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Registering for Selective Service is your duty

Obtaining a visa or green card to live and work in the United States is quite an accomplishment. Many who begin the process become discouraged and give up on their dream, but you persevered, and now you are settled in the lovely state of Georgia. Much of your efforts to arrive here lawfully involved submitting the appropriate paperwork and meeting deadlines on time. Now there is one more step to take.

If you are a male between ages 18 and 25, you must register with the Selective Service. The Selective Service System keeps a database of names of eligible men who would be available to serve the country in case of a national emergency. Failing to put your name on the list could affect your future in several ways.

What is Selective Service?

The United States does not have a military draft. In other words, our military branches are voluntary, and the government has not conscripted citizens to join since 1973. Since then, our country has forced no one into the military despite involvement in numerous military actions. Nevertheless, the Constitution of our country provides the option in case of war or other emergency.

Registration with Selective Service is simple. Even if your religious or personal beliefs prohibit you from serving in the military, the law requires you to register, and the government will find alternate ways for you to serve.

Do I have to register?

There are some exceptions, such as those who have physical or mental handicaps, have already enlisted in military service, or are incarcerated. However, in general, men who are older than 18 but have not reached their 26th birthday must register either online or at the local U.S. post office. If you fail to register, you face the following consequences:

  • Fines and imprisonment if convicted
  • Ineligibility for financial assistance from the government, such as student loans
  • Disqualification from federal job training programs or employment with the government
  • Denial of a Georgia driver's license or a license in many other states
  • Complications when you undertake the naturalization process

There are many reasons why men fail to register for Selective Service. Some mistakenly believe signing up means they have joined the military. Others are unsure how or where to sign up. Perhaps you believe you fall under one of the many exemptions. If you are uncertain about the steps you should take to avoid the negative consequences of failing to comply with this civic duty, you may find answers and guidance from an immigration attorney.

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