Selective Service Registration
Once you receive your permanent residency card (green card), it is important to play by the rules in order to keep it. One of the ways for green card holders to get into troubles is by failing to register with Selective Service that can jeopardize your permanent residency status as well as your ability to apply for citizenship in future.
Males Required to Register
In general, males must register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday but not after reaching 26 years of age. An applicant who refused to or knowingly and willfully failed to register for Selective Service negates his disposition to the good order and happiness of the United States, attachment to the principles of the Constitution, good moral character, and willingness to bear arms on behalf of the United States.
Applicants may register for Selective Service at their local post office, return a Selective Service registration card received by mail, or online at the Selective Service System website. Confirmation of registration may be obtained by calling (847) 688-6888 or online at www.sss.gov. The officer may also accept other persuasive evidence presented by an applicant as proof of registration.
USCIS assists with the registration process by transmitting the appropriate data to the Selective Service System (SSS) for male applicants between the ages of 18 and 26 who apply for adjustment of status. After registering the eligible male, Selective Service will send an acknowledgement to the applicant that can be used as his official proof of Selective Service registration.
Failure to Register for Selective Service
USCIS will deny a naturalization application when the applicant refuses to register with Selective Service or has knowingly and willfully failed to register during the statutory period. The officer may request for the applicant to submit a status information letter and registration acknowledgement card before concluding that he failed to register.
The status information letter will indicate whether a requirement to register existed. The applicant must show by a preponderance of the evidence that his failure to register was not a knowing or willful act. Failure on the part of USCIS or SSS to complete the process on behalf of the applicant, however, will not constitute a willful failure to register on the part of the applicant.
The denial notice in cases where willful failure to register is established may also show that in addition to failing to register, the applicant is not well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States. This determination depends on the applicant’s age at the time of filing the application and up until the time of the oath:
- Applicants Under 26 Years of Age
The applicant is generally ineligible.
- Applicants Between 26 and 31 Years of Age
The applicant may be ineligible for naturalization. USCIS will allow the applicant an opportunity to show that he did not knowingly or willfully fail to register, or that he was not required to do so.
- Applicants Over 31 Years of Age
The applicant is eligible. This is the case even if the applicant knowingly and willfully failed to register because the applicant’s failure to register would be outside of the statutory period.
Males Not Required to Register
The following classes of males are not required to register for Selective Service:
- Males over the age of 26;
- Males who did not live in the United States between the ages of 18 and 26 years;
- Males who lived in the United States between the ages of 18 and 26 years but who maintained lawful nonimmigrant status for the entire period; and
- Males born after March 29, 1957 and before December 31, 1959.