Planning When to Serve a Mission

If you want to start or finish your mission at a specific time, the Submission Planning Tool and the Mission Release Date Planning Tool below can help you decide when to submit your recommendation. You and your family should prayerfully consider when is best for you to serve. Please consider the following:

  • Counsel with the Lord, your family, and your priesthood leaders about the best timing for you to serve.
  • Completing medical exams can take up to several months, so allow yourself plenty of time.
  • Your stake president can submit your recommendation up to 150 days before your availability date. The sooner he is able to submit your recommendation, the more likely you will leave closer to your availability date.
  • Any special timing considerations should be included on the recommendation form.


Choosing the Right Time

Your availability date is the earliest date you will be available to begin serving. Many missionaries plan their availability date based on the school year, but you may also benefit from using a few extra months to prepare for missionary service by gaining valuable life experience. Choosing to spend more time preparing does not mean you are any less willing, worthy, or obedient.

Balancing the Number of Missionaries

If you choose to begin serving between November and May, there will typically be fewer new missionaries in the missionary training center (MTC) and in your arriving group in the mission field. As a result, you might receive more individual attention, a more experienced missionary trainer, or both. Starting during these months would also help to balance the arrival and departure of missionaries throughout the year.

Fulfilling Your Term of Service

Missionaries are expected to serve their full term of service (24 months for elders and 18 months for sisters). Please do not ask your mission president to release you earlier than your assigned release date. Use the provided tools to plan when your stake president should submit your recommendation to help avoid timing issues when you return home.

Submission Planning Tool

This tool will help you determine when your stake president should submit your missionary recommendation to increase the probability of starting your mission at a certain time.

Submission Month
Possible MTC Start
Most Likely Start

Mission Release Date Planning Tool

This tool will help you determine which submission dates and availability dates will increase the probability of being released by a certain date.

Missionary Type

The chart below indicates which submission and availability dates are most and least likely to result in your release by the desired date.

* For elders, if you plan to serve before you turn 19, your availability date must be after your 18th birthday and high school graduation. For sisters, your availability date must be after your 19th birthday.