US Military Service

Under current law, all male US citizens are required to register with the US Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday.

At the present time there is no obligation to serve (induction), but registering for the draft is still required for all men between the ages of 18 and 25, even for US citizens living abroad. In addition, non-US-citizen males between the ages of 18 and 25 (inclusive) living in the United States must register. This includes permanent residents (holders of green cards), refugees, asylees, and illegal immigrants. Foreign males lawfully present in the United States who are non-immigrants, such as international students, visitors, and diplomats, are not required to register.

Failure to register as required is grounds for denying financial aid, federal grants and loans, certain government benefits, eligibility for most federal employment, and, if the person is an immigrant, can deny eligibility for US citizenship. Those who were required to register, but failed to do so before they turn 26, are no longer allowed to register, and thus may be permanently barred from federal jobs and other benefits, unless they can show to the Selective Service that their failure was due to not knowing about it and not willful.

If you are a US citizen living or visiting overseas at the time you are required to register, go to the nearest US Embassy or Consular office where personnel will assist you in registering. You can also register online at the Selective Service web site

Until their 26th birthday, registered males must notify Selective Service within ten days of any changes to information regarding his status, such as name, current mailing address, permanent residence address.

A dual national whose other country of nationality has an agreement with the US that specifically provides for an exemption, is exempt from induction. However, he should be registered with Selective Service. Some countries have agreements with the US which exempt an immigrant or national, who is a citizen of both that country and the US, from military service in the US Armed Forces. An immigrant who requests and is exempt under an agreement or bilateral treaty can never be naturalized as a US citizen, and may have trouble reentering the US if he leaves.

An immigrant who served at least a year in the military of a country with which the US is involved in mutual defense activities will be exempt from military service if he is a national of a country that grants reciprocal privileges to citizens of the US.

For more information, see the Selective Service System website