Washington, DC (NAPSI) - Young men in theUnited States often find turning 18 can bring a number of opportunities. It also brings an important obligation-registering with Selective Service.

Registration is mandated by the federal government and is required in order to be eligible for college loans, federal jobs and more.

To help make the process more understandable, here are some key questions and answers.

Q. Who must register with the Selective Service and when must they register?

A. All young men, including immigrants, regardless of their status, are required to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Immigrants who arrive after their 18th birthday must register within 30 days of their arrival if younger than 26.

Q. In addition to being in compliance with the law, are there benefits to registering?

A. Proof of registration is required when applying for federal college loans and grants, including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Direct Stafford Loans/PLUS Loans, National Direct Student Loans, and College Work-Study.

Registration is also required for federal jobs, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday.

It is also necessary for jobs with many state and municipal governments as well as government contractors. Some states even require it when applying for a driver’s license.

Q. Can failing to register bring penalties?

A. Yes. A man who fails to register may, if prosecuted and convicted, face a fine of up to $250,000 and/or a prison term of up to five years.

Q. Is registration difficult or complicated?

A. Over the past few years, registration has become increasingly convenient.

Many find the easiest and fastest way to register is to register online at www.sss.gov. However, a valid Social Security Number is required for online registration. Those who do not have a Social Security Number must register at a U.S. post office.

Selective Service “mail-back” registration forms are available at any U.S. post office. Those living overseas may register at any U.S. Embassy or consular office.

It is also possible to register when applying for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA form). Simply check “Register Me” on Box #22 of the form. In addition, some high schools have a staff member or teacher appointed as a Selective Service Registrar who can assist with the registration process.

To learn more, visit www.sss.gov.