7 Tips for Moving OCONUS When in the Military

Posted by Lauren Schneider on Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 at 7:48am.

Got OCONUS Military Moving Orders? These Tips Will Simplify the TransitionIt is not uncommon for those in the military to receive orders for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS). When those orders indicate moving outside of the continental U.S., it is considered an OCONUS move. Due to the distance, these moves can be tricky, but they don't have to be overwhelming. Keep reading to find a few tips to simplify the challenges of OCONUS military moves.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What to Do Once an OCONUS Assignment Arrives

Notification of a possible reassignment will come via letter, phone call, or email, and this is when a service member needs to start thinking about relocation plans. While these orders may still be unofficial, it's wise to follow the Family Member Relocation Clearance (FMRC) procedures. This ensures that the new duty station can meet the family's educational and medical needs. Still, the process takes time, and no complicated orders can be issued before all dependents are cleared. You'll also want to learn about DITY vs. government moves.

Once OCONUS Clearance Is Obtained

Once clearance is obtained and official orders arrive, carefully review the information in the documents for accuracy concerning social security numbers, dates of birth, name spellings, and reporting dates. Make numerous copies of the orders, as they will be needed to get no-fee passports and tourist visas for the household's new home country.

Get Started Planning for the OCONUS Move

Active duty military members buying homes while overseas might need to plan more than they would in the U.S., so be ready to jump a few extra hoops when facing PCS OCONUS orders. Unless everyone in the household is a minimalist, downsizing is likely to be necessary. Donate or sell what isn't realistic to bring overseas, and use a binder to keep track of what is to be saved and moved and what should be dispensed with.

Prepare for OCONUS Success With an Accurate Packing List

The military will cover a good portion of an OCONUS move, but being prepared with a solid plan is essential. Begin a packing list for three categories: carry-on bags, unaccompanied bags, and household goods. Jot items down in the moving binder to stay on track with packing up, and go ahead and pack what won't be needed until the transition.

Document All Belongings and Insure Expensive Items

It's a given that a professional moving company or shipping provider will be needed to get some items to the new location. These providers will make an inventory, but it's a good idea to have a personal inventory on hand in case of a dispute or if the need arises to make an insurance claim for property missing or damaged. Experts recommend including make, model, and serial numbers along with pictures of high-priced items like electronics.

Make Plans for Special Circumstances

Pets and automobiles present their own set of challenges when moving overseas. Be sure to make an appointment with a veterinarian and obtain records for all pets. Vaccination requirements for the new country must be met, and some require blood tests and a period of quarantine.

An official military Vehicle Processing Center near the current base or new duty station can ensure that a vehicle is ready for transport. Having the auto professionally cleaned before shipping is often necessary, as many countries have restrictions about bringing in foreign soil, foods, or particulates to protect their regional environment.

Legal Documentation

Be certain that any driver's licenses are current, and plan to get a temporary one in the new country. Renewing overseas can take a while, so renew early if needed. Another tip for success is to have an updated power of attorney for any family members just in case a medical emergency arises.

Be Ready for the Realities of an OCONUS PCS Move

No move is easy, but an OCONUS PCS move for military reasons is sure to take a bit more time, planning, and effort. However, being ready with these tips will simplify the transition, so the family can embrace their new destination and soak in a whole new culture.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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