The Selective Service System is an independent federal agency of the United States that maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription. While most are aware that all male US citizens and immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 must register, did you know that you have to notify them when you’re moving too?
In the US, it’s illegal for men ages 18 to 25 to move without contacting the Selective Service System. By law, you have ten days to inform them of any changes in the information provided upon registration.
What is the Selective Service System?
On July 2, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Proclamation 4771 entitled Registration Under the Military Selective Service Act. This was in response to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
The Selective Service registration was retroactively re-established, which meant all 18 to 26-year-old male citizens born on or after January 1, 1960, are required to register. (Source: US Code)
Why is Selective Service Important?
While there is no draft at present, the registration remains essential for the national security of the United States in the event any kind of national crisis ever arises. The Selective Service System and the registration requirement for America’s young men provide the United States with a structured database and system to acquire efficient and equitable draft should it be needed. (Source: Selective Service System)
Are Women Required to Register?
According to the Selective Service law, how it was written refers specifically to male persons explaining who must register and who should be drafted. For women to be considered to register, Congress would need to amend the law.
On December 3, 2015, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the Department of Defence will lift all gender-based restrictions on military services. But as of January 2016, there has been no decision to require American women to register with Selective Service. As of today, Selective Services only require men to sign up. (Source: Selective Service)
Are Transgender Men Required to Register?
The Selective Service base the registration requirement on the gender assignment at birth and not on gender reassignment or gender identity. Individuals who are born biologically male and changed their gender to female are still required to register. Whereas individuals born biologically female and changed their gender to male are not required to do so.
In the event of a draft, the individuals who were born male and identified as female can file a claim for exemption from military service. (Source: Selective Service)
What Happens If You Do Not Register?
As mentioned in the Registration Under the Military Selective Service Act, all men between the ages of 18 to 26 should register with the Selective Service System. There are some exceptions like if you are morally or religiously opposed to war, you would need to file a claim for conscientious objector classification.
Regardless if you are the only son of the bloodline, the only surviving son, or the sole breadwinner of your family, you need to register. If you have certain medical conditions or are disabled, you are still required to register. Proof of the medical condition must be provided to Selective Service. Only then will a decision be made as to what qualified for an exemption.
Failure to register with the Selective Service System is a violation of the Military Selective Service Act. The conviction of the violation may result in imprisonment for up to 5 years or a fine of not more than $250,000. (Source: Selective Service)