Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible to join the Civil Air Patrol?

Anyone over the age of 12 without a criminal record. The CAP operates a cadet program for youth ages 12 – 21, cadets already in the program before their 19th birthday may stay cadets until 21. Members who join after their 19th birthday will become Senior Members.


2. What is the cost of becoming a CAP member? 

Annual membership dues can be found here:


3. How much should I expect to pay for my uniforms and equipment?

Compared to many other clubs and organizations, it is relatively cheap to be an active member of the Civil Air Patrol. You can generally expect to pay between $50 and $200 for uniforms, insignia, etc. Many items may be acquired over time. If you have concerns about the extra cost of becoming a member, talk with the squadron commander or deputy commander.


4.Does joining the CAP mean I have any military obligation?

No. Although CAP does receive substantial funding from the U.S. Air Force, CAP members are not members of the military and have no obligation to military service. However, many members of CAP are members of the Guard or Reserve and many cadets go on to join the military or to one of the military academies.


5. What time commitment is expected if I join?

Although members are expected to actively participate, we realize that many people have other commitments such as work, school, church and family. We have regular meetings that last 2 – 2.5 hours per week, and usually have an activity once per month. While participation at all meetings and activities is not mandatory, it is more difficult to progress in rank and training certification if members do not participate regularly.


6. Do I have to meet weight and grooming standards?

It depends. In order to wear any of the Air Force style uniforms, you must meet both weight and grooming standards. Adult members not meeting either of these standards may select from several different CAP distinctive uniforms as an alternative to the Air Force style. Cadets not meeting the weight standards must wear a CAP distinctive uniform; however, they must meet grooming standards regardless of the uniform they wear. Ask your commander for further clarification of the grooming standards. 


7. How do I earn promotions?
All promotions are at the discretion of your squadron commander.  Cadets can learn more about progression at Stripes to Diamonds. For Senior Members, the standard way to earn rank is determined by your time in CAP, time in your current grade, and the training you complete for your CAP position.   There are other circumstances that warrant a promotion – for specifics, talk to your squadron commander.  In order to receive any promotion, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent  
8. Where's my membership card?
You should receive your CAP ID card from CAP NHQ in the mail within a few weeks of joining. If yours hasn't arrived, please CAP Membership Services.


9. What is my CAPID?
Your CAPID is a 6-digit identification number. It's found on your membership card and in eServices.


10. What is E-Services
E-Services is your online membership record. Be sure to eServices, create your free account, and verify that we have your correct contact information. The following guide may help you register and navigate eServices Navigating eServices Guide.


11. How do I get my uniforms?
Depending upon available funding, cadets may be eligible for a new Service Uniform (Air Force "Blue" uniform) provided free-of-charge, please visit our Uniform Guide for New Cadets page for details.  The squadron may have some uniform items available for issue.  Check with your chain of command to see what the squadron has in stock.  If you must purchase your uniforms, check with an Army/Navy surplus store.  Many new and/or used but serviceable items may be available for very reasonable prices. New uniforms may be purchased from


12. How am I supposed to wear my uniform?
For full details, see CAPR 39-1 Uniform Regulation


13. How do I get insignia and patches for my uniform?
First, check with your squadron -- they might have insignia for you. If not,you can purchase them from our vendor, Vanguard. Here's a list of the insignia needed for the uniforms:

Air Force Dress Blue Uniform ABU Utility Uniform
Vanguard Part #
Vanguard Part #
 Flight Cap Device CAP0748A "Civil Air Patrol" cloth tape CAP6403
 3-Line Nameplate (blue) CAP0599M Cloth Nametape ( Last name) CAP6404
 CAP cutouts CAP0820 ABU Shirt (Youth) CAP0140
 Flight Cap (male) CAP0994K ABU Shirt (Adult) CAP0143
 Flight Cap (female) CAP1015J ABU Pants (Youth) CAP0149
 Shoes Patent Leather Dress CAP2800NM ABU Pants (Adult) CAP0152
 Short sleeve Dress shirt (male) CAP1001A Shoes Black Tactical Boots  CAP2900A
 Blue trousers (male) CAP0993K ABU Cap-Flat Top CAP0158
 Short Sleeve Blouse (female) CAP1017 Standard Desert Tan Belt CAP2510702
 Blue Skirt (female) CAP3600A CAP Tan T-Shirt CAP0991Z
 Blue Belt with polished tip 2500500 

Two sets of ABU uniforms are recommended, as well as one Service Uniform ("Blues").  One set of ABU's may be old but serviceable, and used primarily for missions, exercises, and other duty "out of sight of the flagpole".

14. How do I get my cadet binder and textbooks?
About 2 weeks after joining, you should receive a New Cadet Kit in the mail. If you haven't received yours yet, please contact CAP Membership Services.


15. Where do I go if I have more questions?

Additional information for prospective cadets may be found here:

Additional infomation for prospective senior members may be found here:

Particular information for parents can be found here:

If you have additional questions, talk with the chain of command in your unit.  Start with the lowest level of command, usually an Element Leader, or Cadet Flight Sergeant. Their job is to help you succeed in CAP.  If they are not able to help you, ask your Flight Commander, Cadet Commander, or Deputy Commander for Cadets.