An agreement on visiting forces is similar to an agreement on the status of troops, except that the former only temporarily cover troops that are not stationed there. A SOFA should clarify the conditions under which the foreign army can operate. As a rule, purely military and operational matters, such as the location of bases and access to facilities, are covered by separate agreements. A SOFA focuses more on legal issues related to military persons and property. This may include issues such as entry and exit into the country, tax obligations, postal services or the conditions of employment of nationals of the host country, but the most controversial issues are civil and criminal justice on bases and personnel. For civil cases, SOFAs provide for how civilian damages caused by the armed forces are identified and paid. Criminal problems vary, but the typical provision in U.S. SOFAs is that U.S. courts have jurisdiction over crimes committed either by a soldier against another soldier or by a soldier as part of his or her military duty, but the host country retains jurisdiction over other crimes.  NATO`s SOFA forms the basis for the legal status of military personnel, US civilian employees and family members who live in Germany by order.
As part of an additional amendment, German staff also enjoy privileges that are not granted to other members of the service deployed elsewhere in Europe. These agreements cover status, entry and exit from the host country, military training in the territory of the host country, jurisdiction, criminal prosecution, taxes, import and export laws, driving privileges, employment, post, education, housing and much more. The presence of troops from NATO countries stationed in Germany on the basis of a special agreement, the NATO Status of Armed Forces Agreement (SOFA) of 19 June 1951 (Agreement between the Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Status of their Armed Forces, BGBl. 1961 II p.1190) and the SOFA Additional Agreement of 3 August 1959 (Agreement supplementing the Agreement between the Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty on the position of their armed forces with regard to foreign armed forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany, BGBl. 1961 II p.1218). The supplementary agreement contains detailed provisions on all matters relating to troops stationed in Germany. After German unification, it was profoundly revised by the Agreement of 18 March 1993 (BGBl. 1994 II p.2594). The temporary deployment in Germany of the armed forces of the PfP States and other third countries is subject to the conclusion of an agreement under the Visiting Forces Act of 20 July 1995 (BGBl.
1995 II p.554, BGBl. 2002 II p.2482). Under Article 1 of that law, the Federal Government may conclude such agreements with foreign States on the entry and short-term presence of its armed forces in Germany for the purposes of exercises, land transits and training by decree-law. So far, the Federal Government has concluded such agreements with Poland (Agreement of 23 August 2000) and the Czech Republic (Agreement of 31 July 2003).
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