For Men Born After 1960: A status information letter from the Selective Service System states the facts: Whether or not the man is registered; whether or not the man should have registered or if he is exempt.
There are a few cases when a man is exempt from the registration requirement. Men who are exempt do not have a Selective Service registration number and are in compliance with federal law.
Refer to the WHO MUST REGISTER page for those who may be exempt.
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.
How to Get an Official Response from Selective Service
If you did not register with Selective Service, and are now a man 26 years old or older, 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.
Complete a request form for a status information letter available here. 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.
You can call Selective Service to receive such a letter, 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.
IMPORTANT: When you get your status information letter from Selective Service, KEEP this important document in your permanent files for future reference. Provide a COPY of your status information letter to submit with your application for student financial aid, employment, security clearance, U.S. citizenship.
No Status Information Letters are Required in Certain Situations
You may ask the agency granting the benefit or financial aid officer processing your loan not to hold up the approval process pending your status information letter from the Selective Service System because there are certain conditions that do not require a man to have a status information letter from Selective Service.
In accordance with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) Policy Manual - Volume 12 - Part D - Chapter 7, applicants for naturalization who are over age 31 are eligible for naturalization even if they knowingly and willfully failed to register. This is because the applicant's failure to register would be outside of the statutory period during which the applicant must show that he is of good moral character and disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States. Thus a man's failure to register with Selective Service does not make him ineligible for naturalization because he is age 31 or older. Also, since an immigrant who is age 31 or older remains eligible for naturalization even if he knowingly and willfully failed to register, he should not be asked to get a "Status Information Letter" from Selective Service.
Financial aid officers:
If the man falls within one of the following categories, a status information letter from Selective Service is NOT required if he can provide a copy of supporting documentation proving his case to your satisfaction. For more information, please consult the latest Student Financial Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 5. To refer to the handbook, please consult the latest Student Financial Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 5.
- Non-U.S. male who came into this country for the first time after his 26th birthday
Date of entry stamp in his passport, I-94 with date of entry stamp on it, or a letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicating the date the man entered the United States. If the men entered the U.S. illegally after his 26th birthday, he must provide proof that he was not living in the U.S. from age 18 through 25. Resident Alien Card (Green Card) is not valid as proof of the date of entry to the United States.
- Non-U.S. male on a valid non-immigrant visa
For example, if the man entered the United States as an F-1 student visa and remained in that status until his 26th birthday, he would need to provide documentation indicating that he was admitted on an F-1 visa and attended school full-time as required. A complete list of acceptable documentation for exemption may be found here.
- A male born prior to 1960
Official government issued document showing date of birth such as state ID card, driver’s license, passport, birth certificate.
- A veteran
DD-214 or current full-time active duty orders, military ID card. For men over age 26 who failed to register, active duty U.S. military service is compelling evidence that their failure to register was not knowing and willful. These men need to provide a copy of their DD Form 214, 'Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,' showing military service in the armed forces -- other than the reserve forces, the Delayed Entry pool, and the National Guard.
FINAL DECISION – The agency official handling your case, not the Selective Service System, 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.
Remember to Keep Your Status Information Letter!