want to get a tougher challenge, I suggest you do so afterwards when you would have had experience under your belt. I heard a number of Kiwis and Aussies do so and join SAS or SAS(R) directly.

The situation currently is that only the best recruits get to train and even so, the job choice is extremely limited, especially for non-resident due to security clearance requirements.

Last I heard was that about 3000 passed selection but have been put on the waiting list cos they didn't get the grade although they passed.
I am another CP3 Australian who was in almost the exact same position as you (gutted on your JOES day after being shown the sheet with the jobs open to CP3 applicants perhaps?). I wonder how many decent young blokes they turn away every year with their moronic, backward standards...

Anyway, I have been in the UK for 3 and a bit months now and will shortly be attending my ADSC selection course for the PARAs/Infantry. I didn't bother with all that overseas application stuff, mainly because I'm 7th gen. aussie, have no ties to the UK and therefore no sponsor. My process went like this:

- Got Tier 5 YMS Visa.
- Organised a room in Manchester - heaps cheaper than London - over the internet. (accommodation can actually be quite cheap, I pay just under 200 quid a month all inclusive, no need to live in a tent haha.)
- Flew there.
- Went into AFCO the day I arrived. Got the ball rolling.
- Registered with local GP as instructed --> received NHS Number (you need one) quite a bit later.
- Applied for National Insurance Number (you need one to apply also, straightforward process this takes ages to arrive).
- Completed the various stages of the application as does everyone else; BARB, Num and Lit testing,med forms, pre-adsc, Interviews 2 and 3.

Provided you are Commonwealth, have 4 months validity on your visa and are residing in the UK you can walk into the AFCO and apply as would any native here. That said, I can't imagine you progressing at all without a registered address.

With regards "flogging dead horses" I haven't encountered any reticence to deal with me due to my commonwealth background. On the contrary they have been very keen to push me through as quickly as possible and if I hadn't spent so much time bingeing over the Xmas/NY period I would have advanced to ADSC significantly quicker. However I echo the warnings of others about the wait to phase 1 training. I have been told the next available intake I could possibly be loaded onto if successful at ASDC/PRAC is September.

With CP4 colour vision (CP3 in australian grading - no CP1 in British Army) according to "TABLE 2 Minimum Medical Standards for Entry to the Army, By Arm and Employment – Soldiers" from the PULHHEEMS Administrative Pamphlet 2007, you are eligible for service in:
-RAC/HCAV - AFV Crewman
-RA - all trades
-R SIGNALS - Information systems engineer, communication systems operator, EW systems operator, Driver lineman, Tech supply specialist.
-Foot Guards, Infantry, PARA
-RLC - port op, driver, driver radio op, postal and courier op, supplier, pioneer, chef.
-RAMC - all trades.
-REME - tech storeman, rec mech.
-AGC - mpgs, sps
-QARANC - student/qualified nurse, health care assistant.

So my advice would be to save up a bit more cash (I came over with roughly double what you have), apply from overseas if you can, if not no big deal, make sure you're fit before you arrive (I wasn't haha) and get on with it.

Anymore questions feel free to get in touch/pm me.
Yeah, that was pretty much it. My aptitude tests went great, and when I went to see the interviewer he literally opened by telling me that my score meant I could choose anything that didn't require extra education certificates (electrician, etc.) then I told him they graded me CP3 and it basically went down to things like clerical work. Not to disparage people who do those jobs, but it's really not for me.

Those options actually look pretty good though - thanks. Artillery was my backup after infantry when I applied here, but even that was off-limits.

In that case the sponsor thing doesn't sound too hard. At the moment then it seems like I just need to save enough that I can stay there as long as I need to (which may go up or down depending on the amount of applicants).

Which is fine really, since if I wait longer than I personally need to, I can just focus on practising for the tests and make sure I'm at the high end of the class if they're still so busy when I can afford to apply.
oh, and if you can, open a bank account in the UK through an Australian travel agent/ relocation service or international type bank with branches in the UK. Trying to open one once you are here is a complete pain in the c0ck.
absolutely spot on peaches. I did the same except lucky to have people to stay with. True about the bank account. Got mine today.....2 months after being here!!! I also felt very warmly received by everyone in recruiting. I think they realise that we put in alot of effort to get here and that us southerners are usually very motivated and hard working. Lame fox, you'll have a blast. I don't know about the ozzie army but the Brits are a heap better than what I saw of the NZ army. (Not to disrespect em, just too small and no good kit. )
The Army will keep recruiting from the commonwealth cos of the quality recruits they get. We all do (generally speaking) put in loads of effort and motivation. The fact we're leaving our country to join speaks loads about that.
Don't know much about joining up from scratch in the British Army, but I agree with most of what you've been told, just save up a heap of money then go over and enlist.

To be honest though it may be well worth considering joing the Australian Army, gaining a few years experience, may be a deployment (the money is great and that'll more than set you up for life in the UK!), then try and transfer.

I'm currently a LT in the Australian Army, been in for 3 and half years or so now, dual citizen, and whilst back in the UK over xmas holidays enquired about transferring. Since then they've been very keen to get me over there, with the different experience I can bring. So that option may be worth considering also. Bare in mind though that when you enlist in the Aust Army (as a soldier) you have a 4 year initial period of service which may be hard to get out of, but not impossible. Something else to consider.

The British Army seem to be the way to go though. The pay may not be as good the amount of experience to be had there seems to be far greater than anything the Aust Army can provide, especially in terms of overseas deployments, posting s and training exercise. I'd take Kenya/Belize etc over Puckapunyal, Townsville or Singleton anyday!

In terms of my application (which I havent submitted, I just contacted the Regiment i want to join and went from tghere. That may also help you out a bit. I'm chasing sponsorship from a Regiment to help me through the process. But things will be slightly different for me due to the fact that i'll be doing a straight transfer as oppsosed to enlisting fromscratch

Hope that helps a bit mate, Good luck

Just to add my experience to the number of great posts in this thread: I applied to enlist with the British Army from overseas last Jan, in the intervening period before I got my information pack I did a grand tour of North America on a motorcycle and then came back to Aus. In May I submitted all my paperwork; medical docs and all that, back to the Overseas Cell but got frustrated living in Melbourne and decided to move over here on the same visa you have to find some work and get acclimatised. My assumption was that it would be a lot easier to sort my application in-country; the fact that I'd started the paperwork already meant that I was dead wrong.

when I got into my local ADSC in London they told me that the Overseas Cell had been scrapped (I can't verify this, just reporting what I was told) and I'd have to fill out a large bulk of my paperwork again and resubmit it; this includes some of the medical paperwork, although I didn't need to visit a GP since all the information was good. A month later i completed all the testing I could do at the AFCO and soon received a date for ADSC.

All that out of the way by Xmas i was put on a waiting list for my regiment and in mid-March given a start date of May 2nd for the Rifles.

Relatively smooth process; nothing like some of the nightmare stories I've heard about it. But the point I want to make is either apply from overseas (if you still can) and wait out until they tell you to come over for assessment; or, come over here, walk into an AFCO and ask for a job. Don't apply overseas and then come over here before told or else its a pain in the neck to sort the paperwork (talking 3 - 6 weeks delay).

In terms of wait-time, if you really, really do well at ADSC and get an A then you'll be looking at a shorter wait time dependent on capbadge. There are people on this board that got C or D that have been waiting for 12+ months. Coming here on a temp visa, we'll never have that luxury of time.

Good luck to you mate;

oh and, if you're worried about accommodation and work, its a lot easier to get a job in the countryside farming and such... that's how I spent the bulk of my time here; farming turkeys.
Mate ive just transfered from the NZ army to the Brits and i cant stress enough getting in contact with a good recruiter. There is a careers office in London (sorry i forget which one) that knows the ins and outs of the whole process because not all of them know how to deal with foreigners.
Dont worry about the visa thing, however you will need at least 4 years left on your passport, and i think if you have about a year left on your current visa you should be ok. Once you start they will stamp your passport and you can remain as long as your employed by the army. Have as much of your details with you as you can and always make copys of what you hand them (try not to hand over orginals if you can help it) things get lost in this system very easily. It will take a long time but its not to bad once your in.
If your admin is squared away and your not to much of a headache to deal with (in the recruiters eyes) then you should have as much of a chance as anyone else that is trying to get in, but yeah slots are filling fast.

If you need to know the ins and outs of the process then fell free to PM me but i dont know much about basic training (phase 1) as i didnt have to do that.


Similar threads

Latest Threads