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Moving Overseas Military

Published by Chris Townsend

Moving Overseas Military

Moving Overseas Military

Are you looking for an excellent military moving overseas? Whether you’ve recently received your orders to move abroad or you’re simply anticipating an overseas relocation, we’re here to help. Even if you feel like you’re an expert at PCS moves by now, an OCONUS (Outside the Continental U.S.) relocation is an entirely different beast. With overseas military actions, there are a unique set of challenges and concerns that you’ll be faced with.

Once the excitement settles down, there are a number of things you’ll need to pay close attention to – especially if this is going to be your first time living outside of the country. Although each OCONUS location has its own idiosyncrasies, the preparation for each is largely similar. With that said, here are some things about moving overseas for the military you should be aware of before the big move:

Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy

Just like anything in the military, paperwork is crucial. So, when you get your orders make sure that you take the time to verify that all the details are accurate. Aside from your name, social, etc., make sure that your orders have the correct dependent information, reporting dates, and duty station.

All of your family members should be listed on official orders, and names must be spelled correctly. If anything is awry, let the administration section know immediately so they can correct it. Also, make sure that you arrange for your overseas medical clearance as soon as possible – this is required before any travel can be arranged.

Verify that Your U.S. Driver’s License is Up-to-Date

If you can renew your driver’s license before you move overseas, make sure that you do so. While it can be done after you move, it is often a major hassle when you’re living in another country. Depending on your OCONUS location, you’re likely going to need to test for an overseas driver’s license and your stateside license has to be valid. On that same note, keep in mind that you should also contact your insurance company to transfer your coverage overseas and update your policy.

Start Downsizing

The housing for OCONUS is usually a lot smaller than what you’re probably used to, so you’ll want to start downsizing and purging some of your belongings. Consider taking advantage of the storage that the military provides and stash larger items or things that you can live without for the next couple of years.

Arrange Overseas Screenings

The service member will typically complete his/her screening through their command, but all other family members must also complete an overseas screening. In most cases, you’ll pick up the paperwork for the screening at an overseas screening office – which is usually at your local Naval Hospital. Once you have the necessary paperwork, call your care provider to schedule the overseas screening and bring all your vaccination records with you.

Apply for Moving Overseas Military Passports

The no-fee passports are your military passports. These are valid for only service members and family members that are traveling on official military orders. For family members, a military passport will only get you to and from your host country during a PCS move. Any other travel will require you to have a personal passport, so make sure you have one that’s up-to-date.

The Packing Situation

When it comes to overseas relocations, all of your boxes are going to be created and sealed shut. They will also require the sponsor’s signature. Before you sign off after receiving your items, make sure that you visually inspect the crates and seals. Be sure to make note of any broken or cut tape, should you need to file a claim later on.

It’s important to keep in mind that you may go quite some time – possibly months – until you see your household belongings. To avoid spending money on items you already own, consider shipping a box of necessary items to your forwarding address. You also may want to look into securing insurance coverage for your belongings, in case they get lost, stolen, or damaged in transit.

Learn Some of the Local Languages

You can get yourself and your interactions with your new neighbors off on the right foot by learning some of the local languages ahead of time. To start, learn simple greetings and common phrases, like how to order food. Download a translation app or carry around a phrasebook with you. Simply attempting to communicate in the native language will go a long way, even if you find yourself stumbling over the words. Locals will be pleased to see that you at least tried. Oftentimes, they will know a bit of English and be able to help you!

Connect with other Newcomers

While you may arrive at your OCONUS location jetlagged, exhausted, and a bit overwhelmed, the information at newcomers’ and in-processing briefings is invaluable. These briefings give you the opportunity to connect with people in the know, like family and installation support services, school liaison officers, and other people who’ve recently moved overseas. It’s not only a great way to connect with others in the same situation as you but also to help you feel not so isolated in a foreign country.

For more information on military overseas moves or OCONUS, check out this article from military.com. Or, if you have any specific questions or concerns in regards to moving services, feel free to give our office a call at (888) 202-0036. Our moving specialists are well-versed in PCS and OCONUS relocations.

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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