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Q: Who is required to register for the draft?

A: If you are a male citizen or male alien residing in the United States you must register within 30 days of your 18th birthday. You may register up to 120 days before your 18th birthday. This is known as Selective Service registration (50 App. USC §453 (a)).


Q: At what age can I enlist in the Armed Forces?

A: You may enlist at 17 with your parents’ consent (50 App. USC §454 (c)). Without their consent, you may enlist between the ages of 18 and 35.


Q: How do I register?

A: Registration cards can be found at your local post office or visit the Selective Service System online at: 

You must give your name, address, gender, date of birth and Social Security number. You will not get a physical examination or be classified for the draft when you register.


Q: Will draft cards be issued when I register?

A: No. If a draft is called, you will receive notification. The notice will order you to report for a physical examination and processing. It will also give information on exemptions and deferments. 


Q: What can happen if I do not register?

A: Men who do not register could be prosecuted and, if convicted, fined up to $250,000 and/or serve up to 5 years in prison. In addition, a man who fails to register with Selective Service before turning 26, even if not prosecuted, will become ineligible for:

  • Student Financial Aid - including Pell Grants, College Work Study, Guaranteed Student/Plus Loans, and National Direct Student Loans.  
  • Citizenship - if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday.  
  • Federal Job Training - The Workforce Investment Act (formerly JTPA) offers programs that can train young men for jobs in auto mechanics and other skills. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service.


Q: I’m going to go to college next fall, can I get an exemption?

A: There are no student or job-related deferments. However, hardship, conscientious objector, and ministerial exemptions are still being allowed (50 App. USC §456).


Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.