Attention Ukrainian humanitarian parolees! Did you know that all male parolees who are between 18 and 25 years old (with hardly any exceptions) are required by U.S. law to register with the U.S. Selective Service System?
You can register on the Selective Service System website here: https://www.sss.gov/register/
Failure to fulfill this requirement may result in losing future access to immigration opportunities and benefits, as well as potential federal financial aid for higher education. Those who do not register also face penalties, including delay and/or loss of the ability to become a U.S. citizen. Extreme penalties can even result in a fine of up to $250,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment in severe intentional cases.
In addition to male parolees ages 18 through 25, males who have green cards and undocumented males of this age must also register. An “undocumented” person is anyone who is residing in the United States without current legal status or documentation. It includes individuals who entered the U.S. without inspection and proper permission from the government, as well as those who entered the U.S. with a legal visa that is no longer valid or after their visa stay has expired.
Clergy, religious students, conscientious objectors, transgender/nonbinary individuals assigned male at birth, disabled men, and those with medical conditions are still required to register. Official guidance states “Unless a man provides proof that he is exempt from the registration requirement, his failure to register will result in referral to the Department of Justice for possible investigation and prosecution.”
Failure to register for the Selective Service System may result in losing future access to immigration opportunities and benefits. In extreme cases, there could be criminal consequences. Penalties for noncompliance may make a male permanently ineligible for:
- state-funded student financial aid
- most federal employment
- some state employment
- security clearance for contractors
- job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act), and
- U.S. citizenship for immigrant men, as USCIS makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship if the man first arrived before his 26th birthday
Extreme penalties can even result in a fine of up to $250,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment in severe intentional cases.
In addition, some states also impose legal consequences for men who fail to register, listed here:
Moreover, official guidance states that “a person who knowingly counsels, aids, or abets another to fail to comply with the registration requirement is subject to the same penalties.”
The only immigration category exempt from registration is males who were admitted and are on current non-immigrant visas. Also exempt from registration are men on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and cadets/midshipmen in the Service Academies and certain other U.S. military colleges.
Men who can demonstrate proof of certain ongoing mental or physical conditions may apply for an exemption to registration by submitting documentation for review to the Selective Service. Official guidance states, “If a man is placed in a hospital, nursing home, long-term care facility, or mental institution on or before his 18th birthday, had no breaks of institutionalization of 30 days or longer, and remained institutionalized until his 26th birthday, he is not required to register. If he is confined to home, whether his own or someone else’s (including group homes), on or before his 18th birthday and cannot leave the home without medical assistance (for example, by ambulance, or with the help of a nurse or EMT), and remained homebound until his 26th birthday, he is not required to register.
However, official guidance provides that, in the event of a draft, men who receive an order to report for examination or induction may submit a claim for exemption from military service based on conscientious objector classification or gender reassignment to female.
Also, males whose families would experience a severe hardship if they are drafted may submit a claim for deferment, postponement, or exemption from serving.
More information about the benefits and penalties in relation to the Selective Service System registration can be found here: https://www.sss.gov/register/benefits-and-penalties/.
To learn more about the Selective Service System, visit https://www.sss.gov/.