Active duty to SOFA status

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I am currently active duty looking to stay in Germany after I ETS in about a year. I read that I can maintain my SOFA status by getting a job on base. Does anyone know any good websites for these jobs? Also in terms of a timeline how far out from my ETS should I apply?

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Over two months ago, following your other open request about contract jobs, I sent you a private message offering to help if you provided more information, but you never replied.  Unless you have skills that are in demand, and the education to augment those skills, your chances of securing a contractor position with Technical Expert status and SOFA are slim.  To give you an idea of the minimum requirements for Technical Expert Status Accreditation (TESA) in Germany, you must demonstrate one of the following:

 

1.  At least a BA/BS degree from an accredited university or college and at least three years of relevant technical experience.

2.  An AA/AS degree from an accredited university or college and at least seven years of relevant technical experience.

3.  A major technical certification from an approved source and at least seven years of relevant technical experience.

4.  A High School Diploma and at least 11 years of relevant technical experience.

 

The technical experience must be complex and of a military technical nature, and must have been acquired though a process of higher education or specialized training and experience that a German will not be able to duplicate.  For example, a 91D will never qualify as a Technical Expert, but a 35T will.  A security clearance or the requirement to deploy are not considerations for TESA. 

 

I wish you the best once you figure out what you really want to do.

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The websites are easy: usajobs.gov, also nafjobs.org. It is however not all that easy to slide into a nice overseas GS job with LQA directly from active duty unless you truly have some skill that is in demand, often you have to return to the US and then reapply.

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16 hours ago, nickstraub said:

I appreciate the post but I was referring to jobs with MWR or AAFES or another GS position. 

 

Good luck with your job hunt, and the sources @danielg listed are the best.  However, the Government hiring process is slow, so you might start looking now if you want to receive a job offer near your ETS date.  You can apply for and accept a Government job while in Germany as a local hire with LQA eligibility as long as this is done while you are on Terminal leave, within the 90 days the German Immigration Office gives you as a tourist without status, or within one year if you have a residency permit, but no employment, immediately following your European ETS.

 

Don't fall into these situations that some European-out military personnel experience when thinking about a GS job:

 

1.  Do not use your transportation agreement prior to becoming a Government employee.  The transportation agreement is the Government authorization to relocate you to your home of record when you ETS.  As long as you do not use the Government-funded travel to visit family or friends prior to returning to Germany, your transportation agreement will remain intact and you will be eligible for LQA if the position authorizes it.  If you want to visit the States, pay for the ticket yourself.  If you use your transportation agreement prior to applying for, accepting, and becoming a government employee while in Germany, you will not be eligible for LQA.  Contrary to popular belief and tribal knowledge, LQA is an enticement, not an entitlement.

 

2.  Do not accept an AAFES or MWR job to hold you over for a GS job if you want to qualify for LQA.  If you accept employment from AAFES or MWR, you will not be elligible for LQA.  I know several people who retired in Germany and took a temporary job with AAFES while waiting on a government job, only to discover they lost their LQA eligibility when the Government job offers were made.  One Soldier who took my advice became a tourist while waiting on the GG-13 position to be offered in Wiesbaden.  He waited for 72 days before he received the offer, and became a Government employee about two weeks later, complete with LQA, post allowance, and 360-day limit for use or lose annual leave.

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Is LQA living quarters allowance? So just to clarify I can’t take an AAFES or MWR job to hold me over while looking for a better GS position without loosing that allowance?

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13 minutes ago, nickstraub said:

Is LQA living quarters allowance? So just to clarify I can’t take an AAFES or MWR job to hold me over while looking for a better GS position without loosing that allowance?

 

Yes, LQA is Living and Quarters Allowance.  Taking a job with AAFES, MWR, or any other non-GS job will not disqualify you from accepting a GS position, but it will eliminate your eligibility for LQA.

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Also you mentioned applying early, can I apply now a whole year in advance and accept the job when on terminal leave to maintain LQA? Would it be better to apply 9 or 6 months out?

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2 minutes ago, nickstraub said:

Also you mentioned applying early, can I apply now a whole year in advance and accept the job when on terminal leave to maintain LQA? Would it be better to apply 9 or 6 months out?

 

You can apply for a GS position at any time, start work while you are on terminal leave, and receive LQA (if it is authorized for the position).  I know people who applied for dozens of GS/GG jobs while still six months away from retirement or ETS in hopes that one of the organizations would make an offer.  I know others who applied for only one job and waited.  Sometimes they received the call with an offer, and sometimes they didn't. 

 

If you do apply for a position six months out and receive an offer two months later, you can always negotiate for a starting time to coincide with the start of your terminal leave.  The hiring organization could always say "no" because they don't want to wait.  However, if you received the call, this means your resume made it to a referral list, made it through the selection process, and they want you.  It might be better for the hiring organization to wait a few months for you rather than to start the hiring process again.

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