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Do I Have to Register for Selective Service?

The Selective Service Registration system enables the United States to keep a database of males who may be recruited into the armed forces in case of national exigency necessitating speedy enhancement of the US military power. By keeping a database of all such young men, the Selective Service System ascertains that any potential draft in the US armed forces is performed in a consistent and impartial manner.

Hence, the question remains as to whether you are required to register in the US Selective Service System. This seemingly strange question defies common sense to most foreign nationals since they may not anticipate ever becoming permanent residents; let alone to serve in the US armed forces should a draft get reinstated. As explained below, many foreign nationals are required to register in the US Selective Service system. Let us ponder the question posed at the outset of this paragraph: are you required to register? The answer to the aforementioned question depends on various variables as well as the particulars of your specific circumstances.

First and foremost, only men are required to resister in the Selective Service as women do not have this obligation. The registration requirement applies to males born after January 1, 1960. Any men born between March 29, 1957 and December 31, 1959 are exempt from the registration requirement since the system of registration was not installed by the time such men reached 18 years of age. Any males enlisted in the US armed forces are not required to sign up for Selective Service. In addition, any man who becomes 18 years of age while attending certain US military schools are also exempt from the registration requirement. If you are a foreign national male under the age of 26 and have not registered for selective Service, we advise you to sign up as soon as practicable.

US immigration laws dictate Selective Service registration as prerequisite to US Citizenship if the male initially entered the US before the age of 26. As a result, the rule remains that all foreign nationals present in the US between the ages of 18 and 25 must sign up for the Selective Service should they ever desire to become US Citizens some day. This rule applies to all men notwithstanding their immigration status; hence, even undocumented foreign nationals are required to comply with this requirement.

Unless noted above, non-immigrant males who are maintaining valid legal status such as H-1B, L-1, E-2, F-1 are not required to sign up for Selective Service. Once such nonimmigrant falls out of status more than 30 days, he will be required to register. Other foreign nationals who are required to sign up for Selective Service include undocumented aliens who had entered without inspection as well as Visa Waiver program entrants who overstayed more than 30 days.

Foreign national males between 18 and 25 years of age and who are applying for immigration through the adjustment of status or the consular processing method are automatically registered for Selective Service. If you are in doubt as to whether the Selective Service registration requirements apply to you, we advise you to err on the side of caution and register with Selective Service. By registering, you avoid any potentially undesirable consequences should you seek Citizenship in the future.

How to Contact Us:

If you have questions about an immigration matter, and/or you need help in the process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to speak with an attorney. We handle various matters including family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, Green Cards and Permanent Residence, and many more. Please contact us and experience how we can effectively represent your interest.

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