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Army Military Spouse License Transfer Reimbursement Policy

Army mil spouse license transfer 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.

About the author

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.