Were you under or over 18 when you signed up?

 

Joined before you were 18?

Your right to leave: the first six months

If you joined under the age of 18 then you can leave during the first SIX months but not during the first six weeks.

(The rules are not usually used against a soldier aged under 18 who leaves in the first six weeks, if their parents want their child home again).

If you want to leave between the end of the first six weeks and the end of the first six months, then you have to give two weeks' notice in writing.

The earliest you can hand in your two weeks' notice is after the first four weeks and the latest is the day before you have served for six months.

Your right to leave: after the first six months

If you stay in the army for six months, but are not yet 18, then you still have a right to leave.

To leave in this time, you have to give three months' notice in writing.

The latest you can hand in your notice is the day before your 18th birthday. Not a day later.

The three-month notice is there because the army hopes you'll change your mind. But it can be shortened if the army agrees to it, so it's worth asking for this.

Applying to leave

If you have a right to leave under the rules described here, then the army has a form for you to fill in, although they'll try to talk you out of leaving first.

If you want to avoid that, you don't have to use the form - you can just download this letter, fill in the details, sign it, and hand it in at your CO's office (or your parents can do that for you as long as you sign it).

You don't have to give a reason for wanting to leave, unless you want to.

Missed your discharge window? 

If the first six months pass AND and you turn 18, then you lose your right to leave until you are 22 - but keep reading, because you might still have options.

 

Joined at 18 or older?

Your right to leave

If this is your first time in the army, you can leave during the first THREE months but not during the first six weeks.

If you want to leave in this time, you have to give two weeks' notice in writing.

The earliest you can hand in your notice is after the first four weeks, and the latest is the day before you have served for THREE months. Not a day later.

If you leave in the first three months then you are a civilian again and you don't join the reserves so you are free from the army.

Applying to leave

If you have a right to leave under the rules described here, then the army has a form for you to fill in, although they'll try to talk you out of leaving first.

If you want to avoid that, you don't have to use the form - you can just download this letter, fill in the details, sign it, and hand it / post it to your CO's office.

You don't have to give a reason for wanting to leave, unless you want to.

Missed your discharge window?

If this is not your first time in the army - or if it is but you don't leave in the first three months - then you usually have no right to leave until you've been in the army for four years. But keep reading, because you might still have options...