How to Register for Selective Service

Even though the US government has not instituted a draft, or mandatory military enlistment for men, since the Vietnam War, all male citizens over the age of 18 must legally register for the Selective Service. The Selective Service is the pool of all eligible males in the US who could potentially be drafted if the army draft was every reinstated. To incentivize people to sign up, you must also be registered for the Selective Service to be eligible for federal student loan programs job training grants, and even driver's licenses.[1]


  1. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 1
    Know if you must register for the Selective Service. Nearly all US males must enroll for the selective services within 30 days of turning 18. This includes citizens, non-permanent residents, residents of US territories like Guam and Puerto Rico, dual citizens, both illegal and legal immigrants, and the disabled. Even men who have undergone a gender realignment surgery to become female must register. The only exceptions are:
    • Women
    • Any male resident above the age of 26
    • Residents of American Samoa who have never lived in the US
    • Active duty military personnel
    • Hospitalized, incarcerated, or imprisoned men (though they must apply within 30 days of release)
    • US residents on student or visitor visas
    • Individuals living in the US as part of a diplomatic or trade mission
    • Individuals who are born female and choose to realign as men[2]
  2. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 2
    Register online using the Selective Service Registration website. You can only register online if you are a US citizen with a valid social security number.[3]
    • According to the Federal Government, this is the fastest and most reliable way to register.
  3. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 3
    Fill out the registration card sent on your 18th birthday. If you have not recently moved and are a registered citizen you will receive a pre-stamped registration card sometime around your 18th birthday. Simply fill it out and put it back in the mail to register.
    • You will need your name, address, birthday, social security number (if applicable), and signature to register.
  4. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 4
    Register on with your application for Federal Student Aid. Check "Yes" on Box 29 of the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) to be automatically registered for the Selective Service. The Department of Education will furnish Selective Service with the information to register you.
  5. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 5
    Register at a post office. Any man, regardless of citizenship, visa, or immigration status can register at any US post office. They will also take care to send your registration for you as well.
    • The Selective Service has no contact with the Immigration Bureau, and will never share personal information with other branches of government.
  6. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 6
    Confirm your registration. You should receive a letter in the mail within 90 days of registering that proves that you successfully signed up for the Selective Service. If you do not receive this letter after 90 days, call the Selective Service at 1-847-688-6888.
    • You can also call this number if you require a proof of registration card.
  7. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 7
    Inform the Selective Service of any changes in your information until your 26th birthday. If you change addresses, legally change your name, get a new Social Security number, or otherwise change your information, you must inform the Selective Service at this website. You can also call this number: 1-847-688-6888.
  8. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 8
    Understand the penalties for not registering. Not registering for the Selective Service can result in 5 years of jail time and/or a $250,000 fine. If you neglect to register before turning 26 you will be barred from all federal student aid, job training grants, or tuition breaks. In 40 states and territories you cannot get a driver's license unless you register.[4]
    • For a complete list of state sanctions for unregistered men, see the Social Services website.
    • If you did not register for the Selective Service by 26, but can prove that you did not do so "knowingly and willingly," you may be able to avoid punishment.[5]
  9. Image titled Register for Selective Service Step 9
    Know that registering for the Selective Service does not mean you will be drafted. In the event of a draft, registered males are selected by a random lottery and their birth year. If you are a "conscientious objector," someone who has a moral or psychological aversion to war, or disabled, you can still be exempted from the draft.[6]


  • Even if you did not register within 30 days of turning 18, the Selective Service still accepts late registration, though you should do so immediately.
  • Although you must register within 30 days of your 18th birthday, you can register early 30 days after you turn 17.


  • Failure to register can result in a $250,000 and/or 5 years in jail.
  • Intentionally submitting false information, or registering on behalf of someone else is also a crime punishable as above.
  • After you turn 26, it is too late to register, and many opportunities (such as federal financial aid for college) are lost forever.

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