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The law requires virtually all male U.S. citizens (regardless of where they live), and male immigrants residing in the U.S. (permanent resident aliens), to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.   Therefore, to be in full compliance with the law, a man turning 18 is required to register during the period of time beginning 30 days before, until 30 days after his 18th birthday...a 60-day window.

Late registrations are accepted, but not once a man reaches age 26.  Men who do not register within the 60-day window are technically in violation of the law and should register as soon as possible.

A male non-citizen who first takes up permanent residence in the U.S. when he is at least 18 years old, but not yet 26 years old, must register within 30 days of becoming a resident.  If he first enters the U.S. as a resident when he is 26 years old or older, he does not register with Selective Service because he is too old to register.  Male non-citizens in the U.S. temporarily (valid student or visitor visa, diplomatic corps, etc.) do not register.

Early Submission:  It is now possible for a man to submit registration information early, as long he is at least 17 years and 3 months old.   Selective Service will keep his information on file and process it automatically later in the year, when the man is within 30 days of reaching his 18th birthday.  An acknowledgment card will be mailed to the man when his registration is processed.  To submit early registration information, follow the same procedures as men who are 18 through 25 years old, listed below.

Here are some places to register:

Young men may now register online with Selective Service.

Selective Service "mail-back" registration forms are available at any Post Office.  A man can fill it out, sign it, affix postage, and mail it to Selective Service, without the involvement of the postal clerk. Men living overseas may register at any U.S. Embassy or consular office.

A young man may also register by filling out a Reminder Mailback Card. Selective Service sends this card to many young men around the time they turn 18. Mailback cards are also available at some post offices. A man can fill out the card at home and mail it directly to Selective Service. Forms will be sent to: Selective Service System, Registration Information Office, P.O. Box 94638, Palatine, IL 60094-4638.

Another way a young man can register is to check a box on the application form for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA form). A man can check "Yes" on on the Selective Service Box, and the Department of Education will furnish Selective Service with the information to register the man.

More than half the high schools in the Nation have a staff member or teacher appointed as a Selective Service Registrar. These individuals help register male high school students.

See also Proof of Registration


Last Updated February 24, 2011
2012 Selective Service System