MAVNI Program: Direct U.S. Citizenship Without Green Card

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The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program was renewed through May 2015. This program allows certain branches of the U.S. military to hire legal non-immigrants, such as international students, with specialized skills. This could lead to directly earning U.S. citizenship.




For foreign nationals to earn U.S. citizenship, first they have to obtain permanent resident status. With the MAVNI program, this is the opportunity to skip right to the citizenship!

This is a pilot program, meaning it’s being tested and not permanent as of right now. Each year it is decided to renew the program or not. Fortunately, it was renewed through September 2016.

The U.S. military branches of the Army, Navy, and Air Force are looking for people with specialized skills, such as:

  • physicians
  • nurses
  • experts in language with associated cultural backgrounds

Many international students provide the specialized skill of language and cultural backgrounds. The program is looking for people who are fluent in one of the following languages:

MAVNI languages new international student voice magazine

Individuals must be able to demonstrate language proficiency in one of these languages, as well as English.

Individuals looking to apply under this category of being an expert in a language would have to enlist in the U.S. military for four years.


1. You must be in one of the following categories

  • asylee, refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • non-immigrant categories: E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V

2. You must have been in valid status in one of the above categories for at least two years immediately prior to the enlistment date. It doesn’t have to be in the same category. So in other words, you have to be on a legal non-immigrant status for at least two years before enlisting.

3. Within those two years on being on a non-immigrant visa, you must not have had any single absence from the United States of more than 90 days.

4. You are still eligible to apply even if you have a pending application for adjustment of status to permanent residence. This is the case for many H-1B workers who are filing for permanent residency through employment.

How to Apply

Applicants will have to go through background checks, security screenings, and meet all the other general requirements of becoming a U.S. citizen.

You will have to share your passport, I-94 card, I-797 form, your employment authorization document, or other government issued documents proving your legal presence in the United States.

You can visit a local military branch office to apply or request more information online:

Click here to request a MANVI information packet

Click here to view the MANVI information PDF

Simranpreet Lamba,29, is one of a few Sikhs serving in the U.S. Army. He gained exemption allowing him to keep his beard and wear a camouflage turban. He enlisted through the MANVI program and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Read more about him here. Photograph courtesy of



122 thoughts on “MAVNI Program: Direct U.S. Citizenship Without Green Card

  1. There seemed to be some controversy about this option on our Facebook page. Some felt it was taking advantage of international students, while others thought it gave them an opportunity to fulfill their dreams. We would love to hear more thoughts about it!

  2. I think it is a good opportunity for people who entered the country legally to begin with and if they want to serve and have the skills needed by the U.S. Military i don’t see anything wrong with them being in the Armed Forces.

  3. Hello Sir/ Madam,

    My name is Indresh Venkatarayappa. I am a practicing orthopaedic surgeon specializing in orthopaedic trauma. I am interested in joining the military through the MAVNI program. I am a Citizen of India and currently working in the United States on H1B visa.
    Please let me my eligibility at the earliest.

    Many Thanks,

    1. Hi Indresh,

      Please follow this link: and complete the form to get an information packet. They will send you more information and will probably follow up with you via email or phone.

      I would also recommend visiting a local army office. If you Google “U.S. Army Recruiting Station” along with the current city you’re residing, the nearest location should show.

      I hope this helps! Any other questions please let me know.

      1. Sir ccircosta,

        Is it available also to international countries who wished to serve the army? I am a filipino and one of my native language is included. I am currently working in Singapore as a nurse and I would like to be enlisted. It is my dream to become us air force but due to age reasons before I did not met its requirements. I’m now 26yrs old by the way and still interested. I hope you can help. Thanks

        1. im filipino as well and it states in the requirement that you have to be in the US for at least 2 years in any of the non-immigrant status. I am on student visa here in the US and thinking of enlisting, buti na lang may tagalog haha.

    1. Hi Noel. If you have been on a legal status in the U.S. for at least two years you are one step closer to applying for MAVNI. I would suggest contacting your local U.S. Military recruitment office. A simple Google search will help you find it so you can ask further questions.

  4. So what i cant understand is why people are going throw the red tape and getting all the agro, and after all this they are willing to put down their life on the line.. So Americans are never satisfied. Always forgetting who the are and where they came from.


    1. Hi Vasu! One of the requirements to qualify for MAVNI is residing in the U.S. for at least two years. If you wait a little longer and meet the other qualifications you will be able to apply. The program was extended to the year 2016.

  5. I’m a filipino citizen and currently living in the Philippines. I’m taking up BS Marine Transportation here and hopefully to finish my studies by march 2015. I would like to join the US Navy through this MAVNI Program. Need some help from you because I really wanted to join the US Navy. Thanks!

    1. Hi Thea! Thanks for your message. One of the requirements of applying through MAVNI is that you need to reside in the United States for at least two years. Unfortunately, residing out of the country means you can’t apply through this program.

  6. Good day sir! i am from Philippines working as a emergency medical technician and a nurse in a emergency medical services.These is a dream come true for me to be a US military..My family was there in U.S but I am not able to join them because I am over 21 yrs old. Now I am doing this because this is my dream and I know I can get it. Hope for your reply.thank you sir! godbless.. this is my email..

    1. Thanks for your message Joseph! One of the requirements of applying through MAVNI is that you need to reside in the United States for at least two years. Unfortunately, residing out of the country means you can’t join the military through this program.

  7. I hear you have to take an test to be admitted? AZVAB? is it hard? who can take it? what score do I need? please tell me if there is a page with that information. Thank you

  8. I want to know if a person with the following criteria:A Young Male Physician and has language proficiency in Igbo and French and has interest in serving in US military with a valid visiting(B1-B2) US visa,didn’t meet the rest of the criteria.Can he be able to apply for Mavni program?

  9. I’ve been in the states for nearly 11 years and have gone through so much paper work and lawyers and money out of my pockets that i just now find my situation hilarious. I’m 24 years old leaving in New York city not going to school and just working, living paycheck to paycheck. I just want this nightmare to end so i can go back to school and figure out my next move. i don’t wanna be doing manual labor for the rest of my life. This MAVNI program sounds great and i am desperate BUT IS JOINING THE FORCE NECESSARY??? Especially for those of us who do not see that in our future.

    1. I can completely understand your situation. The immigration process is a long, tiring road to take. Enlisting in the U.S. Military through MAVNI is a great way to earn U.S. citizenship, but the whole point of earning the citizenship means serving the country. I am not an immigration attorney and I do not know what your current status in the U.S. is, but if you email me directly I can give you the name of a quality immigration attorney who does free consultations so you don’t have to spend more money. My email is

  10. Hello,

    I am the above named person. I entered United State in April 2013 with an M VISA, changed my visa status to F1 and since then been in USA i will be 2years in April 2015. Am i eligible for this program as well?

    Please furnish with any information that might help me.

    Thanking your for your anticipated response.

    1. To our understanding, as long as you have been in the United States for two years and always on a legal status (and you meet the other requirements) you can apply. Just this past September it was approved that even DACA individuals can apply for MAVNI. These are individuals who were brought to the country under the age of 16 and do not have a legal status. So I think you would be OK, but contact the local recruitment office near you to ask further questions. A simple google search will help you find the office.

  11. Iam young man who is 20 years old and Iam djiboutian,i speak arabic and english my mother language which is somali language and also english. i have tried many times to be one of the US navy but i did not get a chance to be one of them and i still intrested joining to them, in case of that i need your help. thanks alot

    1. Hello! In order to enlist through MAVNI, you need to live in the U.S. for at least 2 years on a legal status or registered for DACA (deferred action). If you think you qualify I would find your local U.S. Military recruitment office.

  12. hello sir/mam,
    I’m a Filipino, can speak cebuano/visaya/tagalog. Im working at Aludied qatar usaf base under dyncorp corp. as a fuel tech. its always been my dream to be on us military. Any one can help me out?

    1. Hello Ferd! In order to enlist through the U.S. Military through MAVNI you need to live in the U.S. for at least two years on a legal status or be approved for DACA (Deferred Action).

    1. Hi Kapil! Thanks for your message. We have never read anything about an age limit regarding the MAVNI program. If you do have a question about age we suggest contacting your local U.S. Military recruitment office.

  13. Hi,
    I am a female dental technician with almost 4 years experience. I just came into the country with B1/B2 visa. Can I apply to the US military.
    I will like to serve in the force if qualified.

    1. Usually on this type of visa you’re allowed to stay in the U.S. anywhere from 3-6 months. To qualify for MAVNI you need to reside in the country for at least 2 years.

    1. Thanks for your comment! In order to qualify you need to live in the United States for at least two years on a legal status or be registered under DACA (deferred action).

  14. Hello Sir/Mam
    I’m Thai ( female) marriage with US citizen, do I still have to join this program if I have US permanent resident or I just apply direct to Military? And Which’s website or e-mail that I have to apply to and for more details that I question? Any phone number to contact please? Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Paris,

      Thanks for your question! If you have permanent resident status you should be able to join the U.S. Military without going through the MAVNI program. All permanent residents (green card holders) can join. You should be able to contact your nearest U.S. Military recruitment office.

  15. Can Software Engineers and those with computer programming skills apply via the skills category or is this just for physicians and nurses

  16. Hi Sir
    I need your exact answer to my question. Will militarians who joined US Army be sent to fight to other countries where there are war?
    Thank you for your answer

    1. Hi Malika,

      That is a great question and unfortunately, we do not know the answer. I would suggest contacting your nearest U.S. Military recruitment office. We will soon post online an article we did with the 2012 solider of the year who joined the military through MAVNI. You can read more about his personal experience.

  17. Hi,

    Understand that the MAVNI program has been extended up to 2016. Would it still be May or the end of 2016? Reason, mid 2016 will be my 2nd year here in the US (legal).

    What’s the age limit for the special language position?

    Thank you and God Bless

    1. Hi Mark,

      Good question! The 2016 fiscal year for the U.S. Government means it begins October 1, 2015 and will end September 30, 2016.

      As far as we know there is not an age limit to join the military through MAVNI, but we are not sure. That would be a good question for your local U.S. Military recruitment office.

  18. Hi,

    I live in US exactly 2years today I want to join MAVNI. I was in b2 visa for a year and F1 visa for a year am I qualified to enlist? Thanks;)

    1. Hi KJM,

      That is a good question! We do not see the B2 visa in the list of eligible non-immigrant visas. However, please check with your local U.S. Military recruitment office.

      We think as long as you were on a valid visa in the U.S. for two years, you should be OK. But please double check with the recruitment office.

    1. Hi Mila,

      It depends on if you meet the basic requirements of MAVNI. Please see the article above to make sure you qualify. If you think so, please contact your local U.S. Military recruitment office. Good luck!

  19. Sir,
    I’m presently servin in Indian Armed Forces. But i really feel I’ve something more in me then I’m doing here. I’m good with BENGALI n HINDI. So am I eligible to apply MAVNI prog.

    1. Hi Suman,

      In order to be eligible to join the U.S. Military through MAVNI you need to be on a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa for minimally two years and reside in the U.S. Please see the requirements above for more details. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for your question! Unfortunately, we do not know the answer. There may be some type of physical applicants need to pass, but we are not sure. We would suggest contacting your local U.S. Military recruiting office.

  20. Hello sir/Madam,
    I live in India and i am a graduate student and i want to join us military .So, please give a detail approach to join in us army force.


    1. Hi Raghu,

      Thanks for your message! To be eligible you need to reside in the U.S. for at least 2 years on a valid non-immigrant visa. Please read the article above more carefully on the minimum requirements. Good luck!

  21. hi i am solomon donkor and have my HND CERTIFICATE in BUILIDING TECHNOLOGY. I really wont to work with the US ARMY. But i ghana now and i have not been to the states before. is there no means for me too

    1. Unfortunately, in order to join the U.S. Military through MAVNI you need to reside in the U.S. for at least 2 years and be on a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa.

  22. Hello, im currently on TPS. Ive been here since 1992.My place of birth was in Honduraa. Im 24 years old, i practice as a Paramedic in Texas. I am also weeks away from obtaining an RN license. I am really greatful to this country and would like to be of service. Am i eligible for this program?

    1. Hi Brian,

      Yes! Those who are under TPS are eligible to apply for the U.S. Military through MAVNI. I would suggest contacting your local U.S. Military recruitment office for more details. Thank you for your interest in serving the U.S.! 🙂 Good luck!

    1. Hi Ibro,

      To join the U.S. Military through MAVNI you need to reside in the U.S. for at least 2 years on a valid non-immigrant visa and speak one of the preferred languages. Please read the article above more carefully. Good luck!

  23. Hi i am from nepal . I have been living in US for last 6 years. my opt just expired. I am in the process of applying for Masters . Can I just apply for MAVNI now Instead of going to masters school.

    1. Hi Renu,

      You have to reside in the U.S. for at least two years while being on a VALID non-immigrant visa. If your OPT just expired, you have 60 days to get a new visa or leave the country.

      If you speak one of the preferred languages and you are still on a valid non-immigrant visa (you are still within the 60 days) then I would say yes, contact your local U.S. Military recruitment office for more details if you would like to join rather than going to grad school.

  24. Hello!
    I live in US( California) last 2 years, I speak Russian, Armenian and I was physician in Russian. I’m interested MAVNI program, but I already 35 years old. Is it available, can you help me? Thank you!

    1. Hi Vage,

      From our research we haven’t seen any restriction on the age limit of joining the U.S. Military through MAVNI. However, I would suggest contacting your local U.S. Military recruitment office to see if there is an age limit. Good luck!

      1. Thank you! I was my local recruitment office ( Orange County,CA), they said program MAVNI for persons until 35 y.old.

  25. I am doing my fellowship in psychiatrist. I am in US for 4 years on J1 visa and wanted to apply US Air Force/ US Navy. Will I be eligible for MAVNI program. And how much time will it take to U.S. Citizenship after making the application through MAVNI if i apply by May 2015

    1. Hi Raghavan,

      If you read the above article, you need to meet the following requirements:

      1. resided in the U.S. for at least 2 years on a valid non-immigrant visa (you seem to qualify, resided for 4 years on a J-1 visa)

      2. Speak one of the preferred languages (see above)

      If you meet the requirements of becoming a U.S. Citizen (good English skills and good moral character), as soon as you complete training you’ll be sworn in as a citizen.

  26. Hi. Im Andrii and im from Ukraine. I leave in us like 7 years and now i have green card for 1.5 years. I hear that us now hiring ukrainian speaking people. Is it true?
    I would like to work for goverment. Becouse now im to angry to Putin. All my family in Ukraine.
    I have my wife with me.
    Where i can call or where i can go? My location in Staten island NY

    1. Hi Andrii,

      If you are a U.S. permanent resident, you can join the U.S. Military. It doesn’t have to be through the MAVNI program. Please contact your local U.S. Military recruitment office!

  27. Hi,
    I lived in the USA from March 2002 to July 2004 under an H4 visa. I went back to the Philippines after my visa expired. It says there that people who are fluent in Tagalog can join the program. Can you please advise? Thanks

    1. Hi Veanne,

      Thanks for your message! Unfortunately, you need to be currently in the U.S. to apply for MAVNI. You meet the other requirements, but you still need to be in the U.S. to apply. I’m very sorry to share this news.

  28. my friend was on a studant visa for a few years until it ran out and has stayed here since then, about 6 years past. He came from Croacia and speaks it fluantly. He has worked here and paid taxes the whiole time. Is he eligable for this program? Thanks

  29. Hello! I’m graduate student in U.S. I have F1 visa, and I came to US aug.2014. If I lived here 7 month, can’t I apply? Before enlisting, I have to live here at least two years?
    If so, I have to apply next year August. Right? Do you have any planned to renew this program next year?

    I expext to good news from you.

    Thanks in advance.

  30. How many years should a international student study in the USA in order to join the US military? And after how many years can the student join military colleges and universities like USAFA and USMA after being a US militant?

  31. Hi there,

    Can the international student immediately join Military institutions like USAFA and USMA after completing the military training? If no, when can they join those kinds of institutions?

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  33. Hello,

    Thank you for sharing this information. I have a question. When you apply under the program will you be enlisted as an active soldier?

  34. Hello there,

    I’m a student at Houston Community College, I’m almost done with paramedic school, is it possible to apply to MAVNI program being a paramedic? It is a healthcare profession. Thanks for the reply!

    David Gonzalez

  35. I am Pramod KC from Nepal.I am a graduate student of Computer science. I am here in the United States Of America since 8 months in Student visa.
    As soon as my stay in US will reach 2 years I am very persistent to apply American Army.
    My brother is also in American army since 2 years, and my brother in law is also in american army since 5 years, that is how my interest developed to join US Army, may be I might have inspired by them. So can you please tell me weather you have special recruiting facilities for IT experts or not?

  36. Hello,
    I finished my Masters and currently on OPT. I have applied for MAVNI in the past two times. Once in 2010 and other in 2013. Unfortunately, in 2010 the law closed, i had already finished my ASVAB, PHYSICALS, MEDICALS, and LANGUAGE TEST. In 2013 i had finished my ASVAB, but i went out of status with my school, and therefore i could not continue. Now i have a OPT and everything is ok. Can i rejoin MAVNI?

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  38. Hi i have been an asylee for some years and currently studying to be a mental health nurse practitoner and I am wondering how to get started with the process of applying for the mavni program. I have one more year left of school as I will be graduating with my masters in nursing this in may 2015. How do I get this process started how do I know if an area is recruiting mavni candidates .


  39. I’m a Vietnamese. How can I join the program if I’m just fluent in Chinese. My mother language isn’t Chinese. Thank youbso much

  40. Hi, my name is Alex, 26. I’m in the US since 2010, and i lost my status in 2012/2013. Can i still join MAVNI being without status now? Thank you.

  41. I am from Haiti and I am 29 years old. I am a student Visa. I speak creole, french, English. I had some Philosophy courses in my country…and I have one year two months in the US. When I will have 2 years here. Will I be able to Apply for this program?

  42. Hello,

    I Am Brazilian born, have been on a f-1 status for the past 7 years. I am currently fulfilling my OPT allowed work permit. How long prior to expiration can I wait until I enlist? Can I also enter officer school after basic training?

    Besides what is written above, is there any other requirements I must meet?
    I also have completed a degree is marketing and psychology for my undergrad.

  43. Was wondering if MAVNI is accepting plastic surgeons as I did not see plastic surgery in the list of medical professions.



  44. Hello Everyone-

    I have a question for MAVNI, I applied for G845 recently through a recruiter and would like to see anyone from Illinois/New York Area. Im in illinois but applie dthorugh recruiter from New York.

    Thank you

  45. Hello im an international student in canada right now .and im going to apply for a university in us, and study there, so I can stay for 2 year in us, but is there any garanty that after that 2 year I steal can join the manvi program?
    I can speak persian (farsi)

  46. Hello im an international student in canada right now .and im going to apply for a university in us, and study there, so I can stay for 2 year in us, but is there any garanty that after that 2 year I steal can join the manvi program?
    I can speak persian (farsi)

  47. I am a BSN RN working in TX under a student permit. Sadly, I speak Spanish… I wonder if there are any possibilities of me joining the military through MAVNI

  48. Will a person still be permitted to apply for MAVNI if they had served a foreign Police Force/Armed Forces… If so, what are the qualifications?

  49. Anyone who is wondering about the age limit, yes unfortunately there is one, you have to be between 17 and 34 years old.

  50. Hi I’m Jace.. I live to the United States 5 years already and I’m looking forward to join on army.. I came here by K 2 visa. Some what my ex stepfather did not petition me all the way he abuse me.. And now I’m leaving with my mom she just recently applied for my petition. Is there any way I can join to this program and and I speak my native language tagalog and it’s listed on here.

  51. Hello,

    My name is Rumi. I am interested in the MAVNI Program. I am a female international student who speaks Chinese Mandarin, and will be graduating from an accredited Nursing School in May 2015 with Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I have been living in the US since 2007. Am I eligible to apply? And where should I go to apply for it? How long is the applying process and how long should I wait to hear back from them? Should I just tell the office that I am looking to apply for the MAVNI Program? Please advise.

    Is there a height and weight requirement for this program? As I am about 5’1” and around 100 lbs.


  52. Hi, I am a Vietnamese student studying in the U.S. I have been living here for 6 years continuously with a F-1 visa status. I love this country and I want to serve. Is there any way for me to join this program or the military?
    Thank you!

  53. is mavni program available for those with student visa and how is it different from regular enlistment by foreigner with green mavni have limited scope,and what if a person wants to join special forces through mavni,does he have a permission to do that.

  54. Hi

    I am in US from last 15 days doing my post graduation here in Boston. I have completed my Masters in Pharmacology from India and 3 years of work experience. Please confirm if I can apply for MAVNI 2015.

    Shikha Malik

  55. Hi, this is santosh. I have been living in usa about 2+ years and i would like to join the army and my status is opt. I saw on website they mentioned the physicians, nurses and language skilled persons only but unfortunately my language(Telugu) is not mentioned in the list. so i would like to know that is there any way to join the army. I am an engineering graduate.

  56. hi, im a filipino and i want to join the us army…….am i still eligible to enlist if i go there in the us next year?

  57. Greetings!

    I”m hold RN license graduated from four years university in the U.S.
    I have a question:
    I graduated the U.S. school of Nursing only with Higher Learning Comission (HLC) without CCNE or ACEN accredits.

    To apply for your MAVNI program. Is it possible?

    Thank you,


  58. Hi my name is royce im from Africa i speak arabic and Morocan and french fluent ive been here in the for 9 mounths i enter the us illegaly and im doing my political asylum case im i eligible to join the us military or the aire forces …

  59. Hi I just recently graduated with a bachelor’s in criminal justice, I’m a DACA recipient and I would like to join the Army as well. Unfortunately, due to my status I’m not able to apply for any job, but what a better way to serve this country through the Army. Please help me find more info thanks!

  60. Hello. I just graduated university with a bachelor’s in Engineering as an international student and currently looking for a job with a work permit from USCIS. My question is if I enlist for army reserves (what I want), do I have to serve 4years as an active duty first before becoming a reservist? Because my recruiter didn’t mention the 4years active duty. Also I am an African but I speak fluent french. Thank you.

  61. Hello! I am a nursing student of DePaul University with F1 student visa. Since I will graduate in November, 2016, I want to ask if this program has a deadline.

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