to law, a man must register with Selective Service within
30 days of his 18th birthday. Selective Service will accept
late registrations but not after a man has reached age 26.
men may have failed to register during the time they were
eligible to do so and may now find they are ineligible for
What happens if I don't register?
CAN YOU DO IF YOU DID NOT REGISTER AND ARE NOW 26 OR OLDER?
If you have passed your 26th birthday and are now being denied
eligibility for Federal student financial aid, Federal job
training, or Federal employment, or are having difficulty
obtaining U.S. citizenship because you failed to register,
you have the following recourse available to you: Explain
to the official handling your case (for example, a student
financial aid officer) the reasons for your failure to register
with Selective Service. A non-registrant may not be
denied any benefit if he can "show by a preponderance
of evidence" that his failure to register was not knowing
and willful. Offer as much evidence supporting your case,
and as much detail, as possible.
TO GET AN OFFICIAL SELECTIVE SERVICE RESPONSE SAYING YOU WERE
OR WERE NOT REQUIRED TO REGISTER
If you did not register with Selective Service,
and are now a man over age 25, you may be ineligible for certain
Federal or state programs and benefits, including U.S. citizenship.
Some agencies may ask you to provide an official response
from the Selective Service indicating if you were or were
not required to register. To receive such a letter from the
Selective Service System, please call 1-847-688-6888. Your
call will be answered by an automated voice processing system.
Please refrain from pressing any numbers, and an operator
will soon come on the line to assist you. You may also send
a written request to the Selective Service System at P.O.
Box 94638, Palatine, IL 60094-4638. Ask for a "status
information" letter. You will have to describe,
in detail, the circumstances you believe prevented you from
registering and provide copies of documents showing any periods
when you were hospitalized, institutionalized, or incarcerated
occurring between your 18th and 26th birthdays. If you are
a non-citizen, you may be required to provide documents that
show when you entered the United States. Please include your
name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and return address.
your convenience, you can download the
for Status Information Letter form, which includes the directions
for completing this form. This document is in a
The benefit agency official handling your case, not the
Selective Service, will determine whether you have shown that
your failure to register was not a knowing and willful failure
to register. The final decision regarding your eligibility
for the benefit that you seek will be made by the agency granting
the benefit (for example, for student financial aid, this
would be the school's financial aid officer). In some agencies, an
appeals process is available.
Men born from March 29, 1957 to December 31, 1959 were never
required to register because the registration 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.