Military Spouses should be familiar with SOFA stamps and no-fee government passports, especially if you plan on PCS’ing overseas.
SOFA stands for Status of Forces Agreement. It is a diplomatic arrangement between the United States and a foreign government detailing the rights and privileges of service members and their families assigned to that country.
The SOFA stamp is a passport stamp that functions like a visa. Depending on the actual agreement it permits citizen like rights to service member and families assigned to a particular country. To obtain a SOFA stamp, you should visit a U.S. military passport agent or office. It is important to obtain your SOFA stamp before heading overseas.
Concurrently, a SOFA license is a common term for a military issued driver’s license permitting service members and families to operate vehicles in the country. It may require classes and/or testing.
A no-fee government passport is issued to US citizens required to travel for on government business. It has a red cover and a shorter expiration date than a typical passport. A no-fee passport identifies the bearer as an agent (military member, dependent, etc.) of the U.S. Government. In order to apply for a no-fee passport, visit a military passport agent or office. The office will supply you with a DD Form 1056, which you will fill out for authorization. It typically takes about 6-8 weeks to receive your no-fee passport, so it is important to plan well in advance before you travel.