Updated Aug. 12, 2020
Let’s say there’s a Scout who has completed all the requirement for the Eagle Scout rank. They finished the merit badges, service project, active participation, Scout spirit, position of responsibility and unit leader conference.
But the Scout still lacks one step: the Eagle Scout board of review.
And then — Happy Birthday! — the Scout turns 18. They’re no longer a youth participant.
Is it too late for that Scout to earn Eagle?
The answer is no.
The Eagle board of review may be conducted after the 18th birthday. After all, it’s not the Scout’s fault if the adults who will sit on their board aren’t immediately available. Or if circumstances arose that prevented the Scout from having a board of review within the allotted time frame.
Here’s the full answer, courtesy of Section 8 of the Guide to Advancement. (Note: the 2019 version is still current as of this writing.)
Which requirements must a candidate complete before 18?
These Eagle rank requirements must be completed before a Scout turns 18:
- Six months active participation since earning Life
- Demonstrate Scout spirit
- Earn 21 merit badges, including 13 from the required list
- Hold a position of responsibility for six months or more
- Plan and execute an Eagle Scout service project
- Participate in a Scoutmaster conference
Does this rule apply to Scouts with special needs?
Not in many cases. There is advancement flexibility for Scouts with special needs.
Men and women age 18 and older, properly approved by the council executive board to register beyond the age of eligibility, may apply for the Eagle Scout rank. Since they are considered youth members for as long as they are so registered, they do not need a time extension. In these cases, you don’t need special permission to hold the Eagle Scout board of review more than three months after the 18th birthday.
See section 10 of the Guide to Advancement for more on this topic.
Can the Eagle board of review be completed beyond the 18th birthday?
What special approval is required to complete an Eagle board of review after 18?
That depends on how long after the 18th birthday we’re talking.
Within three months of turning 18: No special approval required.
Three to six months after turning 18: Local council must preapprove. To initiate approval, the candidate, their parent or guardian, the unit leader, or a unit committee member attaches to the application a statement explaining the delay.
Six months or more after turning 18: Local council must send to National Advancement Program Team to approve. The candidate, their parent or guardian, the unit leader, or a unit committee member must petition the National Advancement Program Team for authority to hold the board of review this late. The request must explain the reason for the delay, and it must be processed through the local council and sent to the National Advancement Program Team with a copy of the application. A position statement from the Scout executive, designee, or council advancement committee must be included.
What about an adult who finished his Eagle requirements as a youth but never earned Eagle?
Scouting Wire has covered this topic in the past.
It is possible for those who completed the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank in their youth, but never received it, to obtain credentials necessary for acquiring it. If a board of review was not held, and the individual met the BSA membership eligibility rules in effect at the time, then a board of review may be requested.
In any case, a candidate must have completed all requirements before age 18.
- Fill out the Belated Eagle Scout Application, No. 512-076 (Page 84 of the Guide to Advancement).
- Gather evidence, such as an Eagle Scout Rank Application signed at the time work was finished, blue cards, advancement reports or troop records. (The BSA will not normally accept actual merit badges or sashes as evidence, mainly because you can buy them on eBay.)
- Submit evidence of completion to your local council, which will pass along the records to the National Advancement Program Team.
- Once documentation is verified as complete and compelling, credentials can be released or permission granted for a board of review.
What about time extensions for unforeseen circumstances?
These are extremely rare but are granted. Look at Section 18.104.22.168 of the Guide to Advancement for details.
If a youth foresees that, due to no fault or choice of their own, they will be unable to complete the Eagle Scout rank requirements before age 18, they may apply for a limited time extension.
To do this, use the form called “Request for Extension of Time to Earn Eagle Scout Rank,” (No. 512-077), available in the back of the Guide to Advancement or online at this link.
Some examples of unforeseen circumstances:
- A health-related incident requiring a hospital stay
- A disabling injury
- A significant employment conflict
- A family relocation
- A family emergency
- A natural disaster
- Severe, unexpected or unseasonable weather
- Unforeseen actions of others affecting the youth’s ability to complete the requirements
The list above helps volunteers understand how the BSA evaluates requests for time extensions. They are not precise tests, and each case is considered individually.