Runners begin the half marathon in Afghanistan

A Service Family Checklist for Moving OCONUS

Got your orders to move overseas? Seize your new OCONUS adventure with relocation assistance, online tools and personalized support from Military OneSource. Here’s a checklist to master your upcoming journey.

Consider these helpful steps to plan your move overseas

Military OneSource has your six as you move overseas. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth relocation, and begin to embrace your new surroundings and culture.

  • Obtain command sponsorship: If you intend to take your family with you overseas, you'll need to obtain command sponsorship. This designation ensures your family will receive travel compensation, housing support and legal protection in your host country.
  • Think housing: Whether you stay in government housing or receive an overseas housing allowance, there are certain things to consider before you leave, including how much stuff to bring.
  • Set up your move: Visit or contact your transportation office to set up the logistics of your upcoming move.
  • Check your finances: Moving can be costly. You’ll likely face unexpected expenses. Be sure you'll be able to cover any last-minute surprises and keep records of reimbursable expenses. If you need assistance, financial support services are available .
  • Don't overpack: Take inventory of all your belongings before the movers arrive and decide what you'll really need. Find out your “household good weight limit” and stick to it. If you don't need something, don't bring it. Remember, it will likely take a while for your regular household goods shipment to arrive.
  • Prepare for a new culture: Even the most seasoned travelers may experience some level of surprises when moving to a new country. A new language, new food and different customs take some getting used to. It might help to attend a Far Away Places Workshop, which is specifically designed to help you and your family anticipate and manage the stresses that come with moving to a foreign country.
  • Plan for your pets: Pets are accepted in most locations, but be sure to check out the “Shipping Pets” section on your installation’s web page to find out about registration, quarantines, vet services and for information about any breeds that may be banned.

Resources to ease your move overseas

The resources to help with your transition are already in place. These include the Relocation Assistance Program, emergency financial help and the military-wide sponsorship program.

  • Contact the Relocation Assistance Program: Talking to a Relocation Assistance Program professional at your current or new installation is a great place to start planning your overseas move. These experts can provide information, education and resources directly– including the Far Away Places Workshop and online tools to help you navigate the moving process or connect you with additional resources such as housing, transportation, child care or the school liaison officer.
  • Consider sponsorship: A sponsor can be your very best resource for figuring out what your life will look like overseas. Sponsors can tell you about your new unit and life on base, as well as fill you in on cultural norms and quirky customs. They might even pick you up at the airport.
  • Help for kids: Kids are resilient — and military kids are more resilient than most. Still, it's important to prepare them for the huge change of an overseas move. Your current and new installations will both have the resources to help.
  • Check out Facebook: Most installations have a Facebook page that can be a wonderful source of information. Be sure to visit your installation’s site to get information on what’s happening in your new community.

Embrace your new home

Living overseas affords military families a wonderful opportunity to experience the world as very few others can. Take advantage of Military OneSource resources to make your overseas move the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.