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Selective Service

Questions and Answers

Question: What is Selective Service Registration?

Answer: Selective Service Registration is the process by which the U.S. government collects names and addresses of men age 18 through 25 to use in case a national emergency requires rapid expansion of the Armed Forces. Men should register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Men who are 26 years old and older are too old to register.

Question: Will I be drafted?

Answer: Registering with Selective Service does not mean you are joining the military. The fact that a man is required to register does not mean that he will be drafted. No one has been drafted since 1973. No one can be drafted into the military unless ordered by Congress and the President. A draft would most likely occur only in the event of war or national emergency.

Question: What happens if I don't register?

Answer: Not registering is a felony. Men convicted of failure to register may be fined up to $250,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both. In addition to being subject to prosecution, failure to register may cause you to permanently forfeit eligibility for certain benefits.

Question: What are the benefits?

Answer: Federal and state laws require registration age men to be registered with Selective Service to remain eligible for applying for the following benefits: student financial aid, government employment, employment with the U.S. Postal Service, job training, and U.S. citizenship for male immigrants.

Question: How do I register?

Answer: You can register by filing out the form sent out in a mailer by the Selective Service System, online through the internet, or at the location where you register to vote.

Question: What if I am a resident of a U.S. Territory or an immigrant?

Answer: Residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, and 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.

Immigrants who did not enter the United States or maintained their lawful non-immigrant status by continually remaining on a valid visa until after they were 26 years old were never required to register. Also, immigrants born before 1960 who did not enter the United States or maintained their lawful non-immigrant status by continually remaining on a valid visa until after March 29, 1975 were never required to register.

Question: What happens after I register?

Answer: Within 90 days after registering, you should receive in the mail a Registration Acknowledgement Card from Selective Service which will provide you with a copy of your registration record.

  • Safeguard that document since it will serve as official proof of your registration. If you do not receive a Registration Acknowledgement Card within 90 days after registering, it is very important that you verify that your registration has been received. You can check online at (http://www.sss.gov), call 1-888-655-1825, or write to: Selective Service System, Registration Information Office, P.0. Box 94638, Palatine, IL 60094-4638.
  • Once you register, the law also requires you to keep Selective Service informed of your address changes within 10 days so you can be reached without delay. You can inform Selective Service of an address change by going to www.sss.gov, writing to the above address, or you may go to any post office for a Change-of-address Information Form (SSS Form 2), fill it out and mail to Selective Service.

This information was taken from the Selective Service booklets, "Information for Registrants," and "Selective Service and You." These publications are available on the SSS website (www.sss.gov).

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