At some point in a military career, your spouse will most likely be assigned to a base overseas. If it’s your first time living on a military base outside of the country you might not know what to expect.
We go over some of the facts you should consider when living on base housing overseas.
1. Are You Named in the Service Member’s Orders?
If your spouse is being relocated overseas, ensure that you and any dependents are named on his/her orders. This is like getting the military’s approval to accompany him/her and live on-base.
If you are not named in the order, it means your spouse is going on an “unaccompanied tour”. Usually, the decision is made due to safety issues or the expense of moving an entire family for a short tour.
You can still go with your spouse, but you won’t be eligible for some military benefits such as medical services and you won’t be allowed on the base unless someone signs you in.
2. Do Your Research
Learn as much as you can about the place where you’re going. Most installations have websites with all of the information you need to know. Search the DoD Standard Installation Topic Exchange Service Website. You might also research through the Department of State.
Check for information regarding passports, visas, travel tips, security, customs rules, and medical clearance requirements.
3. Understand Your Finances
Make sure to find out about your allowances and entitlements as well as what you will receive for travel and housing expenses. Not all overseas bases offer employment options for spouses so you may be limited to one income.
4. You’ll Need A Sponsor
A sponsor is someone who already lives where you’re going. He or she can serve as a point of contact, answering any questions you may have about housing, childcare, job opportunities, and the surrounding area. In some cases, the military will assign you to a sponsor, but other times you have to request one.
5. You May Not Get Base Housing Immediately
There is often a waiting list before military base housing opens up. If you have to live off base you’ll need to find a short-term rental. Contact a local real estate office for help. Your sponsor may be able to help in this regard as well.
6. Determine What Can Be Shipped…and What Can’t
Remember, you’re not moving to another state. You’re going overseas, which means your things will have to be shipped. The military will not ship certain things so consult with the Customs Office to determine the rules.
7. Pets Are Allowed
Yes, your dog or cat can travel overseas with you. In general, you’re allowed to take two pets per household. The rules only apply to cats and dogs, however. Hamsters, gerbils, snakes, birds, and other animals are not be allowed.
Preparing For Your Military Move Overseas
There are many things to consider when your spouse receives PCS orders to go overseas. As the saying goes, ‘it’s a whole different world”, especially when it comes to base housing. Use this guide to get started with your big move.