A Mental Checklist To Help You Prepare For A Military Move Overseas
Has your military spouse just given you the news of an OCONUS PCS? Here is a mental checklist to start preparing you for a military move overseas. It can be an overwhelming time with a never ending list of to-do’s. Although these next few months will be particularly stressful, remember this is an exciting time with a unique life time experience. Depending on your situation, there may be some time before the official orders are received. So, what can you do during this time to prepare? I have come up with a helpful mental OCONUS PCS checklist to get you started.
- What does your car situation look like? Do you own or lease? Is your car in good condition? Are you considering shipping your car to Germany? If you have multiple cars, now is a good time to start considering what you may want to do with your other vehicles, because the military will only ship one vehicle. Parking areas in Germany can be small, so keep that in mind with your decisions. The car will also need to be in good condition, and will need to be inspected and passed by your OCONUS location.
- PCSing with pets can be challenging, especially an OCONUS assignment. This is a very important discussion, and it may be a good time to start thinking about options if your pet is unable to make the travel. Here is a great resource: https://www.army.mil/article/256103/how_to_pcs_to_germany_with_pets
- Do you own the home you’re currently living in? Start thinking about renting it out or selling.
- Even though you haven’t received your official orders, it’s a good time to discuss on post vs off post housing. If it isn’t decided for you, it can be an important decision based on you and your family’s needs and desires. Living on the economy can be very challenging, but also offers a unique experience. Will you have school age children? Will you have special needs? Reach out to other military families who have been stationed there. Write out a list of pros and cons for each.
EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program)
- For an OCONUS PCS You will have to go through a process called EFMP. This ensures that wherever you will be stationed, you and your family will be able to receive the individual medical treatments needed. Get a copy of ALL medical records, including dental and specialists. I recommend requesting two copies of all records. EFMP will request one, and the other you keep on your person. The EFMP process can be timely, it was for us and honestly was one of the more stressful aspects of this entire PCS proccess. Official orders won’t be processed until all members of the family are cleared by EFMP. Additionally, you will need to be up to date with all of your health screenings. I encourage you to go ahead and print these forms to help you get started: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/leaders-service-providers/efmp-special-needs/efmp-forms/
- Start thinking about the moving process even if its a bit down the road. There will be three sets of movers: HHG (house hold goods), UAB (unaccomapanied baggage), and NTS (storage). It may be a good time to start decluttering, even consider donating or selling some items.
Social Media Resources
- Start researching Facebook groups for that area. This was an excellent resource that I utilized. These groups can give you a little taste of the experience living in that duty station.
- Make sure your drivers license is up to date, and will be throughout the entire duration of the duty station.
- If you don’t already have a passport, go ahead and apply for one. If you already have a passport, make sure it is up to date, and that it will be for the entire duration of the duty station. Once you receive the hard orders, you will need to apply for an official passport on post.
- COVID restrictions are lessening. We needed to show our card to leave the United States (July, 2022) and to enter Germany, but have not had to use it since.
As I stated earlier, this can be a unique life time experience. I hope you’re excited! These next few months will be fairly stressful, but try to take it one step at a time. If you’re already receiving the orders, check on my post on the next step: https://harmonizingthechaos.com/an-oconus-pcs/