Selective Service Registration

U.S. law requires almost all male U.S. citizens to register with the Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. It is important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. No one has been drafted since 1973, and it would require an act of Congress to reinstate the draft. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being inducted into the Armed Forces or being deferred or exempted from military service.

Dual nationals of the U.S. and another country are required to register, regardless of where they live, because they are U.S. nationals.

To be in full compliance with the law, a man turning 18 should register during the period beginning 30 days before until 30 days after his 18th birthday — a 60 day window.

Men who do not register within the 60 day window technically are in violation of the law and should register as soon as possible. Late registrations are accepted until a man reaches his 26th birthday.

Men reaching their 18th birthday in El Salvador may register on-line at the Selective Service Internet website at http://www.sss.gov. A Social Security number is required to register on-line, and on-line registrants should have this handy. Registering on-line normally takes less than two minutes, after which the registrant will receive a confirmation of registration. The registrant should print out the confirmation and retain it as evidence of registration.

American citizens with no access to Internet are welcome to visit the American Citizen Services unit of the Embassy between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. any workday, with the exception of American and Salvadoran holidays, and the first Friday of each month as an administrative closure.

U.S. citizen women are not required to register with the Selective Service. Congress would be required to change the existing law to include women in the registration system. In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of excluding women from Selective Service registration. Nevertheless, the Selective Service System advises the American public that, should the law change and should Congress give it additional funding, it is capable of registering and drafting women with its existing infrastructure.