Military Life

Jumping the OCONUS PCSing Paperwork Hurdle

“Wooooohoooo!”- That is how I felt after the hubs called and told me we’re moving to GERMANY. Fast forward about ten minutes later and that “Whoohooo,” turned into, “Holy Crap! I can’t handle this!” My husband has been in the Army for the past five years as a reservist. We’ve got college, ROTC, Air Assault school, a humanitarian deployment, and one deployment to Afghanistan under our belts. With commissioning approaching we knew we were going to be moving, we just didn’t know it would literally be across the planet!

So If anyone out there is moving OCONUS, is a stress ball type A of a person, and needs direction on what the heck you need to do from the get go…’ve come to the right place!

When I started out I wanted to know every piece of paper work that needed to be done, how to do it, who to talk to, and when it needed to be done by. I didn’t care about how to pack, how to speak German, or when to have a garage sale. However, that is all the information people kept dumping down my throat. Now, please don’t get me wrong….I loved all the help, and now that I am over the paper work hump I appreciate all that info has come in handy!

When I first started out on this mission to move our house and two fur babies to Germany I was so frustrated with how little information I got pertaining to paper work. So drum roll please………Here is a list!

Now, every family is different so your family may have more, but I have listed the forms that I had to stumble upon. Hopeful this list helps you dance through the early stage of your move instead of stumble!

First things first: Spouses orders…make about 1,000,000 copies (no lie). Next, you will need to be added to the orders before you can do important things like book flights and such, so here is what you need to do to get your pretty name added to that ever so important piece of paper:

In order to be added to the travel orders you have to get a EFMP review signed by a doctor and turned in.This is just paperwork you go over with a doctor so that they can make sure you live by a hospital if you need it. Since I didn’t have any kiddos or huge medical concerns this went very fast for me. I have heard of it being a night mare for families with kids though so get started right away! Since we lived over an hour away from the nearest post I was able to get my physical done by my own doctor, then I just took the paper work to post and turned it in to the EFMP office.Once you have this paperwork done, approved and submitted get on your spouse to get you added to the orders! Nag, nag and nag some more until that pretty ever so important paper is in your hands! If you are moving pets this is so important so that you can book your AMC flight before the pet spots fill up!

Next up, you need a “No-Fee Passport”. Even if you already have a personal travel passport you still have to get one! Basically a personal passport lets you be in a country for a short time, but the “No-Fee” passport will let you live there for 3ish years without a visa. Your spouse does not need one because they have a reason to be in the country…..the military! To get one of these super cool handy dandy passports you need to fill out a DD1056 form (Authorization to apply for a passport). You will also need a DS-11 which is the actual application. I would call your nearest base and talk to someone in the travel office or passport office. They made me fill it all out and email it before I could get an appointment. They just want to make sure you have everything filled out right before you waste their time in an appointment. I think the website I went to to get these forms was called passportmatters.

Once you have those forms filled out, you can make an appointment to go turn in your paperwork and get your picture taken. No! You cannot just go to Walgreens for this type of passport! I brought my big PCSing binder with me but I think all I needed was my original marriage license, my ID, and my personal passport. They send your personal passport and your marriage license off to the state. I takes a few weeks for them to approve it and send it back. AND that is it! Really it is overwhelming at the start, but all it is when you break it down is three forms:

EFMP- So that you can get your name on the travel orders (and any kiddos you may have).

DD1056- Authorization to apply for a No-Fee Passport

DS-11- The actually application for the passport

When all else fails keep calling your post travel office! Kill them with kindness and someone will help you!


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