Coast Guard Spouse Professional License Transfer Policy

Coast Guard

Coast Guard members with permanent change of station (PCS) orders have to pack up their belongings, move to the new assignment, and continue to serve in the Coast Guard in the new location.

Married couples face an additional challenge–how does a Coast Guard spouse move their career across the country?

Spouses with professional licenses for state-regulated occupations may have the option to transfer their licenses to the new state and be compensated by the DoD for doing so.

Federal laws passed in 2022 make it easier to perform these transfers thanks to legislation requiring the states to accept military spouse licenses from other states.

Some view this change in policy as a federal “enhancement” of existing state license reciprocity programs. Military spouses may have an easier time transferring a professional license but it is important to remember that these transfers may be reimbursed only during a permanent change of station move.

Read more: Find Jobs for Military Spouses

Coast Guard Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Policy

Spouses of service members “of any rank” may be eligible to apply, and typically such transfers qualify when they are for the same type of license or its equivalent.

The U.S. Coast Guard will reimburse the servicemember for expenses related to transferring the credentials, including “any required exam costs or registration fees set by the new state so the spouse can keep working in their current profession”.

Up to $1,000 in reimbursement is offered per move.

Documents You Need To Apply For A Spouse License Transfer

  • Copy of PCS orders or equivalent
  • Copy of spouse’s previous state occupational license or certification
  • Paid receipt showing the new state fees
  • Claim for Members for Expenditures on Official Business voucher

Apply for reimbursement after the new state license or certification arrives. Contact your command support staff or finance office to learn where to submit your application as it is typically submitted via e-mail.

>>Learn about Spouse and dependent military benefits

Costs Not Covered by the Coast Guard Spouse License Transfer Policy

U.S. Coast Guard policy for this program includes a list of expenses that cannot be repaid under this program They include, but may not be limited to:

  • Costs not associated with PCS moves;
  • Expenses related to failed attempts to obtain relicensure;
  • License transfer costs associated with separation or retirement orders;
  • Reimbursement is not authorized for “moves upon accession” or the Career Intermission Program.

Things to Know About Transferring Licenses From State to State

This benefit is a reimbursement. It is not paid in advance. You should expect to pay for the transfer up front then file the paperwork to be reimbursed.

Your gaining or losing state may have different license transfer guidelines than others. The “gaining state” may require more credentialing for the same type of license, or it may not have as many requirements depending on circumstances.

>>Who offers the best military discounts? Start saving now!

 

Air Force and Space Force Spouse Professional License Transfer Policy

Members of the Air Force and Space Force who get permanent change of station (PCS) orders have to pack up their professional and personal spaces, move to the new assignment, and start their life in the new location.

Married couples face an additional challenge–how does the military spouse pack up their career and move it across the country?

Air Force and Space Force spouses with professional licenses for state-regulated occupations may have the option to transfer their licenses to the new state and be compensated by the DoD for doing so.

Federal laws passed in 2022 make it easier to perform these transfers thanks to legislation requiring the states to accept military spouse licenses (all branches of the U.S. military) from other states.

This is, more or less, a federal enhancement of state reciprocity programs active prior to the new law; Air Force and Space Force spouses may have it easier when trying to transfer a professional license–but the transfer must be due to a permanent change of station move.

Read more: Find Jobs for Military Spouses

Air Force/Space Force Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Policy

Spouses of service members “of any rank” may be eligible to apply, and typically such transfers qualify when they are for the same type of license or its equivalent and the license travels across state lines.

Air Force and Space Force define their “qualified relicensing costs” as “any required exam costs or registration fees set by the new state so the spouse can keep working in their current profession”.

Up to $1,000 in reimbursement is offered per move.

Documents You Need To Apply For An Air Force or Space Force Spouse License Transfer

  • Copy of PCS orders or equivalent
  • Copy of spouse’s previous state occupational license or certification
  • Paid receipt showing the new state fees

Apply for reimbursement after the new state license or certification arrives.

How To Apply For An Air Force or Space Force Spouse License Transfer

Gather the documentation listed above and make an appointment with your gaining base’s Finance Office.

>>Learn about Spouse and dependent military benefits

Costs Not Covered by the Spouse Professional License Transfer Policy

Air Force policy for this program includes a list of expenses that cannot be repaid under this program They include, but may not be limited to:

  • Costs not associated with PCS moves;
  • Expenses related to failed attempts to obtain or transfer licensure;
  • License transfer costs associated with separation or retirement orders;
  • Reimbursement is not authorized for “moves upon accession” or the Career Intermission Program.

Things to Know About Transferring Licenses From State to State

There is a time limit. You generally have 24 months to apply for the reimbursement once you have been reassigned.

This benefit is a reimbursement. The government will not pay you or the appropriate agency in advance. You will be expected to pay for the transfer upfront and apply to be reimbursed.

Remember that your gaining or losing state may have different license transfer guidelines than others. The “gaining state” may require more credentialing for the same type of license, or it may not have as many requirements depending on circumstances.

Marine Corps Military Spouse License Transfer Policy

Marines who receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders know they must pack their belongings, move, and start living in a new location. That all by itself can be a challenge, but what about Marine spouses who have to transfer a career to the new location?

Military spouses with professional licenses for state-regulated occupations may have the option to transfer their licenses to the new state. They may also be reimbursed by the federal government under qualifying circumstances.

Federal laws passed at the end of 2022 made it easier to perform these transfers thanks to legislation requiring the states to accept military spouse licenses from other states.

You could view this as a federal enhancement of state reciprocity programs active prior to the new law; in any case, spouses may have it easier when trying to transfer a professional license when that transfer is directly related to a permanent change of station move.

Marine Corps Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Policy

Marine Corps spouses of service members “of any rank” are eligible to apply, but applications must be for reimbursing license transfers associated with PCS moves. Transfers qualify when they are for the same type of license or its equivalent in the new location.

The Marine Corps offers to repay “qualified costs” which may include exam fees, registration fees, etc. There is no guarantee of reimbursement for expenses that fall outside these areas.

Maximum Benefit

The maximum you can be repaid is $1,000 per PCS move. Some may have looked into this option in the past when the maximum was much lower ($500); from 2023 forward, the maximum amount is $1k.

How To Apply

You will need to gather documentation including:

  • Copy of PCS orders
  • Copy of spouse’s previous state license or certification
  • Copy of new state license or certification
  • A receipt showing the fees paid in the new state

Marine Corps spouses typically apply for reimbursement after obtaining the transfer.

Costs Not Covered by the Marine Corps Spouse Professional License Transfer Policy

The U.S. Marine Corps includes a specific list of expenses that cannot be repaid under this program They include, but may not be limited to:

  • Costs not associated with PCS moves
  • Expenses related to failed attempts to obtain relicensure
  • License transfer costs associated with separation or retirement orders
  • Travel costs

Things to Know About Transferring Licenses From State to State

This benefit is normally offered as a reimbursement. Don’t assume the government will pay you or the appropriate agency in advance. In typical cases, you should start the transfer and pay for it first, then apply for reimbursement.

Some states may have more strict license transfer guidelines than the one you are leaving. Your “gaining state” may require more credentialing for the same type of license.

In order to successfully transfer a professional license to a new state, some may be required to take additional training or continuing education in the gaining state.

Expiration Date

Some branches of service have listed specific end dates for their license transfer reimbursement policy. Others do not. In the case of the United States Marine Corps, at press time there is a set expiration date for this program. It officially ends in 2025.

Navy Military Spouse License Transfer Policy

If you get permanent change of station (PCS) orders and must pack up your home and move across the country, there are many considerations to make for your move. And for a Navy spouse, that could mean packing up a career along with the pots and pans. And for those in careers that require state-level licenses or certification, moving presents a set of challenges. Will the new state accept the spouse’s credentials or will they have to apply for a new license or certificate?

Fortunately, Navy spouses with professional licenses for state-regulated occupations may have options to transfer their licenses to the new state and get reimbursed by the federal government.

Federal laws passed at the end of 2022 made it easier to perform these transfers thanks to legislation requiring the states to accept military spouse licenses from other states–a federally mandated expansion/enhancement of existing “reciprocity” programs between the states making it easier for military spouses to relocate.

Thanks to these and other changes in federal policy, the U.S. Navy may reimburse the expenses related to licensure and/or recertification directly related to PCS moves.

Navy Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Policy

Military spouses who moved across state lines because of a PCS move on or after December 12, 2017 may qualify if they are listed on the sailor’s orders. The spouse must be “command sponsored” meaning the military has authorized the spouse to accompany the sailor to their new assignment.

The Navy will reimburse “qualified relicensing costs” associated with getting an identical or equivalent license in a new state. You may qualify for up to $1,000 per reimbursement which can include exam fees and registration fees.

Qualifying For The License Transfer Reimbursement

  • The sailor must be reassigned. This may be “either as a PCS or permanent change of assignment from a permanent duty station (PDS) in one state to a PDS in another state” according to the Navy.
  • The military spouse must be registered in DEERS and the sailor’s PCS or PCA orders must name the spouse.
  • The spouse was “employed in a profession requiring certification at the PDS in a previous state”.
  • The spouse must be required to obtain recertification in the new state.
  • To claim this benefit after returning from an overseas assignment, “the license from the PDS State held prior to overseas assignment may be used if the new PDS is in the United States but in a different State” according to Navy.mil.

How to Apply For Navy Military Spouse License Transfer Reimbursement

To request this benefit, complete a Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Request Memorandum and Optional Form 1164 Claim for Reimbursement for Expenditures on Official Business (voucher) which must be completed digitally. You are asked to submit a “reimbursement package” which according to Navy.mil must include:

  • Spouse Licensure Reimbursement Request Memorandum.
  • Signed Optional Form 1164 Voucher
  • Copy of current PCS orders
  • Copy of the license from the previous state
  • Copy of new license issued by the new state
  • Copy of the receipts for the amount claimed

Scan and email the complete package to:

MyNavy Career Center (MNCC) at ASKMNCC.FCT@NAVY.MIL.

Things to Know About Transferring Licenses From State to State

This benefit is offered as reimbursement. You must obtain the transfer and pay for it first, then apply. You will not be approved or paid in advance.

Some states may have more strict transfer guidelines than others, and some states may require more credentialing for the same type of license than others. You may be required to take additional training or continuing education in your new state that you weren’t obligated to attend elsewhere. The U.S. Navy does not guarantee that all licenses will transfer in all situations.

To learn more, contact your Detailer, Senior Chief, or orderly room.

Army Military Spouse License Transfer Reimbursement Policy

A permanent change of station (PCS) move across the country means packing up your life and relocating. But for an Army spouse, that also means packing a career with hopes to land another job someplace else.

Army spouses with professional licenses for state-regulated occupations have experienced difficulties in the past when trying to transfer an existing license to a new state or getting the new state’s equivalent.

Thanks to changes in federal policy, the U.S. Army may reimburse the expenses related to licensure and/or recertification directly related to a PCS move.

Army Spouse License Transfer Reimbursement Policy

Thanks to the 2018 Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Army is permitted to pay the spouses of soldiers with “any rank” up to $1,000 for expenses related to licensure and credentialing necessary due to a PCS move either within the continental United States (CONUS) or a move from overseas back to the U.S.

The spouse must be named on the soldier’s orders (“accompanied” orders that allow the spouse to travel with the soldier at the government’s expense) and the spouse must be seeking the same license or certification at the new assignment.

In other words, the spouse must be command-sponsored and be listed on the soldier’s PCS orders as an authorized family member. Those who are not registered in DEERS as a spouse are not able to apply for this benefit.

Spouse Professional Licensing Expenses the Army Will Pay

Army regulations state that “qualified” costs will be reimbursed up to the $1,000 limit, including registration fees and exam fees.  But there is a small caveat–the Army will reimburse you up to the lesser cost of either the license fee or the maximum.

At press time, official Army messaging on this program may seem a bit contradictory–in some official documents linked from DoD sources including MilitaryOneSource list the Army’s program as expiring in 2021.

Specifically, the Army ALARACT Message on the program, dated May 2019 states, “…the authority to provide reimbursement expires on 31 December 2022”.

However, the official Army site My Army Benefits lists this program (with an article review date in late 2022) as having no stated expiration date. Contact your First Sergeant or unit orderly room to determine what current Army policy may be for this program before you apply.

How to Apply for Army Spouse License Transfer Benefits

You will need to complete Army Standard Form 1034, Public Voucher for Purchases and Services Other Than Personal. Submit the following documentation when you apply.

  • PCS orders
  • Marriage certificate
  • Copy of spouse’s previous state license
  • Copy of new state license
  • Proof of license fee payment where applicable

Army policy states you must apply for reimbursement after obtaining the new license or certification. You cannot be paid in advance.

Applications for reimbursement are typically paid in 10 business days, but depending on mission demands and other variables your experience may vary.

Things to Know About Transferring Licenses From State to State

Some states may have more strict guidelines than others. You may be required to take continuing education in your new state that you weren’t obligated to attend in the previous state. That said, such circumstances aren’t standardized; you may be required to do more in the new location, but not always.

You should also know that the Army’s transfer policy is for stateside employment. You can transfer licenses between states, and you can apply to transfer a license you have earned while working at an overseas location, too. Transferring a license from a United States employer to an overseas employer is not covered by this program.

The U.S. Army does not guarantee that all licenses will transfer–the limits on law licenses alone is a good indication that there are certain exceptions to these rules that you should know about before moving forward.

To learn more, contact your First Sergeant, unit orderly room, or command support staff.

Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act

In the first week of 2023, the President signed the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act, which is part of the Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022. This move is meant to help military spouses to transfer professional licenses when following a spouse to a new military assignment.

The act is not just a major step forward for military spouses, but also an important milestone in federal law itself.

Some sources report this is “the first time” a new federal law requires states to accept licenses from outside their jurisdiction. And this law isn’t just meant for spouses, it also protects the service member.

Pro Licensing: Typically an Issue for the States

According to the United States Department of Labor official site, “Generally speaking, licenses are state-specific and each state has their own licensing requirements. Laws vary by state and before you can establish yourself in a new state, you should understand the laws of the state in order to get your license there.”

Why was this Act necessary? There have been moves over the years between individual states to improve professional license reciprocity, but there have been many problems along the way and until the advent of the ederal law, this reciprocity has not been standardized.

According to DoD sources, there are more than 130 thousand active-duty military spouses who need licensing and/or reciprocal licensing options such as the ones found in the law. Nearly 40% of all military spouses could benefit from these changes.

What did the Law Change?

If you want to transfer a license to another state, there are now basic minimum standards. For example, you must be in good standing with your current license, and the new state should accept a license that is similar in scope to those required in the gaining state as long as you have used that license in the last two years before relocating.

Exclusions to the Law

As the Act is written, if a given state has an existing agreement with other states for occupational license transfers that existing compact may take precedence over federal law depending on circumstances.

That’s not the only exception to the law; licenses may transfer for a variety of occupations, but there is one profession excluded by name–those with licenses needed for a legal practice are NOT covered by the Military Spouse Licensing Act.

Family advocates say the provision is good news for military families, but they also have many questions, such as how states will implement the law.

How to Apply for a Professional License Transfer

If you are a military spouse, you should begin looking into your professional license transfer options the moment you know there are PCS orders to a new location.

The first thing to do is to contact your current licensing board to discuss any requirements it may have to transfer your credentials and ask about any future requirements should you return to the state your license was originally issued in.

Next, contact the equivalent of that board in the state you are moving to and ask what may be required from you to transfer a license.

For example, can you start the transfer process before you move to the state? How long (if at all) must you live in the new state before you can apply for a license? You may or may not be subject to residency requirements, or you may need specific documentation to apply.

Find Your Licensing Board

You can use an online resource such as the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored CareerOneStop, which has a licensing board locator tool.

When you find the board you need, contact them, identify yourself as a military spouse seeking reciprocal licensing information between that state and the state you are in, and be sure to ask what specific programs are offered for military spouses seeking a new or transferred license in the new state.

Overseas Military Spouse Career Options

Military spouses can have a tougher time getting employment when they accompany an active duty service member to an overseas assignment. The job pool is obviously smaller and more competitive on an overseas military base and spouses don’t always have the luxury of the multitude of job openings that might be offered in the local area stateside. But there are career opportunities to consider at overseas bases.

When you arrive at an overseas duty location for the first time, it’s easy to notice that a military installation is basically a city in a microcosm. Overseas, you may have access to a Post Exchange and Commissary; you may find there are individual vendors on base offering clothing alterations and dry cleaning, electronics, and even a liquor store and convenience stores depending on the location of the base and other variables.

All of those enterprises need staff. But lest you think the only jobs on base are in retail or are retail-adjacent, remember that a military base depends greatly on a civilian workforce that helps process the massive volumes of documents and records generated there.

There are people who work in public affairs, those who work in the base hospital and dental clinic, and there is a massive demand for jobs involving finance, budgeting, planning, and contracting. What follows is a guide to the different types of work you may find at an overseas base. Not specific types of careers, but different classifications of work you may be qualified to apply for.

Overseas Military Spouse Career Options

There are several different types of employment you can find on a military base in general. They include:

  • Nonappropriated fund job
  • Civil Service positions
  • Defense contracting

Nonappropriated Fund Jobs

Non-appropriated fund jobs, also known as NAF jobs, are labeled as such because the funds used to pay employee salaries and benefits are not taxpayer dollars--the money is “self-generated”. These jobs are typically service jobs and may include opportunities at the Base Exchange, Commissary, fitness centers, and recreation centers.

Pro Tip: Not all NAF jobs are service-related but there are plenty of entry-level positions that some use as a stopgap while exploring other options.

Appropriated Fund Jobs/Civil Service Jobs

Appropriated fund jobs are paid for by taxpayer dollars and are more career-oriented. You may find Civil Service jobs at overseas bases that include opportunities in contracting, skilled labor, public affairs, office admin, and support staff.

Civil Service jobs are said to be more “portable” and you may find spouse hiring preference options with these positions in the form of points toward your Civil Service exam score. Such preference may not be available for all positions but where it is available, it’s a definite advantage for many applicants.

Pro Tip: Civil Service exams, depending on the subject, may have test prep documents. Check the job description to see if one exists for the jobs you want.

Defense contracting

Defense contractors may operate on or in cooperation with an overseas military base, and these enterprises need civilian employees. If an arrangement exists with a base and a contractor or group of contractors, job opportunities will be posted on that base’s official site in the appropriate place, but you can also make an appointment with a base employment readiness specialist where available.

Pro Tip: If you are interested in defense contracting jobs, get familiar with the official sites for known defense contractors like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, etc. Pay close attention to the careers sections of these sites as the positions advertised may hit those sites first before they are sent out to military job sites and other job boards.

Virtual work

Virtual employment–being able to work from home with no need for office visits– may or may not be offered by the base you’re assigned to. But many stateside (and overseas) companies do allow telecommuting, virtual work, and variations of these practices. You may not need to apply for on-base employment or use spouse hiring preference if you can find work that you can do at home.

Pro Tip: Make sure you know your military installation’s rules about running a home business using internet services offered on base or on-post. You may discover some bases have rules about acceptable use of internet services provided on base; it may be necessary to pay for host nation internet service in order to run your business according to base regulations. That said, it’s important to ALSO know whether working from home constitutes a business or not where those rules are concerned. If you are an employee, but not a sole proprietor, that may make a difference depending on the base.

Work In The Local Community

There are options, depending on the host nation, to work in the local economy. Businesses close to overseas military bases may be more amenable to hiring Americans, especially if you have any grasp of the local language. Working in the local community can be challenging where tax laws and employment guidelines are concerned. You’ll want to discuss working off base with someone from the base legal office if you aren’t sure what your rights and responsibilities are with off-post employment.

What To Know About Applying For Military Spouse Jobs Overseas

There are options to claim military spouse hiring preference at an overseas base in a similar way you can apply for it stateside; military spouse preference policies at overseas bases let you claim preference on a one-time basis to land appropriated fund (Civil Service) jobs or non-appropriated fund jobs up to a certain pay grade.

To qualify for this preference, you must be the legal spouse of an active duty service member and you must be listed on the service member’s Permanent Change of Station orders. When applying, you are permitted to use military spouse preference until you are offered a permanent NAF or Civil Service job. You may accept or decline the position but you are not offered hiring preference a second time. You do not lose your preference when accepting or declining a temporary job.

To get started, contact the Human Resources office at your new assignment and ask how to start the application process.

If you decide to explore your job opportunities off base, remember that scams and con games are everywhere; trying to avoid them in a culture you aren’t familiar with can be tricky. Get the advice of people who have been assigned to the base for a while and ask them if there’s anything to beware of when looking for work in the local area.

Some establishments may have a reputation you don’t know about yet, there may be a local scam artist “everyone” knows about except new arrivals, and some employment opportunities aren’t always what they are advertised to be.

You’ll want to vet any potential employer as best you can before you decide whether or not to take a job somewhere. Beware any employer who asks you to surrender your passport or other official documents; report such requests to installation law enforcement immediately.

The same rules for finding stateside jobs can apply overseas; it is generally a bad idea to pay someone money for the “privilege” of working for them, you should not be required to invest any of your own money upfront to accept a job, and you should always consider bringing an escort with you when traveling to areas you aren’t familiar with in an overseas location.

Do not sign documents you don’t understand or cannot read and remember that some businesses or employers in the local area may be banned from doing business with the base if they have run afoul of certain laws or regulations. It’s never a good idea to accept work from a company in bad standing with the local command.

7 Best Resources for Military Spouse Entrepreneurs

These Resources Can Help You As a Military Spouse Entrepreneur

As a military spouse, you may have had to put your initial career plans on hold due to military life. However, that doesn’t mean you have had to give up your goals altogether. Becoming an entrepreneur can be a way to take your job with you from location to location or allow for you and your spouse to have a plan for after military life. Whatever the reasons, becoming a military spouse entrepreneur can have many benefits.

By going into entrepreneurship you can be your own boss, have the potential for unlimited income, and make a living doing what you love. You can create a positive impact in the world, take your work with you wherever you go, and choose who you will be working with.

Getting started as an entrepreneur can be challenging but you don’t have to go at it alone. There are many resources out there. Here are 7 of them to help you on your journey.

The Rosie Network

The Rosie Network offers entrepreneurial programs and support services for active duty, veterans, and military spouses to help them realize the American dream of owning a small business. Their program, Service2CEO, is free and offers individualized small business training and a mentoring program. They also have Rosie Chapters for military spouses and Warrior Chapters for active duty and veterans.

DAV/Patriot Boot Camp

Patriot Boot Camp offers mentors, educational programming, and a community of experts and peers to help active duty service members, veterans, and military spouses innovate and build impactful businesses. They have both in-person and virtual events.

Bunker Labs

Bunker Labs provides community, programs, and courses to help military veterans and military spouses start as well as grow successful businesses and startups. They offer programs such as Veterans in Residence, which is a business incubator for early-stage startups and growth-oriented small businesses for veterans, military spouses, and military family members.

Boots to Business

Boots to Business is a program offered by SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. The program offers entrepreneurial education and a training program for transitioning service members and their spouses. They also provide an overview of business ownership.

AMSE

AMSE, (the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs) is a global network for military spouse entrepreneurs. With AMSE, you can sign up as a member and have access to the AMSE Slack channel with over 1,700 members. They also have 15+ monthly digital and live events. The community works together to build ideas, brand collaborations, and to help you work on your businesses.

Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce 

The Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce wants to ensure that all active duty, veteran, and military spouse business owners have the tools and resources that they need to strengthen their families, communities, and our economy. Their membership is free and through it, you can obtain Milspouse-Owned Enterprise Certification. You can also find a mentor, find a job board, and find tools, resources, and advocacy. The membership is for those who are considering starting a business, are already a business owner, work in the gig economy, are freelancers, are self-employed, have a side hustle, or consider themselves entrepreneurial.

LinkedIn Learning 

LinkedIn Learning has 17,000+ expert-led courses where you can earn a certificate when you complete the course. You will need to have LinkedIn Premium to access the courses which you can get for free as a military spouse.

As a military spouse entrepreneur, you want to get the best advice that you can and get off to a good start. These organizations and companies can help.

 

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PCSing With an Established Business

When you have to move your established business for a PCS

As a military spouse small business owner, you are thankful you can take your business with you when you move. However, when those PCS orders come, you can feel a bit of a panic. How will you move the business? What if you are going overseas? What do you need to know?

If your business is already established, you will want to keep things running smoothly during the move. Just taking a few months away from the business isn’t always an option. Here are some things to think about when you PCS with an established business.

Transferring an Existing Business License

When it comes to the legal permits you need to operate a business, laws in your new duty location will apply. It may not be possible to transfer one state’s business license or permit to another. But it IS possible to transfer professional licenses you need to operate in a professional capacity. What is the difference?

One is your city or state’s permit to do business in that state or city. The other is the professional credential a military spouse may earn such as a Real Estate license, Licensed Clinical Counselor credentials, or other certifications.

The licenses you earn as a professional may transfer and military spouses may qualify for reimbursement for any approved fees associated with that transfer as long as it occurs during a permanent change of station move. Each branch of military service has its own policies for license transfer reimbursement, you can see an example of such policies based on branch of service:

Air Force and Space Force Spouse License Transfer Policies

Navy Spouse License Transfer Policies

Marine Corps Spouse License Transfer Policies

Army Spouse License Transfer Policies

Coast Guard Spouse License Transfer Policies

Legal

There are legal issues related to moving with a small business. Each state can have its own laws and regulations. This is where you need to do your homework and figure out what the move will mean for you.

If you have an LLC, you may have options between keeping your old LLC and starting a new one, dissolving your old LLC, and starting a new one, to merging your LLC into a new one. For more information on that, visit How to Move Your LLC to Another State.

Become aware of any permits, or licenses you will need in your new area. You will also need to be aware of taxes and what you need to do as a business owner in your new state to be in compliance.

Going Overseas

Moving your small business overseas is not going to be easy and in some cases, you might need to make some difficult choices. You will need to find out if you are allowed to run your business at your duty station and be aware of the laws of the country you are going to be in. Each country that has American troops will have a SOFA agreement that may have a say in what kind of business you may operate. SOFA laws apply regardless of whether you know about them or not–do not start a business in an overseas location without knowing

Even if you do get approval to run your small business, you can’t use your APO for any business-related mail. This can create a lot of stress for people running a small business. You would need to use a local, in-country postal service to stay within the SOFA agreements. Those who break this rule can lose their APO privileges.

There are also rules about not being able to compete with AAFES, and not being able to buy business supplies at the Exchange or Commissary.

These rules and regulations can be complicated and discouraging. The main point is to figure out what the rules are at your duty station and within your host country. This can differ based on what your business is and where you are going to be stationed.

Putting your business on pause

Some small business owners will need to put operations on pause during the actual move. This will depend on if you have employees or assistants that can take over for a time. Notify customers beforehand if there will be a break in service or the ability to order products.

Budgets

Make sure your budget is aligned with the move. There will be extra costs from licenses, to taxes, to purchasing new supplies. If your company is based on local customers, finding a new customer base will take time and that can result in a loss in pay.

Networking

Once you get to your new duty station you will need a plan for networking. See if there are any local small business owner networking groups. Join local groups to get your business out there. This will take time, especially if you feel like you are starting over, but will be worth it once you are able to get connected in your new community.

Moving an established small business can be complicated so it is important to stay organized and make sure you are checking all the boxes. Reach out for help if you need it, and visit Military One Source’s PCS and Military Moves page to help you with all things PCS.

 

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VETtoCEO: Free Business Training for Veterans

VETtoCEO Offers Business Training to Military Veterans

The non-profit organization, VETtoCEO, offers an annual business training program for qualified veterans and active military, to include National Guard and Reserve members.

The program is called Entrepreneurship for Transitioning Warriors and it is a free virtual program that runs for six weeks. The next training iteration will run from May to June 2022.

The VETtoCEO Program

The core program is the Entrepreneurship Training Program. Training is delivered by small business owners who are themselves veterans. This program explores all the different ways that lead to small business ownership, and it is a great course for veterans who are considering whether or not to start a small business.

The Entrepreneurship Training Program core runs for six weeks, one night per week. It covers five essential modules:

  1. Marketing – learn how to conduct market research and develop pricing strategies.
  2. Mission – Determine the 5 W’s of the business and create an elevator pitch.
  3. Execution – Learn about organizational structure issues and legal forms of business.
  4. Logistics: Financial Projections – Learn about financial statements, cash flow, and preparing financial projections.
  5. Command & Signal – Learn why advisors and networking techniques are important.

Participants who complete the course will be able to decide on their business strategy: startup, franchise, or to buy an existing business. A course completion certificate, Edge Up for Funding, will also be awarded. 

The VETtoCEO business training is also a great way to connect with other veteran entrepreneurs, thereby expanding the business network that is essential to succeed.

VETtoCEO Funding Academy

The second course offered by VETtoCEO is the Funding Academy, a three-part program that teaches strategies to help veterans determine the best way to fund their enterprise. This course is not free, as it requires a one-time $500 donation to VETtoCEO in order to participate. Because they’re a non-profit organization, VETtoCEO can’t sell the course to you. However, they can limit access to only donors.

The three parts of the Funding Academy are:

  1. Sources of Capital & Funds – learn how to determine funding requirements, and about debt versus equity sources.
  2. Understanding Financial Terms & Concepts – learn more about debt versus equity and common mistakes in financing.
  3. Developing a Funding Strategy – learn how to develop a funding strategy and how to prioritize funding sources.

Upon completion of the Funding Academy, veterans will have a better understanding of funding and how it impacts their business. Additionally, entrepreneurs will receive introductions to VETtoCEO’s preferred funding partners.

Get Free Business Training

VETtoCEO’s Entrepreneurship for Transitioning Veterans is a great opportunity for service members and veterans to learn about starting and running a small business. Veterans have a natural determination to succeed and many have developed excellent leadership skills while in the service.

To take advantage of VETtoCEO’s free business training, go to their Register page and enter your email address. They will contact you and provide more details about the upcoming courses.

Contacting VETtoCEO

If you need more information, or just have general questions, contact VETtoCEO via email at help@vettoceo.org. Or, call 888.677.2765 to talk to someone about their programs.

For more info on VETtoCEO, please visit their website.

 

 

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