Camp Pendleton – Miramar – March Air Force Military Relocation

Military Relocation PCS

6 Things to Do When You Get PCS Orders

  • 6 Things to Do When You Get PCS Orders

Now that you've gotten your PCS orders, what's the next step? Here are 5 tips to help you get prepared.

You've received your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders, and after the panic subsides, you know you’ll need to get yourself and your family organized for the relocation process. So what's your next move? Once you have your PCS orders in hand, make sure to take the following steps:

1. Set up a meeting with your base transportation office. Depending on your service branch, the name of the government office that handles your relocation varies:

  • The Department of Defense: Joint Personal Property Shipping Office.
  • Air Force: Traffic Management Office.
  • Army: Installation Transportation Office.
  • Navy and Marine Corps: Personal Property Shipping Office.
  • Coast Guard: Household Goods Shipping Office.

Make sure you make an appointment with your office as early as possible. At your meeting, make sure you find out about all the moving options available to you, including a DITY move, and start making preliminary arrangements for your move.

2. Contact the family center at your new location. Family centers offer relocation assistance programs that provide moving information to you and your family. Ask questions, and learn about your new community and what it offers.

3. If you're living in government quarters, notify the housing office of your projected move date. Make sure you also know all the regulations about cleaning your home before you move out.

4. Make an appointment with your finance office at your current installation. Making a move will be a drain on your bank account. The finance office can give you the lowdown on your options, as well as relocation benefits that you’re eligible for.

5. Use Military.com’s PCS Guide and Moving Checklist (below) to help plan your move. In making preparations for a move, it's easy to be bogged down with all the details and things to do. Military.com can help you stay on top of it all with this handy checklist, which covers everything from packing to setting up in your new location. These ready-to-print lists will remind you what you need to do. (Below)

6. Contact Nancy Sanford. Certified National Relocation Specialist.

USAA, Afinity, Navy Fed

. #1 - Start 3 Months Before Moving

To Do

Done?

If you are an active service member, make an appointment for a counseling session at your base transportation office.

 

Decide whether you want to make a Personally Procured Move (PPM), or have the government handle everything for you.

 

Start saving for non-reimbursable moving expenses.

 

Discuss the moving process with your children to overcome their fear of relocation.

 

Start planning for special moving needs if you have an infant.

 

Notify your landlord you will be moving, but do not give him or her an exact date right now.

 

Begin making shipping arrangements for your vehicle(s) if necessary. If you are using your base transportation office, schedule a counseling session.

 

Start keeping track of tax-deductible moving expenses (i.e., the cost of pre-move househunting).

 

Make an inventory of possessions and valuable items (take pictures or video tape). Get appraisals for antiques or collections.

 

Start organizing personal records like birth certificates, insurance papers or warranties.

 

Make a list of whom to notify concerning your move and forwarding address.

 

Let clubs/organizations that you belong to know you are leaving. Transfer your membership if possible.

 

Take care of necessary medical, optical or dental appointments.

 

Obtain your records or find out how to forward them later.

 

Have Power of Attorney or Letter of Authorization drawn up for unforeseen circumstances.

 

Go through closets and drawers to sort through clothes and other items to give away or sell.

 

Make sure all stickers from previous moves have been removed from furniture.

 

Do not place any more mail order purchases.

 

#2 - 2 Months Before Moving

To Do

Done?

Begin sorting out and disposing of items you don't need. Hold a garage sale and/or sell off items through an online marketplace such as eBay or Craigslist.

 

If you are buying a new home at your new location, you should choose one as soon as possible, arrange financing, and set tentative closing dates. For more on the home buying process, see the Military.com Home Buying Guide.

 

If your family members have jobs, they should give required notice of termination and get a referral letter. They should also update their resumes for finding jobs at your new location. For more help, see the Spouse Career channel.

 

If you require child care at your new location, start looking into options.

 

If you have school-age children, check school schedules and enrollment requirements at your new location.

 

If you plan to take a vacation on the way to your new address, make all your reservations as soon as possible.

 

If you have a car, truck or auto, be sure that all maintenance and repairs are taken care of now.

 

Be sure you still have your proof of insurance for the car.

 

Contact your insurance company about protection for auto(s), home and household storage, and high-value items.

 

If you are using your base transportation office, let it know if you plan to ship your vehicle, and provide the estimated shipping weight.

 

If you have pets, have them checked by a local vet, and ensure all vaccinations and inoculations are up to date.

 

Close out any local charge accounts.

 

If necessary, open up an account and a safe deposit box at a bank at your new location.

 

If you need help organizing your finances, visit your military base finance center, or seek a private financial advisor.

 

Check expiration dates on major credit cards you plan to use during travel.

 

Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles at your new location for information on a new driver's license and registration.

 

#3 - 1 Month Before Moving

To Do

Done?

Schedule pickup and delivery dates with your mover, and arrange for storage if needed.

 

Verify your move-in schedule with real estate agents and landlords; arrange for temporary housing if needed.

 

If you haven't found a new residence yet, obtain a post office box or forwarding address for your mail until you have a permanent address.

 

If you haven't done so already, visit your military financial center or private advisor for financial counseling.

 

If you are on active duty, check with Travel and Transportation Allowances to see if you are entitled to advanced pay or other benefits.

 

Get rid of any unwanted items around your house (furniture, clothes, etc.). You can sell them online, hold a garage sale or donate them to charity. Keep any receipts from your donations for tax purposes.

 

Arrange to pick up your children's school records or get the proper procedures for sending the records to their new school.

 

Arrange for letter of transfer from local church and clubs, including Scouts or other national organizations.

 

If your family is driving in two or more vehicles, buy some short-range walkie-talkies so you can keep in touch while you're on the road.

 

If you or someone in your family is employed, arrange with your employer to forward tax withholding forms.

 

Ensure that all health, life, fire and auto insurance is up to date, and inform these companies of your new address.

 

Return library books and other borrowed items.

 

Ensure that your vehicle(s) are in good running condition and that all required maintenance has been completed.

 

Record serial numbers of electronic and other important equipment.

 

Fill out an IRS change of address form (available from the IRS in PDF format).

 

#4 - 3 Weeks Before Moving

To Do

Done?

If you are an active duty service member, contact your military pay office to recertify Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) and have sign-off on your PCS.

 

Reconfirm packing, pick-up and delivery dates with mover.

 

If you have a military ID card, check the expiration date and update it if necessary.

 

Notify your credit card companies of your new or temporary address.

 

Notify your stock broker or investment counselor of your new or temporary address.

 

Transfer bank accounts and your safe deposit box. Arrange for credit references.

 

If possible, settle all your outstanding bills.

 

Cancel all local deliveries and services, such as newspapers and diaper service.

 

Retrieve all items you have loaned out.

 

Confirm your change of address with the US Postal Service.

 

Plan menus from what you have remaining in the freezer and cabinets.

 

Remove old TSP markings and stickers from furniture and boxes.

 

If you are using the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO), reconfirm moving dates.

 

Have drapes and carpets cleaned; DO NOT leave in plastic wrappers.

 

Clean up your current living space or quarters.

 

Clean out your attic, crawl space, or similar storage area within the residence.

 

Renew and pick up any necessary prescriptions. Obtain prescription slips in case you need refills on the road. Pack medicine in leakproof, spillproof containers.

 

If you are an active service member making use of military weight allowances, separate your professional books, papers and equipment (PBP&E). These items will be weighed and listed separately on your shipping inventory. Make sure the packers know these are your professional items -- their weight will not be counted into your weight allowance.

 

#5 - 1 Week Before Moving

To Do

Done?

Close out safety deposit box if you have one.

 

Buy a bunch of ziplock bags -- these will come in handy when packing large sets of small items, like silverware, or for components of furniture that need to be broken down (i.e., screws, bolts).

 

Make copies of any important documents before mailing or hand-carrying them to your new address.

 

Remove wall accessories such as drapery rods, small appliances, food and utensil racks.

 

Pull out all items from beneath stairways, attics or any other area that does not allow full standing room.

 

Drain garden hoses.

 

Drain oil and gas from lawn mowers and gas operated tools.

 

Disconnect spark plugs.

 

Dispose of flammables such as fireworks, cleaning fluids, matches, acids, chemistry sets, aerosol cans, ammunition, oil, paint and thinners.

 

Refillable tanks must be purged and sealed by a local propane gas dealer. Discard non-refillable tanks. Some carriers and the military do not permit shipment of any propane tanks.

 

Pack electronic components such as stereos and TVs.

 

Place original packing boxes (if they are in good condition and you want the movers to use them) by the equipment. If you decide to pack the item in the original carton yourself, leave the boxes opened so items can be inventoried.

 

If you have a computer, "park" hard disk drive units, then disconnect computer systems. Place CDs and DVDs in protective cases before packing into cartons.

 

If you are using your vehicle, make sure that it is in good running condition and that all required maintenance has been completed.

 

Give a close friend or relative your travel route and schedule so you may be reached if needed.

 

Set aside cleaning materials to be used after packing and loading.

 

Ensure personal property items are free of soil/pest infestation (e.g., gypsy moths, brown tree snakes). Complying with requirements of the USDA and state laws is your responsibility.

 

If you are an active service member making use of military weight allowances, separate your professional books, papers and equipment (PBP&E). These items will be weighed and listed separately on your shipping inventory. Make sure the packers know these are your professional items -- their weight will not be counted into your weight allowance.

 

#6 - Final Days Before Moving

To Do

Done?

Separate items that will not be packed, including suitcases.

 

Ship as "unaccompanied baggage" items that will help set up housekeeping at your new address, such as linens, dishes, etc.

 

Keep a household inventory list on hand, and carry it with you.

 

Make a complete inventory of all the boxes you will move to your new location -- you will need to check this later after you move in.

 

Attach colored stickers to your boxes to correspond with rooms in your new home where you want your boxes to go. If you are using movers, prepare a color-coded map of your new house, so they'll know exactly where to take your belongings.

 

Secure your cash, jewelry, important documents, your checkbook and other valuable items, and carry them yourself.

 

If you are renting a truck or other vehicle for your move, check it over to make sure everything is running properly.

 

Accurately note the condition of belongings. If anything is marked "scratched, dented or soiled," note the location of the problem.

 

Clean your refrigerator and freezer, and dry them for 1-2 days with doors propped open To avoid musty odors, place several charcoal briquettes in a stocking or sock in both the freezer and refrigerator.

 

Discard partly-used cans/containers of substances that may leak. Carefully tape and place in individual waterproof bags any jars of liquid you plan to take with you.

 

Disconnect gas and electrical appliances -- moving companies are NOT required to perform disconnects or reconnections.

 

Remove hanging objects scheduled for shipping from the walls, ceilings, and cabinet. This includes curtain rods, kitchenware (kitchen utensil, food racks), mirrors, and pictures.

 

Remove outside TV antennas, and disconnect satellite dishes.

 

Remove air conditioners from windows.

 

Drain water from hot tubs and waterbeds.

 

Switch utility services to your new address.

 

#7 - The Big Day, Moving Day

To Do

Done?

Get up early and be ready for movers to arrive. Do not have dirty dishes in the kitchen, or dirty clothes in hampers or lying around the house. Take all trash out of the residence.

 

Have coffee, cold drinks and snacks for yourself (and packers if you wish). This is going to be a very long day ...

 

Be sure that you or someone assisting in your move is at home at all times -- most moves are conducted during normal business hours.

 

Make sure cash, jewelry, important documents, checkbook and other valuable items are secure (carry them with your personal belongings). Do not ship jewelry.

 

Get pets under control before movers arrive. If necessary, ask a neighbor to keep them for you if you haven't made boarding arrangements.

 

Double-check closets, drawers, shelves, the attic and garage to be sure you have packed everything.

 

Have a marker handy to make extra notes on boxes.

 

If you are hand-carrying any boxes with you, be sure to mark "DO NOT MOVE" on them clearly.

 

Carry a box of "basics" you'll need on move-in day (i.e., tools, paper products, housecleaning supplies, emergency kits, etc.).

 

Verify that mover's inventory is complete and accurate.

 

Watch loading and unloading, and examine all items carefully before signing a receipt.

 

Accurately note the condition of belongings. If anything is marked "scratched, dented, or soiled," note the location of such problems.

 

If the military is taking care of your move, be sure to obtain a copy of the GBL, the DD-619 (if CONUS), and the Household Goods Inventory from the packers before they leave the residence. Insure the inventory is accurate and complete, and keep a copy with other important records you are hand-carrying.

 

Check the entire house before releasing the packers, to make sure that nothing has been left behind.

 

Leave all the old keys that are needed by the new tenant or owner with your realtor or a neighbor.

 

Hand-carry finance and other important records.

 

#8 - Wrap-up, After Arrival

To Do

Done?

If you are an active service member, you will be given the telephone number of the transportation office at your new duty station. You should contact the office as soon as possible, and provide them with a phone number where the member or designated representative may be reached.

 

If you are making use of the destination Household Goods Office, contact them to arrange for delivery of personal property.

 

Arrange for phone, gas, and electricity to be connected. Check the pilot lights on the stove, water heater, incinerator and furnace.

 

If you are moving to a new state, register your car and get a new driver's license as soon as possible.

 

Register your children in school.

 

Connect with medical services in your new location, such as doctors, dentists, etc.

 

Before the moving van arrives, clean the hard-to-reach places in your new residence.

 

When the movers arrive, check their inventory against the one you made prior to departure -- they should match.

 

Know in advance where to place each piece of furniture. The mover is required to place each piece only one time.

 

At time of delivery, you are entitled to the reassembly of all items that were disassembled by the carrier. In addition, you are entitled to have everything unpacked, with packing materials removed from the residence, unless you specifically waive this service.

 

If you discover that you are missing some items or items have been damaged in transit, you must list these items on your DD Form 1840. You should ensure that three legible copies of this form are received. This is not a claim, only a record of loss or damage. Any additional loss or damage discovered after the carrier has completed delivery should be noted on the reverse side of DD Form 1840, which is DD Form 1840R.

 

If you are an active service member, you will be given the telephone number of the transportation office at your new duty station. You should contact the office as soon as possible, and provide them with a phone number where the member or designated representative may be reached.

 

If you are making use of the destination Household Goods Office, contact them to arrange for delivery of personal property.

 

Arrange for phone, gas, and electricity to be connected. Check the pilot lights on the stove, water heater, incinerator and furnace.

 

If you are moving to a new state, register your car and get a new driver's license as soon as possible.