Know before you go: Packing for Aviano

Know before you go: Packing for Aviano

by Stripes Europe
Stripes Europe

Congratulations on your assignment to Aviano Air Base, Italy. While visiting Italy is a dream that many Americans strive to accomplish, moving and living here can be a completely different challenge. This article will make your transition smoother and answer many of your questions and concerns.

As soon as you receive your orders to Aviano, establish contact with your receiving command in order to be assigned a sponsor. Sponsors can be a tool that is not only beneficial to you, but also to your receiving command. Your sponsor can assist you with setting up temporary lodging, establishing a post office box or helping to reserve child care for your first few days of in-processing.

Government no-fee passport
Once orders are received, verify whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied. If you received unaccompanied orders and intend to bring your family, visit your unit’s military personnel section to resolve the issue. If you have accompanied orders, immediately schedule an appointment with your installation’s travel or passport office. No-fee passports can take up to eight weeks to receive, sometimes even longer. Travel offices usually require all family members to be reviewed and approved for overseas travel through the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) prior to submitting for passports, which can add months to the approval process. After the travel office receives your passports, you’ll need to complete applications for visas that permit you to live temporarily in Italy. This process can increase the wait time for approval to fly to Italy.

Depending on your installation’s travel and passport office, you might be required to bring two passport photos for each applicant at your appointment. Also plan to bring each applicant’s original birth certificate to prove U.S. citizenship as well as a photo ID or an old passport.

Servicemembers are required to have military identification cards and copies of their orders to remain in Italy. No-fee passports and visas are used for official travel only and are required for dependents to remain in country. Separate tourist passports are required for servicemembers and dependents during leisure travel. Dependents must also apply for and receive separate visas after arriving in Italy in order to stay the duration of a servicemember’s assignment.

Bringing a pet
While Italy does not currently have a required quarantine for animals, be prepared to pay all expenses out of pocket if you are planning on shipping your animals. Cats and dogs entering Italy from the U.S. must be older than three months and have a European Community veterinary certificate, a tattoo or ISO-11784-compatible microchip, and a current rabies vaccination. Be sure to check the rules and restrictions of the airline well in advance. If you are designated to stay in the Government Rental Housing Program (GRHP), keep in mind that aggressive breeds and exotic animals are not authorized. Additionally, some landlords might not want to rent to pet owners. Please contact your local travel office for policies concerning the importation of aggressive and exotic breeds. Also contact your veterinary clinic to ensure your pet is ready to travel abroad.

Household goods
Aviano Air Base is unique when compared to many overseas bases — on-base housing is only available for lower enlisted servicemembers living in barracks. Living on the Italian economy is a unique experience, and looking for a place to live can be challenging. You’ll discover that Italians have an abundance of apartments and duplexes, which might limit the size and space available for your household goods.

Electricity is 220V/50Hz. Check the labels on American appliances and electronics before plugging them in. Power adapters and transformers are usually available on base and labeled to indicate voltage. Some larger kitchen items might be better left behind because of the square footage and counter space available in Italian kitchens. The Furnishings Management Office (FMO) will provide an oven, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer. The FMO will also loan temporary furniture to substitute for your incoming goods for a period not to exceed 90 days. This furniture may include a couch, coffee table, night stands, wall lockers, a kitchen table with chairs, kitchen cabinets, beds and dressers. You can also buy adapters for your appliances that are compatible with the outlets and will receive two transformers for any major appliances you ship.

Weapons of any kind are not authorized to be shipped to or maintained in Italy. This includes hand guns, shot guns, rifles, toy guns, paintball guns and air rifles. Pocket knives in excess of two inches and spring-engaged blades cannot be carried.

Vehicle shipping
The government authorizes one privately-owned vehicle to be shipped per service-member, spouse or dependent. If you plan on shipping a separate vehicle overseas, you’ll be responsible for making arrangements and paying any associated fees. You will also be required to pay an Italian road tax for all additional vehicles being registered.

Shipping of vehicles with liens or current leases will require approval from the companies maintaining the liens or leases. Vehicles may need upgrades prior to leaving the Italian port in order to meet specific safety guidelines.  Check with your local travel office and for additional information regarding vehicle shipping.

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