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Selective Service Registration 6/26/2014

The following is summarized from the Selective Service System website.

Who Must Register?
Almost all male United States (U.S.) citizens, and male non-citizens living in the U.S., who are 18 to 25 years old, are required to register with Selective Service. Those men who must register include:

  • Non-citizens who are legal permanent residents
  • Illegal immigrants and refugees
  • Dual nationals of the U.S. and another country, regardless of where they live
  • Disabled men who can leave their homes and move about independently
  • Members of the National Guard and Reserves who are not on full-time active duty 
  • Men who would be classified as Conscientious Objectors, if they were drafted, must also register with Selective Service

If a draft begins and individuals are called, they would have the opportunity to file a claim for exemption from military service based upon their religious or moral objection to war. Failure to register or otherwise comply with the Military Selective Service Act is, upon conviction, punishable by a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. In addition, federal and certain state laws require registration as a prerequisite for obtaining student financial aid, job training, government employment, and U.S. naturalization.

Who Does Not Need To Register?
There are exemptions for Selective Service Registration. Those who do not need to register include:

  • Disabled men who cannot leave their homes and move about independently
  • Men who are in the U.S. on student or visitor visas or are part of a diplomatic trade mission and their families
  • Men who are committed in hospitals, mental institutions, or prisons
  • Men serving in the military on full-time active duty or attending service academies. They must register if they leave these institutions before their 26th      birthday.

When To Register

The law requires virtually all male U.S. citizens (regardless of where they live), and male immigrants residing in the U.S. (permanent resident aliens), to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Therefore, to be in full compliance with the law, a man turning 18 should register during the period of time beginning 30 days before, until 30 days after his 18th birthday...a 60-day window.

Late registrations are accepted, but not once a man reaches age 26. Men who do not register within the 60-day window are technically in violation of the law and should register as soon as possible.

A male non-citizen who first takes up permanent residence in the U.S. when he is at least 18 years old, but not yet 26 years old, must register within 30 days of becoming a resident. If he first enters the U.S. as a resident when he is 26 years old or older, he does not register with Selective Service because he is too old to register. Male non-citizens in the U.S. temporarily (valid student or visitor visa, diplomatic corps, etc.) do not register.

Early Submission: It is now possible for a man to submit registration information early, as long he is at least 17 years and 3 months old. Selective Service will keep his information on file and process it automatically later in the year, when the man is within 30 days of reaching his 18th birthday. An acknowledgment card will be mailed to the man when his registration is processed. To submit early registration information, follow the same procedures as men who are 18 through 25 years old.

How To Register

Selective Service registration forms are available as listed below. The form asks for the registrant’s full name, address, date of birth, telephone number, Social Security number (if the registrant has one), and signature. 

  • Register On-Line: Young men may now register on-line with Selective Service at
  • At the Post Office: Selective Service "mail-back" registration forms are available at any Post Office. A man can fill it out, sign it, affix postage, and mail it to Selective Service, without the involvement of the postal clerk.
  • Overseas: Men living overseas may register at any U.S. Embassy or consular office. 
  • By Mail: A young man may also register by filling out a Reminder Mail-back Card. Selective Service sends this card to many young men around the time they turn 18. Mail-back cards are also available at some post offices. A man can fill out the card at home and mail it directly to Selective Service. Forms will be sent to: Selective Service System, Registration Information Office, P.O. Box 94638, Palatine, IL 60094-4638. 
  • Check Box: Another way a young man can register is to check a box on the application form for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA form). A man can check "Yes" on Box #29 of that form, and the Department of Education will furnish Selective Service with the information to register the man. 
  • High School: More than half the high schools in the Nation have a staff member or teacher appointed as a Selective Service Registrar. These individuals help register male high school students.

Proof of Registration

A registration acknowledgment card will arrive in the mail about 30 to 90 days after the registrant sends in his registration card. If the registration was done on-line, the acknowledgment card will be sent within two weeks. Acknowledgment cards not received within 90 days of registration or replacements for acknowledgment cards can be obtained by contacting Selective Service at 1-847-688-6888. Your call will be answered by an automated voice processing system. Listen carefully to the directions, and select the option for receiving your own Selective Service number.