Hospital and Dental Care - It is available but very hard to come by as you are not top priority. Your best bet is the emergency room for illnesses and injuries. Dental care is routine only, cleanings and fillings! Medical appointments are giving on a space available basis. As of 1 Oct 2005, non-command sponsored dependents are no longer allowed to enroll in Tricare Prime. Please check out the recent Stars and Stripes article outlining the issue at http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=30739
OBSTETRICS CARE: Although there is prenatal care at Osan, deliveries cannot be done on Air Force installations in
BAH/BAS/BAQ - If you choose to stay longer than 30 days, you need to go to finance and change your location to Korea. You are allowed BAH in Korea. Some may tell you, you are not allowed BAH but you are legally. Everyone I knew had no problems getting BAH while there were in Korea but I have heard that sometimes the commanders try scare tactics telling people that can't receive it. This is a scare tactic only. You can receive Korea BAH while you are in Korea. It will probably significantly lower ($300-$600/ based on rank) so it may be less than you are used to but it is better than nothing. Now it is important to note that you have to change your BAH to Korea, some people don't because they are getting more in the U.S but recently commanders and Finance have been checking to see if you changed your BAH. If you don't change your BAH within 30 DAYS they can put your husband under Court Martial.
Visa/Sofa Stamp - If you don't have time to get the proper visa before you leave, it is possible to get it extended. You can go to the Visa office at the AMC terminal to get your visa extended for the duration of your husbands tour. Also, you need to get a Sofa stamp in your passport if you want to work on base at all. This is also available at the visa office.
Visas - They're free!! You just have to submit all of the proper paperwork. My A-3 visa is good for 5 years. This is definitely something to take care of as soon as you recieve your passport.
Visa Application - You need to submit your information to the Korean Consulate which has jurisdiction over the state you live in.
http://www.aneki.com/consulate/Korean_consulates.html - Lists all of the Consulates around the nation
http://www.koreanconsulate.org/english/ - General Korean Embassy Site
http://www.koreanconsulatesf.org/ - San Francisco, CA
http://www.koreahouston.org/e/ - Houston, TX
http://www.koreanconsulatela.org/new/english.htm - Los Angeles, CA
+ Normally your visa will be available two or three business days you submit all the required documents, no exceptions.
+ If you are requesting a visa by mail, be sure to Self Addressed Stamped Envelope marked with the proper postage to return you visa(s). (I sent everything express mail. Postage both ways was about $30)
+When filling out the Visa Application Form, please type or print neatly.
If you are US citizen and are a Military Dependent or a Military Contracted Employees and will be staying longer than 90 days you will need to apply for the Agreement Visa. If you are US citizen and are applying for the Agreement Visa you will need to submit the following documents:
1. U.S. passport, with remaining validity of at least 6 months
2. Application for visa (Address and Telephone number needed for sponsor)
3. 1 recent passport-sized color photo attached on the application form
4. No Visa Processing Fee.
5. If you are applying for Military Dependents: A copy of the military orders of the sponsor (Last name has to be the same as applicant & your name must be on them), A copy of the military ID of the sponsor, A copy of the marriage license for a spouse
DEPENDENT EDUCATION: Non-command sponsored children are enrolled on a space available basis at Seoul American High School (SAHS), Osan American High School, and Osan American Elementary School (K-8). Non-command sponsored students may enroll in the
Necessities for living off base - I would suggest including as much as possible in your TMO shipment. I know that 500 pounds doesn't seem like a lot, but it is. I was shocked to see that we only used 360 pounds. I'll definitely take advantage on the way home. Some suggested items if you are planning to live off base are a microwave, toaster oven, computer, kitchen tools and utensils, bedding, TV, DVD player, VCR, plates, cups, bowls, mattress pad (mattresses off base are extremely firm), crock pot, fans, bicycles, folding table and chairs, seasonings and spices, extreme weather clothing (it gets really hot and really cold), storage for clothing,iron, ironing board, vacuum, laundry baskets, and above all A VERY GOOD PAIR OF WALKING SHOES!
There are postings for apartments virtually everywhere if you just look. I found them in the 24 hr Laundromat, the library, at the housing office, and the bus stop by the main gate. Also, off base you can ask in the hotels. The people at the front desk are usually helpful. Look in shop windows. There are several signs listing rooms or apartments for rent. You will most likely have to pay for utilities. Rent ranges widely. We are paying $550 a month before utilities and I've seen some listed for $2,100 a month.
We were lucky to find an apartment close to base that was fully furnished. Our apartment was a 2 bedroom with a main living area and a tiny bathroom. Each bedroom came with a full sized bed and a wardrobe to hang our clothes in. The main living area had a couch and dining set. We were grateful to find a stove and fridge in the kitchen. It's still odd to me that people don't use ovens here. We chose to buy a toaster oven for about $30 at the BX. It was a lifesaver. Our landlords were kind enough to buy an air conditioner for the apartment. We had to pay an extra $50 to have the air but it was definitely worth it. We lived without the air conditioner for 2 days and that was quite enough. The shower was an interesting experience because it is located next to the toilet. We bought a shower curtain, rings, and tension rod at the BX for about $7. The downfall of our apartment was the presence of mold in one of the rooms caused by a leak. We were awakened one morning to find water everywhere. Our landlords didn't understand why the mold was a problem. Thank goodness we found someone who was bilingual to talk to them.
While I've seen several furnished apartments for rent, there is still the possibility that you will find one that is unfurnished. Those apartments come with no appliances so you will need to buy them here in Korea. You may be able to buy them from a spouse that is leaving, the BX or you can go to a used Furniture store. You will know it is a used Furniture/Appliance store by the stack of broken refrigerators and stoves outside! laughing. You can't miss it. Most of these stores don't have someone who can speak English so you just point to what you want. You will need to get Won before going so make sure to exchange your American money for Korean Won while you are at the base. You can buy most televisions, fans and little stuff at the local markets or pawn shops. You will need some fans during the summer since it is very Hot and Humid and most apartments don't have a lot of windows or an air conditioner. Also, as funny as it sounds, we found great chairs in the garbage. People put their trash in the middle of the street to be picked up overnight. We found some wonderful additions to our apartment and they were FREE!
Converters: You can get a converter at a pawn shop but make sure to buy a converter that is 2000W. Make sure it says 2000W on it or you may have trouble with it breaking. The converters (that look like little adaptors) at the PX are useless so don't waste your money. They don't work!! You need a converter that is a little metal box which plugs into the Korean outlet. Most pawn shops may not speak English so just take your hair dryer and point to the plug and they usually understand.
You will have a better chance of building a rapport with the local store owners and residents if you make an effort to speak their language. Most of them do speak a little English but it's nice to put the same effort forth. Below you will find a list of common phrases that will help you out with this interaction.
Hello - Annyung haseyo? If someone says this to you, reply with "Ney. Annyung haseyo." The phrase "annyung haseyo" literally means "are you at peace." It is polite to reply with "yes", and then to repeat the question; in this case "annyung haseyo"
Goodbye (you staying, the other person leaving or if you are both departing) - Annyunghi kahseyo; (you leaving, the other person staying) - Annyunghi keyseyo
Thank you - Kamsa hamnida
What time is it? - Myot shi imnikka?
Yes - Ney, yeh, ung
No - Anio
I understand - Alket ssumnida
I don't understand - Moruget ssumnida
I'm sorry - Mianhamnida
Excuse me - Shillyehamnida
Greeting - Along with the phrase "annyong haseyo", it is also appropriate to lower your eyes and nod your head slightly.
Entering certain shops, restaurants, and all homes - You must remove your shoes. Bare feet is considered taboo. The locals wear socks with sandals and shoes to keep their feet clean.