Unaccompanied to Korea


My husband is PCSing to Korea in 88 days.  At least, I think he is.  He graduates from his current school in 87 days, and he has been told his follow on assignment is Korea.  The problem is that he doesn’t even have a RFO (request for orders) let alone actual orders.

Normally, I don’t put much thought into where we are PCSing until we have orders.  Even with orders in hand, I always keep in mind that the “Army Gods” can change their minds on a whim.  With all that being said, it is pretty much set that he is going to Korea.  He even knows what unit he is being assigned to and what his job will be.  We’re just waiting on those pesky orders.

You might be wondering what I’m going to do while he is in Korea.  Well, I’m going with him!  I’m about 99% certain I am going to be unaccompanied.  We are planning on applying for Command Sponsorship, but the Command Sponsorship process is so discombobulated in Korea right now that I’m not counting on being Command Sponsored anytime soon.  However, I refuse to be left out of an adventure, so I’m going with him!

I’ve been searching around the internet for information on being Non-Command Sponsored in Korea.  It seems like there isn’t much information because it isn’t something that is encouraged even though I read a statistic that about 2/3 of the families in Korea are Non-Command Sponsored.

I know the financial considerations for being Non-Command Sponsored thanks to this awesome matrix I found.  I’m wondering…what other considerations do I need to take into account for being Non-Command Sponsored?

Has your significant other been stationed in Korea?  Did you accompany him or her?  Why or why not?  If you did go unaccompanied, would you recommend it to another spouse?

About the Author


Hi! I'm Jessica! A 20-something Army wife, working woman (well, when I can get a job!), and wannabe Domestic Goddess. I love reality TV (the trashier, the better!), reading, food, exclamation points, traveling, and learning new things. My current project is learning how to play the piano. My husband has a grand plan that involves me morphing into a concert pianist by the end of the year. I'm pretty sure his plans to quit the Army and to live off my performance earnings as a "Kept Man" aren't going to work out if my out-of-tune rendition of "Jingle Bells" is any indication. But we can't blame a guy for trying, right?

Speaking of my husband, I'm married to C, who has lovingly put up with all of my {mis}adventures for the past 6 years, and we have 1.5 fantastic cats -- Hailey and Zoey! Since Hailey thinks she is a dog, she only counts as half a cat - although she's probably "fluffy" enough to count as two cats.

I grew up surrounded by the Air Force, and I swore I would never get involved with the military. Period. I guess the joke's on me! Not only did I marry a military guy, but I have found a passion for being involved in the military community. Thanks to a few PCS moves, I feel like I have not only held almost every volunteer position an Army wife can hold, but I have also worked in a myriad of military support positions. I've worked as a financial counselor, a transition counselor, and a military health care benefits counselor and marketing representative. Even with those diverse experiences, I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

I chronicle my military spouse {mis}adventures on my personal blog, so feel free to drop by and say "hello"!

  • Colleen

    My husband is now retired and was stationed twice in Korea. He was AF — first time Kunsan AB and second a staff tour at Yongsan Garrison. I accompanied him both times and the second time brought our dog. I have plenty of information in a handout that I provided to our squadron wives when they were given Korean assignments. If you are interested, I’d be happy to send it to you and you can glean whatever information that benefits your personal needs from it.

    • Gail

      Can I get the information about this please, I may get stationed in Korea and would like to know if my husband can go with me.

    • Emily

      Colleen, could you send me that information also? Long story short, I’m not CS, my daughter is and we are going to Aviano. Thanks!

    • Ian

      Hi Colleen, can you please send me info also? thanks :)

    • Mia

      Hi I’m new to all of this, I found out my husband is being stationed in Korea this morning. I would love to have more information!

    • Candice

      Hi Colleen. My husband is going to Kunsan and I want to go non command sponsored. i would love all the info you have please. I am trying to figure out how to go to South Korea, but not many wives follow to Kunsan apparently. except you! which makes me happy!

    • $adity ¢ents

      Hi Colleen. I’m jumping on the bandwagon can I please have that information as well. My husband will go over soon and all I hear is that I can’t go, but then behind closed doors you hear that plenty of spouses have done it. Any help would be so appreciated.

    • jon shaw

      could you please send me any info you have on korea and spouse not traveling with children.

  • Kat

    Well, I was non-sponsored for my four months in Germany. I could get on and off post without him, although there were things about how long I could be “in the system” as a guest and of course, medical care issues as well. I am not sure if TriCare requires that you be CS if you are OCONUS. I could shop on post as a regular military “member”.
    The only things I would be concerned about is whether or not he is allowed to live off-post, because that would make your life easier. Also, how long you can be a guest in the ID system, and your healthcare. Good luck!

  • chrisi.a

    I have a ton of info and just saw your post. Please send mr an email and I will let you know everything :)

    • Kirstin

      Hi! I was just Looking up info because my Husband and i Just hear of all this and hes been in Korea for 3 weeks. I was wondering if you would mind emailing me some information as well since im new to and very confused by the whole Army process :) My email is kirstinphipps@yahoo.com Please and Thank you!

    • Autumn

      getting ready to go to Korea with my new husband – unaccompanied. any info would be great.

    • Scott

      Chrisi – I too am taking my family on a 12 month unaccompanied tour to OSAN and would appreciate any information/advise you have regarding Non-command sponsorship family life.

    • candice

      hi Chrisi.a. im wanting to go non command sponsored to korea. any and all info would be greatly appreciated.

  • lolu

    my kids and I aren’t going with my husband. We figured by the time everything gets situated with paperwork and moving and waiting list his year will be just about be over. They are school age so I try to keep them as stabilized as possible!

  • I went non-command sponsored with my husband to Camp Casey, Korea in 2001. It was a great experience. I was allowed medical care and shopping benefits, same as any dependent. But as this was 10 years ago, things may have changed. We lived off-post in a small apartment, but he had to maintain his barracks room as well. I wouldn’t advise doing it (at least in that area) with children, but if it’s just you – enjoy the experience!!

  • guest

    There are threads on military.com about people who’ve done it with great success.

  • will

    In the early 70’s i had a friend that brought his wife over, non-command sponsored. She was fine until he went to the field, then she did not like it anymore. The unit only gave her limited support, because she wasn’t command sponsored. After a few months she became pregnant, and she refused to stay in country any longer. She went back to the states…

  • Sonya Mooneyham

    I would look into whether or not you’d be allowed to shop at the commissary (you wouldn’t rate a ration card). This could make groceries very pricey for you. You also need to check how your medical and dental needs would be met. Also, due to saber-rattling the North likes to do, find out how you’d be treated if there were a need for an evacuation (there are drills for this for the command-sponsored families twice a year), or at least have your own plan in place for “just in case.”

    If you plan to work (there is always a need for English teachers!), be sure to get a visa with a work permit. Good luck!

  • Anyone know what happened to Jess’ blog?

  • I was just wondering the same thing. Where did she go??? I’ve been searching all over the internet trying to get some more information.

  • RobandNik’s Lives

    We were non command sponsored and we had our own ration card. We had no problem using the hospital or anything else on base. They gave us our SOFA stamp right after we arrived. You can get international license to drive off-base. We lived close to gate at OSAN so walking was easy and the cabs were cheap too. Our daughter also attended the base high-school. We applied and they took her. It was a great experience.

    • Bobbiejean

      hi my fiance is getting stationed in korea this yea, we are planning on getting married before he leave but i was just wondering if you had more info on living non comman sponsored? i could really use all the info i could get! Info like was it hard to find a place to live, how expansive was it, and if you found a job? It will be just me and my fiance we dont have kids, but i dont want to hold my breath for CSP and i definitely dont want to be away from him for a year.

  • Rebecca

    well my husband and In have a bit of a complicated situation. He is one orders to Korea for Sept, The only problem is Im in the military as well and I dont ETS untill March. We have absolutly racked our brains trying to figure out the best way we can go about this. Im not even able to schedule an appt with EFMP until Im out of the military. The best thing we can come up with is to just have him go and I will follow at a later date. Im hoping since my terminal leave will begin in January that maybe somehow EFMP will clear me then and I can be on my way. We did opt for the 12 mth tour since CS takes so long. We have no idea how the NCS works. We have saw all the matrix and know the difference but not the process itself. Do we have to have approval for that as well?

    • texasGI67

      Have you checked out this link?

      Also, if you come over NCS, you are only allowed to be in the country for 90 days, before you have to leave. HOWEVER, you can go to legal or the passport office on your base (in Korea) and get more information on how you can get your passport with a SOFA stamp and authorization to stay as long as your husband is in Korea. That is what I did for my wife, since she is NCS.

  • Marie

    I’m so sorry to tag onto a Korea thread but I couldn’t figure out how to start a new topic and I have the exact same situation except my husband is going to Stuttgart Germany unaccompanied. The kids and I are going too. We’re set on schools and I’ve got the Tricare thing figured out. I was hoping to confirm with someone that getting the SOFA stamp was as easy in Germany as in Korea. Any other issues people have run into in doing this?

  • Ian

    hi, i’m USAF going to Osan and looking for any info on Non-command sponsored life!! please email me at ded_spyder@yahoo.com, thanks!

  • texasGI67

    Did you get all the help you need, regarding your question? I am sure that I can help point you in the right direction, if you still need help.

  • damirk1

    One more thing that I also use when I am traveling is Visa Currency Converter.
    Visa Currency Converter

  • asktraveling.me

    my kids and I aren’t going with my husband. We figured by the time everything gets situated with paperwork and moving and waiting list his year will be just about be over. They are school age so I try to keep them as stabilized as possible!

  • israel tours

    My brother-in-law has been stationed in Korea but my sister didn’t accompany him. They talked about it long and hard until they decided that my sister should stay because she needs to be with her family here. It actually depends on the couple. It has pros and cons that need to be taken into consideration.