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Military Enlistment and Selective Service FAQs for Immigrants, Citizens and Dual Citizens

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) has put out a very useful FAQ on Selective Service registration and military enlistment rules for immigrants of all types (in legal status, not in legal status, permanent v. temporary residents, and DACA recipients). The FAQ also covers basic US citizen and dual citizen requirements. For more information, see also the Selective Service website. All males between 18 through 25 (i.e., under 26) must register for the Selective Service regardless of status. Registering for Selective Service is not the same as whether someone must or is allowed to actually enlist, or would be drafted. Undocumented immigrants may not currently enlist, but they must register. See also the military’s special Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Program that allows certain nonimmigrants in valid status to enlist if they have certain language or medical training. The MAVNI program leads to a fast-track route to US citizenship based on military service.

Selective Service registration, military service and related matters are important to eligibility for greencards and US citizenship. At our Seattle immigration law firm, we handle immigration and citizenship related benefits for members of the military and their families, such as services involving “parole in place” and analysis of “needle in a haystack” cases where persons born abroad may have acquired citizenship through their parents or ancestors based on US military service.