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JOFTAA provided this useful information 6 years, 3 months ago:

Get Your Blue SOFA Card

If you are looking for information on which passport to use while traveling, look here.

If all you have is a travel passport, then you should get a blue SOFA card to carry with you when traveling.

If you have an official passport as well as your travel passport, but don't want to carry it around just to have your SOFA stamp handy, get yourself a blue SOFA card and carry that with your travel passport.

In order to get the blue SOFA card, you need to have the following:


  • A copy of your orders
  • A filled out AA Form 600-77A (Request for Issuance of Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Identification) - This is a controlled form. Cannot be downloaded.
  • A passport for each person who is to receive the blue SOFA card
  • Your ID card


You can get your blue SOFA card at:

Kleber, building 3245
Call for hours
0631-411-8892/7659

RAB passport office
Passports, Visas & Birth Registration
Bldg. 2106, Rm 110
Telephone: 06371-47-2240

I was told that the best time to go (Kleber) is at 14:30 because it is less crowded. When I went, there were only 20 people in front of me, but the wait was three hours. Fortunately, before I waited for more than a few minutes it dawned on me that my official passport should suffice, so I asked the person who issues the SOFA cards and she confirmed my thought that a SOFA card was not needed since I had the SOFA stamp in my passport. I am glad I did not wait for three hours to find this out.

NOTE: See post below about traveling with your official passport.

trifoldsofa.doc
SOFA checklist
Another checklist



6 years, 2 months ago

Here is brand new and useful information about your passports.

INFO

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6 years, 2 months ago

so when my husband was outprocessing at his old base. He asked the passport office if he needed a "no fee passport" even though we all already had our own passports that we paid for. He asked them on 3 different occassions and was told no each time. So then we got everything done, and left that base. When we got to the AMC counter in Baltimore for our flight to Ramstein, the lady told us we needed the no fee passport. At first we were concerned because we thought she meant we couldn't fly that day without it. Well we could fly, but she said we have 90 days to apply for it.

Now we have been here about a month and due to so much stuff we have had to do, we haven't made it to the passport office (and because it's my husband that they will want to talk to, he needs to go and talk to them)...BUT I have heard that you have to turn in any other passports you have when you apply for the no fee passport. Now they send them back with your birth certificate, when they send your no fee, just like when you renew your passport or something.

Now, here is my concern.....if I have to turn in my other passports I paid for, for them to issue the no fee....I DO NOT want to be stuck in a foreign country with NO passport. If the you know what hits the fan, I want to be able to get out of here with my 2 little kids!!!

Anyone know anything about this? Is there a policy anywhere that I can refer to when we talk to them, if they say we have to turn our passports in ?
One person said her passport office at her old base told her to check "no" in the box that asks if we have any other passports. now I don't want to do that, because that would be lying on a government document.

So, what to do? and what does that no fee passport get me, after I get it and get the SOFA stamp on it? Because apparently I cannot travel to other countries on it, it's only to be here....so, is it NEEDED?

no one in any of my husband's breifings said we HAD to have the no fee passport, in fact they didn't even mention it. Not even a "does everyone have the no fee"?, NOTHING.

6 years, 2 months ago

You do not turn in your personal passport when you get the no fee passport. If you don't have a no fee passport, follow the info at the top of this discussion. Keep your travel passport and get the SOFA card. That will be all you need.

Also, look here for more information about passports.

Joe
6 years, 1 month ago

Quote by Lindsey:
so when my husband was outprocessing at his old base. He asked the passport office if he needed a "no fee passport" even though we all already had our own passports that we paid for. He asked them on 3 different occassions and was told no each time. So then we got everything done, and left that base. When we got to the AMC counter in Baltimore for our flight to Ramstein, the lady told us we needed the no fee passport. At first we were concerned because we thought she meant we couldn't fly that day without it. Well we could fly, but she said we have 90 days to apply for it.


Lindsey, It looks like you talked to the same guy I did! it took about a dozen email and a message from AFPC to get the guy to see the light. When we went to the passport office, we did bring him our travel passports, but after using them to verify citizenship, he returned all but my daughter's (hers was expired). He said DoS is talking anywhere from 6-10 weeks to return official passports right now, so for anyone else that needs official passports, be prepared for a bit of a wait, and make this a priority! You don't need orders to get the paperwork started. Also, a small tip. If your base has a Public Affairs or Alert Photo section, they sometimes can take the passport photos for you, which might save you enough to buy a decent cup of coffee. Hope this helps!

6 years, 1 month ago

So I came over here six months ago on my blue passport because my red one was still being processed. Got my red one in the mail last month. Do I need a SOFA card?

6 years, 1 month ago

From above:

When I went, there were only 20 people in front of me, but the wait was three hours. Fortunately, before I waited for more than a few minutes it dawned on me that my official passport should suffice, so I asked the person who issues the SOFA cards and she confirmed my thought that a SOFA card was not needed since I had the SOFA stamp in my passport. I am glad I did not wait for three hours to find this out.


Nope. You are good.

I Need food. Please give me a yell some time for lunch.

5 years, 6 months ago

Quote by JOFTAA:


If you have an official passport as well as your travel passport, but don't want to carry it around just to have your SOFA stamp handy, get yourself a blue SOFA card and carry that with your travel passport.


Yikes, we did this coming back from England recently. My wife and I have both passports. We showed them our tourist passports with the blue SOFA card, and they wouldn't take it without showing the official passports since the passport numbers on the card didn't match our tourist passports. Luckily, I was also carrying our official ones with us.

5 years, 6 months ago

When you got your blue SOFA card, they messed up the number? Stinks that nobody noticed until you needed to use it. I know how easy that is to have happen. We just now, two years after getting it, realized that my son's ID card has the wrong birth date.

The idea of using the official passport is supposed to be moot. It is simply not to be used according to DoD. But, it seems that having it is better than not, regardless of what is threatened by trying to use it.

The last time I left Germany at Frankfurt Int'l, I gave my travel passport to the agent. He asked me how long I had been in Germany since there was a stamp that was over a year old. I had to pop out my official passport to clear it up because I did not have a SOFA card at that time.

As long as your SOFA card matches the info in your travel passport, you should be good to go. Apparently, depending on which way the wind is blowing, your experience could differ.

5 years, 6 months ago

Quote by JOFTAA:
When you got your blue SOFA card, they messed up the number? Stinks that nobody noticed until you needed to use it. I know how easy that is to have happen. We just now, two years after getting it, realized that my son's ID card has the wrong birth date.

The idea of using the official passport is supposed to me moot. It is simply not to be used according to DoD. But, it seems that having it is better than not, regardless of what is threatened by trying to use it.

The last time I left Germany at Frankfurt Int'l, I gave my travel passport to the agent. He asked me how long I had been in Germany since there was a stamp that was over a year old. I had to pop out my official passport to clear it up because I did not have a SOFA card at that time.

As long as your SOFA card matches the info in your travel passport, you should be good to go. Apparently, depending on which way the wind is blowing, your experience could differ.


No the number isn't wrong, it has the passport number of the official passport, not the tourist. We tried to go get one for our tourist passport afterwards, but they told us we have to wait until the official passports expire.

Your allowed to use the official to re-enter Germany, you just can't use it to travel to other countries.

5 years, 5 months ago

Quote by JRPeterson:
No the number isn't wrong, it has the passport number of the official passport, not the tourist. We tried to go get one for our tourist passport afterwards, but they told us we have to wait until the official passports expire.

Your allowed to use the official to re-enter Germany, you just can't use it to travel to other countries.


I called a friend at the passport office today.

The info on passports that is posted in another thread here is accurate.

You are NOT allowed to use the official passport for any reason other than traveling on orders. Not to leave Germany unless with orders. Not to enter Germany unless with orders.

There is so much conflicting info regarding the passport usage that it is pretty confusing.

Take a look here.

5 years, 5 months ago

Quote by JOFTAA:
I called a friend at the passport office today.

The info on passports that is posted in another thread here is accurate.

You are NOT allowed to use the official passport for any reason other than traveling on orders. Not to leave Germany unless with orders. Not to enter Germany unless with orders.

There is so much conflicting info regarding the passport usage that it is pretty confusing.

Take a look here.


LOL, you need to call your friend out.

Two of the articles you link too in the other thread actually say differently. If you think about it, it does make sense. If your SOFA stamp is in the official passport, then that is the one the German folks will want to see upon re-entry into Germany to show your legal status.

"Community members must have either a tourist passport with a SOFA certificate attached, or an official passport with a SOFA stamp. If they have the official passport with a SOFA stamp, they must use a tourist passport to depart Germany and the official passport to return to Germany."

and


"In addition, the Status of Forces Agreement is required for all military dependents, contractors and DoD civilians and their dependents while assigned to Germany. The SOFA stamp is placed in the no-fee passport. Both passports should be carried while traveling to ensure entry back into Germany."

5 years, 5 months ago

Did you read the articles linked to in the post?

These articles are pretty clear about not using the official passport.

Here and Here.

All I know is that DoD is pretty much horrible about giving out any kind of reliable information on a regular basis.

I'm not out to make an argument over this, but the stories are pretty clear.

Just for giggles, I just called over to the passport office. 0631-411-8892 I spoke with Dave Lingo. Here is what he told me, and this is kind of interesting.

If you are traveling to the U.S. you may use your official passport, regardless of the travel being official or personal. If you are traveling for personal reasons, you should use your official passport to leave and then re-enter Germany, but use your personal travel passport to enter the other countries. This information is contradictory to what is stated in the articles posted above. Further, Dave Lingo told me that if you get the blue SOFA card, that it is for your official passport. This was confusing to me. So, I clarified by asking why a SOFA card would be needed with an official passport since the official passport already has a SOFA stamp in it. I never did get an answer that I could understand. It just makes no sense to me that a SOFA card would be for a passport that already has a SOFA stamp.

This whole issue is confusing. I guarantee you that if I were to call back and speak to someone else, I would get a different answer. Maybe you want to try calling just to see how they answer you?

5 years, 5 months ago

Quote by JOFTAA:
Did you read the articles linked to in the post?

These articles are pretty clear about not using the official passport.

Here and Here.



Yep, those were the articles that I quoted from above.

5 years, 5 months ago

Quote by JRPeterson:
Yep, those were the articles that I quoted from above.


I think the bottom line is that I don't really care what people say. Since nobody can seem to be able to verify a policy with certainty, I am just going to continue to carry both passports with me when I travel.

It seems that although DoD has rules, those rules are not known by most DoD employees, nor are they known by the authorities who check the passports in different countries.

If DoD can't get their act together, I am not going to make that my problem.

5 years, 4 months ago

So I can only get the SOFA card once I arrive? I have been told that the movers can come and pack up my HHG but that they wont be able to ship any of it until I have a SOFA Letter. Is there a distinction between the card, stamp, and letter (I havent read of a letter before but they may be thinking of the stamp/card).

Also, what do I say at customs when I arrive. Is it simply enough to say I am moving there for 2 years or will there be a big stink on their end about it. Or is it easier just to say a vacation lol.

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