Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI)
Although it isn’t a military secret per se, MAVNI is a small and very exclusive program that benefits immigrants and the U.S. military. Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) is a special recruiting program that may be available to some immigrants interested in joining the U.S. military. Generally, immigrants must be permanent residents to join the military (see Military Enlistment Requirements); once enlisted these green card soldiers can take advantage of expedited citizenship. However, MAVNI allows certain non-citizens in the United States to join the military and thereby gain eligibility for U.S. citizenship without first having to go through the lengthy process of obtaining a green card. The MAVNI program began in 2008 and remains a pilot program with a strict cap of 1,500 participants. Recently, the program was extended through fiscal year 2016 (September 30, 2016).
Soldiers who enlist in the Army through the MAVNI program are able to earn their Citizenship in less than a year. MAVNI’s are able to transition from non-immigrant visa or asylee / refugee status, bypassing the Green Card process directly to US Citizen.
In most cases, participants will become Naturalized Citizens by the time they graduate from Basic Combat Training, or accept a commission as an Army Officer.
The Army MAVNI Program
The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program authorizes each branch of the Military, to recruit certain legal aliens, whose skills are considered to be VITAL to National interest.
Click here to read about the programs from the Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
Those holding critical skills – linguistics, physicians, and nurses, who are in the U.S. on a temporary visa, are allowed to enlist or commission into the into the US Army.
The program is currently closed for FY 2016.
FY 2016, the program is open to all Recruiting Centers, and there are currently less than 600 slots remaining. Currently, we have no information on the FY 2017 MAVNI Program.
Do You Qualify?
Currently, there are eleven criteria that must be met in order to qualify for the Army MAVNI Program:
- Age: Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 35. Active Duty applicants must depart for training prior to their 35th birthday. Reserve applicants must access before age 35. (Foreign birth certificates must be translated).
- Citizenship: Be a legal, non-immigrant alien, lawfully admitted and permitted to be in the U.S. as verified by documentation from Homeland Security.
- Applicants must be either an Asylee or a Refugee. An Asylee is defined as a person who applied for and was granted asylum in the U.S, while a Refugee is defined as someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons.
- Or applicants must be in a non-immigrant legal status category of one of the following: E-1, E-2, E-3, F-1, F-2, F-3, H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, H-4, I, J-1, J-2, K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4, L-1, L-2, M-1, M-2, M-3, O-1, O-2, O-3, P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, Q-1, Q-2, Q-3, R-1, R-2, S-5, S-6, S-7, T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, TC, TD, TN, U, U-1, U-2-, U-3, U-4, V-1, V-2, V-3.
- Legal Status: Must have had legal status for at least the last two years with no single absence of more than 90 days from U.S. during the two-year period immediately preceding the date of enlistment. Applicants will provide the following documents to prove legal status; I94 card, I797, Ds2019, IAP66, I20, I766 or other valid unexpired employment authorization issued by DHS.
- Name: Applicants will enlist using the name listed on their immigration documents IAW AR 601-210 chapter 2.
- SSN: Will be required for all applicants.
- Education: Must be a current high school senior, high school graduate, or higher.
- Trainability: Must score a 50 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
- Physical: Must be able to meet procurement physical fitness standards. Medical waivers are authorized, however, drug and alcohol waivers are not.
- Misconduct: No waivers for misconduct will be authorized
- Affiliation: Applicants cannot have a current or remaining affiliation with another country’s Armed Forces which includes Reserve or Guard commitments.
- Language: The program is limited to applicants who pass the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) at the 2/2 level or higher, in both speaking and listening. Accepted languages:
Albanian, Amharic, Arabic Algerian, Arabic Modern Standard, Arabic Iraqi, Arabic Egyptian, Arabic Jordanian, Arabic Levantine, Arabic Libyan, Arabic Maghrebi, Arabic Syrian, Arabic Palestinian, Arabic Sudanese, Arabic Moroccan, Arabic Yemeni, Azerbaijani, Arabic Lebanese, Arabic Tunisian, Bengali, Burmese, Cambodian-Khmer, Cebuano, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Czech, French, Georgian, Haitian-Creole, Hausa, Hindi, Hungarian, Igbo, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish-Kurmanji, Kurdish-Sorani, Lao, Malay, Malayalam, Moro, Nepalese, Pashto-Afghan, Persian Dari, Persian Farsi, Polish, Portuguese Brazilian, Portuguese European, Punjabi, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Sindhi, Somali, Swahili, Sinhalese, Tagalog, Tadjik, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Turkmen, Urdu, Uzbek, Yoruba.
How To Apply For The MAVNI Program?
There are two primary types of applications, Health Care Professionals, and the Language Program. Applicants interested in the Army Health Care Program must enter their information into a central collection database prior to any interview process, see links below:
- Health Care Professionals – http://www.goarmy.com/info/mavni/healthcare
- Language Program – http://www.goarmy.com/info/mavni
Become A US Citizen In One Year
Upon completion of Basic Training, you qualify to apply for naturalization. For most military applicants, the process takes less than six months, and sometimes can be completed in nine or 10 weeks. Sometimes a delay in a background check can slow the process.
All aspects of the naturalization process, including applications, interviews, and ceremonies are available overseas at all military installations here and abroad.