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Men 26 and Older

According to law, a man must register with Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. Selective Service accepts late registrations up until a man reaches his 26th birthday.

Failure to register is a felony and non-registrants may be denied the following benefits for life:

  • State-based student loans and grant programs in 31 states
  • Federal job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly Workforce Investment Act)
  • Federal (and many state and local) jobs
  • Up to a 5-year delay of U.S. citizenship proceedings for immigrants
A group of diverse men over the age of 26 standing together and smiling

What’s Next? 

If you failed to register prior to reaching age 26, and are now being denied eligibility for federal or state benefits due to your failure to register, you can explain to the official handling your case (for example, HR Specialist) the reasons for your failure to register with Selective Service.

The burden of proof is on the person seeking the denied right or benefit.

You may be asked for an official response from the Selective Service System, which is referred to as a “status information letter.”

Status Information Letter

What Does the Law Say?

Pursuant to federal law, a person required to register with Selective Service, but who failed to register, may not be denied any federal right or benefit if he can show by a preponderance of the evidence (e.g. more-likely-than-not) that his failure to register was not knowing and willful. See 50 U.S.C. 3811(g).

The final decision regarding a non-registrant’s eligibility for employment lies with the department or agency granting the right or benefit.