The 18 Countries Where It’s Against the Law to Wear Camouflage

by SharonKurheg

We have it pretty good here in the United States. Because of the way our federal laws are set up, we’re allowed to wear almost whatever we’d like, whenever we’d like (yep, even a U.S. flag). Of course, some people may take that a little too far, but there are state and sometimes more local laws and ordinances to take care of people who, say, want to walk around nude in public.

In other places though, you may not have that freedom.

Specific dress codes

Sometimes that means dressing a certain way when you visit a certain place. I remember when we went to Vietnam and visited the mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body is on permanent display, we were warned ahead of time to dress “respectfully.” That meant our shoulders, chest, and knees needed to be covered, and we were to avoid brightly colored, shorts, skirts, hats. Similarly, we’re looking at visiting Basílica de la Sagrada Familia later this year, and already know there are certain rules for visiting this active Catholic church:

  • No see-through clothing.
  • Trousers and skirts must come down to at least mid-thigh.
  • Visitors may not enter in swimwear.
  • Visitors will not be allowed to enter wearing special clothing to celebrate any sort of festivities, nor with any decorations designed to distract or draw attention for artistic, religious, promotional or any other purposes.
  • Bare shoulders are not allowed in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament.

In other countries, there are specific dress codes that everyone, including visitors, needs to abide by. For example, in Chechnya, women must wear headscarves indoors. In Iran, among other rules, men are not allowed to wear shorts. In Saudi Arabia, women must dress modestly at all times, covering both their knees and shoulders (Sleeveless shirts, short dresses, loose tops, shorts, crop tops and miniskirts are all forbidden), while men are not allowed to ever go shirtless.

No camouflage

a red circle with a pattern on itIn 18 countries, it’s against the law for people – residents and visitors – to wear camouflage unless it’s part of your job (i.e. military). The “why” you can’t wear it, as well as the punishment for same, varies from country to country:

Antigua & Barbuda

According to the Defence Act 2006, it is an offense to wear, “without authority, any uniform or part thereof, or any article of clothing made from any disruptive pattern materials used for making the military uniform commonly called the camouflage uniform, or from any other material so nearly resembling any of those materials as it is likely to deceive.”

Anyone caught wearing or selling military-type camouflage clothing will be arrested. Upon conviction, they will be subject to a fine of $2,000 or imprisonment for one year.

Here’s someone’s personal experience from several years back.


Camouflage clothing will be confiscated upon arrival.


Section 188 of the Defence Act provides that unauthorised wearing in public of any uniform or part thereof, or any article of clothing made from any of the disruptive pattern materials used for making the military uniform commonly called the “camouflage uniform”, or even reproduction of Barbados Defence Force (BDF) “regimental or other distinctive marks” are offences. The penalty is a fine of $2 000 or one-year imprisonment or both.

A judge in Barbados is in favor of repealing the law, but to date, it’s still on the books.


In an effort to maintain respect for the armed forces and prevent confusion, civilians are not allowed to wear camouflage.


In Grenada, it’s against the law for civilians to wear camouflage clothing or accessorize with anything that has a camouflage print. Camouflage is considered to be only for military or law enforcement uniform.

Grenada has zero tolerance for anyone wearing camouflage.


The Jamaican Parliament has a law which allows only police or soldiers to wear camouflage clothing, and only as part of their uniform. They want to make sure there’s no mistaking who is a law enforcement officer.

Visitors wearing camouflage will be asked to remove said clothing or be deported from the island nation.


Since 2019, civilians caught wearing military-style clothing or accessories (shirts, pants, hats, bags, scarves, etc.) can expect jail time and fines.


Civilians are not allowed to wear military or police uniforms, including camouflage. The law aims to prevent impersonation and maintain respect for official uniforms.


In Nigeria, camouflage is reserved for military personnel. Civilians are strictly prohibited from wearing camouflage. Their goal is to prevent confusion and ensure the security forces are easily identifiable.

“Section 110(1) of the Criminal Code makes it unlawful for civilians to don military apparel without authorization, with potential penalties including imprisonment. The only exceptions are if the attire is part of a stage play or a bona fide public entertainment and does not bring the uniform into contempt.”

Saint Lucia

The public’s use of camouflage pieces is illegal since it’s easy to confuse you for a military or rebel organization member.

Saint Vincent & the Grenadines

the public’s use of camouflage pieces is illegal since it’s easy to confuse you for a military or rebel organization member.

Saudi Arabia

It’s prohibited for civilians to wear camouflage in Saudi Arabia, as it’s reserved for military personnel.

South Africa

Civilians wearing camouflage in South Africa is illegal because it’s considered a form of impersonation of military officials. Any person who is “illegally wearing the SANDF (SA National Defence Force) camouflage, and is not a member of the SANDF, and not authorised to use the patented camouflage” is in violation of the Defence Act and could face a fine or imprisonment.

Shopkeepers selling camouflage material in South Africa have been known to be arrested.


It’s illegal for civilians to wear camouflage clothing in Tanzania. This attire is strictly reserved for the Tanzania People’s Defence Force. Anyone found dressed in camouflage clothing in Tanzania may be fined, and their clothes will be confiscated.

Trinidad & Tobago

To maintain the sanctity and respect for the military uniform, civilians wearing camouflage can expect to have the offending items confiscated and disposed of, and they will be fined $2000.


The Ugandan government restricts the use of military attire, including camouflage, by civilians to protect the dignity of its armed forces and prevent misrepresentation. Those caught wearing camouflage in Uganda can be arrested and may face jail time.


To ensure there is a unique distinction between military personnel and civilians, civilians are not allowed to wear camouflage in that country.


Zimbabwe’s laws against civilians wearing camouflage are to emphasize respect for military uniforms and roles.

Feature Photo (modified): Abstract Vectors by Vecteezy

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