Criminal Background Requirements for USCG Enlistment

The Coast Guard has strict background check requirements.

When you apply to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard, you will be required to list all criminal convictions, even if the conviction has been expunged. You will also be required to undergo a credit check and a security clearance check. Certain criminal convictions will disqualify you for Coast Guard service. Because the USCG is selective, even if you qualify, you may not be chosen for service.

1 Application Process

The United States Coast Guard requires applicants to list all criminal convictions, even if the conviction was expunged or is many years old. According to the USCG website, you must provide "documentation of any offenses in the form of court records, copies of legal proceedings or evidence of rehabilitation." The documentation should include any and all criminal convictions--including DUI/DWI infractions. These requirements apply whether you are seeking to enlist in the USCG or the USCG Reserves.

2 Disqualifying Convictions

Although some juvenile or minor offenses might not disqualify you from service with the USCG, you will not be allowed to enlist if you have been convicted for a 2nd or 3rd degree misdemeanor, or a felony.

3 Requirements

Because the USCG is selective in the enlistment process, you will be required to go through an interview process where a "whole person" evaluation is conducted. According to the USCG, this evaluation "considers attitude, professionalism, honesty, respect, language proficiency, weight/physical abilities and work ethic." A criminal record will be taken into account during this detailed evaluation, and even if a criminal case was dismissed or a conviction was expunged, it may still disqualify you from being selected for the Coast Guard.

Rita Radostitz lives in Eugene, Oregon. She has written about human rights, health & fitness and interesting people for years. Her articles have appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Oregon Quarterly and on various websites. Radostitz holds a Masters of Science in journalism with distinction from the University of Oregon and a law degree cum laude from Villanova University.