Legal Status through the Military
Non-citizens have served in the United States military for decades. Today, about 5,000 green card holders enlist in the military each year, and the law recognizes the sacrifice that these individuals make. For this reason, the Secretary of Defense wanted to find a way to give back and has authorized the military services to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest.
As a result, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) recruiting program was created to allow legal non-citizens with in-demand skills to join the Army in exchange for expedited U.S. citizenship. MAVNI also offers eligible physicians an expedited pathway to U.S. citizenship in exchange for service as commissioned officers and physicians in the U.S. Army.
This limited pilot program will recruit up to 5,200 people in Fiscal Year 2016, and will continue through September 30, 2016. Since September 11, 2001, over 109,250 members of the Armed Forces have attained their citizenship by serving the United States.
The Program has many benefits, including: bypassing the green card process and gaining U.S. citizenship; attending high-quality training; earning a steady income with benefits for soldiers and their families; gaining leadership skills; and earning money for college.
Applicants must commit to a certain number of years to the military, and meet other proficiency requirements. Also, to be eligible for the program:
- Applicants must be in one of the following categories at the time of their enlistment:
- Non-immigrant categories E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U or V;
- Asylee , Refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS); or
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
- Applicants must legally reside in the United States for a minimum of two years prior to joining the Army (excluding DACA) without a single absence from the country for longer than 90 days;
- Applicants must have a high school diploma and a qualifying score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT); and
- Must be 17-34 years old and be under 35 at the time of shipping to BCT.
The current languages being recruited are:
- French (with citizenship from an African Country)
- Haitian Creole
- Moro (Tausug/Maranao/Maguindanao)
- Persian Dari
- Persian Farsi
- Urdu (with citizenship from Pakistan or Afghanistan)
If you have any questions about the MAVNI program, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (973) 542-0200 or contact your nearest Army recruiting office. We also have trained staff to speak in Spanish and Gujarati.