Hopefully this will give you an insight into the selection process that you must undertake to join the Royal Navy or Royal Marines, and to inform you of some of the problems that you may encounter as an overseas applicant. In the first instance you should contact the Overseas Desk at London AFCO, prior to your visit.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
Before making any application you must note that non-British citizens may only apply for the following branches, for which there are immediate vacancies:
Royal Marines Band Service
Dental Surgery Assistant
Commonwealth citizens are also eligible to join the following branches; however, there are currently no immediate vacancies. If you apply for any of the branches below, you would probably have to wait in excess of 12 months to join and this would mean that you would have to visit the UK twice, at your own expense, in order to pass the selection process:
Engineering Technicial [Maine Engineering] ET(ME)
Naval Airman (Aircraft Handler)
If you decide to apply for one of the branches above, you will be required to visit an Armed Forces Careers Office in the United Kingdom to undertake the following elements of the selection procedure:
• The Recruiting Test
• The Selection Interview
• Medical Examination.
• A Pre-joining Fitness Test
Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC)
In addition to undertaking the selection procedure above, if you are applying for the Royal Marines you will also have to undertake the three-day Potential Royal Marine Course (PRMC) at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in Devon.
If you are applying for the Royal Navy the selection procedure can be completed within two working weeks. If you are applying for the Royal Marines the process, including attendance at PRMC, can be completed in three weeks.
You can only complete the selection process in the UK and you will have to meet all the travel and accommodation costs. If you require a visa to travel to the UK for selection tests then you must arrange and pay for this yourself. If you intend to stay with family or friends, they may be required to provide evidence that they are permitted to accommodate visitors and that they are financially stable.
The cost of travelling to UK for the selection tests can be considerable and you should be sure that you are committed to joining the Naval Service, and that you have done all you can to prepare for the selection process, before you make arrangements to travel to the UK, otherwise you could be wasting a lot of money.
You should be warned that only around one in every eight people who apply to join the Naval Service succeed in joining.
If you are successful in all parts of the selection process your name will be forwarded to the Defence Vetting Agency who will arrange Police, Financial and Security Checks. You must prepare for a long wait as these can take up to twelve months, depending on the time it takes for agencies in your home country to respond. You will not be allowed to join until all the checks have been completed. You will be free to return to your home country whilst your Security Clearance is being obtained; if you choose to stay in the UK then you will have to fund your own accommodation, and possibly extend your visa, but you will not be granted a work permit during this time.
You can find more information on all aspects of the selection procedure on the RN website at www.royalnavy.mod.uk. Should you decide to make a formal application, your Careers Adviser will inform you of the specific time scale for you to undergo the selection process.
THE JOINING ROUTINE
If you successfully complete the selection process, including obtaining a Security Clearance, your name will be placed on a waiting list to join the Service. When you reach the top of the waiting list you will be allocated a date to join and you will be informed of your entry date. You will then be required to travel to UK for final briefings in the week prior to entry into the Service. The Navy will pay for your travel from your port of entry into UK (e.g. Heathrow or Gatwick Airport) to your New Entry Training Establishment. You will have to pay for your own travel to the UK and for any accommodation costs that you incur prior to arriving at your New Entry Training Establishment. Details of immigration procedures are given below.
HELP AND ADVICE
Divisional System. Like all Naval personnel, when you join you will be allocated a Divisional Officer who will help and advise you with any problems that you may have. Your Divisional Officer will be an Officer or Senior Rate/Non-Commissioned Officer who will have a wealth of experience on Service issues such as career progression, posting, terms of service etc. If your Divisional Officer is not able to solve any problem you have they will be able to direct you to an appropriate person who can help. Your Divisional Officer will also act as a focal point for your family and, if you are under 18 years of age, they will talk to your parents if you are experiencing any difficulties.
Naval Personal and Family Services (NPFS). In addition to your Divisional Officer, the Naval Personal and Family Services (NPFS) organisation will be able to help you if required. The NPFS has offices near to all the major Naval establishments; the contact numbers will be made available to you when you join.
Immigration. If you are joining the Royal Navy or Royal Marines from outside the United Kingdom you will be exempt from immigration control under section 8(4) of the Immigration Act 1971. This exemption will remain valid for the duration of your time in the Naval Service. Your passport will be marked accordingly to indicate to the immigration service that you are exempt. Once released from Service, for whatever reason, you will have to return to your country of origin unless you have made your own arrangements to stay with the UK Immigration Service.
UK as long as you remain in the Naval Service.
Visas. If you succeed in becoming a member of the Naval Service, visas will be supplied at public expense for all journeys necessary for service reasons.
Families often arrive in the UK with Visas that only allow them to remain in UK for a 6-month period. If this is the case, when you join the Royal Navy you will need to apply to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) who deal with applications for extensions of stay.
UK Citizenship. UK Citizenship is a matter for the IND, and being a member of the Armed Forces has no influence on the granting of UK Citizenship. The normal rules require you to be resident in UK for 5 years prior to applying for citizenship; time serving in the RN will count for this purpose. The choice whether or not to apply for UK citizenship will be entirely your own. As stated above, non-British citizens are only eligible to apply for a limited number of branches.
FINANCE AND BENEFITS
Benefit Payments. This will mean that you, as the serving person, will need to make all claims for Child Benefit and Tax Credits (see below).
Financial Advice. Experience shows that families new to the United Kingdom may be vulnerable to being taken advantage of by moneylenders and local traders. It is recommended that you seek advice before entering into any financial agreements. Your Divisional Officer or the NPFS will be able to help you get free financial advice, if you require it.
National Insurance. When you join the Navy we will help you process a request for a National Insurance Number, which you will require in order to be paid and in case you wish to claim any benefits.
Child Benefit. It is important that claims are made as soon as your family arrives in the UK as claims will only be backdated 3 months. NPFS will also be able to help you with this.
Tax Credit. You may be eligible for Tax Credits and other grants. NPFS will be able to give you further information about these once you join.
Family Quarters. If you a married, you will be entitled to a Family Quarter at your place of duty once you have completed Phase 2 training.
Food and Accommodation Charges. When you are serving at sea, or in field conditions, you will not be charged for food and accommodation. When you are serving ashore in an establishment you will pay a food and accommodation charge which will be automatically deducted from your wages. Your Careers Adviser will be able to tell you the current rate of these charges.
DOMCOL. If, after joining the Naval Service, you continue to maintain a permanent home in your country of origin you will be allowed to register for a scheme calledDOMCOL’. This scheme allows you to accumulate part of your Annual Leave Allowance (ALA) each year over a period not exceeding 5 years in order to qualify for a visit home funded by the Navy. If you choose to register for this scheme you will have to forego some travel benefits that other Naval personnel are entitled to. If you elect not to join the scheme you will be entitled to the same travel and leave benefits offered to all personnel, which you can use to visit friends and relatives in the UK. Under the DOMCOL scheme the Navy will pay for you to travel to your country of origin once every 5 years, after serving for 5 years, provided that:
• You came to the UK from a country other than UK in order to enter the Naval Service. (This condition is not seen as broken if you were in full time education in the UK immediately before joining the RN)
• At the time of application for DOMCOL, your home is still in the country from which you came in order to join the Naval Service.
• The Navy has not paid for you to travel home on leave at any time during your qualifying time for DOMCOL.
• On return from DOMCOL you should have at least 12 months to serve.
DOMCOL Substitute. If you do not qualify for the DOMCOL Scheme, you may qualify for the DOMCOL Substitute scheme, which is simply the accumulation of leave to be used for travelling home. You may qualify for DOMCOL substitute if:
• You have come to the UK and not joined the Naval Service immediately.
• You would qualify for DOMCOL, except for the fact that you are married.
• Your parents or next of kin have set up home abroad since you joined the Service.
at your own expense.
A career in the Naval Service can be highly rewarding and very worthwhile; it will also be challenging and demanding. The entry standards are high, and there are many difficulties to overcome before you may become a successful entrant. If you are uncertain about what to do, or if you feel you may not make the grade, do not spend your money on travel until you have taken good advice from someone who knows the real facts; preferably a Royal Navy and Royal Marines Careers Adviser.