How Many 18 Year Old Americans Register for Selective Service?

I’ll register, just because without financial aid I doubt I’ll be able to last long in college. If it weren’t required for financial aid I wouldn’t.

And if there’s a draft, try and find me Uncle Sam. I won’t fight in a war unless I totally believe in the reason it is being fought.

Strangely enough, I got financial aid and I certainly do not recall registering for selective service. I never got any letters, but I was out of the country at the time so… ???

To answer the original post’s question,

The Selective Service Progress Report showed that 87 percent of men turning 20 in calendar year 2000 who registered with Selective Service is up from last year’s 83 percent of men born in 1980 who were registered in 1999.


Everyone I know registered. Big deal.

Nobody got bent about it that I recall.

I’m almost positive that the FASA now(at least since 1995) has a box on it that allows you to permit them to file on your behalf when you apply for financial aide. I know my brother’s came back flagged (they flag erors you made while filling out the forms) because he hadn’t indicated that he’d registered and they wanted to know if they should register him - since he was only 17 at the time they realized it wasn’t an error.

Oh look, here it is:

If you need a security clearance at your job, they may ask for your selective service number.

I didn’t register for the selective service, my college did it for me. About three weeks of registering at school I got a letter thanking me for “doing my duty” and registering for the selective service. Then about a week after that my college sent me a letter saying they registered for me.

No big deal. Even if I were to be drafted I’d probably be in a computer geek field instead of a battle field.

I don’t remember how many remember this, but during the Gulf War our gov’t had a series of commercials telling young Americans to register for the SS.

Should be “I don’t know” not “I don’t remember” What a putz I am.

Really? Do we get a number when registering? I don’t remember getting a number.

Thanks, Monty.

I’ll doublecheck before I start knoshing on the ol’ foot next time. :slight_smile:

IIRC even if you legally take advantage of some of the exceptions, though, it may give you trouble if you choose to naturalize down the road. If anyone is dying for more specifics, I can do some poking around at work tomorrow.

There’s not a damn thing that’s legal that’ll give you trouble down the road as to naturalization, AFAIK. You can even walk in, as a green card holder, and register as a conscientious objector. Being a C.O. is not grounds to deny naturalization.

I’m not talking about registering a a C.O. Again, this doesn’t come up very often, so I’ll have to poke around, but I’m talking about filing for an exemption based on alienage.

Give me a few; I just got into work, and now it’s bugging me, so I’ll do some research.

Here’s the straight dope on exemptions from military service and naturalization (thanks, boss!).

From IRIS Immigration Briefings, No. 92-07, July 1992:


“Exemptions from military service. Persons who applied for and received exemptions or discharges from U.S. military services on the basis of alienage are ineligible to naturalize in most cases. If the exemption was sought under a treaty with the country of the alien’s nationality, the applicant may be naturalized if he or she had previously served in the armed forces of that country.” (Sources: INA § 315, 8 USC § 1426 (as amended by IA90 § 404(2), and INA § 315©, 8 USC § 1426© (added by IA90 § 404(2)).”
More detail on the “good moral character” requirement for naturalization and its discretionary nature (there’s lots more there, but it mostly has to do with public charge grounds, i.e. dependence on public assistance, and criminal convictions and such, so although interesting, it’s not relevant for this discussion):

From * IRIS Immigration Briefings, *, August 2000 issue:


“… Good Moral Character
Every applicant for naturalization must be a person of “good moral character.” As with other naturalization requirements, the applicant bears the burden of demonstrating good moral character, and the applicant must show that he or she has been and continues to be a person of good moral character during the required residence period, and including the period between the naturalization interview and the date the applicant takes the oath of allegiance to the United States.
The good moral character requirement is one that sometimes causes much anxiety among naturalization applicants. One scholar has noted that the concept of good moral character involves “intangibles,” and applicants are often confused as to whether particular types of conduct will affect their eligibility for naturalization.45 Indeed, while the statute and regulations list several types of conduct that are not considered to be indicative of good moral character, the INS can and does look at other types of conduct not listed.
The phrase “good moral character” is not specifically defined in the statute, and courts have often struggled to define precisely what it means. One court stated that good moral character is a test “incapable of exact definition; the best we can do is to improvise the response that the ‘ordinary’ man or woman would make, if the question were put whether the conduct was consistent with ‘good moral character’.” In general, the INS has interpreted the phrase as meaning character that measures up to the standards of the average citizen in the community. As such, it does not necessarily mean the highest level of moral conduct. One expert advises that practitioners counsel prospective naturalization applicants to ensure that they “do the things in the community that upstanding people are supposed to do,” including such things as paying child support and filing income tax returns.

In general, in determining whether the applicant has the requisite good moral character, the INS will examine the individual’s conduct during the required five or three-year residence period. Significantly, however, the inquiry is not always limited to this time period. The INS may inquire into conduct before that time, especially if the prior conduct is relevant to a determination of the person’s present moral character, and some criminal convictions will haunt the applicant even if they were committed before the five-year period.49 At least one court, however, has held that the INS may not rely solely on acts outside the statutory time period…

Other good moral character issues.

**…A character ground that has become noteworthy because of recent guidelines is one that precludes a good moral character finding for applicants for naturalization who failed to register for the Selective Service system. **Under the law, almost every male in the U.S. is required to register for Selective Service upon reaching his 18th birthday. The INS deems an applicant unworthy of a good moral character finding if he “knowingly and willingly” failed to register during the statutory period.

In a legal opinion issued in 1998, the General Counsel of the INS outlined the requirements for naturalization related to registering for Selective Service. The legal opinion noted that in addition to the good moral character requirement, a naturalization applicant must be willing “to bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law,” as discussed below. Except for aliens maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status, any man born after 1959 and living in the U.S. must register for Selective Service when he attains his 18th birthday. This obligation continues until his 26th birthday. The legal opinion notes that while the INA does not make compliance with this requirement a condition for naturalization, the INS nevertheless would be “fully justified” in finding that an individual who refuses to comply with this requirement is unwilling to bear arms when the law requires. In addition, this finding would support the further inference that the applicant “is not disposed to the good order and happiness” of the U.S. Hence, any naturalization applicant who falls within the relevant age range and who refuses to register for Selective Service should be denied.8
Once the applicant has turned 26, however, the situation changes. In such cases, the legal opinion states, there was, but no longer is, a duty to register. The INS may still find that the applicant is ineligible to naturalize, based upon his failure to have registered, unless the applicant establishes that his failure to file was not knowing and willful. The burden of proof is on the applicant, and the agency may presume the failure to register to have been knowing and willful unless the applicant proves the contrary by a preponderance of the evidence. The day after the applicant’s 31st birthday, the posture of the case changes again, the legal opinion states. This is because the failure to register will have occurred outside the period during which the applicant must demonstrate good moral character. In such cases, the INS should first consider whether the failure to register was knowing and willful. If not, the agency should find the applicant to have satisfied the good moral character requirement unless other adverse factors are present. Even if the applicant’s failure to register was knowing and willful, that fact would not be an absolute bar to eligibility. The INS could grant naturalization as long as the agency were satisfied that the applicant now meets the good moral character requirements, even if he may not have met the requirements in the past."

When I was about 17 or so, my girlfriend was a college student, and 19. Two Federal Agent types showed up at her school, to “discuss” why she hadn’t registered with Selective Service. It was pretty obvious that she was female so it got straightened out. I registered about two days after I turned 18.

As others stated, women are not required to register. An article in the Tempo section of yesterday’s Chicago Tribune had a quote from someone who works for the Selective Service, stating that occasionally they will receive registrations from women doing it out of a sense of duty or something similar. These are accepted but not entered into their database.

Well, you get assigned a number, I don’t know if they automatically tell you what it is. When I and a couple others were all going through the process, no one knew their number. Someone, somehow, found the “magic” phone number to call and find our Selective Service numbers.

Now, of course, it’s on the web:

Thanks, Eva; however, I seriously doubt that if someone were to fall into that category they couldn’t get a court to declare that part of the law bogus.

I registered right after my 18th birthday. The government got my age wrong, and said I was a year older than I really am (I turn 30 this coming Monday, to their records I’ll be 31). I’ve never bothered to correct them.

I disagree with you guys who make a political stand with Selective Service. The point is so that authorities can know the nation’s resources. What is wrong with that? I understand the reluctance (or refusal) to fight in an “un-just” war, but the time for that objection is later. There’s plenty of time later to make a claim as a conscientious objector, or even to flee the country, if that’s your plan. Register with Selective Service and make your life a bit easier. It is, quite literally, the very least you can do for your country.

For what it’s worth, I registered a few days before my eighteenth birthday (back in 1986). It was no big deal. And I’m the son of a Vietnam-era conscientious objector.

Now, I work with high school students. I knew of one student who turned eighteen shortly before 9/11/2001. Around mid-September, I casually asked him if he had register with SS. He said that he had, but he was nervous about it. He said he had this feeling something bad might happen. Then it did.