Citizenship Eligibility and Registration for Selective Service
October 9, 2018
Every male who has either lived in the United States or obtained his green card, between the ages of 18 and 26, is required by law to register with the United States Selective Service System. Selective Service is used to gather names of available men, should a military draft be necessary in times of war or crisis.
Men who are aware of this requirement and fail to submit their name may have their citizenship applications denied by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is important to note that Selective Service is not part of the United States Department of Defense and is not the Armed Services.
By registering, you are not joining the military, but are considered available if needed during a large-scale emergency.
Exceptions to This Rule
There is one primary exception to this law. If the entire time you have spent in the United States between the ages of 18 and 26 was covered by a valid nonimmigrant visa, you are not expected to register with the United States Selective Service.
Examples of nonimmigrant visas include:
- Diplomatic visa (A-1)
- Student visa (F-1, M-1, J-1)
- Tourist visa (B-2)
Is it Too Late for Me to Register?
If you have not yet turned 26, and are planning to apply for United States citizenship, you can still register with Selective Service.
The process is simple. You can register at any United States Post Office, even if you do not have a social security number. If you fail to do so before your 26th birthday, you may be denied benefits or employment.
What if I Am Over the age of 26 and Have Not Registered?
If you have passed your 26th birthday and have not registered with Selective Service, you may still apply for United States citizenship. In many cases, men in this position are required to demonstrate good moral character for a number of years.
If you are married to and residing with a United States citizen, you will most likely have to show three years of good moral character. In that case, you should wait until you are 29 to submit your Form N-400 or Application for Naturalization.
Some men are required to show five years of good moral character. A Philadelphia immigration lawyer can assist you in applying for citizenship at age 31.
If you do not want to wait until the age of 29 or 31 to apply for citizenship, you may show that you were not aware of the requirement to register with Selective Service. Along with your application for naturalization, you would submit a Selective Service Status Information Letter and sworn declarations from you and your friends, or family members, stating you did not willfully avoid registering.
A Status Information Letter simply states you are over the age of registration, and therefore not required to do so. USCIS will not consider your application without this letter.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at The Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Guide Clients in Applying for Citizenship
Registration with the United States Selective Service System is just one step in the citizenship process. Ensuring that you are fully compliant with United States immigration laws can be challenging, especially if you do not speak English. A compassionate, multilingual Philadelphia immigrations lawyer from the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC can guide you through every step of the application process.
To learn more about our immigration law services call 215-496-0690 or contact us online to get started. We bring 25 years of experience in immigration law to clients throughout New Jersey, the greater Philadelphia region, Pennsylvania, and across the nation.