Males between the ages of 18 and 26 are required under United States Law to register for Selective Service. Registering for Selective Service does not mean you have to become a member of the armed forces. However, if a large scale war or a similar event were to happen, males are expected to be ready to join the armed forces.
Failing to register for Selective Service can cause problems when applying for Naturalization. Applicants applying for U.S. Citizenship under the age of 26, who have not registered for the selective service, should expect their application, Form N-400, for Naturalization to be denied. In the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) manual it clearly states that:
“an applicant who refused to or knowingly and willfully failed to register for Selective Service negates his disposition to the good order and happiness of the United States, attachment to the principles of the Constitution, good moral character, and willingness to bear arms on behalf of the United States”.
Nevertheless, it is not too late to register online or fill out a registration form at a U.S. post office if you are under 26 years of age. However, if an applicant is over the age of 26, it is too late to register for the Selective Service.
It is sometimes recommended by legal experts to wait to apply for Naturalization. This is because the chances for an applicant to qualify for U.S. Citizenship depends on the years that have passed since they were required to register for Selective Service, and how many years of proof of good moral character they have to show. The typical wait time to apply for Naturalization is either age 29 (if applying based on three years of permanent residence and good moral character) or age 31 (if applying based on five years of permanent residence and good moral character).
If an applicant is under the age of 31 and does not want to wait to apply for Naturalization, they will need to present evidence that failing to register for Selective Service was an innocent oversight and they did not willfully avoid the requirement. Applicants who chose to take this route are required to submit three other documents along with their completed Form N-400. The documents include:
- Status Information Letter from Selective Service
- Sworn Declaration from Applicant
- Sworn Declaration from Supporter(s)
For more information regarding the U.S. Selective Service System please visit: https://www.sss.gov/.
If you are interested in applying for U.S citizenship please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!