Understanding the Pilot MAVNI Program (Part 2)

May 26, 2017 4:26 pm
by David Jakeman

Part 1 of this blog series introduced the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program. The MAVNI program was introduced by the United States military last year as a way of recruiting highly-skilled immigrants into the military. The program is mutually beneficial. On the one hand, it helps the military fill needed skill-based positions that it deems “vital to the national interest.” On the other hand, it provides temporary immigrants the opportunity to become United States citizens through a process of expedited naturalization. This post will outline the eligibility criteria that an immigrant must meet to qualify for MAVNI. If an immigrant wishes to pursue the MAVNI program, he or she should first consult with an immigration attorney, like those at the Seattle immigration law firm of Beacon Immigration. Their experienced immigration lawyers can help you navigate this process.

General Eligibility Criteria
There are six main eligibility criteria for the MAVNI program.

  1. At the time of enlistment, the applicant must be in one of the following categories of immigration status:
    • Asylee, Refugee, Temporary Protected Status, or
    • One of the non-immigrant (temporary) categories: E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V
  2. For at least two years immediately prior to the applicant’s enlistment date, he or she must have been in valid status in one of the categories listed under requirement 1. However, it does not have to be the same category as the one held on the date of enlistment.
  3. If the applicant’s eligibility is based off one of the non-immigrant categories listed under requirement 1, he or she must not have had a single absence from the United States of more than 90 days during the two year period immediately preceding the date of enlistment.
  4. A pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence does not render an applicant ineligible who would otherwise be eligible under the first three requirements. The military will weigh applications on a case by case basis if the applicant was in H non-immigrant status at the time he submitted his application but then lost that status through adjustment at the time of enlistment, assuming he is otherwise eligible.
  5. The applicant must be either a licensed healthcare professional or posses certain language skills. This may depend on the respective branch of the military with which the applicant is applying. Obviously, certain needs and demands will fluctuate depending on the circumstances. Additional criteria specific to both subgroups will be provided below.
  6. The applicant must meet all the “normal” military requirements, including passing a background check, physical fitness, and good medical history.

Criteria for Healthcare Professionals
Four additional eligibility requirements apply to those entering the MAVNI program as a healthcare professional:

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

Criteria for Enlisted Individuals with Special Language and Culture Backgrounds
Three additional eligibility requirements apply to those entering the MAVNI program as a language/culture specialist:

  • Applicants must possess specific language and culture capabilities in a language critical to Department of Defense.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a language proficiency.
    • A list of the needed languages is provided below.
  • Applicants must enlist for at least 4 years of active duty.

Needed Languages
Albanian
Amharic
Arabic
Azerbaijani
Bengali
Burmee
Cambodian-Khmer
Cebuano
Chinese
Czech
French (limited to
individuals possessing
citizenship from a
African country)
Haitian-Creole
Hausa
Hindi
Hungarian
Igbo
Indonesian
Korean
Kurdish
Lao
Malay
Malayalam
Moro
Nepalese
Persian [Dari & Farsi]
Polish
Portuguese
Punjabi
Pushtu (aka Pashto)
Russia
Serbo-Croatian
Sindhi Sinhalese
Somai
Swahii
Tagalog
Tajik
Tamil
Thai
Turkish
Turkmen
Urdu
Uzbek
Yoruba