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Selective Service

As of July 1, 1993, any student who fails to register for Selective Service will be ineligible for federal student aid, according to the Military Service Act (Public Law 97-252). 

WHAT IS THE SELECTIVE SERVICE?

The Selective Service is an independent agency within the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, and is not affiliated with the Department of Defense. The Director of Selective Service is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The Selective Service agency operates under the Military Selective Service Act, and their mission is to provide the numbers of men needed by the Armed Forces, within the time required, should Congress and the President decide to return to a draft. Selective Service would also be responsible for administering a program of alternative service for conscientious objectors.

WHAT IS SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRATION?

Registration is the process of providing the Selective Service with your name, address, phone number, and other related information. It is a civic and legal responsibility. Although there is currently no draft in effect, men are required to register with Selective Service as soon as they reach the age of 18.

Registering with Selective Service does not mean that you are joining the military.

Registration provides our country with a means to develop and maintain an accurate list of men who might be called upon if a return to the draft is authorized. 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 MUST REGISTER?

With few exceptions, all male United States citizens and male aliens residing in the U.S. and its territories must register within the period starting 30 days before, and ending 30 days after, their 18th birthday. Specifically,

  • Parolees, refugees, and applicants for asylum are considered to be residents of the U.S. and therefore must register.
  • Handicapped men who are able to function in public, with or without assistance, must register. A friend or relative may help a handicapped man complete the registration form if he is unable to do so himself.
  • Members of the National Guard and Reserve Forces, not on full-time active duty, must register.

Men cannot register after reaching the age of 26.

WHO IS EXEMPT FROM REGISTRATION?

The law exempts certain persons from the requirement to register:

    • Females.
    • Lawfully admitted non-immigrant aliens (such as those men on visitor or student visas and members of diplomatic or trade missions and their families) because they are residing in this country temporarily.
    • Men who are unable to register due to circumstances beyond their control, such as being hospitalized, institutionalized, or incarcerated. However, they must register within 30 days following their release.
    • Members of the Armed Forces on full-time active duty. This exemption also applies to cadets and midshipmen at the United States service academies. However, upon release from active duty, a man must register within 30 days if he is not yet 26 years of age and has not already registered.

HOW DO YOU REGISTER?

If you are required to register, you may do so online at http://www.sss.gov.

Alternatively, you may register at your local U.S. Post Office. Pick up a registration form at the post office, complete and sign it, and hand it to a postal clerk. The clerk must check your form against some sort of personal identification card, such as a driver's license, so please have one available. The postal clerk will not give you a receipt; however, you should receive a registration acknowledgment in the mail from Selective Service within 90 days.

Please understand that postal clerks and office staff are not thoroughly familiar with the details of Selective Service operations and procedures. They are only required to help you fill out the registration form. If you need additional information, please contact Selective Service.

If you are a U.S. citizen living or visiting overseas at the time you are required to register, you may go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consular office where personnel will assist you with registering.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU COMPLETE A REGISTRATION FORM?

You are not officially registered until your registration information is entered into the Selective Service registration file and you have been assigned a Selective Service number. You will then receive in the mail a registration acknowledgment showing the information recorded in your registration file, your Selective Service number, and a change form. If any of the information on your registration acknowledgment is incorrect, it is important that you correct it and mail the change form back to Selective Service as soon as possible. You should keep the registration acknowledgment in a safe place as proof of your registration.

If you do not receive your registration acknowledgment within 90 days of completing the registration form, it is important that you write to the following address or call the below number.

Registration Information Office
Selective Service System
Data Management Center
P.O. Box 94638
Palatine, IL 60094-4638
Phone: 847-688-6888 or Toll-Free: 1-888-655-1825 or TTY: 847-688-2567

When contacting Selective Service, please provide your full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, mailing address, and if possible, the date and place where you completed your registration form.

IS YOUR RECORD CURRENT?

The law requires that you keep the information in your registration record up to date. It is important that you notify Selective Service each time you move or if there is any other change to your personal information.

This applies only to men ages 18 through 25. After you reach the age of 26, there is no requirement to update your registration record.

If you fail to maintain current information in your registration record, you may be in violation of the Military Selective Service Act and subject to the penalties discussed.

WHAT IF YOU MOVE?

The law requires that you notify Selective Service each time you have a change of address.

To notify Selective Service, you may use the change form provided on the bottom half of your Registration Acknowledgment, or you may use a Selective Change of information Form (SSS Form 2), which can be obtained at any U.S. Post Office, U.S. Embassy or Consular Office.

Alternatively, you can notify Selective Service of any change by letter. If you choose not to use a form, please be sure to include your full name, Social Security Number, Selective Service Number, and date of birth, as well as your new mailing address.

WILL THERE BE A DRAFT?

The fact that all men ages 18 - 25 are required to register does not mean that there will be a draft. No one has been drafted into the U.S. Military since 1973. At this time, no one can be ordered for induction by Selective Service unless Congress and the President determine that inductions are necessary. This would most likely only occur in the event of a war or national emergency.

 

Category YES NO
 

All male U.S. citizens born after December 31, 1959, who are 18 but not yet 26 years old, except as noted below.

 X  
 

Military-related
Members of the Armed Forces on active duty (active duty for training does not constitute "active duty" for registration purposes)

   X*
 

Cadets and Midshipmen at Service Academies or Coast Guard Academy

   X*
 

Cadets at the Merchant Marine Academy

 X  
 

Students in Officer Procurement Programs at The Citadel, North Georgia College, Norwich University, and Virginia Military Institute

   X*
 

National Guardsmen and Reservists not on active duty

 X  
 

Delayed Entry Program enlistees

 X  
 

ROTC students

 X  
 

Separates from Active Military Service, separated for any reason before age 26

 X*  
 

Men rejected for enlistment for any reason before age 26

 X  
 

Civil Air Patrol Members

 X  
 

Aliens  **
Lawful non-immigrants on visas (e.g., diplomatic and consular personnel and families, foreign students, tourists with unexpired Forms I-94, I-95A, or Border Crossing Documents I-185, I-186, I-1586, or I-444) 

   X
 

Permanent resident aliens

 X  
 

Special (seasonal) agricultural worked (I-688)

 X  
 

Special agricultural workers (I-688A)

   X
 

Refugee, parolee, and asylee aliens

 X  
 

Undocumented (illegal) aliens

 X  
 

Dual national U.S. citizens

 X  
 

Confined
Incarcerated, or hospitalized or institutionalized for medical reasons

   X*
 

Handicapped physically or mentally
Able to function in public with or without assistance

 X  
 

Continually confined to a residence, hospital, or institution

   X

* Must register within 30 days of release unless already age 26, or already registered when released, or unless exempt during entire period age 18 through 25.

** Residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands are U.S. citizens. Citizens of American Samoa are nationals and must register when they are habitual residents in The United States. Habitual residence is presumed whenever a national or a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands or the Federated States of Micronesia resides in the United States for more than one year in any status, except as a student or employee of the government of his homeland.

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