Service members 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.
Although the most notable aspect of command sponsorship is getting to move, there are a number of benefits to being a command-sponsored dependent you might not be aware of. Keep in mind that most of the general information available on the web is for the Army specifically and other branches may have slightly different perks.
One of the most important benefits to command sponsorship is the availability of housing on base. If you aren’t a command-sponsored dependent, you won’t be eligible for on-base housing if that’s something you’re interested in.
If your spouse is stationed in Germany and you and your two children are planning on joining but don’t have command sponsorship, you’ll be stuck with the travel and moving costs for every dependent, easily adding up to thousands of dollars. Command sponsored dependents travel and moving costs are fully funded.
If you plan on living off base, command sponsorship can help set you up with a temporary lodging allowance, which provides funding for up to 10 days of lodging during the hunt for a place.
Without a work visa, dependents won’t be allowed to work off post. With this common limitation, command sponsorship gives dependents the ability to work on base.
Command sponsorship offers a number of benefits when it comes to visas. Without command sponsorship you would need to apply for a tourist visa and get permission from the host nation for residency, which can be a long and grueling process and especially problematic if you’re working against the clock.
Command-sponsored dependents are guaranteed SOFA status for immigrant residency and generally get their visas approved at a much faster rate than a citizen applying for a visa.
If you plan on bringing children with you to a foreign base, command sponsorship has a number of educational benefits as well. Only command-sponsored dependents are eligible to attend Department of Defense schools.
If your spouse has been stationed overseas with an accompanied option and you’re considering moving without command sponsorship, double check that you won’t be in need of one of the many benefits that come with it.
The second post in this series will outline the steps to applying for command sponsorship.