As of January, 2018, all personnel will now in-process Korea through Camp Humphreys. The 8th Army Website has an extremely detailed and awesome page for new arrivals.
When I arrived in South Korea on January, 2016, I was fully unprepared for how stressful in-processing would be. Websites I read said there would be no space for family members on the shuttle bus and we would have to make our own way from Osan to Yongsan to in-process then back to Humphreys again. I was terrified of what would happen when we landed and I am so glad I didn’t have any pets, information for our cats and dogs were even more scarce.
Now, all in-processing for the 8th Army in Korea occurs at the fantastic One-Stop building at Camp Humphreys, Pyeongtaek. No matter where a sponsor is stationed on the peninsula, they will stop first at Camp Humphreys.
Did I mention you should check out the 8th Army Newcomers section on their webpage? I barely have to write anything, the page covers transportation from Osan or Incheon, transportation for pets and family as well as schedules for in-processing.
If Camp Humphreys is your assigned duty station, you will do all of your in-processing at the One-Stop building and with your unit. If your duty station is elsewhere, you will finish in-processing as outlined on the 8th Army Website at Humphreys then catch a shuttle bus to your final destination to finish paperwork with your new unit.
The One-Stop building on Camp Humphrey s is a magical edifice of bureaucracy all in one place. We all hate paperwork and long lines but even more so, I hate having to drive all over an installation from one end to the other to get everything signed. The One-Stop building and buildings next door have almost everything sponsors and families need to get settled into Camp Humphreys. Finance, CYS, DBIDS, the USO, too many offices to list. Even The Pyeongtaek DMV comes to the One-Stop daily to help sponsors register or de-register their vehicles. This is a huge bonus! No more expensive cab rides out into Pyeongtaek and sponsors and families don’t have to deal with the stress of finding a way to get paperwork done in time for out-processing.
After a day at the One-Stop, walk across the street to enjoy lunch or entertainment at the Town Square and eat at restaurants, go bowling, pick up supplies at the commissary or hit up the PX. There are shuttle bus stops all around the Town Square and at the One-Stop for sponsors and families to get back to lodging or the walking-gate.
To find current shuttle bus schedules, pick up a copy at ACS, Community Activity Center (across from Sentry Village Lodging) or other offices. For an online Shuttle Bus Schedule, go to the USAG Humphreys Webpage then go to Resources-> Community Information -> Newcomer’s Information then scroll to the bottom for a link to the most recent Humphreys Garrison Map and Bus Schedule. I can’t link it here since the web address often changes.
Some important tips for in-processing:
- Call your bank/ insurance agent. While in-processing, don’t forget to let your insurance agents for renter’s and auto know your new address. Did you know, your insurer may offer a storage rate while your property or PoV ships to Korea? It’s much cheaper than paying the full rate so call as soon as your goods have been shipped.
- Soon PoV’s will be shipped directly to Humphreys for pick-up but until then, do not arrive to Yongsan without an appointment! Go to PCSMyPoV.com to make an appointment and gather important documents. Use the inter-post shuttle bus to get up to Yongsan for less than $10. Interpost Bus Schedule can be found in most offices or ACS.
- Get an orange Korean Driver’s License. Getting a driver’s license is easy and requires a few hours of studying for the paper test. Don’t forget to bring prescription lenses! Read more here about PoV’s on the Peninsula.
- There will be a schedule for in-processing but it’s important for families stationed at Humphreys to get to the housing office as soon as possible. If there is no room on-post, a family member can begin looking for houses right away while the sponsor in-processes. Go here for my ideas on house hunting and choosing the perfect realtor.
- Get SOFA Stamps for dependents. Sponsor’s may only need a CAC card while staying in Korea but family members need to have SOFA Stamps to stay beyond the 90 day tourist stamp. Currently, one of the closest and easiest places to get a SOFA stamp for Humphreys residents is at the Osan Passenger Terminal, about thirty minutes north of Humphreys. There is very specific paperwork needed to get a stamp and it can’t be received the same day as arrival since signatures are needed by the sponsor’s command team. In-processing packets should have the paperwork needed but double check with the passport office or call the Osan Passenger terminal with any questions.
- Register dependents for school and the 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 off-post that military families use. If the schools are full, off post Korean schools, international English schools or homeschooling is always an option.
- Get a Cellphone plan. Sprint, Verizon and other cellphone plans won’t work here. I once looked into the international rules for some American plans but I’ve never heard of them working well. A data plan is essential here since most units use the Korean messaging app KakaoTalk to communicate. It’s a great app, I wish the rest of the world used it! My phone plan also came with international minutes to call loved ones back home. Other options for calling back home is Facebook Messenger, Skype, KakaoTalk (yes, I made my family download it!) or other data reliant apps.
- Go Exploring! Life will start to calm down and after the jet lag wears off, boredom will kick in. Go explore outside the walking gate or get on the bus and visit AK Plaza. Don’t wait 6 months to enjoy Korea, time moves faster than anybody expects and before they know it, they have a bucket list of activities and locations they’ll never get another chance to experience. Here are some resources to get started:
- Download the South of Seoul app to find restaurants and fun in Pyeongtaek.
- Join the Pyeongtaek Food and Fun Facebook page.
- Learn how to use the 20-Bus to get to AK Plaza.
- Explore the little villages right outside of the Humphreys Walking Gate.
- I can’t help myself but are you and the family interested in Pokemon? I find Pokemon Go to be the perfect way to explore Korea. Learn more here.