Selective Service Registration
Selective Service Registration is the process in which an individual provides the Selective Service System with personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, and other related information. The Selective Service registers almost all young men between 18 and 26 and the government keeps this list of names in case there is a national emergency requiring rapid expansion of the Armed Forces. Registering with the Selective Service does not mean you are joining or enlisting in the military.
Generally, almost all males (citizens and non-citizens) living in the United States who are between the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register with the Selective Service. Undocumented immigrants are included on the list of those who must register with the Selective Service. Registering with the Selective Service does not mean the male will be automatically inducted or enlisted into the military. The eligibility requirements for registering are separate from the actual ability to enlist in the military.
The general rule is that if a male noncitizen lives in the United States before his 26th birthday, he must register with the Selective Service. Non-U.S. citizens, such as undocumented individuals, legal permanent residents (LPRs), asylum applicants, refugees, and DACA recipients are all required to register with the Selective Service.
Men who are in the United States and have maintained lawful nonimmigrant status (e.g., someone who is here temporarily on a tourist visa) the entire time they are 18 through 26 years of age, are not required to register with the Selective Service. Tourist visas, student visas, and U visas are all examples of nonimmigrant visas. But, men with non-immigrant statuses are only exempt from registering if they maintained lawful nonimmigrant status since they turned 18 up until they turned 26. If a man’s legal nonimmigrant status expires or is revoked before he turns 26, he will probably have to register.
Diplomatic and consular personnel and families and seasonal agricultural workers (H-2A visa) are also not required to register.
DACA recipients are required to register. DACA does not confer a lawful nonimmigrant status and recipients are residing in the United States without a lawful nonimmigrant status; accordingly, they are required to register.
Men who are incarcerated or hospitalized or institutionalized for medical reasons do not have to register while they are committed. However, they must register within 30 days after being released if they have not yet reached their 26th birthday. Men who are physically and mentally handicapped and are continually confined to a residence, hospital, or institution are also exempt from registering with the Selective Service.
Undocumented immigrant men are required to register by law. Additionally, a social security number is not required in order to register with the Selective Service. If they fail to do so, it may hurt their chances of obtaining another kind of federal or immigration benefit in the future, such as naturalization. Men who fail to register may also be unable to demonstrate “good moral character” for purposes of the DREAM Act, so failure to register may bar them from DREAM Act benefits if the DREAM passes and has a “good moral character” requirement in it. Men who fail to register with the Selective Service may also be affected if an immigration reform bill requires men to register in order to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may enlist in the military, but undocumented immigrants cannot. Under the MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest) program, some other lawfully present noncitizens, such as TPS status holders, T and U visa holders, and asylees/refugees, may also join the military.
DACA recipients are technically still undocumented immigrants, and thus, cannot currently join the military.
Contact the Calehr & Associates Houston Immigration Attorneys today if you need immigration legal help in Houston.