Do They Take Your Phone at MEPS? Essential Information and Tips

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Wondering if you’ll have to part with your phone at MEPS? It’s a common concern for anyone heading to the Military Entrance Processing Station. Your phone’s more than just a device; it’s your lifeline to family, friends, and the outside world.

At MEPS, the focus is on evaluating your qualifications for military service, and distractions like phones can hinder the process. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare and ease any anxiety. So, let’s jump into whether your phone will be taken and what you can do about it.

Understanding MEPS: What It Is and What to Expect

What Is MEPS?

Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) serves as a gateway for recruits entering the armed forces. It ensures that individuals meet the necessary medical, physical, and academic standards. With over 65 MEPS locations across the U.S., the Department of Defense oversees these stations. Everyone who enlists in any military branch goes through this rigorous process.

What Happens During the MEPS Process?

The MEPS process involves several steps to confirm you’re fit for service. It includes:

  1. Medical Examination
    The medical staff performs a thorough exam, including health history review, height and weight measurements, vision and hearing tests, blood tests, and urinalysis. Conditions like asthma or severe allergies might affect your eligibility.
    The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests your skills and knowledge in areas like math, science, and vocabulary. Your ASVAB scores determine your suitability for different military jobs.
    A background screening ensures recruits have no disqualifying criminal history. Minor infractions might require a waiver, while serious offenses can lead to disqualification.
    After passing medical exams and tests, you’ll discuss job options with a counselor. Once you choose your job and enlistment contract, you’ll take the Oath of Enlistment.
    Certain roles might require extra screenings or security clearances. For example, intelligence positions often need more comprehensive background checks.

Each phase is crucial for ensuring that the military only enlists qualified and capable individuals. Be prepared to spend a full day at MEPS, as this detailed evaluation takes time.

The Role of Personal Belongings at MEPS

At MEPS, your personal belongings, particularly electronic devices, play a specific role during the examination and processing stages. Awareness of these regulations can lessen any stress you might experience.

What You Can Bring to MEPS

While you’re at MEPS, you’re allowed to bring essential personal items. These include:

  • Identification Documents: A valid photo ID, social security card, and any necessary medical records.
  • Clothing: Comfortable attire suitable for a full day’s events and a change of clothes if needed.
  • Toiletries: Basic hygiene products like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorants.
  • Snacks and Water: Small, non-perishable snacks and a water bottle to maintain energy and hydration.

The key to packing is to keep it simple. Items needed for daily comfort and documentation are your priority.

Restrictions on Electronic Devices

Electronic devices, like phones and smartwatches, have strict limitations at MEPS. These items:

  • Phones: You must surrender your phone upon arrival and it will be stored securely until the processing is complete. This prevents distractions and maintains focus.
  • Smartwatches: These are usually treated like phones and will also be held until the end of processing.
  • Personal Laptops or Tablets: Not permitted due to the potential for distraction and security concerns.

The intent behind these restrictions is to ensure a smooth, distraction-free evaluation process. It’s beneficial to inform someone who might need to reach you about these limitations.

Do They Take Your Phone at MEPS?

At the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), electronic device restrictions apply, including mobile phones. Your phone remains securely stored during processing to ensure focus and efficiency.

Reasons for Phone Restrictions

MEPS enforces phone restrictions to keep an orderly and distraction-free environment. A primary reason is to maintain security protocols; unrestricted phone use could compromise sensitive information. Distractions can hinder your focus during critical evaluations, affecting performance. Rules and procedures at MEPS demand complete attention without external interruptions.

Managing Communication During Your Visit

You can’t use your phone during MEPS processing. Inform family and friends beforehand so they know your availability will be limited. Some MEPS locations may grant brief access to phones during breaks to relay essential info, but availability varies. Otherwise, prep to go offline for a bit.

Tips for Preparing for MEPS

Preparing for the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) can be a bit daunting, but with the right tips, you’ll navigate it smoothly. It’s crucial to be well-prepared since this is an essential step in your military career.

Essential Items to Bring

To ensure a stress-free experience at MEPS, pack wisely. You’ll need your Social Security card and a valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Carry all necessary medical documents, like vaccination records and any waivers or medical history forms, as these will expedite your processing.

Pack a change of clothes, especially comfortable and appropriate attire, since you may be there for several hours. Don’t forget personal hygiene items, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and any prescription medications in their original containers. While electronic devices are generally restricted, you might consider bringing a book or magazine to pass any waiting time. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, bring them along with a copy of your prescription.

How to Handle Restrictions

Restrictions at MEPS, particularly on electronic devices, can catch some off guard. To handle this, inform your contacts in advance about your limited phone availability. This reduces stress and keeps everyone informed.

Leave prohibited items, including your phone and other electronics, at home or in your car. This ensures that you comply with MEPS policies and avoid unnecessary complications. Prepare mentally for times of waiting or silence by bringing a quiet activity like a book.

Embrace the restrictions as part of the process to maintain focus. Your concentration during evaluations is vital; staying offline helps you stay prepared and attentive. By understanding and accepting these restrictions, you’ll find it easier to acclimate to the structured environment at MEPS.


Understanding the rules and restrictions at MEPS can significantly ease your experience. While you might feel uneasy about parting with your phone, remember it’s all about maintaining a focused and secure environment. Inform your contacts about your limited phone access and prepare to embrace the offline time. By following the guidelines and focusing on your evaluations, you’ll navigate MEPS smoothly and efficiently.


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