As outlined by the Selective Service System, the Selective Service registration requirement for America’s young men provides our Nation with a structure and a system of guidelines which will provide the most prompt, efficient, and equitable draft possible, if the country should need it. While there is no draft at present, your registration is essential to our Nation’s security in the event that a national crisis ever occurred.
Selective Service and the FAFSA
For male students, registration with Selective Service no longer affects eligibility to receive federal student aid. Students can still register through the FAFSA form.
Who Must Register?
Male US citizens (regardless of where they live) and male permanent resident aliens living in the US who were born after December 31, 1959 are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday (30 days before and after). If you fail to register during this time period, you may submit a late registration up until your 26th birthday.
Male non-citizens (including illegal aliens, legal permanent residents, seasonal agricultural workers, and refugees) who take up residency in the US before their 26th birthday are required to register. All relevant INS forms (e.g., the application for Resident Alien status, I-485, and so on) include a clear statement regarding the requirement to register.
Dual nationals of the US and another country are required to register regardless of where they live.
Conscientious objectors are required to register. If a draft is instituted, they will have an opportunity to file a claim for exemption based on their religious or moral objections. But they must nevertheless register with Selective Service.
Disabled men who can move about independently in public with or without assistance must register with Selective Service, even if their disability would disqualify them from military service.
Members of the Reserve and National Guard who are not on full-time active duty must register. Men attending the Merchant Marine Academy must register. Men who attempt to enlist and are rejected before reaching age 26 must register.
Who is Not Required to Register?
Men born from March 29, 1957 to December 31, 1959 were never required to register because the Selective Service program was not in operation at the time they turned 18. The requirement to register was reinstated in 1980 and applies to all men born on or after January 1, 1960 (50 USC 453). Although men born before March 29, 1957 were required to register, failure to register makes one ineligible for student aid only if one was born on or after January 1, 1960.
Reasons why a student might not have been required to register include:
- Men who are hospitalized, institutionalized, or incarcerated are not required to register during their confinement.
- Men who are serving in the military on full-time active duty are not required to register. Men attending the service academies are also not required to register.
- Disabled men who were continually confined to a residence, hospital or institution are not required to register.
- However, if they are released before their 26th birthday they must register within 30 days of their release.
Selective Service exceptions:
- Non-immigrants visiting the US on student or visitor visas and men who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission and their families.
- Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau.
- Noncitizens who first entered the US after turning age 26.
- Noncitizens who entered the US as lawful non-immigrants on a valid visa and remained in the US on the terms of that visa until after they turned 26. (The date of entry on Form I-94 will be relevant.)
- Student is not yet 18. (For federal aid purposes, if a student is not yet 18 years old as of the date the FAFSA form is submitted, he is eligible for federal student aid this award year even if he turned 18 shortly afterward and has not yet registered. Such a student would need to register to be eligible for federal student aid in subsequent years.)
Selective Service for Transgender People
Selective Service bases the registration requirement on gender assigned at birth and not on gender identity or on gender reassignment. Individuals who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register. Individuals who are born female and changed their gender to male are not required to register.
Transgender students can contact Selective Service, (www.sss.gov or 888-655-1825) regarding registration requirements if they need a status information letter from Selective Service that clarifies whether or not they are exempt from the registration requirement
How to Register for the Selective Service
Registration requires the following current and accurate information.
- Full name
- Home address
- Social Security Number
To begin, go to: Register for Selective Service. When the process is completed, a Registration Acknowledgement Letter and Selective Service number will be mailed to the address submitted.