In the United States, the Selective Service System plays a vital role in preparedness for national emergencies by maintaining a list of potential military draftees. While mandatory military conscription has not been in effect since the Vietnam War, the requirement for men, including lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”), to register with the Selective Service remains a fundamental obligation.

Selective Service Registration for Lawful Permanent Residents:

The Selective Service registration requirement applies to almost all male U.S. citizens and  LPRs residing in the United States. All such men are required to register with the Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday and before reaching the age of 26.

Importance of Selective Service Registration:

The Selective Service System serves as a contingency plan for the U.S. government in case of national emergency or if a military draft is reinstated. By maintaining an updated and comprehensive list of eligible individuals, the government can quickly mobilize resources. Registration is a civic duty, and compliance is crucial for promoting national security and preparedness.

Penalties for Non-Registration:

Failure to register with the Selective Service can have serious consequences for LPR men. Some potential penalties include:

  1. Loss of Benefits: Men who fail to register may become ineligible for various federal benefits. This includes access to federal student loans, federal job training programs, and eligibility for U.S. citizenship for immigrants.
  2. Fines and Imprisonment: Non-compliance with Selective Service registration is a violation of federal law. While prosecutions for non-registration are rare, penalties can include fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for up to five years. Prosecutions are typically pursued in cases of willful and knowing non-compliance.
  3. Limited Immigration Benefits: Lawful permanent residents who fail to register may encounter challenges when applying for certain immigration benefits, such as naturalization to become a United States citizen. While non-registration is not an automatic bar to naturalization, immigration officers may take non-registration into consideration during the evaluation of an individual’s moral character.

How to Register:

Registration with the Selective Service is a straightforward process and can be completed online or by mail. Men can register online at the Selective Service website or obtain a registration form at any U.S. Post Office. Additionally, many men are automatically registered when they apply for federal student financial aid or a driver’s license.

Selective Service registration is a fundamental obligation for men in the United States. While the prospect of a military draft may seem remote, compliance with this requirement remains a critical component of civic responsibility.

If you have questions about Selective Service, U.S. visas or immigration, contact us at and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.


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