Can Your Girlfriend Live with You on a Military Base?

by | Military Finance | 1 comment

Wondering if your girlfriend can live with you on a military base? It’s a common question for many service members exploring the complexities of military life and relationships. While military bases offer a unique living environment with various amenities and a tight-knit community, there are specific rules and regulations you must follow.

Understanding these guidelines is crucial for making informed decisions about your living arrangements. From eligibility criteria to housing options, we’ll explore everything you need to know to determine if cohabitation on base is a possibility for you and your significant other.

Understanding Military Base Housing Policies

Eligibility Criteria for Living on Base

To live on a military base, service members and their cohabitants must meet specific eligibility criteria. The military reserves base housing primarily for service members and their dependents. Dependents include spouses, children, and in some cases, parents or siblings. Girlfriends or boyfriends typically do not qualify as dependents.

Command approval is a crucial factor. Service members must formally request permission from their commanding officer. The command evaluates the nature of the relationship, the duration, and the potential impact on the unit’s operational readiness.

Marriage is often a requirement. If you and your girlfriend aren’t married, approval becomes significantly challenging. But, exceptions can exist, particularly for long-term or engaged couples with a solid commitment. Always consult your base housing office for specifics.

Housing Rules for Unmarried Couples

Military bases have strict rules for unmarried couples living together. Even with command approval, you may face additional regulations. These rules aim to maintain order, security, and community standards.

Shared accommodations can be limited. Most bases offer housing based on rank and family status. Unmarried couples might struggle to find options specifically designed for their living situation. Some bases may provide off-base housing allowances, enabling you to live together off the base.

Conduct and behavior regulations apply equally to unmarried couples. You and your girlfriend must adhere to the same standards expected of married couples. This includes maintaining the property, respecting quiet hours, and complying with community guidelines.

Visitors’ rules also come into play. Your girlfriend may be subject to additional scrutiny and restrictions on her movements within the base. Temporary passes, security checks, and guest registrations often become part of daily life. Ensure you’re fully aware of these stipulations to avoid complications.

Summarizing, understanding and adhering to military base housing policies is essential for successfully cohabiting with your girlfriend on base. Maintain open communication with your commanding officers and housing office to navigate these regulations effectively.

Options for Couples Not Eligible for On-Base Housing

Couples who aren’t eligible for on-base housing still have options to stay connected and live together comfortably. Off-base housing and nearby military support facilities can provide practical solutions.

Off-Base Housing Solutions

Renting or buying off-base housing offers flexibility and independence. Many military-friendly neighborhoods surround bases, providing convenient access to military facilities while enjoying civilian lifestyle benefits. Services like the Military Housing Office (MHO) can assist in finding suitable accommodations.

Individuals can explore rental apartments, single-family homes, or shared housing opportunities. Some landlords offer military discounts or lease terms accommodating frequent relocations. Proximity to the base minimizes travel times, and integrating into local communities can enhance your overall experience.

Utilizing Nearby Military Support Facilities

Nearby military support facilities can provide essential services and amenities while living off-base. Many bases have gyms, medical centers, commissaries, and exchange stores open to service members and dependents. Utilizing these facilities can reduce costs and maintain connections to military resources.

Participate in activities at military recreational facilities, such as parks, sporting complexes, and community centers. These places foster a sense of belonging and offer numerous opportunities for social engagement. Access to base resources ensures you stay up-to-date with military support and events.

Legal Considerations and Regulations

Addressing legal considerations and regulations can be crucial for anyone contemplating having their girlfriend live on a military base. Understanding these rules can prevent complications and ensure compliance with military protocols.

Cohabitation Laws and Military Standards

Military bases operate under a strict set of rules and standards. Unmarried cohabitation, particularly if it involves opposite-sex partners, often faces stringent scrutiny. The Department of Defense (DoD) mandates that military personnel adhere to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which includes regulations on living arrangements. Married couples receive base housing assignments, while unmarried couples, regardless of their commitment, typically do not.

For instance, a service member wanting their girlfriend to live on base may encounter obstacles since she isn’t a legal dependent. Without official recognition, accessing on-base housing often becomes infeasible. Exceptions may exist but require commanding officer approval and thorough justification. The process involves paperwork and possible background checks to maintain security and order within the military facility.

Regulatory Implications of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with military regulations can result in serious consequences. Unauthorized cohabitation may lead to disciplinary actions under the UCMJ, ranging from reprimands to more severe penalties. It’s crucial to follow established protocols, as service members risk impacting their careers and standing within the military community.

Service members caught violating cohabitation policies might face reductions in rank, loss of privileges, or even court-martial in extreme cases. Besides, unauthorized occupants on base could compromise security protocols, leading to additional scrutiny and potential punitive measures.

To mitigate risks, couples should explore lawful alternatives. Off-base housing in military-friendly neighborhoods allows flexibility while maintaining adherence to regulations. Utilizing base amenities and support services off-base can provide a balanced lifestyle without infringing on military policies.

By adhering to these guidelines, service members can navigate the complexities of base living and maintain their professional and personal lives smoothly.

Alternative Living Arrangements

Finding a suitable living arrangement is essential when base regulations prevent your girlfriend from living with you. Consider these options to ensure compliance while maintaining your relationship.

Off-Base Housing

Opting for off-base housing can offer freedom from strict base regulations. Look for military-friendly areas near the base, as these often provide discounts or amenities tailored to your needs. Renting an off-base apartment or house gives you privacy and comfort without the constraints of military rules.

Military-Sponsored Programs

Explore military-sponsored housing programs available to service members. While these programs generally cater to families, some initiatives might support your unique living situation. Check with your housing office for any special provisions or resources.

Considering Long-Term Solutions

Contemplate the future of your living arrangements if your relationship is serious. Marriage provides access to on-base housing and simplifies many logistical issues. Alternatively, long-term rentals or home purchases in nearby civilian areas might be viable options. Balancing military duties with personal relationships requires strategic planning, so consider all possibilities.


Exploring the complexities of having your girlfriend live with you on a military base requires careful consideration and adherence to military protocols. While the challenges are significant for unmarried couples, exploring off-base housing and military-sponsored programs can provide viable alternatives. Strategic planning is essential to maintaining both your military career and personal relationship. By understanding the regulations and exploring lawful options, you can find a solution that works best for you and your partner.


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