How to join

Medical & health

Ready for anything

If you want to be part of the Defence Force you need to be medically and physically fit for military duties worldwide.

If you're selected, your initial training will be physically demanding. And later, as an enlisted member of the Defence Force, you may find yourself in situations which are physically and mentally challenging – both home and overseas.

Here's the requirements you need to meet:

General health

You'll be required to complete a number of health checks throughout the application process. Upon applying, you will be required to fill in an initial health check questionnaire (IHC). Your timely completion of this will better help us to assist you.


Should your application be successful and you are offered a position on an intake, a full medical will be conducted with an approved doctor (a list will be provided from your Candidate Engagement Facilitator (CEF)). This medical information will be reviewed by a Defence Force doctor to ensure that you meet the military health standard before you can enlist.


Your medical history is confidential and won't be divulged to anyone who is not authorised to hold the information.


In some cases your preferred role may not be available to you due to the particular health requirements of the trade. In that case, your CEF may discuss other more suitable options with you.


Please also contact your CEF if you're planning on having surgery before or during the application process, as there may be a stand down period before your application can be continued.


Prior to enlistment, you are required to provide proof of having received the following vaccinations:

  • 3x tetanus
  • 3x polio
  • 3x diphtheria
  • 3x pertussis (whooping cough)
  • 2x MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • 3x Hepatitis B
  • 2x COVID-19 (Pfizer vaccine, or equivalent)

Please check with your caregiver or GP to see if you have received any of these as part of your childhood immunisation program. If you have not, it's best to start this process early as it can take up to 6 months to receive the required doses (particularly Hep B), and may cause you to miss out on selection for the next intake.


You will need to provide evidence by obtaining an immunisation status report or vaccination confirmation letter from your GP, or by submitting your childhood vaccination book plus a screenshot from your My Covid Record page. We do not accept blood serum (serology) results as evidence of vaccination.

Height and weight


The minimum acceptable height is 1.52 m. There's no maximum height restriction, but applicants over 1.96m may be unsuitable for specific trades.

Aircrew trades have specific height parameters. This includes specific requirements for length of limbs. If applying for an aircrew trade, you will be measured by our medical team during the aircrew selection board to determine suitability.


The maximum acceptable weight is 125kg. The acceptable BMI range is 18 – 30, however we may consider BMIs up to 33 if, on assessment, the BMI is found to be due to large muscle bulk.




A high level of uncorrected and corrected vision is required, as certain trades need to perform complex tasks in conditions of limited visibility. The ability to see targets at a distance and distinguish signals is very important for you and your team’s safety. You may be unable to wear visual aids under certain conditions, especially in an emergency, so each trade has a minimum visual requirement which you must meet.

If you're considering corrective photorefractive surgery (such as LASIK), you will need to talk with your doctor and your Candidate Engagement Facilitator (CEF) before proceeding, as some vision correcting procedures are not compatible with our medical standards.

Colour perception

Like the vision standards, you need to have a certain level of correct colour perception in order to perform your role within the Defence Force accurately. In many trades perfect colour perception is essential in order to interpret signals such as coloured lights that may relate to aircraft flight safety, map reading, and marine navigation. There are trade options for candidates with decreased colour perception, but you'll need to have a discussion with your CEF about what you may be eligible for.


NZDF only accepts those candidates with perfect hearing measured at frequencies of 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 6000 and 8000 Hz. Mostly not falling below 30 Decibels in upper frequencies.

Should you have a known hearing problem or think you might, it is recommended you have an Audiogram performed by a Registered Audiologist and one of our clinical staff will assess the audiogram against entry standards, to confirm your hearing level.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants are not accepted.

Medications and asthma


In general, any applicant who requires regular or long-term medication to control a medical condition (contraception excluded) will be unfit for service. This is because a supply of medications cannot be guaranteed in the deployed situation and medications may be destroyed/degraded (by heat and humidity), or unavailable for periods of time.​


People with asthma may not be considered fit for operational service – and therefore not fit for military service. This is because training and service in the Defence Force requires people to undertake activities that pose a high risk of provoking asthma such as vigorous exercise, firefighting, contact with dust and other irritants, and exposure to changes in temperature. In addition, there can be limited medical and other facilities on Defence Force operations and exercises for treating an asthma attack, and this could have a very serious outcome if medical intervention was not possible.

If you wish to pursue a career in the Defence Force you'll need to provide proof that your asthma is completely controlled, this may include a negative hypertonic saline challenge test OR mannitol challenge test and evidence of what medications and medication dose you are taking.

Allergies and coeliac disease


Significant food or other allergies (especially if you have also had asthma or are required to carry an Epipen) are a limiting factor to entry.​

Coeliac disease

While coeliac disease is manageable day-to-day within New Zealand, in certain situations (such as deployment) there may be limited dietary options for a prolonged period. In such situations there is a risk of complications ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms to nutritional deficiency. This has potential implications not only for the individual, but also those around them. 


The Defence Force has an obligation to minimise risk to the individual and the organisation wherever possible, and accordingly if you have coeliac disease you will not be admitted entry to the Defence Force.

Mental health

Initial military training, military life and long periods of exercises and deployment can be stressful. Your life in Defence Force may involve separation from family and friends, cramped living conditions, lack of sleep, hunger and fatigue.

Mental disorders can be aggravated by this lifestyle, so we need you to disclose if you have, or have had any mental conditions, including (but not limited to):

  • obsessive compulsive disorder and generalised anxiety disorders;
  • depression;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • schizophrenia;
  • drug alcohol dependence;
  • ADHD requiring treatment;
  • anorexia or bulimia.​

Other medical conditions

Other conditions that limit entry to the Defence Force are:

  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • High blood pressure (readings of 140/90 or above) and/or requirement for blood pressure medication;
  • Epilepsy (or seizures within the past 5 years);
  • Severe headaches or migraines;
  • Arthritis;
  • Chronic or recurring back pain;
  • Cancer within the last 5 years;
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • Severe acne and/or current use of Isotretinoin;
  • Widespread eczema;
  • Current pregnancy;
  • Endometriosis;
  • Severe polycystic ovarian syndrome.


It pays to be completely honest with us, and if you’re not sure about your medical history, then check with your Candidate Engagement Facilitator. Failure to disclose any past history of a condition that could have an impact on your performance will result in your application being declined.

If failure to disclose medical information comes to light once you are enlisted, you may be released from the Defence Force.​

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