Starting Aug. 30, the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys SOFA A-3 Visa Office, located in Maude Hall, is slated to open twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
While serving in South Korea under the Status of Forces Agreement, better known as SOFA, a SOFA A-3 Visa Stamp is required for U.S. service members’ dependents, Department of Defense civilians and invited contractors. By opening twice each week, the SOFA A-3 Visa Office will enable more people to process through.
“This will provide greater service and convenience to our customers,” said Oliver M. Cunningham, chief of policy and programs, U.S. Forces Korea. “Due to the volume of personnel who use this service at Camp Humphreys, we have been trying for years to expand the Korea Immigration Service operations to better serve the community.”
Currently, the SOFA Stamp Office is only open one day a week at Camp Humphreys, which has led to long wait times, with some families having to wait several hours for a process that takes only a few minutes to complete, added Cunningham. The only alternative for some is to travel to Osan Air Base, which is open more frequently, but few have the means to do that.
“Just having one day a week provides only limited service and as a consequence causes long lines and waiting times,” said Cunningham. “I am delighted we have expanded the service and the convenience and opportunity it will provide our service members, civilian employees and their families.”
With the additional day, the SOFA A-3 Visa Office can expand services to include helping long-time U.S. residents obtain an alien registration card, said Cunningham.
Service members, by nature of their official orders, have A-3 status and can enter and exit Korea using their Common Access Card, said Cunningham. However, DOD civilians, contractors, and dependents are required to obtain a SOFA A-3 Visa stamp within 30 days of arriving in the country.
Failure to acquire an appropriate visa puts an individual in violation of Korean immigration laws and subject to fines or punishment, said Cunningham. This becomes a larger issue when individuals attempt to leave Korea without the appropriate visa, where they could face fines up to 10 million won, or about $7,500.
“An A-3 Visa SOFA verification stamp is the holder’s visual proof they have SOFA status,” adding Cunningham. “The Republic of Korea government uses the SOFA verification stamp as physical evidence of A-3 status.”
For information on acquiring a SOFA A-3 Visa stamp, visit https://home.army.mil/humphreys/application/files/8515/8701/0740/20191001_Billboard_SOFA_Stamp_Office_Humphreys_v3.pdf