The Tattoo Policy for aspirants appearing for SSB Interview was recently amended and came into effect from 11 May 2015. The policy explains screening process of army-applicants with Permanent Body Tattoos in detail.

Previously, Body Tattoo was least of concerns for Defence Selection. But the tables have turned now. A body tattoo might prevent you from applying for Defence Services if it goes against the declared policy.

Reason behind Strict policy on Body Tattoo:

Indian Defence Forces do not allow candidates with permanent body tattoo because they are likely to have hazardous skin diseases. Some of the serious blood-borne diseases, infections caused due to tattoos are a risk of HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, tetanus, allergies, etc.

If untrained tattoo artists use unhygienic needles, there are high chances of deadly virus being spread into your body.

Also, HIV tests are very costly and the Army cannot really afford to do these tests for every case of body tattoo.

What are some of the Exceptions in Tattoo Policy?

  • Cadre from Defence Forces of India is permitted to have a tattoo on the inner part of the arm anywhere from elbow to wrist or on backside of palm, provided they have a certificate from Doctor. Keep in mind that Selection Committee has full authority to decide whether or not to accept your tattoo.
  • Candidates with tattoos on above mentioned permitted areas of the body have to submit a photograph of the same for the record, mentioning the size, language and significance of the tattoo.
  • SSB candidates who have carved tattoos other parts like neck, legs, etc. are not eligible to appear for SSB interview.

For Candidates who come from a specific Tribe:

As per Government’s declaration, candidates belonging to any of the tribal communities (falling under Indian Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes Orders Lists) are allowed to have ink tattoo on any of their body parts as per the customs and traditions of their tribe.

Such candidates are exempted from this policy. However, these candidates have to submit a certificate that proves their belonging to the tribal area before the beginning of Stage I of selection process.

Types of Tattoos allowed:

  • Only small tattoos showcasing religious symbol or name (of dear ones) are allowed, as they do not undermine army’s discipline.

Types of Tattoos not allowed:

  • A tattoo with offensive or lewd content or indecent figures is NOT allowed.
  • Tattoos that are racist (degrades a certain race/region/religion/ethnicity), sexist (degrades certain gender), indecent (offensive to decency and modesty) are NOT allowed.


Fortunately, if you have a tattoo on the opposite side of your palm or the inner side of the arm (from elbow to wrist) as mentioned above, you will steer clear of rejection. However, you need to understand that regardless of the permissibility of the body area, Selection Committee has full right to reject your entry because of your tattoo.

The reason behind declaring this strict tattoo policy are quite valid. It is recommended for candidates who really want to join the Defence Services to stay away from inking.