Selective Service registration was created by the U.S. government and armed forces as a way of keeping track of which men can be called into military action in case of national emergencies.  Men ages 18-26 are generally required to register with Selective Service. 

Registering with Selective Service does not mean that the person is joining the United States military.  Rather, they’re simply informing the government that they can be contacted for service in the future, should a national emergency require their call to duty.  In the event of war or an actual national emergency, it’s likely that not all persons who have registered will be called for service.

What is the Relationship Between Selective Service and Immigration Laws?

All male immigrants ages 18-26 must register with selective service.  This includes:

  • Men with lawful permanent resident status (i.e., green card holders)
  • Undocumented aliens
  • Certain seasonal and special agricultural workers
  • Aliens with parolee, refugee, or asylees status

If the person is already 26 years old, they don’t need to register with Selective Service.  On the other hand, failure to register when required to do so can result in strict legal penalties.

What are the Legal Consequences for Failing to Register With Selective Services?

Failure to register with Selective Services when required to do so can result in the following consequences:

  • Jail sentences for up to 5 years
  • Fines ranging up to $250,000

Also, Selective Service registration is usually required in order to qualify for federal job training, federal benefits, and federal financial aid.

How Does Selective Service Affect the Naturalization Process?

Failing to register with Selective Services can negatively affect a person’s chances for naturalization

In order to qualify for naturalization (i.e., becoming a U.S. citizen), the applicant must demonstrate their loyalty to the U.S., as well as their willingness to uphold the Constitution.  Not registering with Selective Services can be viewed as a form of “unwillingness” to uphold the Constitution through the bearing of arms or other support. 

Thus, persons who are seeking naturalization should be sure to register with Selective Service if they are required to do so. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Assistance With Selective Service and Immigration Laws?

Selective Service requirements are a very important part of many immigration laws.  If you have any questions or concerns at al regarding Selective Service and immigration laws, you may wish to contact an immigration lawyer immediately.  Your lawyer can assist you with Selective Service requirements and can help ensure that you are meeting all of the rules and regulations under law.