Rights on becoming 18 years old

Becoming eighteen years of age in the UK means that you are then considered to be an adult… more or less. There are a few rights which have to wait until you are twenty-one, but all the major ones now come into play. At eighteen you can:

  • get married without parental permission
  • join the Armed Forces without parental permission
  • donate your body or organs after death
  • buy, drink and sell alcohol
  • buy crossbows, knives, tobacco, tattoos, fireworks
  • buy or rent property, since you can now enter into legal contracts
  • move up a level on the Minimum Wage scale, to the 18-20 band
  • vote and stand in elections
  • leave education or vocational training
  • fly a commercial aeroplane if qualified
  • watch adult films (rated ’18’)
  • serve on a jury
  • apply for Legal Aid
  • be treated as an adult by the judiciary system

It is one of the major ‘milestone’ birthdays, as it is seen as the passing from childhood to adulthood. Some eighteen-year-olds leave home for the first time, at least temporarily, to go to university for a few years, thereby experiencing some measure of adult independence. Others enter the world of work and learn how to handle income and expenses for themselves.

(Image [cropped]: City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College at Flickr.com / CC BY 2.0)

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