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Thread: Short Tour??

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    #1

    Short Tour??

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    Hey everyone

    Recently my SO has started talking about trying to find ways to get out of his current base, since life is pretty terrible there. One of the options he suggested was putting a short-tour on his dream sheet, and he would want me to go with him (we currently live 2,000 miles away). I would love that, but the logistics are concerning me, since I know next to nothing about all of this. So here are some questions I have. Any answers to any of these would be greatly appreciated.

    To provide a little background information, we are unmarried and have been dating for about 2 years. We are in our mid-20s, and have known each other for over 6 years. I have agreed to go on a short tour with him, but on the condition that we are engaged at that time. (right now, neither of us is ready for marriage, but I would be shocked if we did not get married eventually). We do not want to live together before we are married. The locations he has suggested at this time are (in this order) Azores, Guam, Japan, or Korea.
    So my questions:
    1. Am I allowed to "accompany" him? If we get legally married (in the eyes of the state) before we move, would that make it much easier? What benefits come from getting legally married before the move? How early would we have to get legally married?
    2. How difficult is it to get a job on-base? How difficult is it to get a job off-base?
    3. What visas/legal documentation do I need to move to another country for a year with him?
    4. I would need health insurance, how does that work with moving for a year?
    5. Are there any other things I should be considering that I have not asked about?

    Thank you so much for all of your help!!
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    #2
    It would be very difficult for you to accompany him if you're not married. You would have to pay for the move, arrange visas/passport and living arrangements all on your own, which is potentially impossible. Even Japan, you'd have to have a reason (i.e. job) lined up to get a more-than-tourist visa, and international job hunting is extremely tough.

    However even if you guys are married, there's no guarantee you can go with him overseas. It will depend on if the command authorizes dependents and you pass the medical clearance and everything. There are many ladies here who have had their husbands go to Korea and they were unable to come with and had to stay in the states. So, marriage is not a golden ticket by any means.
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    #3
    The short answer is no you can't accompany him. That being said you are free to move anywhere (well almost) you want to move but that can be very difficult and expensive.

    And just because you are married doesn't mean it's an accompanied tour.
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    #4
    I thought short tours were unaccompanied regardless. Is that incorrect?

    ETA: A friend and I were discussing this the other day and I think she'd be glad to hear if her info was wrong.

    I Eelizah
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    #5
    Thank you so much for responding. What you are saying is what I was thinking was the case. When I brought it up to him, he didn't seem to think it'd be that difficult for me to come with him, and I thought he knew some things I didn't. (He's only recently brought it up, and we have had very little time to discuss, so I'm sure we'll talk this out much more). Thank you again!
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    AshelyO: I have no idea. I know very little about military life, so I'm just learning as we go. I trust you're probably correct. That information is good to know!
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    #7
    Short tours are unaccompanied. You could go but more that likely he would be in a dorm so you would have to have your own place to stay. Azores and Korea(can be command sponsored) are the only actual short tours of the 4 places you listed. Guam and Japan are 2-4yrs depending on unaccompanied to accompanied (long or extended long tours).
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by oinkpig329 View Post
    Hey everyone

    Recently my SO has started talking about trying to find ways to get out of his current base, since life is pretty terrible there. One of the options he suggested was putting a short-tour on his dream sheet, and he would want me to go with him (we currently live 2,000 miles away). I would love that, but the logistics are concerning me, since I know next to nothing about all of this. So here are some questions I have. Any answers to any of these would be greatly appreciated.

    To provide a little background information, we are unmarried and have been dating for about 2 years. We are in our mid-20s, and have known each other for over 6 years. I have agreed to go on a short tour with him, but on the condition that we are engaged at that time. (right now, neither of us is ready for marriage, but I would be shocked if we did not get married eventually). We do not want to live together before we are married. The locations he has suggested at this time are (in this order) Azores, Guam, Japan, or Korea.
    So my questions:
    1. Am I allowed to "accompany" him? If we get legally married (in the eyes of the state) before we move, would that make it much easier? What benefits come from getting legally married before the move? How early would we have to get legally married?
    2. How difficult is it to get a job on-base? How difficult is it to get a job off-base?
    3. What visas/legal documentation do I need to move to another country for a year with him?
    4. I would need health insurance, how does that work with moving for a year?
    5. Are there any other things I should be considering that I have not asked about?

    Thank you so much for all of your help!!
    For most countries, you will not be able to accompany him. Being married means the country will offer SOFA (Status of Forces) status to the family of the service members. That allows them to skip the typical immigration rules. Without that, you are like any other tourist. Think of it like a person from another country coming to the US. They can't just decide to come her and stay for a year because they want to. Without a job or student visa, they can only stay short term. If you get legally married, it *may* change things, but if his orders are unaccompanied, then you wouldn't qualify for command sponsorship, which means no SOFA status and that puts you back in the same boat.

    That said, I know people have made it work in Korea without command sponsorship. I don't know about the Azores and Guam specifically. Japan will be a no-go unless you can get a job there or something that give you a longer term visa. Basically google the visa rules for each country and you'll see how long you are allowed to stay and what you need.

    In most cases, it is pretty difficult to get a job on base. There aren't a lot of them and in most locations, the base is required to give a certain % of the jobs to local nationals. What is left is usually food service and child care, and even those jobs are very competitive. If you aren't a spouse, there is almost no chance unless you luck out and have some skill (like being a teacher) and are able to get a job with that skill. Getting a job off base is also very difficult because you wont' speak the language (in most cases) and may not even have a work permit. In some countries (like Japan), it is pretty easy to pick up part time work teaching English (casually, like lessons, not as an official teacher). If you aren't married, you'd need to buy health insurance that covers you overseas. If you are married and sponsored, you'd be taken care of by base medical (with some care maybe happening out in town). If you are married and not sponsored, you would likely be seen on a Space Available basis at the base facilities. Sometimes they have space, sometimes they don't.

    If you go unsponsored, he may be required to live on base, which means no housing allowance so you'd have to pay for an apartment without a housing allowance.

    One more thing to note--even if you are married and he is on accompanied orders (so not a short tour), it isn't 100% guaranteed you can go. You have to pass a medical screen, and people fail all the time for things they think won't be an issue (like being on depression or anxiety meds, or having mild asthma).

    He needs to do some research on what is a short tour and what isn't.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #9
    Thank you Sushi and Villanelle,
    All of this is really good information to know, and exactly the kind of information I was looking for. As I mentioned before he's been busy and we haven't had a chance to talk it out in any detail yet, only that it's something he wants us to consider, so he could possibly know a lot more than I do. I think largely he was thinking I could get a job there and it wouldn't be a problem, which I was hesitant about (I hadn't even mentioned being married and going to him) Thank you for answering, I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and helping me to learn about all of this!
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    #10
    How long has he been in? How long has he been at his current base. Is he officer or enlisted? The reason I ask is because there are different ways to try to get a new assignment depending on where he is in his AF career.
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