SOFA Certification

SOFA Status Information

SOFA status is not something that is granted or denied.  It is based on belonging to one of the following categories:

  • active duty service members in Japan, regardless of purpose or length of stay
  • U.S. civilians who are in the employ of, serving with, or accompanying the military in Japan
  • “dependents” of categories (a) and (b):
    • spouse (same-sex or opposite-sex spouse)
    • children, step-children, and adopted children under 21
    • children, step-children, and adopted children over 21 (i.e., no maximum age) if dependent on the sponsor for over half their support
    • parents and parent-in-law if dependent on the sponsor for over half their support and not ordinarily resident in Japan

Persons NOT qualifying for SOFA status:

  • retirees unless they fall into either category (a), (b), or (c) above
  • legal wards and foster children even if court-appointed
  • parents or parents-in-law if ordinarily resident in Japan
  • grandparents, regardless of support
  • grandchildren, regardless of support
  • family members of Art. XIV contractors
  • non-DoD federal employees
  • members of foreign armed forces
  • resident of Japan, except dependent(s)

“dependent” for purposes of the SOFA is different than “dependent” for purposes of DoD regulations:

  • being a SOFA “dependent” does not require that the person be “command sponsored”
  • being a SOFA “dependent” does not require that the person have an “area clearance”
  • being a SOFA “dependent” does not require DEERS eligibility

SOFA status gives an individual:

  • visa exemption
  • criminal jurisdiction procedures IAW Article XVII of the SOFA

SOFA status, by itself, does not entitle an individual to:

  • USFJ driver's license (Contact PMO's Pass and Registration)
  • USFJ vehicle registration (Contact PMO's Pass and Registration)
  • base access or use of base facilities
  • exchange, commissary, or other similar benefits
  • TRICARE enrollment
  • DoD ID card
  • military family housing
  • OHA
  • COLA
  • funded travel

REFERENCES:

  • Status of Forces Agreement
  • USFJ Policy Letter 4-3
  • USFJ Instruction 31-203
  • USFJ Instruction 31-205
  • USFJ Instruction 64-100

SOFA Certification Letters

The SJA office provides SOFA Certification Letters and Cancellation Letters for Marine Corps service members, members of the civilian component (i.e.,  U.S. Civil Service (GS, WG, etc.)), and their dependents (including children over the age of 21 and parents).  SOFA Certification Letters are no longer provided for contractors, although assistance can be provided in updating erroneous visa immigration stamps. Click the appropriate link below to request a SOFA Certification or Cancellation Letter.

SOFA Certification Letter

The SJA office provides SOFA Certification Letters for United States citizens (and their dependents) who are in the employ of, serving with, or accompanying the Marine Corps in Iwakuni, Japan. Complete the process below to request a SOFA Certification Letter.

SOFA PROCESS -  Apply for a SOFA Certification Letter

**FAILURE TO COMPLETE ALL THE STEPS LISTED ABOVE WILL DELAY APPROVAL OF YOUR SOFA CERTIFICATION LETTER**

  1. STEP ONE: Complete the Contact Information Form and save as "Your Last Name_Contact Information." You must include an estimated date of arrival in the block next to the “Current Visa Status” block.

  2. STEP TWO: Complete MCASIWAK/SJA/5820/2 (do not sign the form) and save as "Your Last Name_5820.2"

  3. STEP THREE: Gather all of the Required Supporting Documents and save as follows:

    • Letter of Authorization or Letter of Identification: "Your Last Name_LOA/LOI" 

    • Contract: "Your Last Name_Contract" 

    • Passport: "Your Last Name_Relation to You_Passport". The passport copy will include the first page of the passport; and if the individual(s) have already arrived in Japan you must include a copy of their most recent arrival stamp.

    • Marriage Certificate: "Your Last Name_Marriage Certificate"

  4. STEP FOUR: E-mail all documents from Steps One, Two, and Three to your sponsor or supervisor to be delivered to the MCAS Iwakuni SJA office.

  5. STEP FIVE: An approval will be emailed to you and your sponsor within ten days of our office receiving it.

**FAILURE TO COMPLETE ALL THE STEPS LISTED ABOVE WILL DELAY APPROVAL OF YOUR SOFA CERTIFICATION LETTER**

Sample Documents

SOFA Certification Letter

The SJA office provides SOFA Certification Letters for Marine Corps service members (and their dependents) who are on active duty and belong to a Marine Corps Unit in Iwakuni, Japan.

SOFA PROCESS - Apply for a SOFA Status Certification Letter

  1. STEP ONE: Complete MCASIWAK/SJA/5820/3 (do not sign the form) and save the form as "Your Last Name_5820.3."

  2. STEP TWO: Gather all Required Supporting Document and save the documents as follows:

    • DoD ID Card: "Your Last Name_CAC Card."

    • Military Orders: "Your Last Name_Military Orders."

    • Passport: "Your Last Name_Relationship to You Passport."

    • Marriage Certificate save as "Your Last Name_Marriage Certificate."

  3. STEP THREE:  E-mail all documents from Steps One, Two, and Three to your sponsor or supervisor to be delivered to the MCAS Iwakuni SJA Office.

  4. STEP FOUR:  An approval will be emailed to you and your sponsor within ten days of our office receiving it.

Sample Documents

SOFA Certification Letter

The SJA office provides SOFA Certification Letters for parents and children over the age of 21, if dependent for over half of their support upon a service member of the United States Marine Corps or a member of the civilian component working with the Marine Corps in Iwakuni, Japan. Complete the process below to request a SOFA Certification Letter.

SOFA PROCESS - Apply for a SOFA Certification Letter

  1. STEP ONE: Complete the applicable SOFA process for service members or Contractors.

  2. STEP TWO: Complete the Affidavit of Support (do not sign the form) and save the form as "Your Last Name_Affidavit of Support."

  3. STEP THREE: E-mail the Affidavit of Support to your sponsor or supervisor to be delivered to the MCAS Iwakuni SJA office.

  4. STEP FOUR: The SJA office will contact you to sign your Affidavit of Support.

  5. STEP FIVE: An approval will be emailed to you and your sponsor within ten days of our office receiving it.  

Sample Documents

SOFA Cancellation Letter

The SJA office provides SOFA Cancellation Letters for Marine Corps service members, members of the civilian component serving with the Marine Corps in Iwakuni, Japan, and their dependents. Complete the process below to request a SOFA Cancellation Letter.

SOFA CANCELLATION PROCESS - Apply for a SOFA Cancellation Letter

  1. STEP ONE: Complete MCASIWAK/SJA/5820/1 (do not sign the form) and save the form as "Last Name_5820.1"

  2. STEP TWO: Gather all Required Supporting Documents and save the documents as follows:

    • Resignation letter or equivalent document: "Last Name_Company Name_Contract Ending Documents"

    • Passport: "Last Name_Relation to You_Passport"

    • DoD ID Card: "Last Name_CAC Card"

    • Military Orders: "Last Name_Military Orders"

  3. STEP THREE: E-mail all documents from Steps One and Two to your sponsor or supervisor to be delivered to MCAS Iwakuni SJA office.

  4. STEP FOUR: The SJA office will contact you to sign your Affidavit of Support.

Contact Information

Hours of operation:
Monday - Friday : 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Closed holidays)
Location:
Legal Assistance/SJA Building 608
Phone:
DSN: 253-5591