USCIS conducted a special naturalization ceremony last week for a man we’re referring to as Dr. Brown. Why was the ceremony so special, and why aren’t we using his real name? Well, Dr. Brown is the first nonimmigrant to become a citizen of the United States under the pilot Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program. MAVNI allows nonimmigrants to enlist in the Army and apply for citizenship even though they do not hold permanent resident status. So, Dr. Brown was the first, and his story is pretty incredible.
For starters, and as we already mentioned, that’s not actually his name; it’s a pseudonym used at the Army’s request to protect his family still in Pakistan. Dr. Brown, who qualified for the MAVNI program as a licensed medical professional, is also fluent in Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi. He originally came to the U.S. on a student visa and later received a temporary visa to work as a dentist. He is the first member of his family to become a U.S. citizen, and the first to serve in the U.S. military. More impressive firsts.
USCIS and DHS worked with the Defense Department before the Army launched the pilot program to enlist up to 1,000 non-citizens earlier this year. USCIS continues to work with the Army to expedite possessing of naturalization applications from non-citizens joining the Army through this pilot program.
Dr. Brown told us he was not only impressed with USCIS’ efficiency in processing his application in less than a month, but that he was extremely honored to become a citizen of the United States – he said it was the best day of his life.
Dr. Brown: Welcome.