These pages are about The UK Armed Forces. If you are looking for information about working for the armed forces in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation
August 2017: We are awaiting information from the armed forces to say whether anything has changed since this information was last updated.
The Armed Forces include the army, navy and air force.
You would NOT be able to join the Armed Forces if:
- You have a diagnosis of epilepsy or
- You have had more than one seizure since your sixth birthday
The possibilities of joining the Armed Forces if you have epilepsy are very limited. They are listed below.
You WOULD be able to join the Armed forces if:
- You had a febrile seizure before your sixth birthday and no seizures since
- You had typical childhood absence seizures starting before the age of 10 and no seizures or treatment for the last five years
- You had a confirmed diagnosis of benign rolandic epilepsy of childhood and no seizures or treatment for the last five years
You MAY be able to join the Armed forces for full or possibly restricted service if:
- You had a single seizure more than 10 years ago and no seizures or treatment since
- You have had a provoked seizure. This is defined as a seizure with a specific cause. This situation will be considered on a case by case basis. What has caused the seizure will be especially relevant.
Someone who has had a single or provoked seizure will be referred to the Single Service Occupational Physician responsible for the selection of recruits. They will decide the type of service suitable for you.
Seizures when you are already employed by the Armed Forces
If you have only had one seizure, you are usually downgraded for 18 months. You may also be restricted in driving and handling weapons.
If you have had more than one seizure you are usually considered unfit for any trade in the Armed Forces.
If it is discovered, after being employed, that you have not mentioned a disqualifying medical condition that you knew about beforehand, then you may be dishonourably discharged for fraudulent enlistment.
For more general information, including the number for your local Recruiting Office:
Army careers office: 0845 600 8080
Royal Air Force careers office: 0845 605 5555
Royal Navy careers office: 0845 607 5555
If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone on 0808 800 5050.
This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.
- Updated June 2014To be reviewed June 2017