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Selective Service

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The Selective Service System is the agency of the United States Government that exists to register men who could be asked to help the Military in a time of war or other national crisis. Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U.S., who are age 18 through 25, are required to register. Eligible people are automatically registered when issued a driver’s license or State ID. Registration forms are also available at post offices or online. Registration is free.

When someone reaches age 26, they can no longer register. If they were born on or after January 1, 1960 and did not register before they turned 26, they may be ineligible for certain Federal benefits, including U.S. citizenship, job training programs and student financial aid.

It is important to know that someone who fails to register cannot be denied any benefit if he can “show by a preponderance of evidence” that his failure to register was not knowing and willful. The final decision regarding eligibility for programs is made by the agency granting the benefit, not the Selective Service. Some agencies may have an appeals process.

Agencies may ask you to provide an official response from the Selective Service regarding the fact that you did not register before age 26. In that case, it is possible to request a “status information” letter. You will have to describe what stopped you from registering and provide documents showing periods that you were incarcerated, hospitalized, etc., between your 18th and 26th birthdays. Processing time for this document may take up to 90 days.

For more information on Selective Service issues contact:

The Selective Service System     Phone:    888-655-1825     TTY:   800-325-0778

P.O. Box 94638, Palatine, IL 60094-4638