Whether this is your first PCS or your tenth, proper preparation and planning will make the process much smoother. It's never too early to begin setting aside a PCS fund to ensure those unexpected expenses don't result in financial hardship. Once you have received your orders you'll want to begin researching your new duty station and preparing your family and household goods for the move. Your new command will assign a sponsor to assist you as you settle in at your new unit.
Moving overseas? You'll have to complete a few additional steps if you'll be going to another country. Pay close attention to timelines for overseas screening of your family members, obtaining no-fee passports, shipping of POVs and household goods, and immunizations and quarantine requirements for your pets.
Installation Information & Referral Specialists can assist you as you prepare for this exciting transition. Consider attending a "Smooth Move" class and make sure you attend the "Welcome Aboard" brief when you arrive at your new home. The topics below will assist you in your PCS planning.
Things You Need to Do
- Attend the Permanent Change of Station/OCONUS Workshop – The Information and Referral Specialist at your installation can provide you with valuable information regarding this important move-planning workshop.
- Attend the Settling in Services Brief – This is a mandatory brief conducted at every installation for incoming military personnel (families welcome). This brief will cover the services and facilities available aboard your installation and in the surrounding communities.
- Visit the MilitaryInstallations (MI) Website – The MI website will provide you with lots of information regarding your new location.
- Contact Your Unit Sponsorship Coordinator – Submit a request to obtain a sponsor to help you acclimate to your new location.
- Contact Transportation and Household Goods – To help you get organized, the Defense Personal Property System has streamlined the moving process with their website Move.mil.
- Update Your Address – Visit your local post office, or go online to update your address. Also provide your unit mail room with address changes.
- Update Your Insurance – Contact your insurance provider to update location of vehicles, and personal property coverage. Any vehicle that does not meet the state's requirements will be denied registration.
- Register Your Vehicle – Ensure your vehicles are properly registered for base access.
- Update myPay – Access myPay to update Federal and State Income Tax on your Leave Earnings Statement to reflect your home of record or changes in withholding/exemptions.
- Register to Vote – Ensure you are registered to vote and/or vote absentee.
- Meet with Your Personal Financial Manager (PFM) – PFMs provide financial education and training on money management, debt and credit management, savings, investing, and retirement planning.
- Update Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) – The TSP is a great way to increase your retirement savings plan with the extra money you've earned. Contact your PFM for assistance.
- Update Your Family Care Plan – Having a Family Care Plan is mandatory and ensures your family is taken care of during times of drills, annual training, mobilization, and deployment. Discuss your plan with your PFM and Base Legal Office. Complete form NAVMC 11800. LifeSkills Training and Educationoffers courses to assist you in completing your Family Care Plan.
- Update Kuder Journey Personal Assessment – Journey is a career planning system that assists you with effective career exploration and planning, both while serving and in transition. Kuder Journey's assessments support your career planning process and can assist you in informed decision making about your future.
- Update/Develop Your Individual Development Plan (IDP) – It is important to develop your own plan in order to have a successful and balanced personal and professional lifestyle. Think about what you want to accomplish, and how you plan to get there. You will learn more about this at PRS. Check the Resources list to download a sample plan.
- Check Requirements for Your Pets – Whether traveling CONUS or OCONUS, there's plenty to consider. Check quaratine requirements for your destination, as well as what documents you might need from your veterinarian.
- Family Members?
- Check out the School Liaison Program - The School Liaison supports Marine families by advocating on behalf of the family to optimize the educational experience and transition of elementary, middle and high school students in local school districts.
- Contact Children and Youth Programs – Children & Youth Programs Resource & Referral offices can assist you in starting the enrollment process to ensure your children have a safe haven for recreation activities, and before and after school programs.
- Resolve all open Family Advocacy Program (FAP) cases to ensure continuity of care.
- Ensure they are registered in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS). This system allows the military to verify that only authorized people are treated in its facilities. DEERS should be updated anytime a service member moves, changes status, gets married or divorced, has an additional dependent, etc. DEERS information should be reviewed for accuracy once a year.
- Military ID Card – Obtain a card for your spouse and children to gain access to military benefits and facilities such as the commissary, Marine Corps Exchange, and medical and dental services. You will need DD Form 1172 and your marriage certificate to obtain an ID card. Visit the RAPIDS Site Locator to find a registration office near you.
- TRICARE – Ensure your family members are properly registered in TRICARE, the military health care program for Service members and their families.
- Family Members with Special Needs? Contact the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) – The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) supports Active Duty Service Members and families to ensure that they are assigned to Duty Stations where services exist to support the EFM with Continuum Of Care, ensuring access to and availability of medical and educational services.
- Remain Competitive for Re-enlistment or Promotion. The Marine Corps Training Information Management System (MCTIMS) guides Marines on career training and education requirements, tracks training completions, and includes information on training standards and MOS Roadmaps to learn the steps necessary to achieve a high level of MOS proficiency and other recommendations for further enhancement training.
Things You Need To Know
- Marine and Family Programs – Marine and Family Programs provides assistance with services such as relocation, employment opportunities, financial education, personal skills-building classes, deployment planning, volunteer opportunities, outplacement assistance and assistance with crisis situations.
- Information and Referral Specialists provide information on programs and services for service members and families. They maintain a database of base and community resources and will make appropriate referrals to internal or external military and community agencies.
- The Education Services Officer (ESO) – ESOs are available to assist and advise you with your education plan to include education and testing programs, the Joint Services Transcript, and the American Council on Education (ACE) college credit recommendations, Tuition Assistance programs (Financial Aid, GI Bill, Scholarships, and Grants), and preparing for the Leadership Scholar Program.
- Personal and Professional Development (P&PD) Advisors – P&PD Advisors are committed to providing a full range of education, career, and transition services that educate, encourage and empower you and your family in achieving personal and professional success.
- Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) – PFMs provides financial education and training on money management, debt and credit management, savings, investing, and retirement planning. Plan to register and attend various workshops such as Car Buying, Budgeting and Saving, and other topics to support your personal financial fitness.
- Command Financial Specialist (CFS) – The CFS functions as the individual unit's principal advisor on policies and matters related to financial education.
- Family Member Employment Assistance Program – They can provide military family members with the tools they need to successfully search for employment. Resources include career exploration, resume writing, job search skills, interviewing techniques, and career assessments.
- Family Advocacy Program (FAP) - FAP provides a variety of programs and services to military members and their families to enhance life skills and improve their quality of life. Support resources include information on spouse/intimate partner and child abuse, victim advocacy, counseling for individuals, couples and children, as well as classes on stress, anger management, domestic violence, communication and conflict resolution skills, and positive parenting.
- Family Readiness Officers (FROs) - The FRO is the direct link to Marines and their family members. They serve as a one-stop-shop for Official Command Communication, Resources and Referral Information, Readiness and Deployment Support and Volunteer Management.
- United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) – USMAP is a military training program supported by the Department of Labor that provides the opportunity to improve job skills and complete civilian apprenticeship requirements while on active duty.
- Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) – COOL will help you find civilian certifications and licenses that are related to your military occupation.
- Joint Services Transcript (JST) – The JST is a military service transcript showing American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendations for military training and college courses. Contact your ESO for assistance.
- Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) - The VMET (Verification of Military Experience and Training), DD Form 2586, document is an overview of your military career.
- eBenefits – eBenefits is a portal; a central location for Veterans, Service Members, and their families to research, find, access, and, manage their personal benefits information, and access the Veterans Employment Center.
- Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) – The TSP is a retirement savings plan for United States civil service employees and retirees as well as for members of the uniformed services. Contact your Personal Financial Manager (PFM) for assistance in setting up automatic pre-tax deductions from your paycheck.
- Online Academic Skills Course (OASC) and College Placement Skills Training (CPST) – Contact your ESO to decide if it would be beneficial for you to review your math and writing skills in order to improve job skills, pass exams, advance in your career or continue your education.
- Blended Retirement – Overview of the new Blended Retirement System: training and brief article.
- The Single Marine Program (SMP) – The SMP exists to improve the quality of life for single Marines. The program plans recreation, social events, and community participation activities.
- myPay – myPay is the accounting firm of the Department of Defense (DoD). Servicemembers, military civilian employees, and retirees can resolve various pay issues.
- Visit Your Local Base Library – Library resources and services are available to Marines and families on board all USMC installations and online 24/7/365. The online databases provide academic research, professional and recreational material including databases covering academic, research, health, criminal justice, web-based foreign language lessons, over 200 digital magazines, over 500 online self-improvement and lifelong learning classes, and thousands of streaming films for informational and recreational use.
- SemperFit – Locate the fitness facilities aboard your new installation and speak with the SemperFit team to see what's unique to your new location.
- L.I.N.K.S. (Lifestyles, Insights, Networking, Knowledge & Skills) and LifeSkills classes - The L.I.N.K.S. program offers an orientation to the Marine Corps lifestyle, helping spouses, Marines, children and teens, and parents/extended family members understand and adapt to the unique challenges military life often presents. L.I.N.K.S is a resource of Marine Corps Family Team Building (MCFTB).
- New Baby or Young Children? Contact the New Parent Support Program (NPSP) – NPSP provides parenting education, support and assistance to expectant parents and parents with children ages 0-5. Services include group parenting workshops, baby boot camp, and individual family home visits.
- Base Legal Office - Military installations have legal assistance offices available to assist you with legal matters such as will preparation, powers of attorney, review of most contracts, debit/credit problems, landlord/tenant issues, family law, tax law and estate planning. All of these services are a no-cost benefit to you for your active duty service.
- CREDO - The Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO) is a retreat program that supports Marines, Sailors, and their families with high-quality, evidence-based education and enrichment opportunities focused on marriage and family relationships, character-building and personal growth, unit cohesion, individual and corporate resilience, moral and ethical decision-making, and crisis intervention skills development.
- Information, Tickets and Tours (ITT) - ITT is your one-stop, fun shop for discounted tickets to the movies, museums, zoo. Theme parks, sporting events, water parks, festivals, theatre, concerts, and more. They are located at every installation and offer tickets for your round attractions, seasonal attractions, and sites all over the country.
- Military OneSource is a confidential Department of Defense-funded program providing comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to active duty, National Guard, and reserve members, and their families. As a virtual extension to installation services, information provided includes, but is not limited to, deployment, reunion, relationships, grief, transition, parenting, and childhood services. Comprehensive education and career exploration services are also available at no cost to all eligible military spouses through the SECO career center.
- Family Members?
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) – NMCRS provides financial, educational, and other need-based assistance to active-duty and retired Sailors and Marines, their eligible family members, and survivors.