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Who Needs to Register

Almost all male US citizens and male immigrants, who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service.

It’s important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in a sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical, and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.

CHART of who must register is also available in PDF.

 

Immigrants & Dual NationalsUS Territory ResidentsHospitalized or Incarcerated MenDisabled MenMen in the Armed ForcesConscientious ObjectorsTransgender People

Immigrants & Dual Nationals

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, as long as they remain on a valid visa up until they turn 26. If you have received a letter from us requesting that you register, please send us copies of supporting documentation to show you are exempt.

Learn More

US Territory Residents

Residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands are US citizens. Citizens of American Samoa are nationals and must register when they are habitual residents in the United States or reside in the US for at least one year. Habitual residence is presumed and registration is required whenever a national or a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau, resides in the United States for more than one year in any status, except when the individual resides in the US as an employee of the government of his homeland; or as a student who entered the US for the purpose of full-time studies, as long as such person maintains that status.

Hospitalized or Incarcerated Men

You are exempt from Selective Service registration if you can prove you were continuously institutionalized or confined from 30 days before you turned 18 through age 25. If you were released for any period longer than 30 days during this window, you were required to register with the Selective Service System.

  • If a man is placed in a hospital, nursing home, long-term care facility, or mental institution on or before his 18th birthday, had no breaks of institutionalization of 30 days or longer, and remained institutionalized until his 26th birthday, he is not required to register.
  • If he is confined to home, whether his own or someone else’s (including group homes), on or before his 18th birthday and cannot leave the home without medical assistance (for example, by ambulance, or with the help of a nurse or EMT), and remained homebound until his 26th birthday, he is not required to register.

For Selective Service to determine this exemption, the following supporting documentation is needed when you mail your status information letter request form:

  • Proof that your dates of confinement or institutionalization are accurate.
  • Proof that you were continuously incarcerated, or never released for any period of 30 days or longer.

Learn More

Disabled Men

Disabled men who live at home must register with Selective Service. A friend or relative may help a disabled man fill out the registration form if he can’t do it himself.

Men with disabilities that would not qualify for military service are still required to register with Selective Service. There is a difference between exemption from registration and classification in the event of a national emergency. Selective Service does not have authority to pre-classify men for service if there is not an active draft. All men, or their parent or legal guardian, are able to submit a claim for exemption from service in the event of a draft. The criteria for exemption from registration are:

  • A man is placed in a hospital, nursing home, long-term care facility, or mental institution on or before his 18th birthday, had no breaks of institutionalization of 30 days or longer, and remained institutionalized until his 26th birthday.
  • He is confined to home, whether his own or someone else’s (including group homes), on or before his 18th birthday and cannot leave the home without medical assistance (for example, by ambulance, or with the help of a nurse or EMT), and remained homebound until his 26th birthday.

 

Men in the Armed Forces

Full-Time Active Duty

Men serving in the military on full-time active duty do not have to register if serving continuously from age 18 to age 26. Those attending the service academies do not have to register. However, if a man joins the military after turning 18 or leaves the military before turning 26, he must register.

NOTE: If a man fails to register, Section 12(g) of the Military Selective Service Act allows non-registrants to receive benefits under specific conditions. As long as the man has proof of his active duty military service, such as his DD 214, or current military ID card if still on active duty or a member of the National Guard or Reserves, his subsequent failure to register should not be a bar to any benefits or programs, contingent upon registration compliance, for which he is otherwise qualified.

National Guard & Reserves

Members of the Reserve and National Guard not on full-time active duty must register.

 

Conscientious Objectors

Men who would be classified as Conscientious Objectors if they were drafted must register with Selective Service. If a draft is authorized and they are called, they would have the opportunity to file a claim for exemption from military service based upon their religious or moral objection to war.

Learn More

Transgender People

US citizens or immigrants who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register. Individuals who are born female and changed their gender to male are not required to register.

OPM notes that “transgender” refers to people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g. the sex listed on an original birth certificate). The OPM Guidance further explains that the term “transgender woman” is typically used to refer to someone who was assigned the male sex at birth but who identifies as a female. Likewise, OPM provides that the term “transgender man” typically is used to refer to someone who was assigned the female sex at birth but who identifies as male.

NOTE: Transgender students are welcome to call us at 888-655-1825 regarding their registration requirements if they are unclear about how they should answer Question 21 or Question 22 on the FAFSA, or need a status information letter from Selective Service that clarifies whether or not they are exempt from the registration requirement. Individuals who have changed their gender to male will be asked to complete a Status Information Letter (SIL) request form and provide a copy of their birth certificate. Keep your original SIL and send copies to financial aid institutions if needed.

Status Information Letter