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Selective Service Late Registration And Naturalization Eligibility
Men who live in the U.S. or who get a green card at any time between the ages of 18 and 26, are required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, to be called up in a military draft if ever needed. Those exempt include men between 18 and 26 who were only here in a nonimmigrant visa status, like tourists, students, etc. Strangely, undocumented or illegal aliens are required to register. The issue of Selective Service Registration generally comes up for Immigrants who apply for Naturalization and are required to list their Selective Service Registration information. And since failing to register for Selective Service can result in Naturalization denial for failure to show good moral character, it’s a very important issue for those to whom it applies.
For some, it’s not too late to register: Men preparing to apply for Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship) who failed to register for the Selective Service in the past, but who are not yet age 26, can still register online. However, those who have passed age 26, are not eligible to register and must face the potentially negative immigration consequences of passing the required registration date. For those who failed to register, the easiest thing to do may be to wait until you are age 31 to apply for Naturalization so you have five years of good moral character or 29 years of age to show three years of good moral character (if you have been married to and living with a U.S. citizen).
If you don’t want to wait, you will need to prove to the officer that you did not know you were supposed to register and that you didn’t “willfully” fail to register. To do this, you can submit the following along with your naturalization application:
1) Status Information Letter from the Selective Service System (obtained from the Selective Service System website or by calling 847-688-6888.)
2) your sworn declaration, and sworn declarations from people who knew you, attesting to the reasons why you failed to learn about and did not know about the requirement to register or believed you were automatically registered.