Before you can be considered for appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, you must obtain a nomination. A nomination does not guarantee appointment to the Academy, however, no appointment can be offered without one.
Securing nominations is a competitive process. To ensure your application to the Academy will be complete, you should seek them in each of the categories for which you are eligible.
Each nominating authority employs its own processes and deadlines. Once you determine the categories in which you will seek a nomination, you must contact the appropriate authority to make your request, then follow their application processes to obtain one.
Since the process of securing nominations is lengthy, it is recommended that you request them during the Spring semester of your Junior year, or at the same time as you are completing your Pre-Candidate Questionnaire.
Note that regardless of when you initiate your request, the Academy must receive your nomination by January 31st. If we do not receive notice of a nomination by this deadline, you will be disqualified. Nominations do not carry over from year to year.
The majority of applicants to the Academy obtain nominations in the Congressional and Vice Presidential categories. The Academy also reserves a select number of cadet appointments for nominees in the Military Affiliated, U.S. Territory and International categories. To seek nominations, first determine the categories for which you are eligible:
Each Member of Congress is allowed to have a maximum of five cadets attending the Academy at one time. For each cadet vacancy that occurs, the member may nominate up to 10 candidates to be considered for appointment.Vacancies occur when cadets graduate or leave prior to graduation. To request nominations in this category, follow the guidelines in the Congressional Nomination Request Sample Letter.
You should request a nomination from both of your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative. Each has considerable latitude in awarding nominations; however, most are based upon some combination of academic achievement, leadership performance and athletic participation. Members of Congress want to nominate outstanding individuals from their states or districts who will have the best chance to qualify for appointment. While you must be a legal resident of the state or congressional district in which you are applying, it is not necessary to know your Member of Congress personally.
Each congressional office has its own procedures and closeout dates for accepting nomination requests. Get up-to-date contact information for your senators at http://www.senate.gov and representatives at http://www.house.gov. Be prepared to identify your place of residence by ZIP Code, state or congressional district. You will then access each member’s website for specific instructions on the nomination application process, including which office to contact and specific deadlines.
Most congressional offices prefer that you contact them in the spring or summer of the year before you desire to enter the Academy. While some offices will accept requests through the fall, most do not accept requests for nomination after October. Members of Congress may submit their nominations to the Academy as late as January 31st; however, the majority of nominations are received before this deadline.
If selected for a congressional nomination, you will likely receive notice from the Member of Congress first. After the member has submitted the nomination to the Academy, the Admissions Office will send you written acknowledgement. Please be patient, as this may occur as late as 30 days after you have been notified by your Member of Congress.
The Vice President of the United States may nominate candidates from the nation at large and is allowed to have a maximum of five cadets attending the Academy at one time. For each cadet vacancy that occurs, the Vice President may nominate up to 10 candidates to be considered for appointment. Vacancies occur when cadets graduate or leave prior to graduation. All pre-candidates are eligible for this nominating category. Do not mail your request for a Vice Presidential nomination to the Academy. The Academy will make recommendations to the Vice President based upon your admissions file.
If you wish to request a nomination from the Vice President, you may complete the online application found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/vice-president-biden/academy-nominations. The deadline for requesting a nomination in the Vice Presidential category is January 31.
If you are eligible to apply in one of the military-affiliated categories, follow the specific instructions for that category as detailed below. To request a nomination in the Presidential, Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans, Military or Civilian Personnel in a Missing Status, or Children of Medal of Honor Recipients categories, follow the guidelines in the Military Affiliated Nomination Request Sample Letter. Additional categories may have their own forms and guidelines. The deadline is January 31st. Mail your nomination request letter to the Admissions Office:
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 2400
USAF Academy, CO 80840-5025
There are unlimited nominations, but only up to 100 appointments available annually in this category. Vacancies allocated to the President of the United States have been reserved for children of career military personnel. This includes enlisted, warrant, and commissioned members of regular and reserve components who are on active duty (other than for training) and who have served continuously on active duty for at least eight years; and military retirees either living or deceased who have received retired or retainer pay. Reservists must be serving as members of reserve components and be credited with at least eight years of service computed under section 12733 of Title 10 (at least 2880 points); or would be, or who died while they would have been entitled to retired pay under chapter 1223 of Title 10 except for not having attained 60 years of age. For adopted children, the adoption proceedings must have begun before their 15th birthday.
Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans
There is no limit to nominations, but appointments authorized in this category are limited to 65 cadets at the Academy at one time. Vacancies are available for the children of deceased or 100% disabled armed forces veterans whose death or disability was determined to be service connected; or children of military personnel or federally employed civilian personnel who are in a missing or captured status. If you are eligible in this category, you will NOT be considered in the Presidential category.
Children of Military or Civilian Personnel in Missing Status
The child of a parent who is in missing status is eligible if the parent is a member of the armed services or a civilian employee in active government service who is officially carried or determined to be absent in a status of missing; missing in action; interred in a foreign country; captured, beleaguered or besieged by a hostile force; or detained in a foreign country against his or her will.
Children of Medal of Honor Recipients
Vacancies have been reserved without appointment limit for the children of Medal of Honor recipients who served in any branch of the armed forces. If pre-candidates meet the eligibility requirements and qualify on entrance requirements, they will be appointed to the Academy.
Air Force Regular and Reserve Components
There are unlimited nominations, but only 170 appointments available annually in this category. Vacancies are available for enlisted members of regular and reserve components of the Air Force. The deadline to receive Air Force regular and reserve nominations (AF Form 1786) is December 31st. For more specific instructions on nominations in this category, see Advice to Applicants: Enlisted Airmen.
Honor Military Schools and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps
There are twenty appointments total for all categories. Honor military schools are designated by the Department of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy to nominate Academy candidates annually from among their honor students. Each honor unit may nominate five students to compete for the vacancies. Students should apply to their Senior ROTC Instructor for the nomination.
Members of college and high school honor Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC and AFJROTC) units may also apply in this category. Five students from each detachment may be nominated to compete for the authorized vacancies. Students should apply for a nomination to their professor of aerospace studies or aerospace science instructor who will recommend nominees to the head of the institution.
If you reside in a U.S. Territory, you must contact appropriate representatives to secure one of the available nominations for your territory. To request a nomination in this category, follow the guidelines in the Congressional Nomination Request Sample Letter.
If you’re from Puerto Rico, seek a nomination from the Governor of Puerto Rico and from the Resident Commissioner. The Governor and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico are allowed to have a total of six cadets at the Academy at any one time. For the Governor of Puerto Rico, address your request to:
Honorable (name of Governor)
Governor of Puerto Rico La Fortaleza,
San Juan, PR 00901
For the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, address your request to:
Honorable (name of appropriate Delegate or the Commissioner)
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Other U.S. Territories
Delegates in the House of Representatives are allowed the following number of cadets at the Academy from the remaining U.S. Territories at any one time:
- American Samoa: 1 cadet
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: 1 cadet
- District of Columbia: 5 cadets
- Guam: 2 cadets
- U.S. Virgin Islands: 2 cadets
Address your request to the delegates in the House of Representatives from the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Resident Representative of the Northern Mariana Islands to:
Honorable (name of appropriate Delegate or the Commissioner)
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
If you are a citizen of a country other than the United States, you must be nominated by your country. Nominations from your government are processed through the United States Defense Attaché Office/American Embassy serving your country. Nominations must be received by the Air Force Academy by December 31st for the class entering the following June. For more specific instructions on nominations in this category, see Advice to Applicants: International Students.