On December 2, 2016, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) received notice from the United States Department of Defense (DOD) that the DOD would not accept applications for benefits under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program for fiscal year (FY) 2017 [PDF version]. The SEVP notice stated that the DOD had informed it that the suspension would be in place until revisions to the MAVNI implementation plan for FY 2017 are completed.
The notice stated that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) had already implemented additional and retroactive security protocols for MAVNI applicants, but also that the Army was in the process of drafting a plan to implement the new security protocols for new FY 2017 applicants. SEVP had been informed that the Army would begin processing new MAVNI applications in FY 2017 for those who met the MAVNI program eligibility requirements for enlistment.
On January 19, 2017, the MAVNI Center posted a clip from a U.S Army Recruiting Center virtual town hall with Major General Jeffrey J. Snow speaking.1 Major General Snow stated that the MAVNI program should be “considered suspended.” Furthermore, he stated that the Army would not be permitted to accept new recruits under the MAVNI program until the backlog of current applicants is addressed.
On March 10, 2017, the MAVNI Center posted a clip from a U.S. Army Recruiting Command virtual town hall.2 In the town hall, the Army official stated that it had no MAVNI updates as of that date , but that it would be in position to provide updates in “the next couple of weeks.”
MAVNI is a valuable program for boosting military recruitment and rewarding noncitizens who choose to serve in the United States armed forces. Unfortunately, there have been few updates since MAVNI was effectively suspended in December of 2016, and none since March 10, 2017. All indications are that the Army will eventually restart MAVNI for new recruits in FY 2017, although there is not yet any indication when. We certainly hope that the Army will be able to clear out its backlog and complete revisions to its FY 2017 implementation plan in an expeditious manner.
We will update the site with information on the status of the MAVNI program as it becomes available.