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Getting a Visa and SOFA? 2009/5/22 10:38
I am trying to get a visa to live with my husband who is stationed in Yokosuka with the US Navy. I called the Visa place and they where not very helpful with telling me what I needed. All I do know is that I need to have SOFA. Now, I have heard that this is given to me just by being a dependent. However, the Visa man told me I have to prove I am in SOFA within my 90 days or return home how do I do this. Do, I apply for SOFA??? I am so confused. Also, I will not be command sponsored well I am out there my husband is not an E-4 should be late this year but by that time will have to extended because he will have missed the 2 year mark by a couple of months. Thanks!!
by Violet (guest)  

SOFA 2009/5/22 11:58

US military personnel and their families in Japan are not subject to regular Japanese visa regulations, so Japanese Immigration will not be able to help you. Get your husband to ask on base, as it is he that will have to get all the paperwork sorted out for you.

A similar recent thread...
by Dave in Saitama (guest) rate this post as useful

no help... 2009/5/22 12:16
Thanks for you answer.. although it was not helpful.. I wish we could just get help from the base you make it sound so easy. My husband has asked several people none of which will help him. Also when I emailed the base looking for more information on how to move out there my husband got in trouble for me emailing them and got three extra duty days not fun. So, I have to find all this information on my own.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2009/5/22 12:30
Its unfortunate that you are having a difficult time getting information from your husband's base, but Dave gave you the proper procedures to stay in Japan as a military spouse.

If they are unwilling to help you out with SOFA status then you're options will be limited to obtaining a Japanese visa under your own merits i.e. work, student, working holiday, or tourist (limited to 90 days).
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

SOFA 2009/5/22 12:34
Well my main questions are on SOFA. I was told that I am automatically in SOFA being a military dependent. Do I get proof of this or is my ID proof of being over there? How do I know if I am for sure in SOFA. I do not want to go over there and then after my 90 days find out I did not have the proper paper work.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/5/22 13:11
Your proof of SoFA is a stamp in your passport given by the military immigration office (on the base). You need your passport, military ID, and military orders when you enter the country. Otherwise, you'll get a tourist visa, which you'll have to later go cancel to switch to SoFA.

Doesn't your husband live in the barracks? Where do you plan to live if you're not command sponsored and they don't provide you housing? You need to get that sorted out before you get on the plane.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

To Guest 2009/5/22 13:16
Well I will not have orders... so as a dependent do I still just go on base and get a stamp.. the Visa department at the Japanese Embassy in the US told me they will not issue me a Visa I just need SOFA. My husband lives on a ship currently he cannot get barracks because he is married. However, we will have an apartment to stay in just off base we already stayed there when I went out to visit and it is very big and nice only about 500 a month. It is his buddies but he never goes there so he is letting us stay there.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/5/22 13:40
Without orders you will receive a tourist visa at the airport. Likewise, without orders the military immigrations will not give you a SoFA stamp.

If you want info on SoFA you need to call the base, not the Japanese Embassy.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

SOFA 2009/5/23 09:09

SOFA status can only be granted by the U.S. military. The Japanese govt & immigration folks won't help you.

If you are not command sponsored you can't get SOFA status, period. You can be in Japan on a tourist Visa, but you can't get the SOFA re-entry stamp on your passport (and strictly speaking you aren't supposed to use some of the base facilities although people don't check that, they just look for a military ID card).

Your husband has to go through his command for you to be able to get command sponsorship. You'll also have to get an overseas screening, which would entail a medical exam, dental exam, and paperwork signed off by the PSD (Personnel Support Detachment) where you are now. You can't initiate the paperwork and neither can anybody else; it is up to your husband to get it going. If he gets command sponsorship and you pass the Overseas Screen requirements, the command will issue a Navy message called the Family Entry Approval, which will allow you to enter the country under the SOFA agreement, and get the SOFA stamp in your passport.

I don't have any idea why your husband would be getting in trouble over you sending e-mails, but I recommend he talk to his Command Master Chief or Senior Enlisted Advisor. If the command, for whatever reason (the fact that he is so junior, or if he has a limited amount of time left on his orders and BUPERS won't authorize him to be there with dependents), doesn't give you command sponsorship, that's that. You can visit but you can't get the SOFA stamp.
by Spendthrift (guest) rate this post as useful

SOFA 2009/5/23 14:20
So, thanks everyone.. but, what I have found out is no I do not have to be command sponsored to move out there and yes I can get SOFA. All I have to do to get SOFA is be a military dependent. However without command sponsorship I will not be able to use there medical coverage other then the ER. Which is not a problem however, I can use all other base provided places. The other main difference is that my husband will not get OHA or COLA at a dependent rate. So, we do get COLA just very little and will only get BHA. We want command sponsorship but they will not except my husband's packet so maybe sometime. In till then I will just live out there on my own.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/5/25 15:32
Having just been though this exact process, I completely agree with everything Spendthrift wrote. Be VERY sure that you will get SOFA before getting on the plane without command sponsorship, because I don't believe you will.

We found that my husband would get into trouble if he tried to speed things along by personally contacting people/offices in this process. There is a specific order, and his superiors will get annoyed if you mess up the order.

Please review everything that Spendthrift wrote!

Also, if you do plan on coming here not command sponsored, how will you support yourself? If your only getting COLA for the non-dependant rate, and no OHA, then you will have trouble living in Japan.
by Kate (guest) rate this post as useful

SOFA 2009/5/26 07:59
They cannot deny me SOFA it doesn't matter if I am command sponsored or not it says that right in the SOFA agreement. That as an active duty dependent I get it. Also, even without that pay we make plenty of money to afford living out there.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

CNFJINST 1300 2009/5/26 08:12
Per the CNFJINST 1300

E. The presence of U.S. Forces in Japan is governed by reference (k), the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Command sponsorship is not a prerequisite for obtaining SOFA status. Dependents accompanying U.S. Forces personnel in Japan enjoy SOFA status with or without command sponsorship. However without command sponsorship the service member and dependents are not entitled to the benefits listed in paragraph 3 of enclosure (1).
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/5/26 11:29
If you look at the link I provided above, it clearly states that command sponsorship is not required for SoFA. However, it also says that your husband needs to be on an accompanied tour. It states right on his orders whether he's on an accompanied or unaccompanied tour and it also lists his dependents. Without getting his orders amended I'm afraid you're out of luck with SoFA.

You, or better yet your husband, should really confirm this with military immigrations, legal office, or the personnel office.

Come back and let us know when you get approved or rejected for SoFA status. I'm sure other dependents would like to know. Good luck.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Tour 2009/5/26 13:16
I am talked more with the command and I am approved for SOFA in Japan it does not matter on the orders as it does in some places. However this is an accompanied tour but, I am not eligible for command sponsorship. We do want it but would have to wait another year about and by that time he would only have a year left. So, we are still applying anyways and I will move out there in the mean time while we wait and if he doesn't get approved he might just cross rate. We really want to start a family and if I am not command sponsored I am not allowed use of the medical I have to come back stateside. Which is odd because my dental transfers no matter what. I have braces so that is important. Although we would rather not extended it isn't a big deal we are going to switch to Coast Guard after the Navy so we have a easier time raising a family together. Thanks everyone for information you provided. I will keep you up dated.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

SOFA stamp without command sponsorship 2009/6/9 14:12
hi guys!i arrived here in JP 2 months ago with tourist visa.I just showed my military ID and the japanese immigration gave my daughter and I SOFA stamp.My husband's command just issued a proof of dependency to show to the PSD office and they gave us exit/re-entry stamp.we are also entertained by the base well as commissary,NEX and we even get our housing and utilities.
by Nicole (guest) rate this post as useful

Housing 2009/6/10 07:17
I would like to know how you are getting housing without command sponsorship. I am unable to get this so will still have to fly home for breaks because we cannot afford to stay out there the whole time without housing.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

SOFA stamp 2009/7/11 22:17
Hi, Nicole, where did you obtain the stamp? Air Port ,local Japanese immigration office, or base immigration office?
"the japanese immigration gave my daughter and I SOFA stamp".
by jaynie rate this post as useful

SOFA answer 2009/7/12 01:36
You cannot be SOFA sponsored at this time. Can stay 90 days w/o a visa then must leave the country. COuld reeturn the next day though. You can be your own sponsor IF working full time on the base only. Cannot get housing on/off base unless SOFA or a Japanese work visa- must be company sponsored.
by Joan (guest) rate this post as useful

TO JOAN 2009/7/12 06:59
Joan can you read. You said I cannot be SOFA. That's funny didn't I post by being a military dependent I can get SOFA no matter what this is by Japan's rules. Each country varies. So, when you get your facts straight try posting a correct answer. Otherwise please inform about how I got it and live in Japan please I would like to know.
by Violet (guest) rate this post as useful

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