The United States Army is offering several hundred eligible immigrants with specialized skills in languages or other professional backgrounds the opportunity for an accelerated path to U.S. citizenship in return for service in uniform.
According to The Associated Press, the Military Accession Vital to the National Interest, or MANVI, was created by the Army in 2009 on a one-year trial basis. The program recruited 789 soldiers with specialized language skills and 143 healthcare professionals. The program re-opened in September 2012 and enlisted three physicians, 19 dentists and 451 linguists who speak 28 different languages. Linguists should be fluent in dozens of languages, including Czech, Albanian, Uzbek, Yoruba, Arabic and Farsi.
Immigrants have chosen to offer services to the Army in return for U.S. citizenship for many years, but the new program will speed up the process. Immigrants who qualify and agree to a specified number of years, which varies, can become citizens within two weeks of putting on a uniform, according to Army officials who spoke with The Associated Press.
“There are many qualifications for this program,” Leslie Ann Sully, Army recruiting spokeswoman, told the source. “It’s not for everyone. The positions, and languages we are looking for, can change from time to time.”
To qualify for the program, immigrants must have lived in the United States for two years, pass all security checks, score well on Army exams and commit to serve for at least four years. People on the program are typically inactive, although there is a possibility to be recalled to full-time duty.
All individuals who join the program have the option to choose the military as a career path if they intend to invest 20 years of service until retirement.