You've gotten orders to one of the finest overseas duty stations in the world. The fact that you've found this page indicates that you've got plenty of questions, and you're looking for answers. There are plenty of great resources for people coming to Japan, however many of them are out of date or don't appear to address your specific question. Before you go any further let me advice you on a couple very important points, then I will do my best to help you find the information you are looking for.
- Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Is the official home page for Yokosuka Japan. This should be the most reliable source of information. If you find something that is inaccurate- contact the appropriate POC to suggest changes or corrections.
Although facebook has a ton of good information, there is probably more mis-information on facebook than there is truth. Even those that post things trying to help you out are basing it on their personal experiences which may or may not be similar to yours.
There is no substitution for reading the instruction
- This site, facebook and any other place you find information is only as good as the contributor. As the site moderator- I vow to do my best to provide links to the source document for anything on this site so that you can read the reference yourself. Experience has shown that these references can be very difficult to read and/or understand, and that is why there are so many questions out there. The goal of this site is to consolidate the information in one place so you can find it quickly and easily. In cases where there is no readily available instruction this site may contain contributor opinion- but I will do my best to limit the amount of opinion.
- Contact your sponsor- The Navy spends considerable amount of time and energy on the sponsor program (especially for overseas assignments). Each gaining command is required to assign incoming members to a sponsor that is designated to act on your behalf and answer your questions. I cannot promise that your sponsor will know everything and/or be as helpful as you'd like them to be- but You have to start there. When you check in to your command you will have an opportunity to evaluate your sponsor- so at that time you can provide feedback- but you have to give them the opportunity to help first.
- Each command is different- Just because your friend (or a spouse's friend) told you something from experience doesn't make it true. Each command has different rules, and there are as many different cases as there are service members.
- Fleet Activities, Yokosuka comprises 568 acres and is located 43 miles south of Tokyo at the entrance of Tokyo Bay and approximately 18 miles south of Yokohama. Yokosuka is on the Miura peninsula in the Kanto Plain region of the Pacific Coast in Central Honshu, Japan. CFAY is the largest overseas U.S. Naval installation in the world and is considered to be one of the most strategically important bases in the U.S. military.
Before you Come
- The "normal" passport process takes 6-8weeks (3wks if expedited). You can apply for a tourist passport ANY time- even if you don't end up with orders it's nice to have one for travel.
- The No-Fee passport takes 4-6 weeks, and can only be ordered through a military base (doesn't matter which branch). Most military passport offices will expedite the no fee for you.
- If you are planning to order both a tourist and a no-fee, stagger these orders as both require you to submit your original birth certificate and/or marriage license. I would get the NoFee first, and then order the tourist, because you can have the tourist sent to a family member who can mail it to you. If you don't have the no-fee prior to traveling your PCS may be delayed.
- There are many different kinds of passports:
|No Fee||Blue (sometime brown)||
- When travling to Japan on orders you will be required to use your No Fee passport when checking in to your flight, and present it to the customs agent at the airport or Yokota MAC terminal
- After arriving, have both your no-fee and your tourist passport stamped at PSD with a SOFA multiple entry authorized stamp. Without this stamp:
- You are technically only a visitor and are bound to Japanese travel regulations
- Anytime you re-enter japan you are required to show your orders
- When traveling FOR LEASURE While stationed here, you MUST use your tourist passport. Leasure travel IS NOT authorized using a no fee passport. This is not just a silly rule, it is a security concern. If you travel on your no fee passport you are identified as being associated with the military and it makes you a target for terrorists, and foreign governments.