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DoD Announces Policy Changes to Lawful Permanent Residents and the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program

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Release No: NR-350-17
Oct. 13, 2017
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The Department of Defense announced today a change to policies regarding initial screening of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and qualifying service for the purposes of military naturalization. These changes reflect lessons learned from the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program. While the Department recognizes the value of expedited U.S. citizenship achieved through military service, it is in the national interest to ensure all current and prospective service members complete security and suitability screening prior to naturalization. 

On October 13, 2017 DoD authorized a change to two policies:

(1)           Initial security and suitability screening for LPRs, and;

(2)           Certifications of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization.

Effective immediately, all LPRs must complete a background investigation and receive a favorable military security suitability determination (MSSD) prior to entry in the active, reserve, or guard service.

This is a change from the current policy, which allows for LPR recruits to ship to initial military training as long as their background investigation had been initiated, and they had cleared all other entry screening requirements.

Effective immediately, in order for a foreign national entering service in the active, reserve, or guard service to receive a certification of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization (citizenship), he or she must:

-      Complete all security and suitability screening requirements and receive a favorable MSSD, and;

-      Complete the initial military training requirements of the service of which they are a member, and;

-      Complete at least 180 consecutive days of active duty service, or at least one year of satisfactory service in the selected reserve.

This is a change from the current practice of certification of honorable service for the purpose of expedited naturalization after “one day of service.”

For currently serving service members, to include those in the Delayed Training Program, they must complete all security and suitability screening requirements prior to a certification of honorable service. Those who may have received a certification of honorable service prior to the completion of all security and suitability screening requirements will have that certification recalled and decertified until, at a minimum, screening requirements are complete.

DoD and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) have established a process to allow for the review and recertification of recalled forms once the individual completes requisite screening requirements. 

Read Military Service Suitability Determinations for Foreign Nationals Who Are Lawful Permanent Residents here.

Read Certification of Honorable Service for Members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and Members of the Active Components of the Military or Naval Forces for Purposes of Naturalization here.