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U.S. Army offers expedited citizenship to qualifying applicants

Most immigrants to Miami and across the country need to wait years if their goal is United States citizenship. Currently, there is a pilot program available to a select number of qualifying immigrants, which may dramatically expedite citizenship. The program, called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), is a recruiting incentive offered by the U.S. Army. The rules surrounding MAVNI include the following:

Certain non-citizens or those not carrying a green card may apply – generally, enlistees must have lawful permanent residence before joining the military. Qualifying immigrants may be refugees or asylees; those under Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; or temporary nonimmigrants who fall under certain categories. Except for those under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, applicants must have legally lived in the U.S. at least two years and have no absences from the country lasting more than 90 days. They will also need to have a high school diploma, have passed a proficiency test in their native language and qualify on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.

If successful, applicants may acquire citizenship within six months and, in some cases, after finishing basic training. There is a cap of 1,500 participants per year, and successful applicants must fulfill contractual obligations to serve in active duty or the reserves for several years.

One of the goals of MAVNI is to integrate soldiers with diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds. Officials also hope to include more interpreters and medical professionals in the military. The belief is that foreign-born enlistees can foster more understanding among enlistees and provide an option for a fast track to citizenship for immigrants who qualify.

Source: Jewish Link of New Jersey, "Special Benefits for Immigrants Who Enroll in the U.S. Military," Michael J. Wildes, Esq., Oct. 29, 2015

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