Selective Service and You

Time to Register

Selective Service And You

This booklet is designed to provide you with basic information and guidelines on the Selective Service System, the registration requirement, and other related facts.


What Is The Selective Service System?
What Is Selective Service Registration?
Who Must Register?
Who Is Exempt From Registration?
How Do You Register?
What Happens After You Complete a Registration Form?
Is Your Record Current?
What If You Move?
Will There Be a Draft?
Who Would Be Selected For Induction
How Would You File a Claim
For Postponement or Reclassification?
How to Obtain Additional Information
"Who Must Register" Chart

What is the Selective Service System?

The Selective Service System is an independent agency within the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The Director of Selective Service is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Selective Service is not a part of the Department of Defense.

The Federal law under which the agency operates is the Military Selective Service Act. Under this law, the mission of the Selective Service System is to provide the numbers of men needed by the Armed Forces, within the time required, should Congress and the President decide to return to a draft, in the event of a national emergency. Selective Service would also be responsible for administering a program of alternative service for conscientious objectors.

What is Selective Service Registration?

Registration is the process of providing the Selective Service with personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, Social Security Account Number and other related information about one's self. It is a civic and legal responsibility. Even though no one is currently being drafted, men are required to register with Selective Service as soon as they reach age 18.

Registering with Selective Service does not mean that you are joining the military.

Registration provides our country with a means to develop and maintain an accurate list of names and addresses of men who might be called upon if a return to the draft is authorized.

Failure to register, or otherwise comply with the Military Selective Service Act is, upon conviction, punishable by a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. In addition, federal and certain state laws require registration as a prerequisite for obtaining student financial aid, job training, government employment, and U.S. citizenship.

Who Must Register?

With few exceptions, all male United States citizens and male aliens residing in the U.S. and its territories must register within the period starting 30 days before, and ending 30 days after, their 18th birthday.

Parolees, refugees, and applicants for asylum are considered to be residents of the U.S. and therefore must register.

Handicapped men who are able to function in public, with or without assistance, must register. A friend or relative may help a handicapped man to complete the registration form if he is unable to do so himself.

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

Men cannot register after reaching age 26.

For further information on who must register, refer to the "Who must Register" chart on the inside back cover of this pamphlet.

Who Is Exempt From Registration?

The law exempts certain persons from the requirement to register.

  • Females.
  • Lawfully admitted non-immigrant aliens (such as those men on visitor or student visas and members of diplomatic or trade missions and their families) because they are residing in this country temporarily.
  • Men who are unable to register due to circumstances beyond their control, such as being hospitalized, institutionalized, or incarcerated. However, they must register within 30 days after their release.
  • Members of the Armed Forces on full-time active duty. This exemption also applies to cadets and midshipmen at the United States service academies. However, upon release from active duty, a man must register within 30 days if he is not yet 26 years of age and has not already registered.

How Do You Register?

If you are required to register, all you have to do is to visit the nearest U.S. Post Office, pick up a registration form, complete and sign it, and hand it to a postal clerk. The clerk will check your form against some type of identification, such as your driver's license. The postal clerk will not give you a receipt; however, you should receive a registration acknowledgment from Selective Service within 90 days.

If you are a U.S. citizen living or visiting oversees at the time you are required to register, go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consular office where personnel will assist you in registering.

Please understand that postal clerks and office staffs are not thoroughly familiar with the details of Selective Service operations and procedures. They are only required to help you fill out the registration form. If you need additional information, please write or call Selective Service.

What Happens After You Complete a Registration Form?

You are not officially registered until your registration information is entered into the Selective Service registration file and you have been assigned a Selective Service number. You will then receive in the mail a registration acknowledgment showing the information recorded in your registration file, your Selective Service number, and a change form. If any of the information on your registration acknowledgment is incorrect, it is important that you correct it and mail the change form back to Selective Service. You should keep the registration acknowledgment in a safe place as proof of your registration.

If you do not receive your registration acknowledgment within 90 days of the date you completed your registration form, it is important that you write to the following address or call (847) 688-6888.

Selective Service System
Registration Information Office
Post Office Box 94638
Palatine, IL 60094-4638

When contacting Selective Service, please provide your full name, date of birth, Social Security Account Number, mailing address, and if possible, the date and place where you completed your registration form.

Is Your Record Current?

The law requires that you keep the information in your registration record up to date. It is important that you notify Selective Service each time you move or if there is any other change to the information in your registration record. This applies only to men ages 18 through 25.

After you reach age 26, there is no requirement to update your registration record.

If you fail to maintain current information in your registration record, you may be found to be in violation of the Military Selective Service Act and subject to the penalties discussed on page 2.

What If You Move?

The law requires that you notify Selective Service each time you have a change of address.

To notify Selective Service, mark your change of address on the Change Form attached to the Registration Acknowledgment and mail it to Selective Service or complete a Change of Information Form, SSS Form 2, which you can obtain at any U.S. Post Office or U.S. Embassy or Consulate office.

You may also notify Selective Service of any change by letter, but be sure to include your full name, Social Security Account Number, Selective Service Number, and date of birth, as well as your new mailing address.

Will There Be A Draft?

The fact that a man is required to register does not mean that he will be drafted. No one has been drafted since 1973. No one can be ordered for induction by Selective Service unless Congress and the President determine that inductions are necessary. This would most likely occur only in the event of war or a national emergency.

Who Would Be Selected for Induction?

Men who will reach age 20 during the calendar year in which inductions occur would be the first group to be called. If more men are needed that year, after all men turning 20 are considered, the order of call would continue up to those who will reach age 21, then 22, and on up through age 25. The order of inductions within each age group would be determined by a lottery which matches a random sequence number with birth dates.

If you were selected for induction you would be sent an Order to Report for Induction along with detailed instructions explaining where to report and what actions would be required on your part to fulfill this requirement.

However, if you file a claim for postponement or reclassification the induction will be delayed until a decision is made on whether the claim is accepted or denied. Some examples of the requirements to obtain a postponement or a reclassification are as follows:


  • For full-time college students who desire to finish their current semester.
  • For full-time college students in their last academic year who desire to finish that academic year.
  • For high school students not yet 20 years old who desire to stay in school until they graduate.


  • For men whose induction would create a hardship to their dependents.
  • For students studying for the ministry.
  • For ministers of religion.
  • For Conscientious Objectors. Those who hold deep religious, moral, or ethical beliefs against participation in war. If the objection is to participation in combat military service only, one would be inducted to perform only non-combat military service; if the objection is to participation in all military service, in lieu of induction one would be ordered to perform civilian work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest as determined by the Director of Selective Service.

How Would You File a Claim For Postponement or Reclassification?

If you receive an induction notice, you may file a claim within 10 days, using forms that will be made available to you. You cannot file a claim before you have been ordered for induction.

How to Obtain Additional Information?

The Selective Service System's "Information for Registrants" booklet furnishes information about Selective Service responsibilities, and registrants' rights and obligations. It also explains the induction, claims, and appeals process that would be in effect if inductions are authorized in the future. This publication is available to you by writing: Information for Registrants, Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009.

For additional information on Selective Service registration, you may write to:

Selective Service System
Registration Information Office
Post Office Box 94638
Palatine, IL 60094-4638

Or you may call (847) 688-6888

Who Must Register




All male U.S. citizens born after December 31, 1959, who are 18 but not yet 26 years old, except as noted below;


Members of the Armed Forces on active duty (active duty for training does not constitute "active duty" for registration purposes)


Cadets and Midshipmen at Service Academies or Coast Guard Academy



Cadets at the Merchant Marine Academy



Students in Officer Procurement Programs at The Citadel, North Georgia College, Norwich University, and Virginia Military Institute



National Guardsmen and Reservists not on active duty



Delayed Entry Program enlistees



ROTC students



Separatees from Active Military Service, separated for any reason before age 26



Men rejected for enlistment for any reason before age 26



Civil Air Patrol members


Lawful nonimmigrants on visas (e.g., diplomatic and consular personnel and families, foreign students, tourists with unexpired Forms, I-94, I-95A, or Border, Crossing Documents I-185, I-186, I-586, or, I-444)


Permanent resident aliens



Special (seasonal) agricultural workers (I-688)



Special agricultural workers (I-688A)



Refugee, parolee, and asylee aliens



Undocumented (illegal) aliens



Dual national U.S. citizens


Incarcerated, or hospitalized or institutionalized for medical reasons


Handicapped physically or mentally
Able to function in public with or without assistance



Continually confined to a residence, hospital, or institution



* Must register within 30 days of release unless already age 26, or already registered when released, or unless exempt during entire period age 18 through 25.

* Residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands are U.S. citizens. Citizens of American Somoa are nationals and must register when they are habitual residents in the United States. Habitual residence is presumed whenever a national or a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands or the Federated States of Micronesia resides in the United States for more than one year in any status, except as a student or employee of the government of his homeland.

National Headquarters
Selective Service System
Arlington, VA 22209

Information Brochure No. 10 (June 97)

Copyright Family Guardian Fellowship

Last revision: April 03, 2009 07:35 AM
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