Registration is the Law
Register to be Eligible for Benefits and Programs Linked to Registration —
A young man who fails to register with Selective Service may be ineligible for opportunities that may be important to his future. He must register to be eligible for federal student financial aid, state-funded student financial aid in many states, most federal employment, some state employment, security clearance for contractors, job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act), and U.S. citizenship for immigrant men.
STUDENT FINANCIAL AID
Men, born after December 31, 1959, who aren't registered with Selective Service won't qualify for federal student loans or grant programs. This includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Direct Stafford Loans/Plus Loans, National Direct Student Loans, and College Work Study.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday.
FEDERAL JOB TRAINING
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)) offers programs that can train young men seeking vocational employment or enhancing their career. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service. Only men born after December 31, 1959, are required to show proof of registration.
A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government and the U.S. Postal Service. Proof of registration is required only for men born after December 31, 1959.
Security clearance background investigations will verify whether or not men are in compliance with federal law; thus, men who are required to be registered with the Selective Service System will be verified of their Selective Service registration status for security clearances, as well as for some contractors.
Penalties for Failing to Register
Failing to register or comply with the Military Selective Service Act is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison term of up to five years, or a combination of both. Also, a person who knowingly counsels, aids, or abets another to fail to comply with the Act is subject to the same penalties.
If a man fails to register, or provides Selective Service with evidence that he is exempt from the registration requirement, after receiving Selective Service reminder and/or compliance mailings, his name is referred to the Department of Justice for possible investigation and prosecution for his failure to register as required by the Act. For clarification, if a man is exempt from registering with the Selective Service System, his name is not forwarded to the Department of Justice. The federal law stipulates that names are to be submitted to the Department of Justice annually.
The more immediate penalty is if a man fails to register before turning 26 years old, even if he is not tried or prosecuted, he may find that some doors are permanently closed.
NOTE: Some states have added additional penalties for those who fail to register. See STATE LEGISLATION.
Registration is the Goal
Selective Service wants young men to register. It does not want them to be prosecuted or denied benefits. If a draft is ever needed, it must be as fair as possible, and that fairness depends on having as many eligible men as possible registered. In the event of a draft, for every man who fails to register, another man would be required to take his place in service to his country.