Selective Service System for Immigrants

The Importance for Men to Register

The U.S. does not have a drafted military; the decision to join the military is entirely voluntary. However, all male U.S. citizens and immigrant non-citizens between age 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service System. The Selective Service maintains a list of names in case there is a national emergency requiring rapid expansion of the armed forces.

Registering does not mean you are joining the military. However, registering is even more important for non-citizens as it may impact their future ability to become U.S. citizens through naturalization.

selective service system registration

Who Must Register for Selective Service

If you are a man ages 18 through 25 and living in the U.S., then you must register with Selective Service System. According to law, a man must register within 30 days of his 18th birthday. Selective Service will accept late registrations but not after a man has reached age 26. Visit their website for a detailed look at Who Must Register. In general, the following persons must register:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Permanent residents (green card holders)
  • Refugees and asylees
  • Undocumented aliens (includes DACA beneficiaries)
  • Only non-immigrant visa holders (international students, visitors, diplomats, etc.) do not need to register

"The Selective Service System has not now, or in the past, collected or shared any information which would indicate a man's immigration status, either documented or undocumented. The Selective Service System has no authority to collect such information, has no use for it, and it is irrelevant to the registration requirement. Consequently, there is no immigration data to share with anyone."

Richard S. Flahavan
Associate Director for Public & Intergovernmental Affairs


Why Registering is Important for Immigrants

As a resident of the United States, registering is a legal obligation. Failure to register as required is grounds for denying:

  • An application for U.S. citizenship
  • Federal student loans and grant programs
  • Federal job training under the Workforce Investment Act
  • Federal jobs or security clearance as a contractor
  • Potential path to citizenship through future legislation (such as DREAM Act or Comprehensive Immigration Reform)
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See how failing to register for Selective Service creates a problem for men filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization


How to Register for Selective Service

To register, simply call 1-888-655-1825 or go to It's easy to sign up and get proof of registration so that you may file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization in the future.