A recent review of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Germany has resulted in significant changes to eligibility criteria to use the Army's Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany. Many active duty service members and retirees who have previously been permitted to utilize the Armed Forces Recreation Center facility will find that they are no longer able to stay there.
Under the clarified rules, retirees who do not live in Germany may not stay at Edelweiss unless they have been in Europe at least 30 days prior to their visit. Retirees who live in Germany can stay at the hotel if they have proper tax authorization from a German customs office.
Servicemembers who are not based in Europe United States are also prohibited from staying at the popular resort unless they are traveling with a sponsor who lives in Germany, or they have been in Europe for longer than a month.
Military, civilians, and certain contractors stationed within the European Command will not see any changes to their eligibility. And, I have to admit, I find the language about certain areas a little confusing. If you're not sure, ask!
This is a major change for those who enjoy the Edelweiss facilities during shorter trips to Europe, particularly retirees, who will now be ineligible unless their travels are longer than 30 days.
Some people have applauded the change because it may make it easier for those are stationed within Europe to get reservations for the often-booked resort.
There are many categories of eligibility to use the Edelweiss resort, and there are some fussy bits to the rules, and the details are far too specific to include in this post. If you have any questions about your eligibility to use the Edelweiss facilities, look to the Edelweiss official website for more information and up-to-date eligibility requirements. Otherwise, give them a call and see if they can help you figure out if you are currently eligible.