WHAT IS THE SELECTIVE SERVICE?
The Military Selective Service Act requires that all men (including anyone whose gender was assigned as male on their birth certificate) living in the United States register with the Selective Service System (SSS) within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The SSS is used by the U.S. government in times of war to draft soldiers into service. While there are currently no plans to draft soldiers into the military, the U.S. government views the Selective Service as an important readiness tool in case there is a significant military conflict that requires more troops than have voluntarily joined the military. This law applies to all men living in the United States, including U.S. citizens, green card holders, people in valid immigration status, as well as anyone whose status has expired or is otherwise undocumented.
Only men who are in the United States between the ages of 18 and 26 years old are required to register.
ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS?
Yes. First, if you entered the United States after the age of 26 or were not in the United States between ages 18 and 26, you do not need to register because you entered after the required age.
Second, if you are in a valid non-immigrant status (such as a student visa) until the age of 26, you are seen as living here only temporarily because of the temporary nature of your visa and not required to register.
Third, men born after March 29, 1957, and before December 31, 1959, are not required to register.
SEE CHART OF WHO MUST REGISTER FOR SELECTIVE SERVICE
HOW TO: CHECK YOUR SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRATION
If you are a man – or were assigned the gender of male at birth – and you were in the United States between the ages of 18 and 26 years old, you should check your
Selective Service record to see if you registered. If you became a lawful permanent resident between the ages of 18 and 26, USCIS may have sent your information to
the SSS based on your permanent residence application, and you may have been registered that way.
You will need to provide your last name, Social Security Number, and date of birth.
If a record is found, you can download and print an official Selective Service Registration Acknowledgement Letter from the web site and include it with your application.
BY PHONE: If you can’t verify your registration because you don’t or didn’t have a Social Security number at the time you filed, you will have to call the SSS at 888-655-1825.
WHAT IF I WAS SUPPOSED TO REGISTER AND DIDN’T?
If you have not or did not register and you are between the ages of 18 and 26, you should register immediately. If you are over the age of 26 but were in the United States between the ages of 18 and 26,
and the failure to register was within the good moral character time period, you will have an opportunity to submit your statement and other evidence to USCIS showing that you did not knowingly or willfully
fail to register.
USCIS may also require you to submit a Status Information Letter stating whether you were required to register. You can find this form online by visiting https://www.sss. gov/verify/sil/, which you will have to download, complete and mail to the address below:
SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM
P.O. BOX 94638
PALATINE, IL 60094-4638
You can also call the SSS to request the Status Information Letter by phone at 847-688-6888.
WHEN I REGISTERED FOR SELECTIVE SERVICE, I MAY HAVE USED A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN) THAT WAS NOT MY OWN. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You can update your Social Security number with the SSS by calling 1-847-688-6888 during business hours (9am to 5pm Eastern). Changes can take several weeks to complete, and the SSS will send you a new registration letter with the updated information. You can also write to the SSS and request the change:
SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM
P.O. BOX 94638
PALATINE, IL 60064-4638
WHAT ABOUT TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS?
ACCORDING TO THE US GOVERNMENT (from SSA.gov):
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.
> The legal authority is based on the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA), which does not address
gender identity or transgender persons.
>Presidential Proclamation 4771 refers to “males” who were “born” on or after January 1, 1960.
>Changes to the MSSA involving Selective Service registration requires Congressional action. It cannot
be changed through Presidential Proclamation or Executive Order. As such, the registration
requirement remains based on the assigned gender at birth.
NOTE: Transgender students are welcome to call us at 888-655-1825 regarding their registration requirements if they 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 state-based financial aid institutions if needed.
FUN FACT: THE SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM’S ANNUAL BUDGET IS $26,000,000.001.
Learn more about the requirements for selective service registration from the government’s website.
- ACCORDING THE MOST RECENT DATA AVAILABLE WHICH WAS FOR FY 2021. ↩︎