What is MAVNI? Information for Designated School Officials

Note: The Department of Defense is not currently accepting MAVNI applications for FY 17 while it is revising its MAVNI implementation plan. Once it begins to accept enlistments, SEVP will provide additional information at that time.

Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) allows certain non-citizens who are legally present in the United States to join the U.S. military and apply immediately for U.S. citizenship using Form N-400, “Application for Naturalization,” without first obtaining lawful permanent residence. The program is only available to legal aliens holding critical skills—physicians, nurses and experts in certain languages with associated cultural backgrounds.

F and M students who meet the requirements may apply for MAVNI. Designated school officials (DSOs) should be aware of the program to help participating students make the transition from F or M student to naturalization applicant.

DSOs need to know:

  • When to terminate a MAVNI participant’s SEVIS record
  • What to do if a MAVNI applicant does not pass basic training and wants to come back to school
  • What to do if a student on optional practical training (OPT) enlists in MAVNI

To learn more about MAVNI, access F and M Students and MAVNI: A Guide for Designated School Officials.

Deferred Action and MAVNI Participants: Options for MAVNI Enlistees Experiencing Delays in Reporting to Basic Training

Current MAVNI enlistees in the Department of Defense’s Delayed Entry Program may experience delays reporting to basic training and may consequently fall out of nonimmigrant status. Such MAVNI enlistees and their family members may be eligible to apply for deferred action from USCIS to remain in the United States.

When USCIS grants a person deferred action, the Department of Homeland Security considers that person to be lawfully present in the United States for the period deferred action is in effect. Deferred action can cover the period when a MAVNI enlistee is no longer able to maintain student status, but not yet eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship which occurs at the conclusion of the basic training period. A person benefiting from deferred action may also apply for a work authorization.

To request deferred action, a MAVNI enlistee must submit documentation to the USCIS office with jurisdiction associated with their place of residence. To learn more about deferred action, visit USCIS: Discretionary Options for Military.

If former students who are participating in MAVNI have questions about their options, please refer them to their Department of Defense recruiter.


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