Why do I need to register for Selective Service if I am applying for naturalization?

The issue of applying or having applied for Selective Service comes up a lot when applying for naturalization. As a Fort Lauderdale Immigration Lawyer, I have seen a number of clients at my Plantation office who have not registered for Selective Service.

Applicants for naturalization need to establish good moral character for the five years prior to the filing of the naturalization application (Form N-400) up to the time the oath of allegiance is taken. Although there is no specific law, USCIS (United States and Citizenship Services) interprets a failure to register for Selective Service as an act that reflects negatively on an applicant’s ability to establish good moral character.

The Selective Service agency is the agency responsible for maintaining a list of men who are eligible the military draft, if we should have one. All men, even if in the United States illegally, between the ages of 18-25, must register for Selective Service. (If you are 26 or older, you are too old to register.) A Social Security number is not required to register. The only exception to the registration requirement is for men who are in the United States in valid non-immigrant status (i.e., students on F-1 visas or professionals on H-1B visas). Women are not required to register.

You may register for Selective Service online on their website or you can use the link at the bottom of this page. You may also register at a post office. In addition, you can register if you are applying for a student loan by completing a Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA form). You can check “Register Me” on Box #22 of that form, and the Department of Education will furnish Selective Service with the information to register. Finally, if you are applying for adjustment of status in the United States, you will automatically be registered upon USCIS’ acceptance of your Form I-485. (The last page of the form indicates that you agree to have USCIS transmit your information to Selective Service.) If you are not sure whether or not you have registered with Selective Service or you want proof that you have registered, you may go to their website and click on the link to check registration.  You should call an experienced Fort Lauderdale Immigration Lawyer to help you register for Selective Service.