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Selective Service System

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).

The Selective Service System is an independent agency within the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, and is not affiliated with the Department of Defense. 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.

Selective Service 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 Needs to 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.

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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.

For more information, please visit


How to Register?

If you are required to register, you may do so online at

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.

For more information, please visit


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