Government contractors are called-upon with increasing frequency to perform their contractual obligations abroad. Apart from the myriad of laws and regulations governing their performance on the international stage, government contractors also must be cognizant of the terms and conditions of any applicable Status of Forces Agreements. SOFAs, as they are commonly referred to, are voluntary multilateral or bilateral peacetime agreements that define the legal status of personnel and property (“covered individuals”) of one nation in the territory of another nation (“host nation”). Covered individuals will want to familiarize themselves with the pertinent SOFA because it is the agreement that sets forth the legal framework under which they operate in the host nation. The pertinent SOFA may cover a broad range of topics, ranging from civil and criminal jurisdiction to the wearing of uniforms by armed forces while away from military installations.
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