All incoming personnel should carefully consider the following information before making a financial commitment of bringing non-command sponsored dependents to Korea.
Also as a reminder, as Osan increases its authorized command sponsored positions, support to include child care, schools, and medical care that is outlined below may be an increased challenge for those choosing to bring families that are non-command sponsored.
HOUSING: On-base housing is not authorized for non-command sponsored dependents. Therefore, dependents that live on the economy may be faced with heating and water problems, having to arrange for potable water, insufficient water pressure, and having to come on base to use the Laundromat. Personnel could experience substandard living conditions from what they may be accustomed to in the States; perhaps no yard for children to play in, and depending on the sponsors' grade (E-6 and below), possibly no car. Local transportation (taxi, bus) is available, but gets expensive after repeated use and is not available 24 hours a day. Houses on the economy are generally smaller than in the US and are often substandard and costly.
FURNITURE: Furniture is not available for non-command sponsored dependents or those serving an unaccompanied tour living off base. Loaner kits are provided to command-sponsored personnel for up to 90 days and are subject to availability. Appliances are rarely available.
DUTY HOURS: Frequently, military members stationed in Korea are subject to long duty hours and numerous military exercises, often restricting personnel from leaving the base. Members and their dependents should realize time together might be limited as a result of military necessity.
FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Military members who elect to bring their non-command sponsored dependents to Korea should realize that additional transportation beyond the CONUS port is not reimbursable. In addition, the service member's household goods shipping allowance is limited to either unaccompanied hold baggage allowance or 10% of the sponsor's JFTR weight allowance. Service members who live on the economy are sometimes not entitled to full overseas housing allowance or, if entitled, are only provided at the single rate.
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: Employment opportunities for American spouses, both command-and non-command sponsored are very limited.
CHILD CARE FACILITIES: On Osan, child care for 6 months to 10 year old children is extremely limited. Full day care for a dependent of non-command sponsored dependents under 5 isn't normally available, and care for those between 6 and 10 is virtually nonexistent. Given the limited facilities, command-sponsored active duty military requiring full-time care are given top priority.
DEPENDENT EDUCATION: Non-command sponsored children are enrolled on a space available basis at Seoul American High School (SAHS), Osan American High School, and Osan American Elementary School (K-8). Non-command sponsored students may enroll in the International Christian School (K-12). However, enrollment space is limited and tuition is fairly expensive.
OBSTETRICS CARE: Although there is prenatal care at Osan, deliveries cannot be done on Air Force installations in Korea. Deliveries are done at 121 General Hospital at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul. Dependents served by 121 General Hospital must be admitted at 36 weeks gestation.
MEDICAL CARE: Availability of medical care is based on the active duty population and NCS are seen only on a space available basis. The hospital at Osan is a modern facility, but it is not staffed or equipped to service a large number of non-command sponsored dependents. Additionally, many of the specialties, for example, cardiology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, endocrinology, and pulmonology are only available through air evacuation.
TRI-CARE: There are no guaranteed payment reimbursements--NCS dependents are only authorized to participate in Tri-care standard. Off base treatment must be paid in full at the time of service. The sponsor then files a claim with the original home area primary care manager. Reimbursements are decided on a case by case basis.
DENTAL CARE: Most dental services are offered to active duty and command-sponsored family members. Routine dental care (filling and cleanings) to other beneficiaries is on a space available basis. Orthodontic care is extremely limited; first priority is given to command-sponsored family members who were receiving orthodontic treatment prior to their sponsor receiving PCS orders to Osan AB.
USFK DRIVERS LICENSE: Non-command sponsored dependents whose sponsor is E-7 and above are permitted to obtain a USFK driver's license. For E-6 and below, NCS dependents require an exception to policy to obtain a USFK driver's license.
FAMILY MEMBER PASSPORTS AND VISA: As a military member, you are not required to have a passport and visa in Korea. However, all family members, fiancees, or friends visiting Korea must have a valid passport and visa BEFORE entering Korea, although Korea does allow visitors without a visa to enter the country for less than 30 days. Visas should be obtained in Korean Consulates outside Korea. If a visitor stays past 30 days, he or she will fall under the jurisdiction of Korean Immigration. There is no guarantee Korean Immigration will permit residence beyond the original 30 days. People staying past 30 days without obtaining proper authorization from Korean Immigration are subject to fines and possible legal action. The process for obtaining a resident visa must be done in person at the Korean Immigration Office in Seoul. Personal Affairs has a map to this office, but cannot act as a liaison between the applicant and the immigration office. The Korean immigration office at Osan is located in bldg 661, phone 784-4042. WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF OBTAINING THE CORRECT VISA BEFORE ENTERING THE COUNTRY.
STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT (SOFA) STAMP IN DEPENDENT PASSPORTS: Except for Korean Nationals who have no need of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), all dependents of active duty military who are residing here should have their passports SOFA stamped. To obtain the SOFA stamp, the sponsor must come to the Personal Affairs Office, bldg 936, room 102, with the dependent's passport. The sponsor will be given a Verification of Assignment Letter which, accompanied with the passport, must be taken to the Immigration Office located at the AMC Terminal, DSN 784-4042. The passport will then be SOFA stamped. Some dependents in this category are not aware of this requirement. This passport entry should be obtained as soon as possible after entering the ROK since dependents may not leave the country without it. Without this passport entry, delays may result when it's time to leave the ROK. If not already included as an item in your unit's in-processing checklist, you may wish to do so.
Additionally, any dependents not in possession of a passport or who require a visa should contact Military Personnel Flight Passport Office at 784-6719 for guidance.