How Many Times Do I Have to Do MEPS? What You Need to Know

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Exploring the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re unsure how many times you’ll need to go through the process. Whether you’re enlisting for the first time or re-enlisting, understanding the MEPS requirements is crucial for a seamless process.

You might wonder if a single visit is enough or if multiple trips are necessary. The answer varies based on several factors, including your medical history and the specific branch of the military you’re joining. This article will break down what you need to know about MEPS visits, helping you prepare effectively and set your expectations right.

Understanding MEPS and Its Purpose

The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) process plays a crucial role in military enlistment. Whether you’re a first-time enlistee or re-enlisting, understanding MEPS and its purpose can help you prepare effectively and manage expectations.

What Is MEPS?

MEPS stands for Military Entrance Processing Station. It’s a joint service organization that determines an applicant’s physical qualifications, aptitude, and moral standards as set by each branch of the military. MEPS conducts medical exams, aptitude tests, and background checks all in one location. This streamlined process ensures every applicant meets the necessary criteria before proceeding to basic training.

The Role of MEPS in Military Enlistment

MEPS serves as the gateway to your military career. It’s where your journey begins, transforming you from a civilian to a service member. At MEPS, you’ll undergo a series of tests and evaluations to ensure you’re fit for service. These include:

  1. Medical Evaluation: A comprehensive physical exam reviews your medical history and current health status.
  2. Aptitude Testing: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) measures your knowledge and skills, determining your eligibility for different military jobs.
  3. Moral and Legal Screening: A thorough background check ensures you meet the moral and legal standards of military service.

Understanding these steps can demystify the MEPS process, leading to a smoother enlistment experience.

Frequency of MEPS Visits

Exploring through the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) can be a recurring experience depending on several factors. Understanding how often you need to attend MEPS is crucial for preparing effectively.

Initial MEPS Experience

On your first visit to MEPS, expect a comprehensive evaluation. This one-day process includes various exams and screenings to assess your eligibility for military service. You’ll undergo a medical examination, take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and participate in a background check. Depending on the outcomes, you may complete everything in one visit or be asked to return for further evaluations or additional paperwork.

Conditions Requiring Multiple MEPS Visits

Certain conditions can necessitate additional visits to MEPS. If your medical evaluations reveal the need for further tests or if any part of the process is incomplete, you’ll have to come back. Re-enlistees or those changing branches might need several trips to re-qualify. Also, if there’s a delay between your initial visit and your enlistment date, updating your medical status might be required, leading to return visits.

Understanding these conditions helps manage expectations and ensures you’re adequately prepared for multiple MEPS visits, if necessary.

Preparation for MEPS

Successfully exploring the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) process begins with thorough preparation. Knowing what to bring and expect can significantly ease the stress and ensure a smoother experience.

Documents and Information Needed

Several documents are essential for completing your MEPS journey:

  • Identification: Bring a valid government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport.
  • Social Security Card: Ensure it’s the original and not a copy.
  • Birth Certificate: A certified copy will suffice.
  • Medical Records: Include any documents detailing past surgeries, treatments, or ongoing conditions.
  • Education Verification: High school diploma or equivalent, plus any college transcripts.

Having these documents organized and ready will help avoid unnecessary delays in your processing.

What to Expect During the Visit

Your MEPS visit involves several steps, each critical in evaluating your eligibility:

  • Medical Examination: Expect a thorough physical, vision, and hearing checks. Blood and urine tests will also be conducted.
  • Aptitude Tests: You’ll take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) to determine your strengths and suitable military roles.
  • Background Check: Prepare to answer questions about your personal history, including any legal issues or substance use.

During the visit, patience is key as the process may take an entire day or even require follow-up visits.

Scenarios Leading to Repeat MEPS Sessions

You’ll need to return to MEPS for several reasons. Understanding these scenarios helps you prepare better and saves you time.

Disqualification and Waivers

Disqualification happens if you don’t meet medical, moral, or educational standards. If disqualified, you’ll need a waiver to reapply. Disqualifications may include medical conditions like asthma, behavioral issues, or past criminal records. If you believe a waiver applies to your case, collect supporting documents. Submit your waiver request through your recruiter. They’ll guide you through the next steps.

Changes in Health or Career Path

Changes in health necessitate another MEPS visit. Common examples are injuries, illnesses, or significant weight fluctuations. Even minor changes like a new allergy require reassessment. Switching career paths within the military can also lead to a MEPS revisit. For example, changing from an enlistment-based role to an officer pathway will need additional examinations and evaluations. Stay in touch with your recruiter to keep your paperwork updated.


Exploring the MEPS process can seem daunting but knowing what to expect helps you prepare effectively. Staying in close contact with your recruiter ensures you’re up to date with any paperwork or health changes that might require additional visits. While the possibility of multiple MEPS sessions exists understanding the reasons behind them can alleviate stress and uncertainty. Eventually being well-prepared and informed sets you on the right path for your military career.


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