Current as of June 3, 2020
The Department of Defense will begin phasing out travel restrictions in areas where conditions allow. The DOD put the restrictions in place to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019, to protect lives during the global outbreak and to preserve force readiness.
Below, find answers to the most frequently asked questions about travel. For more information about the restrictions, see Understanding the State of Travel Restrictions. Check our Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions for Military Personnel
A: There is no set date to lift the restrictions broadly. The decision to end the travel ban will be made at a regional level and will be based on local conditions.
A: The undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness will continue to assess each U.S. state or territory and nations that host greater than 1,000 permanently assigned DOD personnel. Decisions will be made using the White House’s Opening Up America Again guidelines as a baseline. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide guidance. Factors that may lead to the lifting of the travel ban are:
- Removal of shelter-in-place orders or other travel restrictions
- A 14-day drop in flu-like and COVID-19 symptoms
- A 14-day drop in new COVID-19 cases or positive tests
A: The secretaries of the military departments and the commanders of the combatant commands will assess the conditions of each DOD installation, facility or location for:
- Removal of local travel restrictions
- Availability of essential services, including schools, child care and moving services
- The capability to perform quality control and assurance for household goods packing and movement
- Capacity of medical treatment facilities
- Appropriate testing capability
- Capacity to isolate individuals returning from high-exposure locations
A: In March 2020, the Department of Defense issued stop movement orders halting all travel within the U.S. and overseas. The orders apply to all military travel, including permanent change of station and temporary duty travel.
A: The restrictions apply to all service members. Family members and civilian military employees using government-funded travel are also restricted.
A: Government-funded travel is any travel that the government pays for. It includes PCS and TDY travel.
A: Service members may take only local leave as long as the travel restrictions are in place.
A: Contact your supervisor for instructions.
A: Leave restrictions apply only to service members. However, we encourage military families to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when deciding whether to travel.
A: The Pentagon has restricted access for anyone who has been overseas. Overseas travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to the Pentagon. The Pentagon has also restricted international visitors.
A: Check with your supervisor before traveling. Travel is allowed for:
- All Global Force Management scheduled deployments and redeployments
- Authorized personnel who are awaiting transportation after departing their permanent duty station
- Service members whose TDY ends while the bans are in effect and are returning home
- Service members and DOD personnel and their families who must travel for medical treatment
- Medical providers who must travel to treat military and civilian DOD personnel or their families
- Scheduled deployments/redeployments of U.S. Navy vessels and embarked units that are in transit for 14 days and meet restriction-of-movement requirements for current force health-protection guidance
- Service members who are retiring or separating from duty while the stop movement order is in place
A: Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for travel that is:
- Essential to the mission
- Necessary for humanitarian reasons
- Warranted due to extreme hardship
Requests must go through your chain of command.
A:Your service member can speak to his or her chain of command to find out if he or she qualifies.
Travel restrictions outside the continental U.S.
A: The travel restrictions apply to all overseas locations.
A: The DOD will continue to move forces to meet operational needs and commitments to our allies. Decisions will be made based on the circumstances of each deployment and the spread of COVID-19.
A: You and your family will remain at your duty station until travel restrictions are lifted. Again, exceptions may be made for mission-essential travel, humanitarian reasons or extreme hardship.
A: Contact your chain of command for instructions.
A: Contact your supervisor for instructions. Remember to continue practicing social distancing. Avoid crowds and wash your hands often. When your leave ends, stay home for 14 days. Take your temperature twice a day. If you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath, call a doctor and notify your chain of command.
A: Reservists who complete their overseas orders during the stop movement order will remain in place until the order lifts.
Travel restrictions and your PCS logistics
A: Contact your Shipping Office to determine your shipment’s status. Depending on when it was picked up, it may be in storage in the local area, en route to your planned destination, or in storage near your destination.
A: If the travel restrictions are affecting you and your family, you may do the following:
- Contact your personnel or housing office and the gaining command to see if there are any options for temporary lodging
- Check with your housing provider to see if your lease or purchase agreement can be delayed
- Check to see if you may be exempt from the travel restrictions or if you could receive a hardship exception to proceed with the PCS
- Ask your legal office if you have options under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the rental/purchase contract’s military clause, which may permit you to cancel the contract
Contact your chain of command to learn what assistance is available to you. The Department of Defense will use all means available to help service members. The services also have relief societies that may be able to provide some emergency support.
Want to find the phone number for your installation’s housing office or military and family support center? Find those and more on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, an online information directory for military installations worldwide.
Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites: