How Long After MEPS Do You Swear In? Timeline Explained

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

So, you’ve made it through the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and now you’re wondering how long it’ll be before you take the oath and officially join the military. This crucial step marks the transition from civilian to service member, and timing can vary based on several factors.

Understanding the timeline between MEPS and swearing in helps you better prepare for the next phase of your military journey. Whether you’re eager to start basic training or need to wrap up personal affairs, knowing what to expect can ease some of the anxiety. Let’s jump into what influences this timeline and what you can do in the meantime.

Understanding MEPS: The First Step

What Is MEPS?

MEPS, the Military Entrance Processing Station, serves as the gateway to your military career. MEPS evaluates whether you meet the physical, mental, and moral standards required by military service. If you’re eligible for enlistment, you’ll go through a series of medical exams, aptitude tests, and background checks.

Importance of MEPS in Military Enlistment

MEPS holds critical importance in the enlistment process. It ensures the military only recruits individuals who can handle the demands of service. MEPS assessments, for example, determine your aptitude and physical readiness. They also screen for any disqualifying conditions. Successful completion at MEPS paves the way for swearing in, marking your transition from civilian to service member.

The Timeline from MEPS to Swearing-In

Completing your MEPS evaluation is just one step in your journey to joining the military. But how long do you wait before you officially swear in?

Typical Duration Before Swearing-In

On average, you’ll wait between 2 days to 1 week before you swear in. This period varies because of several factors like job availability and the branch of service. Recruiters try to schedule swearing-in ceremonies promptly to keep the enlistment process flowing.

Factors Influencing the Time Until You Swear In

Job Availability: If your desired job within the military has open positions, you might swear in sooner. Otherwise, you could face delays until a position opens up.

Medical or Background Checks: Any unresolved medical or background issues detected at MEPS might extend your waiting time. Additional tests or documentation could be required before you’re cleared to proceed.

Branch-Specific Procedures: Different branches have distinct processing times. For instance, the Army might have a quicker turnaround compared to the Air Force.

Recruiter Coordination: Sometimes, logistical issues from your recruiter’s side might cause delays. Efficient coordination between MEPS and recruiting offices can help minimize waiting periods.

By understanding these typical timelines and influencing factors, you can better prepare for the wait between MEPS and your swearing-in ceremony.

What Happens After MEPS But Before Swearing-In?

After completing MEPS, you enter a critical phase leading up to your swearing-in ceremony. This stage ensures all necessary steps are covered, preparing you for a smooth transition into military service.

Preparatory Steps Before Swearing In

Once you pass MEPS, a series of preparatory steps begin. Recruiters coordinate with various military branches to finalize your enlistment. They review job availability based on your qualifications and preferences. You might wait a few days to a week as they match your profile with open positions. Medical checks may also continue if further evaluations are required. Ensuring all medical conditions are stable and within military standards is crucial.

Example: If you indicated interest in a specific role, like a Combat Medic, recruiters align available slots with your desired position and qualifications.

Final Documentation and Review Process

Your recruiter reviews and finalizes all necessary documentation. You complete any outstanding paperwork, ensuring all forms are accurate and up-to-date. This includes verifying personal information, signing enlistment contracts, and understanding your obligations. Potential job assignments and duty stations are confirmed during this period.

Example: For National Guard volunteers, additional consideration is given to state-specific requirements and unit availability, impacting the final review process duration.

This preparation phase ensures you’re fully ready for swearing in, paving the way for your journey into military service.

Day of Swearing-In: What to Expect

You’ve made it through MEPS and now it’s time for the swearing-in ceremony. This moment marks the official start of your military journey.

The Ceremony Details

On the day of your swearing-in, you’ll report to the MEPS center again. Arrive early since proceedings usually start around 8 AM. You’ll join other candidates in a waiting area where greater details of the day’s events get discussed.

Expect a brief address from a military official explaining the importance of the oath you’ll take. Afterward, groups of candidates, generally 10-20, will be called to the ceremony room. Here, a commissioned officer will administer the Oath of Enlistment. This pledge is a solemn promise to support and defend the Constitution. The ceremony itself is short, typically lasting about 10-15 minutes.

What to Bring and How to Prepare

Ensure you have all necessary identification documents. Bring a valid government-issued ID, Social Security card, and any additional paperwork provided by your recruiter. Dress conservatively; avoid flashy or casual attire as this event holds great significance.

Hydration is key, so bring a bottle of water. Some candidates may experience nerves, so staying hydrated helps keep you at your best. You’ll also want to eat a light meal beforehand.

Finally, prepare mentally for this transition. Reflect on what this commitment means for you and your future. Take a deep breath and focus on the oath you’ll take—it’s the first step in your military career.


Exploring the journey from MEPS to your swearing-in ceremony involves several crucial steps, each designed to ensure you’re fully prepared for military service. Understanding the factors that influence the timeline and what to expect can help you stay focused and ready. Embrace this period as an opportunity to finalize your preparations and look forward to the significant milestone of swearing in. This moment marks the beginning of an exciting and honorable chapter in your life, setting the stage for your future in the military.


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