Register with the Selective Service in the U.S.A.

Register with the Selective Service in the U.S.A.

The Selective Service System is an independent agency within the Executive Branch of the federal government. Its director is appointed by the President and is confirmed by the Senate. Selective Service is not a part of the Department of Defense.

The Selective Service System operates under a federal law called the Military Selective Service Act. Under this law, the mission of the Selective Service System is to provide the number of men needed by the Armed Forces, within the time required, should Congress and the President decide to return to a draft in the event of a national emergency. Selective Service would also be responsible for administering a program of alternative service for conscientious objectors.

With few exceptions, all male U.S. citizens and male aliens residing in the U.S. and its territories, who are at least 18 years old but not yet 26 years old, must be registered with Selective Service. Registration is a civic and legal responsibility.


The registration requirement applies to all male U.S. citizens born after Dec 31, 1959, who are 18 but not yet 26 years old, except those noted in the exemptions below:

  • Cadets at the Merchant Marine Academy 

  • National Guardsmen and Reservists not on active duty 

  • Delayed Entry Program enlistees 

  • ROTC students 

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

  • Men rejected for enlistment for any reason before age 26 * 

  • Civil Air Patrol members 

  • Aliens
    • Permanent resident aliens 

    • Special (seasonal) agricultural workers (I-688) 

    • Refugee, parolee, and asylee aliens 

    • Undocumented (illegal) aliens 

    • Dual national U.S. citizens 

  • Handicapped physically or mentally
    Able to function in public with or without assistance
    A friend or relative may help a handicapped man to complete the registration form if he is unable to do so himself.


  • Females 

  • Any men 26 years of age and older

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

  • Cadets and Midshipmen at Service Academies or Coast Guard Academy * 

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

  • Lawful non-immigrants on visas (e.g., diplomatic and consular personnel and families, foreign students, or tourists, with unexpired Forms I-94, I-95A, or Border Crossing Documents I-185, I-186, I-586, or I-444)

    This includes persons on H1B/H4, L1/L2/ J1/J2, F1/F2 as well. 

    However, a non-immigrant who has failed to maintain legal status for more than 30 days is required to register. A non-immigrant student who has failed to maintain full-time student status is also required to register.

  • Special agricultural workers (I-688A) 

  • Confined, incarcerated, hospitalized, or institutionalized for medical reasons* 

  • Continually confined to a residence, hospital, or institution 

  • A male non-citizen who first enters the U.S. as a permanent resident after he has already passed his 26th birthday is not required to register because he is over the age limit. 

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

** 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. 

Those men applying for adjustment of status in the U.S. or consular processing of an immigrant visa will automatically be registered, if required.

Immigrants who did not enter the United States or who 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 who maintained their lawful non-immigrant status by continually remaining on a valid visa until after March 29, 1975 were never required to register.

Registration Process

You can register online or at a local post office

You need to provide your personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, and other related information.

To speak with the Selective Service, you may call (847) 688-6888. This is not a free call. 

If you are a U.S. citizen living or visiting overseas at the time you are required to register, go to the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate for assistance with registering. 

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 get a registration acknowledgement within 90 days showing the information recorded in your registration file, your Selective Service Number, and a change form.

If any information is incorrect, correct it and mail the change form back to the Selective Service. Keep the registration acknowledgement in a safe place as a proof of your registration.

Verify Registration

If you don’t receive the acknowledgement within 90 days, either call (847) 688-6888, or write to:

Selective Service System
Registration Information Office
P O Box 94638
Palatine, IL 60094-4638

When contacting them, please provide your full name, date of birth, social security number, mailing address, and if possible, the date/place where you completed your registration form.

Failure to Register

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 (loans and grants), job training under the Workforce Investment Act, government employment, and U.S. citizenship. While not registering for the Selective Service is not an absolute bar to naturalization, it is considered a negative factor against naturalization. Some states may not issue a driver’s license or state demystification card to those who are required to register but don’t register, until they do register.

Information Change

While you are between the ages of 18 and 25, if any of the information in your registration record changes, you are required to inform the Selective Service.

You can change information (such as address, etc.) either online or by completing SSS Form 2 either at the post office or the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.


By registering with the Selective Service, you are not really joining an army. It does not mean you will be drafted. No one has been drafted since 1973. No one can be ordered for induction by the Selective Service unless Congress and the President determine that inductions are necessary. This would most likely occur only in the event of war or a national emergency. Selective Service registration allows the U.S. Government to maintain a list of names of men who may be called into military service in case of a national emergency requiring rapid expansion of the U.S. Armed Forces. By registering all young men, the Selective Service can ensure that any future draft will be fair and equitable.

Selection Process for Induction

Men who will reach age 20 during the calendar year in which inductions occur would be the first group to be called. If more men are needed that year, after all men turning 20 are considered, the order of call would continue up to those who will reach age 21, then 22, and on up through age 25. If more are still needed, then those turning 19 will be called, and lastly, those 18. The order of inductions within each age group would be determined by a lottery which matches a random sequence number with birth dates.

If you were selected for induction, you would be sent an Order to Report for Induction along with detailed instructions explaining where to report and what actions would be required on your part to fulfill this requirement.

However, if you file a claim for postponement or reclassification, the induction will be delayed until a decision has been made on whether the claim will be accepted or denied. Some examples of the requirements to obtain a postponement or a reclassification are as follows:


  • For full-time college students who desire to finish their current semester. 

  • For full-time college students in their last academic year who desire to finish that academic year. 

  • For high-school students not yet 20 years old who desire to stay in school until they graduate.


  • For men whose induction would create a hardship to their dependents. 

  • For students studying for the ministry. 

  • For ministers of religion. 

  • For Conscientious Objectors.

If you receive an induction notice, you may file a claim within 10 days, using forms that will be made available to you. You cannot file a claim before you have been ordered for induction. 

Some aliens and dual nationals would be exempt from induction into the military if there is a draft, depending on their country of origin and other factors. Some of these exemptions are shown below:

  • An alien who has lived in the U.S. for less than one year is exempt from induction. 

  • A dual national whose other country of nationality has an agreement with the U.S. which specifically provides for an exemption is exempt from induction. 

  • Some countries have agreements with the U.S. which exempt an alien national who is a citizen of both that country and the U.S. from military service in the U.S. Armed Forces. An alien who requests and is exempt under an agreement or bilateral treaty can never become a U.S. citizen, and may have trouble reentering the U.S. if he leaves.

  • An alien who served at least a year in the military of a country with which the U.S. is involved in mutual defense activities will be exempt from military service if he is a national of a country that grants reciprocal privileges to citizens of the U.S. 

Additional Information

The Selective Service System’s “Information for Registrants” booklet furnishes information about Selective Service responsibilities and registrants’ rights and obligations. It also explains the induction, claims, and appeals process that would be in effect if inductions are authorized in the future. This publication is available to you by writing:

Information for Registrants,
Consumer Information Center, 
Pueblo, CO 81009. 

For additional information on Selective Service registration, you may write to: 

Selective Service System
Registration Information Office
Post Office Box 94638
Palatine, IL 60094-4638 

Or, you may call (847) 688-6888.

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