Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)

Understanding the SOFA

The US–ROK Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) applies to U.S. military members, government civilian employees, contractors, and their dependents on orders in the Republic of Korea (ROK). U.S. military members on orders do not need a passport or visa to enter and remain in Korea. However, U.S. Federal civilian employees and all command-sponsored dependents who are not Korean citizens are required to apply for an official No-Fee passport prior to departure from the previous duty location. Family members with command-sponsorship who have not received their No-Fee passports before departure from the last duty station may enter Korea on a tourist passport, provided they have proof of application for the No-Fee passport.

U.S. civilian employees and dependents intending to reside in Korea must obtain an A-3 Visa/SOFA stamp within 30 days of arrival in Korea. These documents can be obtained by visiting Korean Immigration Services, located in the AMC Passenger Terminal, Bldg 648.

Civilians and dependents who received their No-Fee passports after arrival in Korea, or who were approved for a DEROS extension, must immediately report to Korean Immigration Services with the following documents to obtain their SOFA stamps.

  • ROK Ministry of Justice Form 34
  • Valid passport
  • Clear photocopy of:
    • Passports to be processed
    • Sponsor’s identification card (front and back on same side of paper)
    • Family member’s identification card (front and back on same side of paper)
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (if applying for newborn)
  • One of the following Application Certification Memorandum:
    • Sponsor’s PCS orders with family member’s names
    • Copy of USFK Form 700-19A0E (Invited Contractors and dependents)

Why Do I Need a SOFA Stamp?

The SOFA stamp identifies U.S. citizens who reside in Korea solely for the purpose of the U.S. military mission and provides protections and rights under the SOFA agreement. SOFA status allows U.S. citizens in Korea access to the military postal system, AAFES and DeCA services, provision of rations, and some legal assistance, among other benefits. Having a SOFA stamp does not exempt any person from abiding by the host nation’s laws.

SOFA Stamps & Travel

SOFA stamps communicate to Korean Immigrations the member’s status as a legal resident in ROK until the expiration date shown. Civilians and dependents will use their SOFA-stamped No-Fee passport to exit and return to Korea for international travel. For more travel-related information, see Out of Country Travel.

As a Member With SOFA Status, Can I Work in Korea?

In general, SOFA-affiliated members are prohibited from holding off-base employment or conducting off-base commercial enterprises without a Korean Work Visa. If members are interested in seeking off-base employment, contact the Osan Legal Office for assistance. For more information on employment opportunities in Korea, see Dependent Employment.

Korean Immigration Services, Osan AB Office

AMC Passenger Terminal, Bldg 648
Comm +82 031.666.2672

Hours of Operation
Mon-Fri: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Closed KN Holidays