One-step checklist for PCSing to the UK

One-step checklist for PCSing to the UK

by Stripes Europe
Stripes Europe

Welcome to the U.K. Here is a one-stop checklist to help get you settled in a timely manner:

PRE-ARRIVAL

  • Ensure you obtain correct paperwork for entry into the U.K.
  • Military members require NATO orders
  • Military dependents (U.S. citizens) require a U.S. no-fee passport and must be on orders
  • DOD civilians/contractors and their dependents require an Entry Clearance visa/vignette in U.S.passports and must be on orders
  • Collect Biometric Residence permit within required timeframe
  • Sign up for an APO box, if your sponsor has not already done so
  • Obtain a tourist passport for travel outside of England prior to arrival in the U.K.
  • Ensure you have a valid driver’s license before arriving to the U.K.
  • Contact installation’s veterinarian office if traveling with pets
  • Register children for CYS and DoDEA

ARRIVAL

  • Report to unit and Military Personnel Section on first duty day after arrival
  • Visit Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) for relocation assistance
  • Attend in-processing and newcomers’ briefings
  • Register with Pass and Registration installation access system
  • Enroll in TRICARE Overseas and complete medical in-processing
  • Purchase pay-as-you-go SIM card for cell phone or sign up for new mobile contract
  • Download your installation’s mobile app for updates and information (if applicable)
  • Dependents who are U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply for a no-fee exemption vignette if wanting to work off-base, use off-base
  • schools, or for ease of entry back into the U.K. if traveling without their spouse

MONEY

  • Establish pounds sterling account or bill pay option with local on- or off-base bank
  • Clarify any charges payable on the account and frequently asked questions
  • Determine entitlements with Finance Office
  • Contact U.S. banks to transfer funds as needed
  • Obtain a ration card from your unit or Military Personnel Section
  • Consider a housing advance to help pay for off-base housing deposit
  • Visit A&FRC for financial assistance
  • Contact U.S. banks to close accounts, as needed

CARS

  • Schedule and study for driver’s exam as soon as possible after arrival
  • Pass driving exam and obtain your Driving/
  • Fuel permit (USAFE Form 435)
  • Get a rental car (if desired) to get around while in-processing
  • Show rental agreement and PCS orders to get fuel on base for up to 30 days
  • Study the official Highway Code online at www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code
  • Pick up a copy of the Stripes Road Guide
  • If driving from Europe, register for customs clearance at Pass and Registration
  • If buying a car, ensure it has a valid Ministry of Transportation (MOT) vehicle inspection test and V5 registration form
  • Purchase road tax (www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax) and U.K. insurance
  • If you have shipped a U.S.-spec vehicle, ensure a registration/license plate is on the vehicle or it cannot be driven
  • Book and complete the MOT test for vehicles over 3 years old or Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) for vehicles under 3 years old for the day you pick up your vehicle
  • Complete light conversions (if applicable) within 30 days of arrival
  • Register all vehicles through Pass and Registration. Once inspection is passed, all vehicles must be registered within 30 days from pick up
  • Enroll in fuel ration program
  • Obtain international license for driving in mainland Europe

HOMES

  • Contact the Housing Office upon arrival (two business days is recommended)
  • Schedule appointments to tour homes
  • Ensure Housing Office inspects property and reviews contract
  • Sign paperwork after review by Housing Office
  • Establish Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) and Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA)
  • Sign up for communication services (read contracts carefully)
  • Purchase liability and renter’s insurance
  • Contact your installation’s Furnishings Management Office, A&FRC loan locker, browse thrift stores, charity shops, car boot sales, flea markets and local stores for household items

MEDICAL

  • Add U.K. emergency numbers to cell phone: 999 is the official emergency number
  • The European Union’s 112 is currently accepted for general emergencies (police, ambulance and fire)
  • If there’s an emergency on base, always call the on-base-emergency services as they will respond quicker 
  • Connect with local medical providers

KIDS

  • Have vaccination records, transcripts, PCS orders, passports and birth certificates readily available
  • Contact Enrollment Office to begin application process for DODEA-Europe. You can also download forms from the website and fill out ahead of time at www.dodea.edu/Europe/enrollment/resources.cfm
  • Contact School Liaison Officer (SLO) for information about British schooling, homeschooling and early education childcare off-base
  • Visit installation child care facilities to apply and get on waitlist. Register through militarychildcare.com
  • Ensure vaccinations are current and schedule wellness exams

PETS

  • Register pet at RAF Feltwell within 30 days of arrival or getting pet
  • Find off-installation vet clinic that provides emergency care
  • Understand and adhere to U.K. pet laws see www.gov.uk
  • Purchase pet insurance (including liability)
  • Ensure pet has international microchip
  • Obtain pet passport
  • Get updated ID tags with local contact information
  • Find a boarding center or pet sitter Use monthly worming, flea and tick preventive medication
  • Maintain annual rabies vaccinations during overseas tour

PERSONAL ENRICHMENT

  • Create a USAJobs.gov account and update resume
  • Visit Education Center to learn about course offerings
  • Contact A&FRC for volunteer, employment assistance and work-study opportunities
  • Sign up through FVAP.gov to vote in elections back home

EVERYDAY LIVING

  • Pay attention to and respect local customs and traditions
  • Program important numbers into your cell phone
  • Start recycling according to local requirements
  • Get to know your neighbors and blend in with the locals
  • Join spouses’ clubs or other activities
  • Contact a Military & Family Life Counselor (MFLC) to help you through any difficulties and cope with extra stress
  • For any off-base concerns or interests, such as community complaints or getting involved with the locals, contact the Community Relations Adviser for assistance
  • Plan trips to explore Europe with the help of StripesEurope.com
  • Pick up the bi-annual Stripes Europe Magazine

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