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.
A 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.
Men, born after December 31, 1959, who aren’t registered with Selective Service won’t qualify for federal student loans or grant programs unless they are registered. 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.
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.
If required to register with Selective Service, failure to register is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment. Also, a person who knowingly counsels, aids, or abets another to fail to comply with the registration requirement is subject to the same penalties.
Unless a man provides proof that he is exempt from the registration requirement, his failure to register will result in referral to the Department of Justice for possible investigation and prosecution.
In addition to potential criminal repercussions, failure to register may make a man permanently ineligible for certain benefits.
NOTE: Some States have created additional consequences for men who fail to register.