According to law, a man must register with Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. Selective Service can accept a late registration but not after a man has reached his 26th birthday.
Some men may have failed to register during the time they were eligible to do so and may now find they are ineligible for certain benefits:
- federal student loans and grant programs
- federal job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly Workforce Investment Act)
- federal jobs or security clearance as a contractor
- U.S. citizenship for immigrants
See WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T REGISTER?
What 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.
You may be asked for an official response from the Selective Service System, which is referred to as a “status information letter.”
What is a Status Information Letter?
A status information letter from Selective Service states the facts surrounding your registration status with the Selective Service System. It states whether or not you are registered with Selective Service and whether or not you were required to register with Selective Service or if you are exempt from the registration requirement.
How to Get a Status Information Letter — Official Response from Selective Service
To find out more about getting an official response from Selective Service regarding your registration status, and the situations when a man does not need a status information letter from Selective Service, see our webpage on STATUS INFORMATION LETTER.
For your convenience, you can download the Request form for Status Information Letter, which includes the directions for completing this form. This document is in a PDF format.
Status Information Letter Request Form
Men Born Before 1960
No status information letter is required for men born before 1960. For more information see our webpage for MEN BORN BEFORE 1960.
For record requests, for those men born before 1960, see our webpage for RECORDS.
Men born from March 29, 1957 to December 31, 1959 were never required to register with the Selective Service System 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.
Who has the Burden of Proof?
The man has the burden of proving his case. First, he needs to complete a request form for a status information letter from the Selective Service System and provide legible copies of his supporting documents documenting his case.
Reference Links on the Selective Service Registration Requirements
With very few exceptions, all males between ages 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service System (SSS) within 30 days of arriving in the United States. This includes U.S. born and naturalized citizens, parolees, undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, asylum seekers, refugees, and all males with visas of any kind which expired more than 30 days ago. The few individuals who are exempt from this requirement are those on current non-immigrant visas. A complete list of acceptable documentation for exemption may be found here.