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49 Countries Have Compulsory Military Service

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

countries have compulsory military service

Just as there are various forms of military forces, there are many ways to supply manpower to the forces: voluntary enlistment, compulsory service, conscription, selective mandatory service, De Jure mandatory service, etc.

Of these ways, today’s article will explore compulsory service. To require citizens to serve in the military is to make military service compulsory. Usually, it dictates a specific demographic group.

We will answer, “What countries have compulsory military service?”

In total, there are 49 countries that require military service at a specific age and for a specific amount of time.

Read on to find the details of these compulsory military service countries.


49 Mandatory Military Service Countries


1. Algeria

It is compulsory for all male Algerians from 19 years old and in good health to serve in the military. The obligatory service duration is 2 years. At 17, male Algerians are expected to submit a copy of their birth certificate to enroll in the national list of military service census.

2. Armenia

Similar to Algeria, Armenia has 2 years of mandatory military service. It applies to males from 18 years old to 27 years old. If you evade service, you may find yourself in prison for up to 3 years.

3. Austria

Starting from 18 years old, Austrian males must serve in the military for 6 months or 9 months in civilian service.

4. Belarus

12 months to 18 months of service is required of males from 18 to 27. Twelve months is for guys seeking higher education and 18 months is for those who are not.

5. Bolivia

Bolivian males, from 18 years old to 22 years old, are asked to serve in the military for 1 to 2 years.

6. Brazil

Military service is mandatory for 10 to 12 months. This is for males between 18 and 45. However, only 5 to 10 percent need to serve.

7. Cambodia

Males from 18 to 30 years old serve for 18 months in the Cambodian military force.

8. Chad

Males aged 20 fulfill 36 months of military service while females fulfill 12 months at 21.

9. Colombia

At ages 18 to 24, Colombian males must commit to 18 months of service.

10. Cuba


Cuban males are supposed to serve for 24 months when they are between 17 years old and 28 years old.

11. Cyprus

Males from 18 to 50 must serve at least 14 months in the Cyprus National Guard.

12. Egypt

For Egyptian males between 18 and 30, it is necessary to serve for 18 months to 3 years and 9 years in the Reserves.

13. Eritrea

In Eritrea, 18 months of service is required for those aged 18 to 40, regardless of gender.

14. Estonia


It is expected that males from 18 years old to 27 years old serve for 8 to 11 months. This is meant to train them and lay the groundwork (just in case). Estonians abroad are still expected to complete compulsory service.

15. Finland

6 to 12 months of service is compulsory for males at 18. In addition, Reserves service is expected until the age of 60.

16. Georgia

18 to 27 years old Georgian males must serve for at least 12 months.

17. Greece

It is a must for males to serve 9 to 12 months between 19 years old and 45 years old.

18. Iran

When Iranian males turn 18, they need to commit to 18 to 24 months of service.

19. Israel

In Israel, 1 to 2 years of service is mandatory, starting from 18 year old for both males and females. Pilots need to commit to a minimum of 9 years.

20. Jordan


Unemployed males must go to the military for 12 months if they are between 25 and 29 years old.

21. Kazakhstan

Mandatory service lasts for 12 to 24 months. It is expected of males between 18 and 27, though this may soon be abolished.

22. Kuwait

12 months of service is necessary for males from 18 to 35. Afterward, the males are expected to stay in the Reserves until they reach 45 years old. The system as a whole was reintroduced in 2015.

23. Kyrgyzstan

For males from 18 years old to 27 years old, 9 to 12 months of service is expected.

24. Laos

Males need to serve for at least 18 months when they turn 18.

25. Lithuania


Males from 19 to 26 are obligated to 9 months of service. Unlike in some other countries, those who hold dual citizenship are not exempted.

26. Moldova

12 months of service is the minimum for males aged18 to 27.

27. Mongolia

Like Moldova, service obligations apply to males aged 18 to 27. The duration is 1 to 2 years.

28. Morocco

Only males need to complete 12 months of service at 19. This obligation was brought back in 2019. If you try to dodge this, you may be punished by imprisonment for one month to a year.

29. North Korea

Mandatory service begins at age 17 for both genders. But the duration differs. It is 10 years for males and 5 years for females.

30. Norway


Both males and females need to finish mandatory military service. It is 19 months, of which 12 months are primary and 4 to 5 refreshers make up the remaining duration. But, most of the time, over 80 percent are released from service.

31. Paraguay

At 18, Paraguay males must serve for 1 to 2 years.

There are current proposals to make the reforestation service an alternative to military service, though none have passed yet.

32. Qatar

Compulsory service is 4 to 12 months and applies to males from 18 years old to 35 years old.

33. Russia

Males from 18 years old to 27 years old need to serve for 12 months and be in the Reserves until 50.

34. Singapore

Singaporean males from 18 years old to 21 years old are expected to fulfill 2 years of service. Then, they need to remain in the Reserves until 40 years old.

35. South Korea


South Korean males between the ages of 18 and 28 are obligated to 21 to 24 months of military service. This is scheduled to be reduced to 18 to 22 months in the near future. Some figures that are important to the economy may be able to defer service until 30 years old.

36. South Sudan

At 18, citizens must serve for 1 to 2 years.

37. Sudan

12 to 24 months is mandatory for both males and females from 18 years old to 33 years old.

38. Sweden

Sweden mandatory military service is applied to both males and females, beginning at the age of 18. The service lasts for 7.5 to 15 months, regardless of gender.

39. Switzerland

245 days of training are mandatory, plus 6x 19-day recalls (within 10 years) for males aged 18 to 30.

40. Syria


Syrian males from 18 to 42 must serve for 18 months. Those who live outside of Syria must pay exemption fees, which range from $7,000 to $9,000, depending on the number of years they spend abroad.

41. Taiwan

4 months of service and 4x 20 day training calls are the minimum for males from 18 to 36 years old.

42. Tajikistan

Males between 18 and 27 serve for 2 years. However, it is possible to purchase an exemption.

43. Tunisia

12 months of service is required for physically fit males between 20 years old and 35n years old.

44. Turkey

Males from 20 years old are expected to serve for 6 to 12 months though exemptions can be bought after 1 month of training.

45. Turkmenistan


Males from 18 to 30 must serve for 2 years to 30 months.

46. Ukraine

Compulsory military service in Ukraine is for those from 20 to 27 years old. The duration is 1 to 2 years.

47. United Arab Emirates

Males between 18 and 30 years old must serve for 16 months to 2 years.

48. Uzbekistan

Males from 18 to 27 years old need to serve for at least one year, but it is possible to buy shorter terms. Nevertheless, those who buy these terms remain a Reservist until the age of 27.

49. Vietnam


Males from 18 to 27 are required to serve for 2 to 3 years.



Is military service mandatory in the USA?

The U.S military has a De jure system. This means there is no conscription currently active. Still, there is a Selective Service that retains the right to “draft” males from 18 to 25 years old when necessary.

Are compulsory military service countries the same as countries with conscription?

No, countries with military conscription are different.

Conscription, sometimes also referred to as a draft, is a system where those of a particular demographic group have to “sign up for” military service, but they may not actually be called to serve on active duty.


Now, you should be able to answer, “How many countries have compulsory military service?” and name them all.

Is where you are from among the list of countries that have compulsory military service? Let us know in the comments down below!

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