MAVNI stands for “Military Accessions Vital To National Interest.” It is a program authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Defense that allows Military Recruiters to recruit certain legal aliens for service in the U.S. military who possess skill sets considered to be vital to national defense. Among those who would be eligible would be physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who possess what would be considered by the Secretary of Defense as critical skills. The program, launched in September 2012, will recruit up to 1,500 people per year, and will continue through May 15, 2014.
In order to be eligible for the MAVNI program, a foreign medical professional:
- Must be in one of the following categories at the time of enlistment: an asylee, refugee, in Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or in nonimmigrant categories E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V. It is important to note that individuals who are out of status or undocumented, visitors on B visas or the Visa Waiver Program, as well as those with serious criminal records, are ineligible.
- Must have been in valid status in one of the above-mentioned categories for at least two years immediately prior to the enlistment date, but it does not have to be the same category as the one held on the date of enlistment.
- If eligible on the basis of a nonimmigrant category at time of enlistment, must not have had any single absence from the United States of more than 90 days during the two year period immediately preceding the date of enlistment.
An applicant who is eligible per the sections listed above is not rendered ineligible by virtue of having a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence. In the specific case of a foreign physician or other medical professional with H nonimmigrant status (such as H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) at the time of filing a pending application for adjustment of status who has lost such status while his or her application for adjustment was pending, and who is otherwise eligible for enlistment under the MAVNI program, the military Service may on a case-by-case basis waive the requirement that they be in a status described in 1 above at the time of enlistment.
In the next article we will discuss specific qualifications for foreign healthcare professionals considering the MAVNI program, as well as the specific fields of medical/health practice that are eligible to apply.