June, 2015

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Selective Service Registration and Naturalization

Trouble confirming a man’s Selective Service registration for naturalization purposes??

Since 1940 under the Military Service Act males in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 25 must register for Selective Service. This basically registers the man with the government so that in the event that a draft for war occurs the government will be able to contact the man.

Failure to register for Selective Service can result in the denial of a man’s naturalization petition, meaning he cannot move from permanent residence (green card holder) to a U.S. citizen.

A quick search on the internet gives one such advice as “file an affidavit to show that the man didn’t know about his requirement to register.” However, the I-485 adjustment of status petition is clear in my view that upon approval of an I-485, USCIS sends the young man’s information to Selective Service for registration, or at least the wording on the form seems to say that USCIS will do it.

So why file an affidavit saying that the man did not know about the requirement to register for Selective Service? First off, I would argue that the wording on the I-485 is ambiguous and would confuse a person into believing that USCIS will be taking care of the Selective Service registration. That is what I would put in an affidavit… and I am a lawyer reading the I-485 wording, imagine a laymen. (note that old versions of the I-485 may have different wording, so I would do a FOIA to be certain of the wording in the filed version of the form for the man).

Here is the revelation: when a man adjusts status USCIS does in fact (typically, but maybe not always) send his info to Selective Service. But if the man did not have a social security number at the time of adjustment of status to permanent residency, he will not be registered based on his SSN, but based on his name and date of birth.

So when you go to confirm registration via phone with the SSN of the man, don’t stop there if you cannot confirm registration. Try calling a Selective Service agent (real person on the line) and ask them to confirm if the man is registered under his name and DOB.