Commonwealth citizen looking to join as a Warfare Officer

Hi all!

I am a citizen of a Commonwealth country who has been living in the UK for well over five years now. After much consideration, I have decided that I want to join the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in the surface fleet.

There is one hitch: non-British citizens cannot become Warfare Officers.

I would apply for British citizenship in a heartbeat, but I am not currently eligible, and won't be for another three years, by which point I'll be too old to apply for Warfare Officer.

A friend of mine is a senior officer, and he has been acting as my mentor of sorts, giving me great advice and encouragement.* He assured me that I could, in fact, be given an exemption from this citizenship requirement, and he told me to go ahead and apply. The Chief at the AFCO didn't seem to like this, but I did as I was told, applied, and was duly... rejected on grounds of citizenship.

Following this, my friend asked me to look into what officer roles I can do as a non-UK national without a specialist degree. There is only one: Training Management Officer.**

My mentor is now telling me that I should apply to be a TMO and then apply to branch transfer to Warfare as soon as possible. Para 5105(d) of BR 3 says that I can apply for branch transfer once I complete MARL.

In preparation for going to BRNC I would be given an "exempt stamp" in my passport. With such an exempt stamp and the 5+ years I have lived in the UK, I would be able to apply for citizenship. So by the time I go in for a branch transfer, I would meet the citizenship requirements for Warfare Officer.

A few questions:
  1. Given my circumstances, does this sound like a sensible path?
  2. Would such a branch transfer be likely to be accepted?
  3. If this works, how would my joining as a TMO affect my career progression as a Warfare Officer?
  4. If it doesn't work, will my request for branch transfer hurt my progression as a TMO?
  5. My mentor is telling me that I should make my intentions clear to the AIB. As in, if they ask "why do you want to be a TMO?", I should be honest and say "I don't - I want to be a Warfare Officer, but this is my only way in." Is this a good idea? It sounds incredibly risky to me!
  6. It's very likely that I will be 26 by the time I pass out of BRNC. Does this mean I won't be able to transfer into Warfare, given the age limit is 25?
Any further thoughts or insights anyone could offer would be really welcome as well.

Thanks so much!

[*I'm quite sensitive to the possibility that I look like I'm using daddy's friends to trying to pull strings, but I honestly came across this guy by chance, and I know I'm very lucky to have someone like him to help me and provide guidance.]

[**Originally I had thought that even this wasn't open to me, as I don't have an engineering degree, but the rules have now been changed to just require any honours degree.]


War Hero

1. Given your circumstances, your ONLY commissioned option is TMO, but only if you are determined to be an Officer.

In order to manage realistic expectations, whilst it's appreciated you may be reasonable well-versed and thoroughly researched with regard the current regulations, there is categorically no guarantee a Nationality waiver will be considered. To this end my advice would be to ensure you would be happy remaining a TMO in the event your aspiration does not transpire as you would hope. The Navy is desperately short of TMOs and even if you manage to gain British Nationality, the service may not necessarily permit an "in service" transfer. If you have to leave to re-apply - you will, of course, need to be conscious of age restrictions as a Warfare Officer.

2. For the reasons stated above, a "in-service" transfer from an undermanned branch is unlikely - even if you gain British Citizenship. The only reason TMO is currently available to you is because "any degree" is accepted due exclusively to the shortage. This is assuming your GCSE & A Levels (or accepted equivalents) meet the entry criteria - regardless of the degree.

3. If accepted for transfer, your career progression/rank would be governed by the time already served & the required service qualifications/experience for your rank in order to become promoted - together with your reporting officer's appraisal reports and recommendations. You could find yourself "standing still" in line with your contemporaries if you switch branch.

4. There are no penalties attached to requesting a branch transfer.

5. If it wasn't an under-manned branch you are applying for, it would be a career-stopping statement to suggest you do not want a job for which you are applying. I'm inclined to agree with you, although I can see the logic.

6. You are looking at relying on several waivers to achieve your goal. My Careers Adviser instincts veer toward suggesting any more than one waiver is perhaps overly optimistic. Age parameters, it must be said, are under review but you are in danger of thinking "no chance" suggests there is at least a "chance" in the response. :cool:

My advice? If all else fails, consider joining as a rating, gain citizenship, get your Brit passport, apply for promotion to Officer from within the service.

Whatever the outcome, best of luck.
Instead of starting a new thread Stoker, I will ask here: what is the average time period from joining as a rating to becoming an officer? I just recently failed to achieve the standard for Warfare Officer in my psychometric test (on numeracy) but passed for virtually any rating branch I was told due to my above average mark in mechanical comprehension & verbal but only average in spatial & numeracy. I do of course have a second test of which I shall hopefully pass, but I was just wondering just in case.

Seemed to swot up on the wrong areas for numeracy and not do enough practice tests. A bad mistake.


War Hero
It varies between individuals & branches, but the most likely earliest opportunity is often around the four year mark when it is possible in most branches to reach Leading Rate & have demonstrated adequate leadership/management potential to be forwarded for AIB.
It varies between individuals & branches, but the most likely earliest opportunity is often around the four year mark when it is possible in most branches to reach Leading Rate & have demonstrated adequate leadership/management potential to be forwarded for AIB.
Well, that's not bad at all. Certainly in a better situation than I thought, so I'll knuckle down and hopefully get this exam passed second time round. Never been good at numeracy, but no excuses now!

Quickest has been someone who passed Raleigh. Went to AIB and then started BRNC within the same year.
A natural! Wonder why he didn't go through with it at first then... I thought you had to take the same sort of test at AIB on the first day, so he'd certainly have to some base intellect to get through.

My thanks to you both.

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