Law Office of Marc J. Smith, LLC
Employment Law and Litigation Counsel

Selective Service Blog

If you are a male between 18 and 25 years of age, the Military Selective Service Act requires you to register with the Selective Service System — the Agency responsible for maintaining information on those potentially eligible for military service in the event the United States government deems it necessary to implement a military draft.  Most male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of their 18th birthday.  If you are a male between 18 and 25 years of age, you may register on-line by clicking here.  You can check to see if you are properly registered here.

Perhaps surprisingly, many non-citizens are required to register, including illegal aliens, legal permanent residents, and refugees.  Noncitizens who are notrequired to register with Selective Service include men who are in the U.S. on student or visitor visas, and men who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission and their families.  Generally, if a male non-citizen takes up residency in the U.S. before his 26th birthday, he must register with Selective Service.  The Selective Service System has published a useful chart detailing who must register.

Fortunately, the U.S. government has not in recent history actively pursued prosecution of individuals who have failed to register with the Selective Service System.  However, there are significant other penalties that are imposed upon individuals who were required to register, but fail to do so before their 26th birthday.  For example, eligible males who have failed to register may not be able to obtain federal student loans or grants.  Failing to register when required to do so also results in a permanent bar for federal employment unless the individual can demonstrate to the Office of Personnel Management, by a preponderance of the evidence, that their failure to register was not “knowing and willful.”  You have two opportunities to do this — an “initial determination” (which almost always results in an adverse decision) and an appeal to the Director of the OPM.  It is therefore vital to ensure that your case is thoroughly prepared and presented to OPM in the proper form.

OPM Issues Favorable Ruling In Selective Service Failure to Register Case Involving Natural Born U.S. Citizen

On April 7, 2011, the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) issued a favorable decision in another Selective Service “failure to register” case we handled.  Unlike many of our other previous Selective Service cases involving individuals born in other nations, our client was a natural born citizen of the United States.

Our client in this case had been employed by the U.S. Mint for many years when he was notified there was a problem with his Selective Service registration status which jeopardized his continued eligibility for federal employment.  There was no evidence that our client had registered (however, he had attempted to enlist in the military when he was 18 — a fact we were able to point to as evidence that his failure to register was not knowing or willful).   Despite being born in the United States, our client never learned of the Selective Service registration requirement while he was eligible to register.  In a nutshell, by detailing our client’s less than ideal upbringing and lack of a stable family environment, we were able to convince OPM that his failure to register was not knowing or willful.  As a result, our client was able to continue his career with the U.S. Mint.

Marc Smith