Moody launches new Expedited Naturalization Citizenship Program

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Deanna Muir
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Two Airmen assigned to the 23rd Wing are the first to become U.S. citizens through a new Expedited Naturalization Citizenship Program at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Dec. 5, 2023.

The process for a typical naturalization can take up to 18 months but a new program at Moody, started by Capt. Stephanie Naranjo, 23rd Wing civil law chief, aims to help Airmen and their dependents become citizens in three months or less. There are currently only 12 bases across the U.S. participating in the program and this is the first time the state of Florida has utilized it.

“The immigration process is very tedious, it's very long, it's time-consuming and it's expensive,” Naranjo said. “I just wanted to find a way that I can help the Airmen expedite the process and help alleviate some of that stress.”

Before this program, Airmen were required to travel to Jacksonville to complete the test and attend the ceremony which could cause additional stress, loss of time and money.

Once an Airman initiates naturalization paperwork, Naranjo works directly with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Jacksonville field office to coordinate immigration officers to come to Moody to administer the naturalization test and ceremony.

“Being able to complete the naturalization process here at Moody with the pilot program is great, as the whole process took less than two months,” said Airman 1st Class Thi Huynh, 23rd Wing religious affairs Airman. “I was able to manage my duties as an Airman, as both the interview and ceremony were completed in less than two hours. The pilot program ensured everything proceeded swiftly and seamlessly.”

The Air Force is committed to fostering a more diverse culture and Naranjo explained how this program supports that initiative.

“It allows all Airmen from different walks of life to realize that the Air Force is here to support them and help their naturalization process be as easy and painless as possible,” Naranjo said. “This (program) can be a reason that people want to join the Air Force – they realize that the naturalization process is faster and the Air Force supports their Airmen becoming citizens.”

Recognizing the invaluable support offered by the Air Force in the naturalization process, Huynh highlighted the significant peace of mind and stability that citizenship brings.

“Becoming a U.S. citizen means a lot to me, as I would no longer need to worry about my eligibility to reenlist,” Huynh said. “Additionally, I no longer have concerns about losing my right to live and work in the United States. I have the legal right to remain in the U.S. and travel to another country for as long as I wish.”

For more information about the new expedited naturalization citizenship program, contact legal at 229-257-3414.