Passports, SOFA Stamp & A-3 Visa

No-Fee Passport

Once your family has been approved for Command Sponsorship and your Soldier’s PCS Orders include each dependent’s name, immediately apply for a No-Fee Passport through your losing installation Military Personnel Division (MPD) Personnel Processing Branch. The processing time is generally six to eight weeks, so begin the process as soon as orders for command sponsorship are approved. Contact your local personnel office for the proper forms and information. Do not depart your losing installation without receiving the no-fee passport.

Non-U.S. citizens must apply for a country of origin passport. Documents must be original or certified copies.

SOFA STAMP & A-3 VISA

All family members, civilians, and even newborns must obtain an A-3 visa (which allows for multiple entries into Korea) and SOFA (Standard of Forces Agreement) stamp within 90 days upon arrival. The SOFA stamp registers the person and identifies them as having protections and rights under our SOFA agreement. Having a SOFA stamp does not exempt any person from abiding by our host nation's laws.

The U.S. government has a stationing agreement with every country that hosts U.S. military forces. The SOFA defines the legal rights and obligations of SOFA-status personnel and exempts personnel from the Korean Immigration laws relating to alien registration.

This does not mean that all U.S. Family members in Korea will have an A3 Visa and SOFA stamp. Some Family Members are Korean citizens and require no Visa or stamp. Other Family Members work outside the garrison gates and are required to have any variety of work Visa deemed by the Korean Immigration Office.

If a Soldier’s spouse plans to work off-post it is recommended you contact your installation Client Legal Services to review your A-3 Visa/SOFA Stamp application or answer additional questions regarding various Republic of Korea visa options before employment to ensure compliance with immigration laws.

Tourist Passport

Your No-Fee Passport is for Official Travel such as PCS, ETS, TDY or travel between South Korea and the U.S.

Tourist Passports are required for leisure travel outside of your host nation, the Republic of South Korea. It can take up to 8+ weeks to process a tourist passport in South Korea. All tourist passports are processed, in person, through the US Embassy in Seoul. It is recommended to apply for a Tourist Passport prior to leaving the U.S. if you plan to do tourist travel while stationed abroad. Apply for tourist passports at any US Post Office or visit: www.travel.state.gov