Pacific edition, Thursday, July 12, 2007

SEOUL — Getting family members their status of forces agreement stamps just got a little easier for troops stationed in Seoul.

The Seoul Immigration Office opened a branch in the Yongsan Garrison Army Community Service building during a brief ceremony Tuesday.

Every Tuesday through September, military and Defense Department civilian family members can get SOFA stamps, change their visa status and get re-entry permits without making the trip to downtown Seoul.

When the summer move season ends in late September, the office will reduce its operations to one Tuesday a month.

Family members must make appointments and are advised to attend a pre-screening to ensure they have all of the right documents, said ACS employee Reta Mills. Mills said people who need to pre-screen their documents can see her between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. every Monday.

Won Hyong-kyu, general director of the Seoul Immigration Office, said Yongsan officials requested an on-post office.

“Going downtown to the immigration office is very inconvenient for (Yongsan personnel),” Won said. “This is a way to give them better immigration services.”

The new office saw its first 50 customers Tuesday.

While some expressed frustration with previous attempts to get their SOFA stamps on post, many seemed optimistic about the increase in services.

“It’ll be wonderful,” said Naomi Rogers, the office’s first customer. “I think it will relieve a lot of the backup they have here.”

Call DSN 738-3617 to make an appointment.

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