Until recently, all military and Department of Defense civilian family
members were given legal status to live in Germany based on their
sponsor’s orders. Essentially, if the member had orders to
Germany, their dependents were automatically given the legal right to
live in Germany as well. This was provided by issuing a Status of
Forces Agreement stamp in the passport of each dependent.
Last month, Germany made it law that certain non-U.S. citizen family
members, specified on a list of 130 countries, will now need to obtain
lawful residence or approval of lawful residence to the United States
prior to obtaining a SOFA to live in Germany.
As a result, SOFAs will not be issued or renewed without the individual
first obtaining resident status with the United States. Military
and DOD civilians should be aware that this is currently a four-month
process and costs approximately $190 per applicant.
Unfortunately, this process can not be expedited and waivers do not
exist with either the U.S. or Germany.
Without compliance, military and DOD civilian non-U.S. citizen family
members could be identified by German authorities and be subject to
To find out if your non-U.S. citizen family member is a citizen of any
of the 130 countries affected by this new law, check the Foreign
Clearance Guide Web site at www.fcg.pentagon.mil, click on Germany, and
scroll down to paragraph 4-d under General Entry Requirements. If
your dependent’s citizenship is one of the 130 identified countries and
does not have immigration status with the U.S. contact your local
servicing passport office for information to obtain it. (Courtesy of
the 435th Mission Support Squadron)