Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) Recruitment and Expedited Citizenship

What is the MAVNI Citizenship program?

The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program allows for certain eligible noncitizens who are legally present in the United States to join a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces Military and immediately apply for U.S. Citizenship. This new program allows for legal aliens to apply using Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, without first obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident status. This program is only available to legal aliens with critical skills, such as physicians and nurses and experts in certain languages with associated cultural backgrounds.


President Obama visits troops


What are the eligibility requirements to be considered for MAVNI?

Currently, there are eleven criteria that must be met:

  1. Individuals must be in the U.S. in one of the following categories at the time of their enlistment:
    1. Nonimmigrant visa categories: E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U or V
    2. Asylee, refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  2. Must be legally present in the U.S. for a minimum of 2 years without a single extended absence over 90 days
  3. Must meet certain U.S. Army criteria to include:
    1. a High School diploma
    2. qualifying scores on Armed Forces Qualification Test
    3. passing proficiency test in native language


An applicant who is eligible under the above is not rendered ineligible by virtue of having a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.

In the specific case of an alien with H nonimmigrant status at the time of filing a pending application for adjustment of status who has lost such status while his or her application for adjustment was pending, and who is otherwise eligible for enlistment under the MAVNI program, the military Service may on a case-by-case basis waive the requirement that the non-citizen be an asylee, refugee or have TPS at the time of enlistment.

If you need assistance in assessing if MAVNI is the right program for you, please feel free to contact our Los Angeles immigration lawyer now for a free consultation.


immigration medical


What are the requirements for Health Care Professionals seeking MAVNI benefits?

Applicants must:

  • fill medical specialties where the service has a shortfall
  • meet all qualification criteria required for their medical specialty, and the criteria for foreign-trained DoD medical personnel recruited under other authorities
  • demonstrate proficiency in English
  • commit to at least 3 years of active duty, or six years in the Selected Reserve


What are the requirements for Enlisted Individuals with Special Language and Culture Backgrounds seeking MAVNI benefits?

To be eligible for MAVNI benefits, applicants with special language and culture backgrounds must:

  • possess specific language and culture capabilities in a language critical to DoD
  • demonstrate a language proficiency
  • meet all existing enlistment eligibility criteria
  • enlist for at least 4 years of active duty
  • (Services may add additional requirements)





How do I apply for immigration benefits under the MAVNI program?

You can apply for MAVNI based on your specific skill set. There are different applications depending on your abilities. If you need assistance with applying for MAVNI, please contact our experienced immigration and visa attorneys. We offer a confidential, free initial consultation.


US Passport with Flag


Is there an expedited review process for MAVNI applicants?

Service members are eligible for expedited citizenship under a July 2002 Executive Order, and the military services have worked closely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to streamline citizenship processing for service members. Since Sept. 11, 2001, over 78,000 (as of April 2012) members of the Armed Forces have attained their citizenship while serving this nation.


Can I leave the United States after I am accepted into the MAVNI program?

Once a person has enlisted in MAVNI, he no longer has “nonimmigrant intent.” If he or she leaves the U.S. before going to Basic Training, no re-entry into U.S. on temporary status will be allowed. There is nothing the military authorities can do to assist that person in returning to the U.S. legally. However, once a MAVNI enlistee has obtained U.S. citizenship and a U.S. passport, he or she may travel freely.


family immigration visa


Can my family members accompany me to the United States or obtain legal status in the U.S.?

If the enlistee has family members in a dependent immigration status, the family members are not eligible for any benefits until Basic Training has been completed. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not seek to deport the dependents of MAVNI soldiers who have entered the country legally. However, it is important to note that dependents who are in the U.S. illegally or have otherwise broken the law may be subject to arrest or deportation despite their relationship to the MAVNI soldier. The military and DHS want enlistees to feel that these dependents are safe from deportation during the basic training period.


Green Card Spouse


Can I sponsor my relatives for a Green Card in the U.S.?

You can sponsor your relatives for  U.S.  Green Card.  After the enlistee becomes a citizen, he or she may help any dependents obtain permanent residence through normal family-based immigration procedures. Citizenship is not acquired automatically by the dependents.

To learn more about sponsoring your family relatives for permanent resident status in the United States, read our section on family immigration or contact our Los Angeles lawyer today.

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