What's the upper age limit for the TA?

I served 17 years regular service, and left in 2002. I'm self employed, have spare time, and I'm 43 years old. I keep myself fit (I run marathons) and fancy a bit of a change.

Am I too old?
I believe that the official line with no previous service is 42 however with previous service it's a case by case basis after 42 and given that you're only just over, did significant regular service and are fit you'll probably be ok.

Contact the unit you want to join and they'll tell you. If you're desperate and they say no the RAF reserves take people up to 50 without previous service and 56 with. Obviously you'd have to deal with the shame of being a crab.


Book Reviewer
What did you do in the regs out of interest?
Straight from the Army Briefing Note (my bold):

Serial No: 44-12
Source: DM(A)
Date: 22 May 12


A. TA Regulations 1978 Amendment 35.

1. The age limits contained in Reference A have generated confusion and inconsistency following piecemeal amendment over an extended period. This ABN will simplify and make clear TA age limits; further changes may follow after New Employment Model (NEM) and Army 2020 announcements later this year.

2. All Army Commanders, Staff and Personnel serving in or supporting the OTC / TA.

  • The minimum age for Soldier recruitment is raised from 17 ½ to 18 years.
  • The Upper Age limit for ex-Regular soldier and civilian recruitment is unchanged at 43 years. Waivers for ex-Regular soldiers will be considered by DM(A)
  • Previously Commissioned Officers may still join up to the age of 57 for a single appointment.
  • The Upper Age for TA Direct Entry Commissioning is unchanged at 35. No further waivers will be considered.
  • The lower limit for TA Commissioning from SNCO or WO was formerly not explicitly stated. It will now be 35 with an upper limit of 50.
  • The Upper Age for Specialist Commissioning is raised from 45 to 50.
  • The upper limit of 50 is also applicable to soldiers recruited into Specialist roles.
  • The TA Normal Retirement Ages were raised in 2007. They are unchanged at 55 for soldiers and 60 for officers.


3. This policy is effective from 20 May 2012 and Reference A will be updated at the next routine amendment. Previous age related eligibility criteria in Reference A are revoked. This policy applies to all TA Gp A personnel except PQOs (including Medical and Dental Officers employed on Common Terms of Service1). The terms of service (ToS) for TA Gp B and C personnel are unaffected.

4. TA Age limits will:

  • Be consistent with Regular Army regulation and employment unless a compelling reason for difference exists
  • Ensure consistency and equality of opportunity across all TA Group A ToS by cohort (PQO, DE, LE and Specialist).
  • Enable the application of age related manning controls to flex the size of the TA according to Defence need
  • Not unduly constrain access to highly skilled specialist staff for niche employments Policy Development

6. Increase in Soldier Recruitment Lower Age Limit. The age limit for enlistment and initiating the recruitment process is raised to 18 years; soldiers may no longer be recruited at 17 or 17 ½. This change recognises the difficulty in providing the mandatory special processes and resources needed to support young people in sub-units and units. It will therefore reduce the administrative burden, avoid compromising protective legislation and ensure that TA Soldiers are treated and employed in a manner similar to Regular Soldiers2. Reference A, Paras 5.023 and 5.025 and Annex C/5 are revoked. Only those attested before 18 May 2012 may continue Phase 1 and 2 training; they must remain in an untrained PID until reaching the age of 18.

7. Soldier Entry Officer Candidates. Soldier Entry officer candidates are defined as soldiers who are Phase 2 trained and have completed a period of enlisted service. They are commissioned through either the ‘Direct Entry’ (DE) process by attending the standard TA Commissioning Course (TACC) or the ‘Late Entry’ (LE) process with attendance at the LE Officers Course (LEOC(V)) depending on their age, rank and length of service. Both are selected by AOSB

  • ‘Direct Entry’. The upper age limit for DE commissioning is unchanged at 35 years. The Future Officer Structure reduced the Regular DE Commissioning Age to 26 with an upper limit of 29 for certain cap badges. The higher minimum age for TA DE Commissioning has been retained at 35 years recognising the different career profiles of TA officers driven by their civilian careers. This can lead to the circumstance of TA officers commissioned for employment in identical roles to their Regular counterparts but 6-9 years later. Current experience indicates this is sustainable; however the upper age limit will not be raised further to prevent increased divergence from Regular ToS and to permit those commissioned at 35 a full career with the possibility of promotion to OF5. Consequently, DM(A) will no longer consider overage waivers for DE Commissioning.
  • ‘Late Entry’. A new lower age limit for TA LE commissioning of 35 is imposed (it was hitherto undefined). This ensures the LE and DE commissioning routes do not have an overlap. An upper age limit for commissioning of 50 is also imposed to permit at least 2 full tours post commissioning. The TA LE employment group will be reviewed post Army 2020; until this iscomplete DM(A) will not grant waivers to the age eligibility. The LE candidate selection process and eligibility criteria will be detailed in a separate DIN.

8. Specialists. The age limit for commissioning Specialists was formally 45 and this is now raised to 50 to increase the catchment of those with essential skills for the Army. TA serving soldiers or ex-Regular soldiers with the necessary skills may be recruited into Specialist roles up to the age of 50. Waivers of these limits may be considered by DM(A). DM(A) is currently developing a TA Specialist Career Stream for both Officers and Soldiers and detail will be issued in a separate DIN by Jul 12. This will replace 2010DIN01-103 which only covered Specialist Commissioning.

9. Normal Retirement Age (NRA). There is no change in the NRA of 55 for soldiers and 60 for officers. This will not be reviewed until post Army 2020 and NEM. DM(A) will consider applications for extensions for a maximum of 12 months for up to 5 years beyond NRA; the process in support of extended TA service beyond NRA will be issued separately.

10. Point of Contact. Queries should be addressed to Maj Kris Beauman, SO2 Res ToS, DM(A), 94393 6137 / 01264 335949, LF-Manning(A)-Pol-Res-SO2.

1 In accordance with JSP 527.
2 Regular soldiers under 18 are only employed at training establishments specifically equipped and staffed to be compliant with the legislation
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