You are now old enough to....?
July 17, 2009 6:38 AM   Subscribe

Make the birthday cards I send to other people more interesting. What kind of cool, random stuff are you legally old enough to do at different ages?

When I was a teenager, one of the things I most enjoyed hearing on my birthday was all the crazy sheet that I was legally allowed to do for the first time (this was much more fun than being told all the things Napoleon and Mozart had achieved when they were the same age).

I didn't want to hear "Happy Eighteen, buy some beer." What I wanted was stuff like:

"Happy 16th - you are now entitled to buy a longbow"
"Happy 18th - You are now able to buy scrap metal. Don't abuse the privilege"

These are made up (maybe scrap metal is true? I'm so old I have forgotten what people actually said to me), but I want true examples. I have a bunch of friends with birthdays coming up (they are reaching their 22-25 years). It would be useful to know if there are any cool things I can mention in my cards to them,. Obviously the amount of new stuff declines sharply as you move beyond your teenage years, but there must be a few things worth hearing.

I'm based in England but I'd like to hear age-restrictions from any country (e.g. if you lived in France, you would now be old enough to breed horses). Also, anything for any age, even if it is outside my friends' age bracket (e.g. you must be over 65 to Prime Minister of Japan, 5 year olds can vote in Paraguay) would be good to know - might come in handy if I widen the age range of my friends or, God forbid, if my friend group ever gets older or anyone has kids. I'm also interested if there is something cool you are forbidden from doing when you reach a certain age. I look forward to hearing suggestions!
posted by marmaduke_yaverland to Law & Government (19 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
At 17, contracts you sign start to be legally binding in the US.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:39 AM on July 17, 2009

At 25, you can rent a car in the United States.
posted by k8lin at 6:44 AM on July 17, 2009

Best answer: These are all for the USA:
At 25, you can rent cars without a surcharge. At 21 you are able to haul hazardous materials in a commercial vehicle if you have the right endorsements on your commercial driver's license. In the US state of Alaska, you can get a learner's permit for a car at 14. At 21, you are legally allowed to purchase and consume alcohol.
posted by kgroesser at 6:49 AM on July 17, 2009

Response by poster: That stuff about hauling hazardous material is exactly the kind of thing I am after! Thanks!
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 6:50 AM on July 17, 2009

At 35 you can be President.
At 51, you're equivalent to three 17-year-olds...
posted by bink at 6:56 AM on July 17, 2009

You have to be at least 35 to be president of the US, 30 to be a US Senator and 25 to be a member of the House of Representatives.
posted by chiefthe at 6:57 AM on July 17, 2009

Best answer: 18 years of age:
Hunt wild boar in Ohio
Operate a crematorium in North Dakota
Operate an amusement park ride in West Virginia

21 years of age:
Obtain a Louisiana Explosives License
posted by Alison at 7:11 AM on July 17, 2009

Marriageable age by country / state.
posted by grateful at 7:12 AM on July 17, 2009

Best answer: 16: legally operate a microwave at your place of business in the state of Massachusetts
posted by rebekah at 7:40 AM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: At age 25 you are finally considered an adult in El Salvador (men only; women it's 17)
At 22 you can get married in China if you're a man (20 for women)
At 25 you can vote in Uzbekistan
At 22 you can drink alcohol in Libya

You have to be younger than 80 to help select the next Pope at the Vatican
posted by castlebravo at 7:48 AM on July 17, 2009

At 17, contracts you sign start to be legally binding in the US.

Where'd you get that? I believe the standard rule is 18, but it might depend on different state's laws.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:57 AM on July 17, 2009

Here's a whole list that appears to be from the UK and covers a broad range of things from ages 10-18.
posted by greenmagnet at 8:13 AM on July 17, 2009

When I was in New Jersey, you needed to be 18 to sell model rocket motors larger than "D" size. I was able to buy them just fine throughout high school. You did, however, need to be 18 to buy spray paint.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:20 AM on July 17, 2009

At 36 you can legally sleep with someone half your age. This one will vary by jurisdiction.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:29 AM on July 17, 2009

Best answer: Patton Oswalt weighs in on milestone birthdays.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:45 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Several more fun/weird ones:

- At what age can I legally in the UK....
- Legal marriageable ages worldwide
- Minimum age to be a priest (25 for Roman Catholicism, 30 for Orthodoxy)
- You must be at least 21 to take the aircraft dispatcher knowledge test, and 23 to be eligible for an aircraft dispatcher certificate.
- You must be at least 22 to be licensed to drive a dump truck in Turkey.
- You must be at least 24 before ordination to the Diaconate of the Episcopal Church (possibly only in Nebraska, I couldn't tell for sure)
- You can vote to declare war at 25 in the U.S. (this is a free bonus that comes along with being able to be elected to the House of Representatives, it just sounds more interesting)
- You must be at least 26 to rent a full-size car in South Korea
- You must be at least 27 to adopt a child in the Philippines
- You must be at least 29 to be elected for life as a judge in the Slovak legal system
- You must be at least 30 to rent these Ferraris in Sydney, Australia
posted by greenmagnet at 8:52 AM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you're 17 in Chicago, you can stay out after curfew. If you're 18, you're old enough to jump onto a moving streetcar.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:19 AM on July 17, 2009

In Illinois you must be over 50 to marry a first cousin.

At 26, men no longer need to worry about being drafted. Under current rules in the US, if a draft were to take place, men 26 and older wouldn't be conscripted.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:02 PM on July 17, 2009

Best answer: Once you're over age 28, you can't be a U.S. Navy Seal.
posted by greenmagnet at 2:54 PM on July 17, 2009

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