What is a Command Sponsorship:
As what Google would define it. “Any service member moving overseas have the option to apply for a command sponsorship, which will allow dependents to travel and live with the military spouse on base in a foreign country fully funded by the government”. Sounds simple yeah? Now, there are certain conditions or situations that might hinder you from getting command sponsored or getting your command sponsored funded. Well first, let me tell you how the normal command sponsorship works.
Where to go first
Have your military spouse request for a command sponsorship packet in his/her chain of command as for the Air Force, as far as I know, it’s in the Military Personnel Flight or MPF, I’m speaking for the Ramstein AB in Germany. The office will then send you a command sponsorship introduction and instruction document normally via email. Read and follow the instructions carefully. The packet will explain to you the requirements and your dependents’ entitlement based on your profile. It might inform you that your dependent is entitled for household goods shipment or will not be entitled, etc.
When to request for command sponsorship:
1. When military member gained new dependents normally through marriage or birth.
2. When military member requests to command sponsor his/her dependents such as: siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces/nephews.
3. Military member transferring dependents to another military sponsor provided the acquired dependent has been command sponsored at least 12 months preceding transfer.
4. Military member did not relocate dependents to the overseas relocation that were originally listed on orders (either due to medical clearance or personal choice)
5. Lastly, military member returned dependents under ERD program and plans to return dependents back to overseas location.
When not to use command sponsorship package:
1. Member acquires a dependent en route to the overseas location. You should notify MPF(Military Personnel Flight) during in-processing.
How much time remaining does your military spouse have in his/her duty station?
The Military member must have at least 24 months remaining on his/her OS tour after approval of command sponsorship but then again there might be certain exceptions so it’s better to ask your chain of command about your situation.
How long does a command sponsorship memo get approved?
In my experience, we received our approval after 30 days but then again your case might be different.
Required Documents to command sponsor your Filipino Spouse
1 Completed Command Sponsorship memorandum (proper Wing Letterhead)
2. AF Form 1466, Medical and Dental Clearance signed by your chosen reputable MD in the Philippines.
3. AF Form 965, Tour Election statement
4. DD Form 1172 (DEERS Enrollment)
5. AF 899 (PCS orders) and any amendments (AF 973) assigning you to Germany.
6. Spouse’s DD Form 214 (has to be the date after separation)
7. Marriage Certificate
8. Scanned copy of your spouse’s
Valid ID (back to back)
What happens after submitting the requirements:
After you submit the said requirements it might take up to 90 days for you to receive your SOFA Card depending on the season or the number of applicants. In my case, I waited for almost 60 days. You may also visit the passport office, sometimes they can help you or provide an information about your SOFA.
All in all, the process seems pretty easy and faster compared to filing for your U.S. Immigration Petition but then again, you have to file, but at least you can file your immigration petition while you are in Germany with your husband.
When flying to Germany you will need your passport and Sofa Card (no need of German Visa) some flight personnel are not aware of what a sofa card is so they might ask you questions about it. Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay. In my experience, I took Philippine Airline via Heathrow, London to Frankfurt, Germany. My departure date was April 17 from the Philippines and arrival to Heathrow would be April 17 at 11PM then next flight to Germany was around 2am. I was told by the PAL management that I could not fly to Heathrow because U.K. will only allow a person to pass Heathrow holding a sofa card the same day. They advised me to buy a new ticket and it was so frustrating and stressful. I had to talk to the Airline office and make adjustments and considerations then after few hours they replaced my ticket via Singapore for free. My advise is you have to be assertive yet respectful. Anyway, that’s it for now. Just leave comments if you have any questions or additional information. Also, I am not an official adviser so some information might be inaccurate. It’s always best to talk to the person in charge.