PCSing Overseas as a Military Spouse: Five Things To Remember

Spouse PCS travel

5 Things to Remember About PCSing Overseas as a Military Spouse

Military members have it a bit easier than military spouses when preparing for a PCS move overseas. After all, the service member is required to sit in PCS briefings and can ask someone in authority directly (via the chain of command) about issues related to PCSing. They have more direct access to the information at times compared to their spouse.

Spouses, on the other hand, don’t get to attend many of those briefings and sometimes get information about the move later in the process than the servicemember. There are some important issues to know about as a military spouse before the movers come to pack and ship your household goods.

#5: Keep Your ID and Passport Up-To-Date

For best results, it’s important to maintain your passport as a military spouse, even if you have to pay out-of-pocket to do so.

Why? Because no-fee passports (in the context of PCS moves) are offered only when the service member has received PCS orders, and getting your passport updated, replaced, or initiated after the orders come may require you to act much faster to meet your PCS deadlines. It’s best to keep ALL forms of ID required for travel current.

And let’s not forget that some military members get sent on unaccompanied assignments and the spouse’s passport would not necessarily get updated at the government’s expense.

A person who has never PCSed before might not feel they need an updated passport. But that overlooks the possibility that the spouse might want to travel to visit their husband or wife at an overseas location–something that’s more common than you might think at first for assignments that are not “remote” or “hardship tours”.

#4. Pare Down Your Household Goods

You might not be worried that your household goods shipment is over the weight limit, and you might be right. But there are many reasons to consider storing, donating or selling some of your items before you PCS overseas.

One of those reasons? Other countries and cultures have different ideas about what makes the right-sized home. Many overseas bases are in countries where living conditions are traditionally smaller than in American homes–your full load of household goods may quickly fill up such a smaller place and leave you without room for the rest.

Consider the potential differences in housing at the gaining base when choosing what to keep and leave behind.

#3 Are You Sure You Want to Ship Your Car?

Some overseas assignments allow you to ship a vehicle to drive while you are stationed there. But not all countries or assignments permit this. Shipping a car to your new base sounds like a GREAT idea and often is, except that some people fall in love with overseas assignments and decide to volunteer to do two consecutive overseas tours.

That’s not a problem for those who shipped a vehicle unless they get a second overseas assignment in a country that does not allow you to ship your vehicle there. Think ahead about your next PCS move and ask yourself if that scenario is a possibility for you. Anticipating those problems can save you headaches later on.

#2 Expect the Unexpected

Some PCS orders get changed, and some get changed while you prepare to move to the destination listed on the original orders.

Some assume they will become travel-ready with no complications, but unexpected complications may change your plans. For example, a military spouse with certain medical issues might assume they will have little trouble finding healthcare support at the gaining base.

But a military medical records review of the spouse’s condition may require a “command decision” from the service member’s chain of command to determine whether the spouse can be allowed to PCS to the new location.

If there is no medical support for the spouse, command sponsorship may not be approved.

The notification for such decisions may not come until the service member is well into the PCS process, and the family may have to make some tough choices in that scenario. This isn’t the only PCS problem one might face, but it is, believe it or not, common enough to warrant being mentioned here.

#1. Save Some Extra Cash

When it is time for your actual overseas PCS travel, military spouses should know that some expenses will come out of pocket only to be reimbursed later. Saving some extra money will help during PCS season.

Consider what happens if you must travel to one of the east or west coast’s major airports only to learn your flight to the new duty location has been delayed or canceled that day due to weather or other problems. It is not uncommon, depending on the destination.

You won’t just need to pay for a place to sleep that night; you’ll likely also need meals, transportation, and money for other expenses. Expect delays, cancellations, and other variables to force you to spend more on the road than you budget for, and plan accordingly.

You could face such problems at any leg of your journey. Anytime the plane lands to pick up more passengers, refuel, or make unexpected stops increases the potential for a delay that may require you to spend some extra money.

 

PCS Season: What is Command Sponsorship for Overseas Tours?

If you are given permanent change of station orders and your new assignment is overseas, you may be sent on a shorter, unaccompanied tour (typically two years overseas) or a longer accompanied tour if you are married or have dependents.

But to bring your dependents overseas to the new assignment, you must have them registered in DEERS, and they must be named on your orders as “command sponsored.” What does it mean to have command sponsorship of your dependents? The gaining command approves of and has support services for your dependents and/or spouse. And such approval is NOT automatic.

Some issues may interfere with command approval of your dependents or spouse; in some cases, those issues may result in an unaccompanied tour. We explore why below.

One caveat: each branch of military service has its own criteria and standards for approving command sponsorship. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule across all services and assignments governing this issue. Your experience may vary.

Overseas PCS Orders and Command Sponsorship of Spouses and Dependents

A very important rule of thumb to remember: if it is not specifically listed on your orders, you may not be entitled to a benefit, allowance, or option associated with your PCS move. We mention this specifically in reference to your spouse and/or dependents.

  • If your orders do not mention a spouse or child by name, and if your orders do not mention that they are command sponsored, you will need to have those orders amended or be given reasons why they will not be amended.
  • You must initiate the request to have your orders amended. It is not automatic.
  • When you apply for such changes, you will be given instructions–follow them to the letter.
  • You will need proper documentation to register your spouse and dependents in DEERS, including current, unexpired photo ID such as a government ID or driver’s license.

If You Get Married Before Your PCS

Those who got PCS orders while single and have since gotten married face a challenge. Your new spouse must be registered in DEERS and your command must be informed that you need to update your marital status, dependent status and request amendments to your orders to add the spouse and/or dependents where applicable.

You will not be reimbursed for spouse/dependent travel if you do not take these steps. You may not receive command sponsorship of your dependents and/or spouse unless you do so.

Command Sponsorship is Not Guaranteed

There are reasons why command sponsorship may be denied. Some of these may involve the inability to support a spouse or child with special needs medically.

Others may be due to a lack of available family housing, political or military tensions in the local area, or other issues.

Command sponsorship is approved on a case-by-case basis depending on a variety of factors, including but not limited to medical records and case histories, the availability of certain services from the gaining base, and the availability of support services for related needs.

If You are Denied Command Sponsorship

If you are denied command sponsorship, you’ll be given unaccompanied orders. In some cases, family members choose to travel to the new duty location anyway, but this must be done at the family’s expense.

  • The government will not pay for the relocation of non-command-sponsored family members, they cannot live on post, and they will not be allowed to use facilities reserved for command-sponsored people.
  • In some situations, the family may not be permitted to relocate due to hostilities, political issues, high crime, or other factors.
  • If you are PCSing overseas without your dependents, it’s crucial to ask your losing base’s command support staff or your First Sergeant about the risks of bringing a non-command sponsored family to the new assignment.
  •  In some cases, the issues (aside from the financial burden of doing so) may be minimal. In others, the risks could be quite high.

Read More: PCS Season: 5 Things to Know About Unaccompanied Tours

 

PCS Season: 5 Things to Know About Unaccompanied Tours

What’s an unaccompanied tour? This type of permanent change of station move has the servicemember relocating to a new assignment without “command sponsorship” of a spouse or dependents. It is not the same as a deployment or temporary duty.

In other words, the military family members are not listed on the orders and are not authorized to accompany the service member to the new assignment. An unaccompanied tour is typically outside the continental United States (CONUS), typically lasting one or two years (see below).

5. What it Means to go on an Unaccompanied Tour

An unaccompanied tour means exactly what the name implies; spouses and dependents are not authorized to join the servicemember in the new location and do not have the support of the local command to be there.

In some cases, a spouse may decide to travel to the new country regardless. However, no on-base services such as base housing, medical clinics, child care, or employment services are available to non-command-sponsored spouses or dependents.

4. Types of Unaccompanied Tours

There are one-year “hardship” or “remote” tours that have included places like South Korea, Iceland, and Guam.

There are also two-year unaccompanied tours that are more typical duty locations like Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere. Unaccompanied tours lasting two years have different considerations for packing and moving than those lasting just one year.

You may be given an unaccompanied tour as a married service member for a variety of reasons, including the previously mentioned lack of essential services for family members at the gaining base. If you are married and receive PCS orders, you’ll need to ensure your family is command-sponsored if you want them to accompany you overseas. Sometimes command sponsorship is not possible, hence the need for certain unaccompanied tours of duty.

Read more: PCS Season: What is Command Sponsorship for Overseas Tours?

3. Unaccompanied Tours for Single Servicemembers

The single service member may be authorized a certain amount of personal property to be shipped to the overseas location, but much depends on the duration of the assignment. Your weight limits and other options will be explained in out processing appointments, but there is also plenty of information at your losing base’s official site.

Those on a one-year tour may be authorized to ship less of their belongings than those on a two-year tour. Depending on whether the PCS is a hardship assignment or not, single soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Guardians with overseas assignments may need to put some of their belongings in storage.

Dislocation Allowance

A single service member traveling to an overseas location may qualify for a Dislocation Allowance, which Defense.gov defines as an allowance designed to “partially reimburse a service member, with or without dependents, for the expenses incurred in relocating the member’s household on a PCS.”

Upon arrival at the new duty station, the service member will be assigned a room in a dorm, barracks, or other ‘single soldier” type living arrangements on post. Single servicemembers, especially junior enlisted, may be required to live on base for their duty at the overseas location.

2. Unaccompanied Tours for Married Service Members

Married service members have more complex options when it’s time to PCS overseas to an unaccompanied tour. The spouse and any dependent children can stay in the home they currently have, and the servicemember will continue to be paid a housing allowance for that location.

Housing Allowance Options

If the family decides to pack up and move, the housing allowance may be based on their new location. There is another option for those who get a remote assignment and a “follow-on” assignment immediately after–in cases where the follow-on location is known, the family may be allowed to move to that duty location and draw a housing allowance there.

That is a common move amongst military families who know it’s an option. Not all PCS moves include a follow-on assignment, and in cases where a follow-on is authorized, the second location may not be assigned right away. Much depends on variables, including mission needs, force protection levels, and other factors.

Family Separation Allowance

One important benefit for military members assigned to an unaccompanied tour? The Family Separation Allowance or FSA.

Defense.gov describes this benefit as designed to “defray a reasonable amount of extra expenses that result from such separation” and is paid monthly. At press time that amount was listed at $250 but this number is always subject to change. Check your base finance office or the latest updates on this allowance.

FSA is not meant to offset the costs of the unaccompanied tour fully but it is “payable in addition to any other allowance or per diem to which a Service member may be entitled,” according to the DoD as long as one of the following is true:

  • Dependents are not authorized to be moved “to or near” the Service member’s permanent duty station at government expense;
  • The military member serves on board a ship away from the home port of the ship for more than 30 continuous days, OR;
  • The military member is on temporary duty for more than 30 continuous days, and the dependents do not reside at or near the temporary duty station.

The FSA is not payable when a service member volunteers for an unaccompanied tour at a location where accompanied tours are authorized. This benefit is not automatic, it must be applied for using DD Form 1561, Statement to Substantiate Payment of Family Separation Allowance.

1. What to Know About Unaccompanied Tours

In addition to special pay such as the Dislocation Allowance and Family Separation Allowance, you may have special leave benefits when on a remote assignment or even a two-year unaccompanied tour.

If you are at a remote location, you may have preference for Space-Available flights, and there is a special type of leave offered (depending on your assignment) that could help you get home mid-tour to catch up with family and friends.

Environmental and Morale Leave or EML is “a benefit which utilizes military airlift to provide relief by allowing those eligible to travel on DoD owned and operated aircraft at a higher Space-Available priority while traveling on EML orders.” Ask your gaining unit about EML options there.

Prepare For Your First PCS Move

Prepare For Your First-Time Permanent Change of Station Move (PCS)

While there may be an exception or two along the way, typically every military member will experience a permanent change of station move or PCS. This part of military life can feel overwhelming the first time, but fortunately, you are not alone, and there is much help available at all stages of the process.

Read more: The Relocation Assistance Program

What is a PCS Move?

PCS moves are required when a servicemember is reassigned to a new base. PCS moves are typically required for assignments lasting between two and four years, though one-year “unaccompanied” or “remote” assignments are also possible.

PCS Compared With TDYs

By comparison, Temporary Duty can last as little as a single day, is no longer than 180 days in length, and does not result in the servicemember being reassigned to a new base or permanently relocating.

You may typically ship household goods for a Permanent Change of Station move; shipping personal property associated with a Temporary Duty assignment is less common but possible under the right circumstances.

PSC Move Issues For Military Spouses

A permanent change of station move has many implications for military spouses.

  • Anyone who accompanies the service member to the new location must be registered in DEERS and must be mentioned by name on the military orders; otherwise, the government will not reimburse PCS expenses for the spouse.
  • In cases of an overseas PCS, the military spouse must be “command sponsored,” meaning they are listed on the PCS orders and approved by the gaining command to accompany the service member to the overseas duty location.
  • TDY orders typically do not include spouses for duty-related travel.
  • Military spouses moving from one state to another may be able to transfer professional licenses to the new state and be reimbursed by the DoD for doing so. Don’t overlook this part of your PCS move; you could save up to $1000 under the current rules for spouse license transfer.
  • Spouses may have hiring preference at military bases, especially on overseas tours. For some, knowing about these policies before travel can make the transition easier to plan for and deal with.

Read more: PCSing Overseas as a Military Spouse: 5 Things to Remember

PCS Orders: Accompanied Tours vs. Unaccompanied Tours

There are some PCS moves that allow spouses and some that do not. Those that do are known in the military as “accompanied tours”, those that do not are called “unaccompanied tours,” and while there are very few assignments in the United States or its territories, there are plenty overseas. If you want an accompanied tour, your spouse and/or dependents must be command sponsored.

Read more: PCS Season: What is Command Sponsorship for Overseas Tours?

Things To Know

  • An unaccompanied tour for a married service member typically lasts one year (the same as for unmarried troops), but an accompanied tour lasts for at least two years and as long as four years.
  • Unmarried troops may have unaccompanied tours lasting one year (typically remote or hardship tours) or two years.
  • Those married and PCSing overseas without their spouse may be offered compensation for maintaining two households at once. There is also a Dislocation Allowance or DLA, meant to offset some of the costs related to the transition to a new assignment. It can be paid in advance or after the travel is finished.
  • In some cases, on an “accompanied” tour, a spouse may have to wait to travel to the new duty location. This is typically required when a housing waiting list is in effect, requiring the service member to live in the barracks or other temporary living facilities while waiting for their turn to be offered local housing.

Learn more: PCS Season: 5 Things to Know About Unaccompanied Tours

Preparing For Your PCS Move

When PCS orders are given to the servicemember, it begins a long process of appointments and preparations to move. This includes a checklist of appointments and accomplishments that must be completed in order to properly manage what is known as “out-processing” from the losing base.

Part of that out processing involves attending briefings and seminars explaining how PCS moves work, what you are expected to do, and what timetable you are expected to get these chores completed.

Read more: Best PCS Tips For Military Families

Moving Day

A common practice among those who PCS? Using the move as a sort of spring cleaning. It is a very good idea to pare down, to donate unused items, and discard broken or unserviceable belongings prior to moving day. Part of the motivation to do this is associated with the weight allowances you are given for your PCS move.

Things to remember:

  • Your household goods must weigh no more than the limit for your rank and family size, or you may have to pay for the excess weight without the government reimbursing you.
  • As mentioned above, your weight restriction depends on rank and family size. These are subject to change, and you will need to check with your losing base’s Transportation Management Office (TMO) for current guidance.
  • You can also use an app from the U.S. Transportation Command to estimate your household goods weight and compare it to the current limit.

Two Types of Moving Days

It may sound confusing at first, but there are two types of moving days you will need to prepare for. One is for so-called unaccompanied baggage, a smaller pack-out of things you will need right away at the new duty location.

These can include household items, uniforms, and other daily-use belongings. This shipment, typically limited at 2 thousand pounds, travels by air to your new assignment and arrives much faster than your household goods, which may travel by boat.

You will need to arrange a household goods pack-out and an unaccompanied baggage pack-out with your losing base Transportation Management Office or TMO.

Don’t Pack Your Own Things

Some military-oriented blogs advise you to pack your own household goods into boxes before the movers come. Do not do this unless specifically directed to do so as part of your out-processing briefing or PCS appointments.

Items damaged in transit are a liability for the shipping company. Many have policies that forbid the customer from packing their items or refuse to accept liability for self-packed items in transit.

Don’t Let The Movers Pack Everything

That may sound like a contradiction to the information above, but in this case, we’re talking about not letting the movers access or even see items you need to hand-carry with you to your next assignment.

Gather all documents and items you need to take with you for the move and physically remove them from your home. Put them in your car or another alternate location; otherwise, they risk getting accidentally packed and shipped–and your household goods may take months to arrive at your duty station, depending on location.

What The Movers Will Not Pack

Regardless of the destination, most prohibited items on your moving truck include:

  • Ammunition
  • Caustics, solvents, degreasers
  • Flammable materials
  • Illegal items

Believe it or not, alcohol and unloaded firearms may be permitted as long as they do not violate current laws for storage, shipping, etc.

PCSing overseas may include additional restrictions; some countries prohibit the importation of so-called adult material, some countries may not allow firearms of any type, etc.

Read more: PCS Moves Fact and Fiction

If Your Household Goods are Damaged in Transit

Any damage to your household goods may be reimbursable if the moving company is liable and you file a claim. It is smart to photograph your household goods extensively prior to shipping to document their condition. If you find damage on the other side of the move you have a specific window of time to file a claim. Don’t delay.

Read more: PCS Move Problems: What to do if Your Household Goods are Damaged

How to Pay for a PCS

Military members are provided certain benefits for PCS travel. They are also given a government travel card to pay for authorized expenses for themselves and the dependents listed on their orders during PCS travel.

There are a number of special pay options for PCS moves, including:

  • Advance pay
  • Per diem
  • Mileage
  • Compensation for lodging expenses
  • Compensation for dependent travel

The service member learns about many of these during their out-processing appointments and there are more types of financial help for these moves than you might think.

Read more: PCS Pay Entitlements

Shipping a Vehicle

Suppose you are being reassigned to a stateside base after a current tour in CONUS. In that case, you are typically responsible for relocating your vehicle to the new assignment though the government may reimburse you for travel expenses.

You should only expect to have to ship a vehicle when going to an overseas base where you are allowed to do so. There are some simple guidelines to remember when PCSing with your vehicle:

  • Weight limits apply
  • Not all vehicles may be shipped
  • Only one vehicle may be shipped overseas
  • Some countries do not allow you to ship your vehicle at all

When shipping a car or truck, review the host country’s regulations to ensure your vehicle is acceptable. Some don’t allow vehicles made before a certain date due to emissions standards; others may require you to remove all customizations, peel-off window tints, daytime running lights, or other features.

To ship your car, you are required to follow the government’s procedures and service providers–this isn’t a case of your choosing a shipper and getting reimbursed later. Your vehicle must be authorized on your PCS orders and clear Customs on both the departing and arriving sides.

Read more: Shipping a Privately Owned Vehicle Overseas

Shipping a Pet

Not all PCS moves allow pets. Moves within the USA don’t have any pet restrictions the way overseas PCS moves do;those going on one-year unaccompanied tours of places like South Korea, Iceland, or Guam may not be permitted to bring pets with them at all, while those going to Germany, England, or Spain may be allowed to do so.

Accompanied tours are often more pet-friendly but there are restrictions and regulations to be aware of when making decisions about whether to ship your pet to the new location.

You may be required to pay for your animal to wait out a quarantine period in the overseas location and other restrictions may apply depending on the country.

Read more: Moving the Family Pet

Sponsor Program

Servicemembers are typically assigned a sponsor from the gaining unit. The sponsor’s job is to help the new servicemember relocate, which may involve meeting the travelers at the airport at the new location, helping them check into temporary lodging and finding their way around the base.

The sponsor should contact the servicemember once orders are available–they will share information about the base, the local area, what to expect when they arrive, and who will meet the servicemember when they do.

If you receive PCS orders and do not hear from a sponsor on the gaining base side, contact the unit orderly room or command support staff at your gaining base and ask to be put in touch with your sponsor.

Things To Remember About Travel to a New Duty Station Stateside

  • You may be allowed permissive temporary duty or permissive TDY for house hunting. This is not automatic, so be sure to ask for this option.
  • Dependents must be listed on your PCS orders and be registered in DEERS
  • You will move your vehicle at your own expense but may be reimbursed for mileage and travel
  • Your travel documents, including passport, government ID, and government travel card, should all be unexpired and up to date.

Things to Remember About Travel to Your New Duty Station Overseas

  • You will be required to use the transportation method most convenient to the government. This may be a commercial aircraft, a government plane, or other means. You should be given further information and/or instructions during your out-processing appointments.
  • All travelers PCSing overseas are required to clear Customs.
  • It may be tempting to buy local currency in advance. Ask your sponsor about doing this before purchasing to avoid high conversion rates online, at the airport, or elsewhere.
  • Some travelers will fly directly into overseas military bases, while others may land at a nearby commercial airport. Those making stateside-to-stateside moves may drive or fly to their new location.
  • Contact your sponsor to make arrangements or learn the best way to proceed from your arrival point. In some cases the sponsor will pick you up; in others, you may be directed to take a shuttle or taxi to the base or to your temporary lodging facility.

Read more: Things Not to Forget When PCSing

Finding a Home

If you are PCSing to a stateside base, contact the base housing office or its equivalent to learn how to be added to on-base housing waiting lists, opportunities for buying or renting in the local area, etc.

If you are PCSing overseas, the base housing office likely has agreements with local landlords in the area and you will need to coordinate with the housing office to find an approved property on base or get on the on-base housing wait list.

Receiving Your Household Goods

When you have completed travel to the new assignment, check in with the gaining base’s Transportation Management Office (TMO) to schedule your unaccompanied baggage and household goods deliveries. Don’t expect your household goods shipment to be there when you arrive–it can take months to do so if you are moving overseas.

Your unaccompanied baggage is not likely to beat you to your destination, but your wait for these items is far shorter in many cases. You can track and manage your shipments using the Defense Personal Property System.

Read more: What to do if Your Household Goods are Damaged

 

PCS Moves: Shipping a Privately Owned Vehicle Overseas

If you receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders that have you moving from one stateside military base to another, chances are good that you are expected to get your privately owned vehicle (POV) from one base to the next, with reimbursement from the government possible for mileage and other expenses.

(No, the term “privately owned vehicle” is not how people normally talk about their cars, but POV is the term used in the regulations that govern these issues.)

But if you are being reassigned overseas there are a few obvious issues associated with your car, truck, motorcycle, etc. The first is whether you are permitted to ship your vehicle at all. Some military assignments don’t permit you to ship a car or they require you to be a certain rank before you are allowed to do so.

PCSing Overseas: Rules Vary Depending On Location

In the early 2000s, many Air Force troops assigned to locations in South Korea such as Kunsan or Osan were not allowed to ship a vehicle, partially due to the nature of military duty there; many were assigned to South Korea for a one-year tour and given a longer assignment afterward.

Around the same time period, many Navy and Air Force troops assigned to Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland were allowed to ship vehicles there as the tour of duty in Iceland was typically two years or longer depending on circumstances.

The takeaway: You’ll need to verify that you are authorized to ship a vehicle and that authorization must be reflected in your PCS orders or their amendments when the time is right.

Shipping a Car Overseas: Size and Weight Limits

The federal government may typically limit the size of a vehicle to 20 metric tons, but that size restriction is subject to change depending on the host nation’s laws.

Some countries have specific regulations about how big, how loud, and even how environmentally friendly a vehicle is and those rules will factor into your ability to ship a vehicle overseas when PCSing.

That means that you can’t guesstimate what the actual rules will be until you know where you are relocating to. Driving overseas isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Those stationed in Japan must quickly learn how to drive on what Americans believe is the “wrong side of the road”, with “vehicle traffic moving on the left”, as the U.S. Embassy official site puts it.

The takeaway: Expect a 20 metric ton weight limit as a general guideline but you will need further guidance based on the host nation’s rules of the road, imports, etc.

How to Calculate Your Vehicle Weight

The official calculation, according to the Defense Transportation Regulation Part IV, to determine the metric tonnage of your vehicle is:

  • Multiply the length times the width times the height in inches;
  • Divide by 1728 (this is the cubic feet)
  • Divide by 40.

Any excess tonnage may require you to pay a fee for the overage.

The takeaway: Know that going over the limit does not typically result in your vehicle being rejected for shipment, but you may have to pay for the additional weight.

PCSing Overseas With A Vehicle: Modified Vehicles, Custom Cars

Does the vehicle you want to ship to an overseas military base have customizations? A loud muffler, heavily tinted windows, an elevated back end, or even hydraulics? Don’t expect to be permitted to ship such a vehicle to an overseas location with all mods intact. Why? Because just like certain parts of the country such as California, some host nations have many laws regarding such modifications.

In Japan, you’ll find that window tint darkness and placement are serious issues. In Iceland, peel-off window tint is prohibited and you cannot ship a vehicle there if it has “daytime running lights”.

The takeaway: Each country has its own regulations for privately owned vehicles shipped there from the USA. You’ll need to know the specific rules applicable to the specific modifications you made to your vehicle.

Shipping a Vehicle Overseas: Customs Laws

Your car or truck is not shipped to the overseas location without passing through Customs, which means you cannot do what every first-timer asks about–stuffing your car full of personal belongings so you can send extra personal items to the overseas duty location. This is not allowed.

In fact, there are strict rules (which vary by country) about what you can ship in a vehicle. Typically you cannot ship anything in the confines of the car not associated with the operation of it.

You may be allowed (or even required) to ship a jack, spare tire, warning flags or triangles, luggage racks, snow chains or other items in the vehicle. But removable car stereo systems or other peripherals may need to be removed prior to shipping.

Your vehicle will have to clear Customs on the departure side and the arrival side of the journey. Know the host country’s laws about what can be shipped in the vehicle and what cannot and know there is no guarantee your vehicle will clear Customs on the arrival side  just because your vehicle is able to clear Customs on the departure side.

The Takeaway: Don’t risk having the vehicle rejected in the Customs inspection line at your destination by putting unauthorized items in the vehicle.

Shipping a Vehicle Overseas: Where to Start

Contact your base Transportation Management Office (TMO) or its equivalent at your installation. Contact the Outbound section if there is one available, otherwise, contact the main number and ask about shipping a vehicle to your new assignment.

PCS Moves and Your Personal Property: Fact & Fiction

PCS Move Fact and Fiction

A permanent change of station move, also known as a PCS move, is complicated. You must pack your entire life into storage containers and move somewhere else. This is a tough process at the best of times, and if you feel overwhelmed by it, you are not alone. There are some things to learn and remember about a PCS move that can make all the difference. When planning your move, keep the following things in mind.

Inventory Your Belongings

PCS Move Fact:

Documenting your belongings with photos, serial numbers, and a description of the item’s pre-shipment is very important. You can verify a damage claim with pre-shipping photographs, and the movers will NOT photograph your items during the packing process.

PCS Move Fiction:

Photographic evidence is always suitable for loss or damage claims. This is not necessarily true. Your photography should include a date stamp for verification purposes. If it is missing this information it may not necessarily be enough to prove loss or damage.

The Movers Will Remember Your Instructions About Not Packing Certain Items

PCS Move Fact:

If you do not want something packed for shipment in your household goods, you must physically remove it from the home. Put your important documents in a safe place–the locked trunk of your car, a safe deposit box you can access later before you leave the local area, with a trusted relative, etc.

PCS Move Fiction:

The movers will know the difference between what you mean to have packed and shipped and what you plan to take with you. Don’t expect a moving crew to know the difference–even if you have clearly marked a box with “Do Not Ship”.

Your moving crew has too many other details to worry about without trying to read your mind about what stays and what goes.

PCS Move Fact:

The movers will pack and ship anything they find in typical cases; there are horror stories in non-typical cases where trash and debris were packed up alongside actual belongings.

Do not allow the movers ANY physical access to your PCS orders, passport, and other official documents you need for travel. Assume that if these items are in the home, they are subject to getting packed.

The Movers Can’t Make Judgment Calls About What Ships And What Doesn’t

This issue is most relevant for those shipping household goods to or from an overseas duty location. Americans tend to forget (until reminded officially) that other nations have strict laws about what can be brought into or taken out of the country.

What Americans consider to be harmless entertainment is often viewed as something closer to pornography in some countries. The reason that’s an issue? Many countries do not allow the import or export of adult-oriented books, magazines, videos, DVDs, or even digital media. If the mover is in doubt, the items may not get packed.

PCS Fact:

Your movers are not Customs agents; they can’t make a judgment call about what ships and what doesn’t. Are you trying to pack firearms, alcohol, or tobacco in your household goods?

Your movers may have strict instructions on those items, and if you don’t know what the rules are, you may be at a disadvantage on packing day.

PCS Fiction:

Firearms are always prohibited in household goods shipments. That is a smart assumption, but it’s not always true.

Some regulations cover the shipment of firearms in household goods the same as there are also instructions on shipping pro gear. Some may need to ship firearms, and if you make a CONUS-to-CONUS move you may find the process is simpler than shipping to an overseas assignment where the restrictions may be more complicated.

Household Goods Weight Allowances

PCS Move Fact:

You have a weight allowance for your household goods determined by rank and whether you have authorized dependents.

The weight limit is technically a serious issue, and you may read advice on this written by people who don’t fully understand the process. For example, some bloggers warn “if you go over your weight limit YOU WILL PAY”, and theoretically this is true.

But estimating the weight of your household goods isn’t easy for someone who doesn’t work in the moving industry. You can get estimations of typical weights and shipment size based on the size of your home and the number of occupants.

But unless you are shipping an unusually large household goods shipment, don’t expect to get a massive bill from the contractor for a couple of extra pounds of overage.

PCS Move Fiction:

The above will always be true. Don’t assume that the “pass” you may have gotten on a slightly larger PCS shipment will always apply.

PCS reforms have made it possible for a single company to manage the PCS move process and the rules may adjust over time as these reforms continue to change the process. On your latest PCS move, be sure to ask what has changed since you last packed and moved. If you need advice on shipping household goods, Military OneSource is a DoD-funded site with resources you may be able to use to make estimations and learn more.

Damage Claims

PCS Move Fact:

Uou can get reimbursed for lost or damaged household goods items. But this line must be immediately followed by an entry in the PCS Fiction column. Why? Because you should NOT assume you will get the full replacement value of the damaged item as though it were brand new. Your moving company may look into options including having the damage repaired.

Don’t expect a PCS settlement to run similar to an auto insurance settlement where your items are “totaled” like a car. Expect the settlement to try for the lowest-cost reimbursement option that still restores your items to something close to their previous condition.

PCS Move Fiction:

A damage claim will not be disputed. This is not true, and the higher-value claim you make, the more the contractor may seek to avoid or reduce their financial liability for the damage.

PCS Move Fiction:

Damaged goods may be replaced at their actual value. This is NOT necessarily true. A painting or a piece of jewelry with inherent value MAY be considered for compensation at current prices. Still, the reality may be quite different for goods that are more common but highly prized on the secondary market.

For example, items such as collectibles (comic books, vinyl records, stamps, collectible cards, etc.) may NOT be compensated at the current secondary market value. A starter pack of Magic: The Gathering manufactured in 2022 sells for $10. But the comparatively rare and collectible starter pack from 1992 sells on the secondary market for over $1000.

DO NOT expect to be paid that $1000 if you ship such an item and it gets lost or damaged. You will likely be reimbursed the retail value of the starter pack, which would be $10 in today’s market.

As mentioned above, there may be certain considerations for high-value items like paintings or sculptures (these must typically be appraised before PCSing in order to file a claim on the other end). Still, the federal government’s rules get a bit murkier when it comes to items like trading cards which have a retail price but a different, higher price on the secondary market.

It’s best to ask what current regulations say about these items prior to moving day.

 

 

 

PCS Move Problems: What To Do When Your Household Goods Are Damaged

When you get permanent change of station (PCS) orders for a new assignment, you’ll have to begin preparing to pack and ship your household.

The challenges of a PCS move include making sure some things aren’t packed and shipped (items you’ll travel with, your personal paperwork, passports, etc.) and making sure what is packed and shipped arrives at its destination in the same condition it left in.

Not everyone has good luck with their moves. Some experience damage to their household goods, some even complain of lost personal property. Is the servicemember expected to take the loss as a risk of having a military career?

No. When your personal property is lost or damaged in a PCS move, you have the ability to file for compensation. This article explains how it works.

Before Your Permanent Change of Station Move

There are important phases of a PCS move. Packing your house is one of those. Typically the homeowner should not personally pack the boxes as the moving company cannot be held liable for damage to the contents of self-packed items.

On Moving Day

When your movers arrive, they should pack and note all items, present you with a list of those packed items for your review and records, and your shipping container should be sealed to prevent tampering or theft. If you are PCSing to an overseas base, official seals for Customs may also be applied.

Be sure to check these seals on the other end before your boxes are unloaded–it is important to note any broken seals and document any damage or other issues with the shipping containers when they arrive.

What To Expect During Your PCS Move

Those PCSing to a stateside location likely take delivery of their household goods much sooner than those going from the U.S. to an overseas base or vice-versa. But some stateside moves may still require a bit of time for your items to arrive. If you’re PCSing from Texas to Ohio, for example, or from a California base to a North Carolina base.

Some household goods shipments may be delayed due to unexpected circumstances; a natural disaster, snowstorm, highway accidents, etc. Household goods being sent overseas typically travel by ship and you may be waiting 90 days or longer for your possessions to arrive. It is best to ask a representative at the gaining base’s Transportation Management Office or TMO what is typical.

Before Filing PCS Move Damage Claims

If your household goods containers or the items themselves are damaged in any way, fully document the damage including photos. You need a different form for the damage that was discovered at delivery than the form you complete if you discover damaged goods after the delivery is complete.

File an Itemized PCS Damage Claim

You cannot submit a generic claim for damaged goods; your claim must be itemized. Once complete, claims may be emailed or physically mailed depending on what is acceptable to the shipping company. The company, formally referred to as the Transportation Service Provider or TSP, must confirm your submission within 15 days.

In either case, DoD rules require you to provide your Transportation Service Provider (the movers) with a written notice within 180 days from the delivery date. You must file your actual claim within 9 months of delivery.

However, there is additional guidance from the Defense Personal Property Management Office regarding submission times. “Contact the TSP directly within 7 days from the last date they were at your residence” and be ready to submit a property damage claim form. After that, you are advised to conduct your own inspection in addition to one the TSP could schedule within 15 days after you notify them.

During such an inspection, the Defense Personal Property Management Office advises that you could be given a repair estimate (see below) or “the TSP may pay your claim upfront without an inspection being completed.”

Do Not Dispose Of Damaged Items

The damaged goods in your shipment must be preserved as proof of your claim but there is another reason to hang on to these items; the rules for PCS damage claims include giving the TSP an option to repair the goods instead of replacing them where feasible.

That is not always possible, but in cases where your items are not repairable or salvageable, the TSP is required to collect and dispose of them. Don’t throw the damaged items away!

PCS Damage Settlement Options

You have the option to file a formal claim and go through the channels required to process it, but you may be offered a quick claim settlement from the TSP which is typically capped at $1500 maximum. For quick claim settlements you may be paid within 5 days of the claim.

But accepting a quick claim does not prevent you from filing a more formal claim for damaged goods; you just cannot claim the same damaged items twice.

In the case of lost items, your TSP must initiate a “tracer action” designed to locate the goods before asking you to file a claim.

If you are not getting a quick claim, the TSP may send a representative to assess your claim and process it. According to Military OneSource, your TSP has 30 days to approve or deny a claim under $1,000 and you have seven days after notification to reply with a counter-offer.

In some cases household goods may be repairable; if this is an option the TSP has 20 days to get the repairs done and the item must be inspected within 45 days. In cases where the TSP does not accept liability for the damage, it has three business days to notify you in cases where your household goods have come out of non-temporary storage.

Settling PCS Claims

Your job after filing a PCS claim is to accept or reject the offer made by your TSP. If you accept, your settlement payment is typically given in 30 days. Do not feel pressured to accept any claim (including a quick settlement) if you aren’t fully satisfied with the outcome of your efforts.

If you choose NOT to accept a settlement, notify the Military Claims Officer (MCO) at your gaining base and ask how to proceed from there. You should also contact the MCO if the TSP does not communicate with you or you have not heard back from them in 30 days.

Contact your gaining base Transportation Management Office or TMO to get contact information for that base’s MCO.

Related:

Billion-Dollar PCS Reform for Military Household Goods Moves

Comprehensive Military Benefits Guide

Military Housing Allowances With BAH Rate Calculator

Billion-Dollar PCS Reform For Military Household Goods Moves

PCS reform to the tune of more than $6 billion was approved after a four-year struggle to place all military permanent-change-of-station (PCS) household goods moves under a single contract.

PCS moves require the military to use a contractor to pack, ship and deliver household goods for military members leaving one assignment for another whether stateside or overseas.

Why PCS Reform was Necessary

Military members have commonly experienced unnecessary delays, damaged household goods, lost or stolen household goods, and poor customer service from contractors. Under the old system, there was inadequate centralization or standardization to rely upon. PCS reform seeks to change that.

How long will it take? The new system is likely to become fully operational for the 2024 PCS season which typically runs between May and September.

“Peak PCS season” simply means that is when most military members get orders to relocate. PCS moves outside that window are possible, but the majority of them take place during the peak season.

Learn more: 10 Best PCS Benefits for Military Families

What Does PCS Reform Mean?

PCS reform means putting all PCS moves under a single contractor, a program called the Global Household Goods Contract. This was awarded to a company known as HomeSafe Alliance.

The contract was approved, the transition was scheduled and U.S. Transportation Command has gone on the record saying the new contractor’s operations would be phased in until the 2024 PCS season when the new contractor was scheduled to take over completely.

Details of the Reform

The Global Household Goods Contract is worth some $6.2 billion and is effective for over three years. How does the new contract work? It outsources the management of PCS moves under a single contract. U.S. Transportation Command or TRANSCOM oversees the contract, which is said to be the first of its kind associated with PCS move reform.

The contractor, HomeSafe Alliance, is tasked with assembling a network of moving companies and other moving service providers such as storage, transportation, and delivery. There are well above 300 thousand household goods shipments a year, costing more than $2 billion.

Transparent to the Consumer?

At press time, there are no promises that the new PCS contract or transition to that contract will be 100% transparent or seamless to the consumer. There may be issues along the way, and military members or families that experience trouble with their PCS move should take the following steps:

  • Fully document the issue. Take photos of any damage, where applicable. Make notes of dates and times of relevant incidents, especially where missed appointments, poor customer service, or other issues are evident.
  • Follow any claims procedures given to you by the contractor to the letter.
  • Report any problems to the losing or the gaining base Travel Management Office (TMO) or equivalent immediately and request assistance. If your problem occurs before departure, contact the losing base TMO, if the issue is on the other side of the move, contact the gaining base TMO.
  • Inform your chain of command via your command support staff if you have issues that are not resolved satisfactorily. You may need to elevate some issues through the chain of command or through other appropriate channels, especially if there are issues with broken customs seals on your household goods containers.

Related:

Military Benefits In 2023

TRICARE Basics

Enhanced Benefits for Disabled Veterans: The PACT Act 

Naval Base San Diego Military Base Guide

Naval Base San Diego is the home port of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet. The base is home to more than 50 Navy ships and hosts visiting ships and more than 200 “tenant” commands. Naval Base San Diego has more than 1,600 acres of land and more than 300 acres of water along San Diego Bay.

Naval Base San Diego

Naval Base San Diego History

In the aftermath of World War One, the U.S. Navy needed a California ship repair facility, and acquired some land in San Diego, and opened U.S. Destroyer Base, San Diego. From the time the facility began operating, expansion was happening. In 1924, Naval Base San Diego commissioned seven ships and decommissioned some 300+ more, and by the time World War Two occurred the base had expanded to the extent that it had to be redesignated.

Enter U.S. Repair Base San Diego, with the expanded operations there including maintenance and battle damage repair, More than five thousand ships would benefit from these operations. After World War Two, the base was redesignated yet again, this time as Naval Station San Diego.

The redesignation of Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) occurred in the 1990s after the closure of the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. In modern times NBSD is the center for Navy port operations in the area. It also provides support for Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Naval Base San Diego Local Area

Parts of California are rich with military history. In San Diego, you’ll find the USS Midway Museum, which features approximately 60 exhibits, aircraft restorations, and oral history tours of the Midway narrated by actual sailors talking about their experiences working for the Navy. You’ll find more history at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, which features restored vintage aircraft from World War One, plus flight simulations, and the usual guided tours.

San Diego is well-known for major league sports, concerts, art, and beach culture. Those who PCS and TDY here enjoy Seaworld, the San Diego Zoo, and day cruises to destinations including Baja or San Diego Bay.

Naval Base San Diego Units

Naval Base San Diego is responsible for more than 40 U.S. Navy ships, plus Littoral Combat Ships, and Military Sealift Command ships. Important units and missions here include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Afloat Training Group Pacific
  • Amphibious Squadron 5
  • Amphibious Squadron 1
  • Amphibious Squadron 3
  • Center For Surface Combat System Detachment San Diego
  • Construction Battalion Mobile Unit 303
  • Expeditionary Strike Group 3
  • Fleet Logistics Center San Diego
  • Naval Medical Center San Diego
  • Navy Operational Support Center San Diego
  • Region Legal Service Office Southwest
  • Southwest Regional Maintenance Center
  • Training Support Center San Diego

Naval Base San Diego In-processing and Check-In

All new arrivals will access the installation via the Naval Base San Diego Main Gate (Gate 6) to show ID and get directions to the military member’s unit or command. New arrivals reporting during normal duty hours should ask for directions to the Administrative Department in Building 72.  Those reporting after duty hours or on weekends are directed to call Naval Base San Diego’s Emergency Operations Center at 619-556-7615 or DSN 312-526-6715.

When checking in, be sure to hand-carry copies of your military service records, ID cards, travel or PCS orders, and any other paperwork needed to in-process according to your gaining unit.

Child Care

Child care is in extremely high demand in this military community. However, you do not necessarily have to get your child care from Naval Base San Diego as there are other military bases with options nearby. They include Child Development Centers in:

  • Naval Base Point Loma
  • Naval Base Coronado
  • Marine Corps Recruiting Depot
  • Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
  • Naval Medical Center, Murphy Canyon, Chollas Heights, and Liberty Station housing areas.

Visit Military Child Care to find information on San Diego-based military child care programs as well as other options offered worldwide.

Naval Base San Diego Housing

Navy Region Southwest Family Housing Welcome Center at Naval Base San Diego is the entity that governs military housing assignments in the San Diego area, not just Naval Base San Diego.

When you arrive in the local area, check into the Family Housing Welcome Center and visit CNRSW Family Housing for information on the approximately nine thousand military housing options in the area. Military housing features a waiting list that can be as long as 24 months, so it is smart to begin looking at your housing options as early as possible.

Military housing is limited and you should expect to live off-base for some or most of your assignments here. The single or unaccompanied military can choose to live on base in the barracks or privatized housing but single or unaccompanied housing is NOT automatically assigned. You will need to check in with the Navy Unaccompanied Housing Office and/or Housing Service Center to learn the eligibility requirements.

Naval Base San Diego PCS and TDY Lodging

Extended temporary housing is not available at the Naval Station due to extremely high demand. If you are PCSing to the area, expect to use commercial hotels or other temporary housing options. When you get PCS orders to the area, it’s best to make your reservations as early as possible There are three Navy/Marine Corps Lodges in the San Diego area, located at:

  • Naval Base San Diego
  • Naval Air Station North Island
  • Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

There are also four Navy Gateway Inns & Suites:

  • Naval Base San Diego
  • Naval Base Coronado (North Island)
  • Naval Base Coronado (Amphibious Base)
  • Naval Base Point Loma (Sub Base)

When booking at these facilities, those traveling on PCS orders have priority. Be sure to mention your PCS orders at booking time. For more details, call the Navy or Marine Corps Lodge at 800-NAVY-INN or visit the Navy Lodge website.

Naval Base San Diego Vehicle Registration

If you operate a motor vehicle in the State of California, even as a military member, you are required to meet state vehicle requirements which may include carrying minimum insurance, submitting your vehicle for emissions tests, and registration. When registering a vehicle here, the California DMV provides a form on request that offers you a military rate for registering your privately owned vehicle.

If your vehicle is registered in another state, it remains valid until the original expiration date. When operating a vehicle on Naval Base San Diego, you will be subject to ID checks entering or leaving the installation. You must carry all required insurance coverage, and safety equipment, and obey all emissions requirements in order to drive your vehicle at NBSD.

Naval Base San Diego Schools

There are no DoD schools available in the San Diego area. You can contact the Naval Base San Diego School Liaison Office for help locating an area school near you in San Diego county. You can call any of the following bases to speak to a School Liaison Officer about your options:

  • Navy Region Southwest School Liaison Officer 619-705-5909
  • Murphy Canyon 858-349-7678
  • Coronado, South Bay, San Ysidro 619-991-2509
  • Point Loma, Mission Bay, West of 5 619-553-8290
  • Eastern San Diego County area School Liaison Officer 619-556-9499

You can also get help locating a nearby school via the San Diego Unified School District school finder.

The San Diego Unified School District is said to be the biggest in San Diego County and serves most of the metro San Diego area within city limits. These schools base their attendance on address but San Diego school districts may allow families to transfer from one school to another within the same district. Transfers to other districts may also be possible but timing is important–discuss your specific needs with a School Liaison Officer.

Colleges and Universities in San Diego

San Diego is home to a variety of colleges and universities. They include, but are not limited to:

  • University of California-San Diego
  • San Diego State University
  • University of San Diego
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • California State University-San Marcos
  • John Paul the Great Catholic University
  • San Diego Christian College
  • National University
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • California Western School of Law
  • San Diego Community College District
  • Grossmont College
  • San Diego Regional Occupational Program

When exploring your options at any of these colleges or universities, it is smart to ask for in-state tuition waiver guidelines for military members and their families. You may be permitted to attend class at the in-state rate rather than paying out-of-state tuition fees. You can also get more information from the local Navy Navy Voluntary Education Region Advisor at 619-556-8256.

Naval Base San Diego Contacts

Naval Base San Diego
3455 Senn Rd.
San Diego, CA 92136

  • Phone 619-556-1011
  • (DSN) 312-526-1011

Important Contact Numbers

Emergency

  • 911

Barracks Single Service Member Housing

  • (619) 556-8672

Child Development Center

  • (619) 556-8491

Child Development Homes/In Home

  • (619) 556-7394

Child Development Homes/In Home

  • (619) 556-8443

CNRSW FFSC Lending Locker

  • (619) 556-7404

Barracks Single Service Member Housing

  • (619) 231-3400

Branch Medical Clinic NBSD

  • (619) 556-6302

Naval Medical Center San Diego

  • (619) 532-6400

Gateway Inn & Suites (BEQ & BOQ)

  • (619) 556-8672

ID CAC Card Processing

  • (619) 556-9248

Information and Referral Services

  • (619) 556-7404

Law Enforcement

  • (619) 556-6460

Legal Services JAG

  • (619) 556-2211

NAV Passenger Transportation Office

  • (619) 556-5068

Personnel Support Office

  • (619) 556-2005

Personal Property Office/Household Goods

  • (619) 556-6683

Relocation Assistance Program

  • (619) 556-7404

Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

  • (619) 556-9866

Suicide Prevention Hotline

  • (800) 273-8255

VA Facilities

  • (800) 827-1000

Welcome Visitors Center

  • (619) 556-8443

 

 

What You Should Know About Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA)

Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) for when you PCS OCONUS

If you have orders to PCS to an OCONUS location, you may be wondering about what types of entitlements you will receive. OCONUS includes any overseas location as well as Alaska and Hawaii. One of the most common OCONUS entitlements is TLA or Temporary Lodging Allowance.

What is TLA?

TLA is money you will receive as a reimbursement to partially offset temporary lodging expenses at overseas duty locations. TLA is for when a service member and their family are waiting for their housing after they arrive OCONUS or when they are awaiting their departure after leaving their quarters. You also must be actively looking for housing once you arrive at your PDS (Permanent Duty Station).

Who is TLA for?

TLA is only for service members and their command sponsored dependents moving to or from an OCONUS location. TLE or Temporary Lodging Expense is for CONUS moves. You will not receive TLA for your dependents if they are not command sponsored.

What is TLA Special?

TLA Special can be authorized under special or unusual circumstances where the costs might be higher than usual at that certain location.

How is TLA calculated?

TLA calculations are based on Per Diem and your family composition. Per Diem is a daily rate that is based on your location. It is to partially reimburse lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. Family Compensation takes the service member’s number of dependents into account as well as their ages. Certain percentages are applied to the TLA calculation based on the family. You can see a few examples on the Defense Travel website.

Can you use TLA for leave?

The official answer to this question is, “it depends”. According to the Defense Accounting and Finance official site, “If the member is on leave in the PDS area while looking for housing, TLA is payable.”

But TLA is not allowed “for any day a member is away from the PDS vicinity on leave or permissive travel, except when one or more dependents remain in the PDS vicinity.”

Can you ever get an extension on TLA?

There could be reasons why you would be approved for a TLA extension. The normal amount of authorized days is 60. Beyond that, you would need to apply for an extension. Some examples would be non-arrival of your Household Goods (HHG), delay in availability of government quarters because of service requirements, fire, flood, earthquake, or other issues that make you temporarily or permanently unavailable to find housing, a withdrawal of housing from the market by a landlord, or a hospitalization.

What else do I need to know about TLA?

  • The lodging position of the TLA can’t go over the actual cost of the lodging that the service member and family paid.
  • The TLA Special Rate needs to be requested before the TLA dates.
  • TLA may start upon arrival at your OCONUS duty station.
  • When it comes to departure, you may be authorized for up to 10 days. That can be extended for things such as transportation delays, hospitalization, or movement of household goods.
  • Advanced payment of TLA may be authorized but is not automatic.
  • International Transaction Fees or currency conversion fees that are changed by the Government Travel Charge Card can be reimbursed, however, those on a personal credit card may not.

 

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