MAVNI, the Program most immigrants have been looking for!
“Wow, I wish I could have known about this program earlier” OR” If I had known about it I would have tried to see how I can qualify!” These are some of the responses that I get when talking to clients about this GREAT program called MAVNI. Having known those who have gone through this program and received their citizenship, I truly believe this is a program worth considering for many immigrants. I encounter many immigrants who would very easily qualify for MAVNI but have no idea it even exists. In fact, many immigrants are exactly what MAVNI recruiters are looking for but the sad part, is they don’t even know it. On that note, there’s an old biblical adage that says “My People Perish for lack of Knowledge.” Hoseah 4:6
So what exactly is MAVNI?
MAVNI stands for Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest. MAVN I is a recruiting program that allows legal noncitizens with in demand skills to join either active duty or the reserve section of the army. Reserve means civilian careers and in some cases the opportunity to finish attending college while serving. MAVNI has been in existence since 2008 and according to USCIS, more than 100,000 military members have been naturalized (i.e. gotten citizenship).
What are the Benefits?
Those who qualify under this program move directly from Nonimmigrant Status or Refugee/Asylee/TPS status to Citizenship. It has been reported that in most NOT all cases of qualifying individuals, the individual will become naturalized by the time they graduate from basic training in 10 weeks. Indeed the process is TRULY expedited for those who qualify, take it from someone who experienced the opposite (I got my citizenship about 11 years after coming to the U.S.) The other advantage of this program is that it is actually an exception of the general rule that for years and years required an immigrant to be a permanent legal resident (green card) in order to serve in the military and become a citizen by way of military service. I echo once again, that this program only requires you to be in legal immigrant status. Also, Remember that MAVNI does not require you to join active duty, rather you can choose to join the Reserve. With that said, any program that offers such great benefits is worth a look, hence continue reading this blog!
So, how do I qualify?
GENERALLY speaking, the requirements for this program are not so difficult to meet for many of the immigrants that I know and especially in perspective of the requirements for other comparable immigrant programs. That said, let’s get right to it.
To qualify you GENERALLY must be :
1) 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)
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
2) You must legally reside in the United States for a minimum of two years prior to joining the Army (excluding DACA) without a any absence from the country lasting longer than 90 days
3)You must have a high school diploma and a qualifying score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AQFT)
4) Be less than 35 years old
5) Be a Health Care Professional OR
6) Speak fluently the following languages as a second language: Swahili, Igbo, Yoruba, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cebuano, Cambodian-Khmer, Chinese, Czech, French (with citizenship from an African Country), Georgian, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Kashmiri, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Malay, Malayalam, Moro (Tausug/Maranao/Maguindanao), Nepalese, Pashto, Persian Dari, Persian Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Sindhi, Serbo-Croatian, Singhalese, Somali, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Urdu (with citizenship from Pakistan or Afghanistan), Uzbek.
Okay, so How do I apply?
MAVNI is a direct army program in the sense that the Army itself recruits people for this program. Like most things in life, “where there’s a will there’s a way.” To apply, GO to you local army recruitment office, ask to speak with the MAVNI department and you will be instructed on the application process and enlistment process.
How long with this program be available for?
Right now, MAVNI has only been extended until 2016. However, be encouraged in that I spoke to a MAVNI program representative just yesterday, who informed me that the army is always looking for MAVNI participants, at least while the program is still in effect!
So if you’ve read this far, chances are you either qualify or know someone who does. Spread the word to your friends and their friends’ friends of this awesome opportunity to expedite your journey to citizenship!
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