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August 26, 2015

Pentagon Reinstates Program Offering Immigrants with Special Skills a Quicker Path to Citizenship

According to a report in The New York Times, the Pentagon has recently reinstated Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, a program designed to recruit legal immigrants with special language and medical skills into the armed forces. The program, which will enlist 1,500 recruits each year for two years, is open to immigrants who have temporary visas and would otherwise be ineligible to enlist in the military. Importantly, the program will also allow recruits to rapidly naturalize as U.S. citizens, usually after completing 10 weeks of basic training, thereby circumventing a process that usually takes several years for most temporary visa holders.

In restarting the program, the Pentagon aims to recruit dentists, surgeons, psychology professionals and native speakers of 44 languages. To qualify, applicants must have been living in the United States for at least two years in legal status, be high school graduates, and pass an entrance exam. Health care professionals must enlist as officers and serve either three years of active duty or six years in the Reserves. Immigrants who enlist on account of language skills must serve at least four years of active duty. Recruits who fail to serve their term may lose their citizenship.

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About this Author

Nataliya Binshteyn, Immigration Attorney, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm

Nataliya Binshteyn focuses her practice on global business immigration matters. Her experience includes representing political asylum applicants in immigration proceedings before Asylum Officers and Immigration Judges. Nataliya has experience conducting client interviews, researching country conditions and applicable laws, and soliciting expert testimony as well as drafting affidavits and immigration documents for filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.