The law says men must register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. That means men are required to register with Selective Service sometime during the 30 days before their 18th birthday, their 18th birthday, and the following 29 days after their 18th birthday – that is a 60-day registration period.
Men who do not register with Selective Service within the 60-day window are technically in violation of the law and should register as soon as possible. Late registrations are accepted up to the 26th birthday. However, once a man reaches his 26th birthday and still has not registered with Selective Service, it is too late!
A young man who fails to register with Selective Service may be ineligible for opportunities that may be important to his future. He must register to be eligible for federal student financial aid, state-funded student financial aid in many states, 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.
Failing to register or comply with the Military Selective Service Act is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison term of up to five years, or a combination of both. Also, a person who knowingly counsels, aids, or abets another to fail to comply with the Act is subject to the same penalties.