What Are the Selective Service Laws?


Quick Answer

The Military Selective Service Act is a federal statute under the U.S. Code, which requires almost all male U.S. citizens and immigrants of ages 18 though 25 to register with the Selective Service. The purpose of this statute is to maintain a record of all males of military age who may be involuntarily conscripted under federal law, if required as a result of a military crisis.

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Full Answer

The Military Selective Service Act contains specific situations under which an individual may be exempt from the registration requirements. Men who are in hospitals, mental institutions or prisons do not have to register during the course of their confinement. Active-duty military servicemen are exempt from registration, so long as they enter military service before age 18 and end their active service after age 26.

Men who identify themselves as conscientious objectors are required to register. However, the act provides them with the opportunity to file a claim for military service exemption based on religious or moral objections once drafted. Individuals with disabilities are also not exempt from registration requirements, since the Selective Service does not have the ability to determine service-barring disabilities. If drafted, the Military Entry Processing Station conducts the necessary medical examinations to determine whether an individual's disability bars him from military service.

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