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:


  • 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
  • DoD civilians/contractors collect Biometric Residence permit within required timeframe 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • Schedule and study for driver’s exam as soon as possible after arrival
  • Pass driving exam and obtain your Driver's License 
  • 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
  • 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 ( 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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
  • 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
  • Ensure vaccinations are current and schedule wellness exams


  • 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
  • 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


  • Create a 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 to vote in elections back home


  • 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
  • Pick up the bi-annual Stripes Europe Magazine

Subscribe to our Stripes Europe newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, helpful PCS tips, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Europe
Pinterest: Stars and Stripes Europe
Instagram: @StarsandStripeseurope

Recommended Content