Selective Service in the United States

Selective Service registration is the process of giving the Selective Service System personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, Social Security Account Number and other related information. Men are required to register with Selective Service as soon as they reach age 18. However, it is important to know that registering with Selective Service does not mean that you are joining the military.

Almost all male US citizens and male aliens living in the US, aged 18 through 25 should register. During a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in a sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they will be checked for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.

Who Should Register for Selective Service?

Non Citizens

Some non-citizens have to register. Men who are in the US on student or visitor visas, and men who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission and their families are not required to register. Almost all other male non citizens are required to register, including illegal aliens, legal permanent residents, and refugees. The common rule is that if a male non citizen takes up US residency before his 26th birthday, he must register.

Dual Nationals

All dual nationals of the US and another country have to register, regardless of where they live, because they are US nationals.

Hospitalized or Incarcerated Men

Young men who are in hospitals, mental institutions or prisons need not register while they are committed. However, they have to register within 30 days after being released (if they have not yet reached their 26th birthday).

Disabled Men

Disabled men who live at home should register if they are able to leave their homes and move about independently. Men with disabilities that would disqualify them from military service must still register with Selective Service.

Full Time Military Personnel Exempted

Young men serving in the military on full-time active duty do not have to register. Those attending the service academies do not have to register. However, if one leaves the military before turning 26, he has to register.

National Guard and Reserves

Members of the Reserve and National Guard not on full-time active duty must register.

Conscientious Objectors

Men who are Conscientious Objectors (if they were drafted) must also register. If a draft begins and they are called, they can file a claim for exemption from military service based upon their religious or moral objection to war.

Per the law, all male US citizens (regardless of where they live), and male immigrants residing in the US (permanent resident aliens), should register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. A man turning 18 has to register during the period of time beginning 30 days before, until 30 days after his 18th birthday.

Late registrations are accepted but registration is not possible once a man reaches the age of 26. If you are a male non-citizen of US who takes up permanent residence in the US when you are at least 18 years old, but not yet 26 years old, you have to register within 30 days of becoming a resident. If you first enter the US as a resident when you are 26 years old or older, you need not register because you are too old to register.

U.S. Citizenship

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