At a recent clinic, an applicant for US citizenship admitted he had not registered with Selective Service and this brought up naturalization eligibility issues.
Selective Service Registration is the government’s way of keeping a database of young men who may be called on in case of draft or a national emergency. You are required to register with Selective Service if you are between the age of 18 and 26. Young men convicted of failure to register may be fined up to $25,000 imprisoned for up to five years, or both. In addition to being subject to prosecution, failure to register may cause you to permanently forfeit eligibility for certain benefits. Not registering is a felony.
It can affect your efforts to become a US citizen. A naturalization applicant who was required to register with the Selective Service and who knowingly or willfully failed to register cannot be considered a person of good moral character for naturalization purposes. Most persons of draft age are told of the need to register at the time of their adjustment of status to permanent residence or at consular interviews overseas.
If the immigrant has not yet turned 26, the Selective Service will generally accept a late registration from the immigrant. Once the immigrant has turned 26, however, he cannot register. In that case, the burden is on the immigrant to demonstrate that he did not knowingly and willfully fail to register, i.e., that he was unaware of the registration requirement. In practice, the naturalization applicant will find it difficult to establish that he did not knowingly or willfully fail to register with the Selective Service. See the Selective Service System website for more information: www.sss.gov.
Green Card Renewals vs US citizenship
We’ve had a few calls in recent weeks from people renewing expiring legal permanent residency cards. Some immigrants had their cards over twenty years. One lady had her card forty years. After some conversations, callers decided to pursue US citizenship instead of renewing the green cards. One family calling from New Hampshire will be able to go through the process at a local USCIS facility up there near where they live.
It must be that the fine weather having an influence on the romantic Irish among us because I’ve had an increase in calls from people who either got married or engaged in the past month. They were calling to seek information on applying for US legal status after marrying US citizens.
IPC Legal Clinic
Our next legal clinic will be at The Banshee, Tuesday June 4th starting at 6:30 pm. If readers have question on any of these topics, work visas or US citizenship, call or email me: Kieran@ipcboston.org
Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.