Be Sure to read through the relevant websites for your USFK affiliation and your unit’s webpage. There is usually a newcomer section. I used:
501st MI Brigade –
8th Army Korea – There is detailed information on how to navigate the airport at Incheon
USAG HUmphreys Installation Map
Online Copy of Humphreys Happenings – Has interpost bus schedules
Go over everything with a grain of salt. The US military is going through drastic changes in consolidating its forces south of Seoul and increasing the number of dependents who will live in South Korea. The steps for landing and inprocessing are constantly in flux. I relied upon the 501st MI Brigade website and it was a great resource. However, it states that there are buses only for the service members and family members will have to find their own transportation to Seoul from Osan. We were a worried when we landed but it was no problem for us to get on the bus to Yongsan. If you are coming into Incheon, follow the signs to the USO and they will take care of you.
Note: Have a pen ready for custom’s. Make sure any prescribed narcotics and knives (this includes Gerbers) are in an easy to reach location. You will have to declare them when you come into the country.
All soldiers and their family members must go through Yongsan before heading to their assigned units. Be sure to bring a copy of your orders everywhere, this includes dependents. I was pretty upset that I wasn’t allowed to buy a bottle of water for the boys at the Shoppette in Dragon Hill Lodge because we didn’t have a ration card. They will accept a copy of your orders and your dependent ID. SM’s just need their active duty ID card.
Expect to spend 1-2 days in Yongsan and then you’ll be bused to your post. You will be tempted to think you are going to spend an amazing weekend at DragonHill Lodge and will have a chance to enjoy Seoul but they’ll have you out of there before then. We left on a Friday morning for Camp Humphreys. Broke my heart!
Have someone waiting for you at Camp Humphreys! We were really lucky that our FRG contacted us before we arrived in Humphreys and made sure we had transportation. The bus is a Korean owned business and the driver will most likely not speak English. He will drop you off at the USO across from the PX and then leave. If you don’t have your sponsor, your FRG, a friend or someone from your unit there then you will be standing around for awhile waiting for someone to come get you.
There is word through the grapevine that the bus contract is being rewritten so that family members will be dropped off at lodging with all of their luggage instead of the USO.UPDATE: The Bus contract was rewritten on April 1st and a stop has been added for Humphrey’s lodging.
UPDATE 2: It looks like there has been a miscommunication and families are being dropped off along with single soldiers at the Community Activity Center (CAC). That is right across the road from lodging but as of July 2016, that means families will have to walk around the front of the CAC to get to lodging with all of their luggage because of construction blocking sidewalks and roads. I highly suggest families have someone (sponsor, FRG) meet them help with the luggage.
When we arrived on a Friday afternoon, my husband hoofed it over to housing while the boys and I waited at the USO for our awesome FRG to drive us to lodging. He was able to get all the paperwork done so that we could start looking for offpost housing that weekend. I am glad he did because we found our dream house the next day.
Inprocessing is difficult at Camp Humphreys, there is no permissive TDY and there is a lot of conflicting information because policies change so quickly and the construction causes offices to move around. There is a building called the OneStop where most of your inprocessing will occur. It is a short walk from lodging. The rest of inprocessing will be more difficult without a car. The post is huge, with an airfield cutting down through the middle, and the construction and road closures make it difficult to navigate. It’s possible that Batallion HQ and your company could be on opposite sides of the airstrip and the shuttle bus takes much longer than a taxi or car. Have someone spend an hour driving you around and giving you a quick tour of base so that you know what is feasible to walk to and where you should use public transportaion.
Priorities for soldier’s with families:
Get a Humphreys Happenings Magazine and post map- Both are available at lodging. If you walk by ACS on the way to One Stop or the TMC, stop by and grab any flyers, base maps, schedules and books on Pyeongtaek/Korea.
Go To Housing– Whether you want to live offpost or onpost, housing is your first stop. The civilians speak perfect English and are extremely helpful.
Get a Cellphone – Whether buying a new cellphone or using an American phone, a cellphone will be a primary form of communication with the new unit. Cellphones can be bought at the Yongsan or Humphreys USO (we got ours while inprocessing at Yongsan) or at the PX.
Go to the NewComer’s Brief at the Super Gym on Tuesdays at 9:00am– Be sure to sign in because when you go to take your Korean driver’s test they will check to see that you attended this brief first. Spouses need to be at the brief until lunchtime and service members will stay until 3pm.
Inprocess DBids and get Dependents a Ration Card– The DBIDS at Yongsan is separate from Camp Humphreys so the family will need to be put into the DBIDS system again. Only after the family is in DBIDS can a spouse obtain a rations card. When I came here I was told that I couldn’t shop at the commissary with just orders, so we ate Burger King for a few days and some home-cooked meals given to us by our FRG until we got one. Since then my curiosity got the better of me and when I called they said that they would probably accept pinpoint orders and an ID at the commissary. Remember, everything keeps changing, so always double check!
Get kids registered for School and CDC– If you are command sponsored you have priority for DoD schools and CDC. If you are non-command sponsored then you may have to go on a wait list before your children can start attending. There are many wonderful preschools and daycares offbase that military families use. If the schools are full, off post Korean schools, international English schools or homeschooling is always an option.
Get the car if it has arrived – DO NOT show up in Yongsan with just orders and expect to get your car. First stop is DBIDS at Humphreys to get the packet with step by step instructions on how to register a vehicle. The following is a rough idea of the process:
– Go to pcsmypov.com to create an appointment to pick up the POV.
– Get temporary plates from the Pyongtaek DMV. This is a $40 cab fare so try to get a ride from the sponsor. We learned the hard way that Pyeongtaek city is the size of a county.
– Use the inter-post bus for less than $10 to go to Yongsan. The schedule is in the Humphrey Happenings and the pickup is at the USO.
– Pick up the POV and get gas in it ASAP. Download the app: Waze. This is a map application that will help get you to the gas station in Yongsan. Search for the “AAFES Yongsan Gas Station.”
– Go to the auto skills center next to the PX at Camp Humphreys to get the car inspected.
– Go to the DMV with the inspection paperwork to get your official license plate. If the license plate doesn’t fit, they will drill holes in it for you
– Head back to DBIDS to get a permanent gate pass. The POV has to be available for the personnel at DBIDS to apply the sticker to the windshield.
Get a Korean Driver’s license – Go Here to learn more about POV’s in South Korea.
Get SOFA Stamps – This can be done up to 90 days after entering the country. When I asked around for advice I received conflicting information on how to get a stamp because the process had changed in the past year. Go to the Passport office on Camp Humphreys to get the packet on how to obtain a 2-year SOFA stamp. It will involve a signed memo from your commander and a trip to the passenger terminal at Osan. Check out Humphrey’s Living for a well written article on how to get your SOFA stamp. There is another location offbase at the Songtan Immigration office here to get the SOFA stamp as well as an Alien Registration Card. As of July, 2016, the office is swamped and the wait time can be 4+ hours. Getting a SOFA stamp at Osan is much easier.