Selective Service is a government program in which the U.S. gathers a list of the names of men in the country in case of a military draft. The government requires men ages 18 to 25 to register in case there is a national emergency in which the military would need to be expanded.

Who Must Register?

Men who are between 18 and 25 years old must register. Only nonimmigrant (those with temporary visas) males, men on active duty in the military, and cadets in military colleges do not have to register. All other citizens and permanent residents must register (including “only sons”). Even illegal aliens must register with Selective Service. This inclusiveness is to ensure that any draft will be fair.

How Do I Register?

You must register within 30 days of turning 18. You can register by filling out a Selective Service form. They are available at United States post offices and online. If you are still in high school, there may be a staff member at your school acting as a Selective Service Registrar. Forms can be sent to:

Selective Service System
P.O. Box 94739
Palatine, IL 60094-4638

Selective Service will accept late forms.

What Happens if I Don’t Register?

If you fail to register, you can be prosecuted. This may result in a $250,000 fine and/or a 5 year jail sentence. You should also remember that registration may be required for certain programs such as:

  • Federal employment
  • Student aid
  • Job training benefits

If you have registered, you can find out your registration number by calling 1-847-688-6888.

Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with these Issues?

You probably do not need a government lawyer when registering with Selective Service. The process is fairly straightforward; all males between 18 and 25 must do it.