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IMMIGRATION & CITIZENSHIP BENEFITS FOR THE MILITARY, VETERANS, & FAMILY MEMBERS
In addition to the programs described here, there are other favorable provisions for active military, reservists, veterans, and their family members. Be sure to let us know if you or a relative has ever served in the military when seeking our advice.
PAROLE IN PLACE (PIP)
The PIP program can allow an undocumented family member to get a green card through the adjustment of status process. The program helps those family members who could get green cards if the only fact in their way is their lack of legal status. Qualifying spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents who must already be in the U.S. – are able to remain in the U.S. and in some cases immediately apply for a green card. PIP applies to relatives of both active duty and veteran members of the Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
The goal is to enable the military member or veteran to worry less about the immigration status of their family members. Parole in place is not automatic and may not be granted if the family member has a criminal conviction or other serious eligibility problems.
There are special provisions for naturalizing if you’re in the military or are a veteran. You can follow the standard procedures that apply to all green card holders or use fast-track provisions that apply only to the military.
- If you are serving, or served, during a recognized period of armed conflict – whether now or in the past – you can apply for citizenship without fees or a waiting period, and you don’t need to have a green card first.
- Those who have served in the military for at least a year, and have a green card, can also apply without paying a fee or waiting the normal three or five year period.
However, under these fast-track procedures, your citizenship can be revoked for bad behavior during the next five years, so it’s risky. You should carefully weigh these options and decide whether it’s better to pay the fee and go through the regular process so you’re not at risk of losing your citizenship.
MAVNI, for Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest is a military recruiting program mostly used by the Army that allows a small number of non-citizens who join the U.S. Armed Forces to skip the green card process altogether. They normally become U.S. citizens by the time they graduate from ten weeks of Basic Training, in return for their military service. You must enlist for a total of eight years, and must complete five years of honorable military service, or your citizenship will be revoked.
This is not a program for people abroad to apply to join the U.S. military. In most cases you must be in legal status in the U.S. for two years; if you’re here as a visitor you’re not eligible. Many visa categories are eligible: non-immigrant categories E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U OR V, asylees, refugees, DACAs, and those with Temporary Protected Status.
To qualify, you must be either a specified health care professional or a person who speaks certain strategic languages including Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Burmese, Cebuano, Cambodian-Khmer, Chinese, Czech, French (with citizenship from an African Country), Georgian, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Malay, Malayalam, Moro (Tausug/Maranao/Maguindanao), Nepalese, Pashto, Persian Dari,
Persian Farsi, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Sindhi, Serbo-Croatian, Singhalese, Somali, Swahili, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Turkmen, Urdu (with citizenship from Pakistan or Afghanistan), Uzbek, Yoruba. Note that Spanish is not one of the languages.
- For more information on the MAVNI language program go to www.goarmy.com/info/mavni
- If interested in the MAVNI Health Care Professionals program please enter your information at the following website:
The health care professions are:
Regular Army (Active Duty): General Dentist, Comprehensive Dentist, Oral Surgeon, Pediatrician, Psychiatrist, Internal Medicine, Family Practice, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Nuclear Science Officer, Entomologist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist
Army Reserve: General Dentist, Comprehensive Dentist, Prosthodontist, Oral Surgeon, Preventive Medicine, Urologist, Anesthesiologist, Ophthalmologist, Otolaryngologist (ENT), Psychiatrist, Family Physician, General Surgeon, Thoracic Surgeon, Orthopedic Surgeon, Emergency Medicine, Entomologist, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Physician Assistant, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner