Hi I am Erika
MY husband and I were just informed where our first duty station will be. It will be at Fort Richardson, Alaska. I know its considered overseas and my question is,
How do I set up a move I never did this before and my husband is right now in AIT..
..then he will be going to airborne in March..so it wont be till about April that we move. Can you give my a heads up on what I going to need to do for when we move?

A. Hi Erika,

Thank you for writing Army Wife 101!

Moving overseas is very exciting but can also be somewhat confusing but you can make it simple by staying one step ahead.

The first step for you will be to look into getting your EFMP screenings. EFMP is the acronym for Exceptional Family Member Program. The Army needs to make sure you and any other dependents in your family do not have any health conditions that cannot be treated where you will be moving to. You will need to call your local base and speak to someone in the EFMP office and they will be able to give you detailed information on this. Your husband might need to fill out a specific form first before they can began any paperwork so be prepared to be told that as well. Once you have had your medical screening the paperwork will sent from your local EFMP office to the EFMP office in Ft Richardson where it will be reviewed for approval. Approval wait time can take a few weeks or longer.

This approval is very important because in order to PCS on the Army’s dime you need to be command sponsored. This is the process you will need to go through to be listed on your spouse’s orders. If for some reason he is issued orders before your command sponsorship is approved then he usually can have his orders amended to include you and any other dependents.

As far as setting up the actual move , none of this can be done until orders are actually issued. It is at this point your husband will visit the transportation office and set up for pickup for your HouseHold Goods.

Their are things you can do early to make the PCS less of a hassle such as:

* Sorting through house hold items and getting rid of items you do not want to bring with you (There is a weight limit on household goods).

* Making sure all important documents are stored together in a file ( you will come to learn to carry this with you in the military …They always seem to need a copy of something.)

* If you are renting a house or an apartment make sure to notify your landlords that you will be moving if you have to break your lease. In most cases you should be protected under the military clause but if you don’t have one it will make it easier to prepare financially should you incur any early termination of lease fees.

*Lastly prepare financially in general. The Army does a good job of helping you out financially with PCS moves. You should receive DLA ( Dislocation Allowance) which is for the setup of your new home and TLE/TLA which is lodging and food allowances while you are waiting for housing. you also should receive COLA (Cost of Living Allowance). Other items you should set aside funds for are rental car expenses and ultimately deposit money in the event onpost housing is not available right away. It can take alittle longer then expected sometimes for BAH to switch over to the correct amount for your zipcode so being prepared is essential.

Before your hubby leaves AIT he will go through a series of briefings prepping him for your move overseas and alot of the paperwork will be on him to handle. It is important to pass on information to him so that he can stay on top of the PCS move as well.

I hope I have given you a general understanding of what to expect. Feel free to email me again.

Best of Luck on your move!

Hooah & Smooches



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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of SoFluential.com a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

39 Comments on Ask Army Wife 101: PCS Question?

  1. My husband just left to Hawaii last friday and they started their processing today. He got all our paperwork to ammend his orders to put our names on it, how long does that normally take?

  2. My question is similar to emmarose. My husband just left on May 22nd for Hawaii and I’ve had my physical and sent in all the forms a little over a week ago, I’m just wondering how long it takes for the EFMP paperwork to be reviewed and sent back, and how long after that it will take for me to finally get clearance to come join my husband. I’m so overwhelmed and this is the only site I’ve found that may be able to help. Thank you so much!

    • Hi and thanks for stopping by.
      I (Army Wife 101) happens to live and be stationed here in Hawaii currently and like you have went through the command sponsorship process.
      The process honestly can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on how their workload is. I have seen cases where it took 2 weeks and then cases like mine that took almost 3 months.
      Once the paperwork is approved orders will be amended to include you and from there your spouse can schedule a move with the TMO office to pick up your household goods.

      Best of Luck

  3. Hey Krystel, I just recently left you a comment prior to this… I just figured I might as well ask seeing that you’ve gone through this yourself. How come your’s took up to 3 months? I am so scared I am going to be seperated from my husband for a longer amount of time..

  4. Hi Krystel, My husband is currently at Fort Benning where he has been since basic. He was medical holdover for a few months and just found out he is getting based in Hawaii. I have so many questions I don’t know what to do. We have been married for 4 months(today actually)and I am enrolled in DEERS and shown as his dependent on his papers. My question is we have been separated with only a few visits since January when he left for basic, and I am hoping with everything I got that I will be allowed to go with him to his duty station. He is still a PVT (E2) and I’ve heard that they don’t house spouses unless they are E3 or higher. I hope thats not true sue to the fact I don’t think we would be able to afford to live in Hawaii with out living on base. Will I get to live with him out there? We have packed everything and are pretty much waiting on the army to tell what to do, which usually happens last minute. I’m very stressed but excited if I get to be with him in Hawaii, but if theres anything you think I should be aware of that I didn’t ask, please your advise would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you so much,

  5. Hi I don’t know if you can help me, but here is my situation. My husband is in Germany right now. He is trying to get our command sponsorship and now my ex husband is being a bit of a pill. He wants to keep our 50/50 agreement on parenting time which is obviously not going to happen in Germany. His idea was to keep him this year and let him move with me next year and then back to him the following year. I hate this idea, but this may be the only option I have… however, can we get my son command sponsorship after the rest of our family has been in Germany for a year? I don’t want to leave my son here for selfish reasons, his dad is a wonderful dad and he is safe with him for sure. I am just more concerned that once the year here with his dad, we wouldn’t be allowed to bring him over to us, and then I would be forced to leave him for the entire 3 year PCS. Thank you if you can help me, I can’t seem to find an answer either way!

  6. So my boyfriend (totally love him) is a SSG in the army….He just got deployed last month to Kuwait…when he comes home for R&R in February we want to get married…now the truth is I’ll go wherever he goes (cause I love my honey) BUT what I want to know is: when we get married will I get paid while he’s away on duty?

  7. Oh yeah he has 12 years in the service….and he has 8 more to go! But he will be on tour till at least July of next year! (I miss him so much) I never dated a serviceman and I’m fairly CLUELESS as you can see! :)

  8. my husband and I got a divorce during his first deployment which he just returned back from. We have since then worked things out and I want to move back to fort lewis, wa with him. Do we have to remarry in order to get BAH? And if we did remarry or if he appealed the divorce and we cancelled it all, would we get travel pay for me and our children moving back up there?

    • I can say that you definitely will have to be married to receive any benefits of the military. As far as receiving travel allowances, your situation is not the norm, so I not completely sure if you be considered as a new wife and be provided the option to PCS to Lewis again and receive all the allowances . I would call the TMO office at Lewis and ask , since they already have had you in the system once.

      Thanks for visiting Army Wife 101!

  9. So my fiance is in basic at Fort Leonardwood. He gets to come home at christmas for 2 weeks and then has to go back to finish his basic until February.Then he goes to Fort Eustis for AIT until July. While he is home at Christmas we are planning on getting married. The problem is, I am so cluless as to what to do afterwards. I don’t know what papers I need to get filled out in order for me to go live with him after he gets stationed. I am so overwhelmed by everything. And I feel like I am doing this all by myself since I am not able to talk to my fiance. Can you please help me and let me know where to even begin. Anything will help.

  10. My fiance is in AIT now and we plan to get married after he graduates in February. He has found out that he will be stationed in Korea and he is suppose to leave for Korea in March. I am in college and want to finish up this semester which ends in May so I will not be able to go with him when he leaves although I really want to go with him, so my first question is will he be able to send for later after I am done with this semester? And if he can…then what do we need to do???

  11. My husband(whom I married during xmas exodus) is in ait in ft lee, va…he hasn’t been given a duty station yet but im curious to know how a move works or how it is organized in the oh-so-complicated world of the Army…thnx

  12. Hi! My husband was told we are going to Hawaii. I’ve been looking into the EFMP screening and I can’t seem to find the standards for the procedure. My biggest question is about the dental check. What are the standards for dental? I know I have a few cavities and need my wisdom teeth pulled. Do I have to fix all of them before I go to Hawaii? I’ve seen there are dental facilities in Hawaii according to some googling and binging. Since you are there, armywife101, are they open to civilians? Does that influence my dental examination for the EFMP screening? Thank you so much!

  13. Me and my boyfriend just got married after he finished AIT. His orders say “without dependents” how important is it that we get his orders amended? And where would we go to do that?

  14. Idk where I fit in but my husband is currently in Fort Richardson, Ak and has been there since Feb. 21,2011. Our children and I were not on the orders because we needed command spoonsorship. We’ve done everything on our end and he even has his ammended orders BUT we have no idea how to make things happen. He never has the time to make appointments. WE had no time to prepare for this move, he got his duty station and orders literally the last week of Airborne school…this is our first duty station..How does he get time to take care of us and his paperwork?? We are clueless…

  15. I have a question. My husband went from his school to his first duty station on April 8. His unit was starting deployment training so he didn’t move anything down. We got married on july 5 and he amended his orders to include me. His seniors told him that they would move my stuff down with his since he hasn’t done his home of record move. I’m moving his stuff down in a month before he returns home from the deployment. Is this true that they will move my stuff down with his?

  16. My question is I was wondering How long does is take after you meet with the transportation Office for them to schedule movers to pick up our house hold goods? My husband has been at his duty station for 2 months now 1 month was he was at Jrotc he just got back, He has an appointment to meet with them on the 7th! Im just worried it will take another month or longer..thank you…

    • It shouldn’t take long simply because they use a company in your area that is contracted with them. It could be a week or two but just for reference be prepared for anything with the Army.

  17. Hi , I was wondering how long is it gonna take for my husband to mail me his dd1172 form to get my id and my tricare insurance since am pregnant and need insurance as soon as posible. he left for the army like 4days ago to georgia fort benning.

  18. I am new to this whole thing as well. my fiance is in Ft. Benning and his turning blue and graduation is june 7th and 8th, then he will beable to come home. He got stationed in Vilseck, Germany. The plan is for us to get married and for me to move with him, but i have no idea anything to expect or what to do, and neither does he. Any thing would help.
    thank you,

  19. My husband is currently stationed in Korea and will be home in a few months. He just got orders to Fort Hood and I’m beyond confused. My biggest concern right now is when should we start looking for a house to rent because we don’t want to live on post. Should I go down there without him and try to rent one before he comes home or when we actually leave for there do we stay in a hotel while we try to find a house?

    • hi sarah,
      i live in fort hood and have been in the area my entire life. I would suggest from the many military wifes i met that you find an apt or home before you come. Its not ideal to live on base. I can tell you that its really easy to find a nice home or apt in a matter of days there are always available places. if you need help email me i can definately give you some ideas and realtors. osorioyami@yahoo.com

  20. My fiance is in ait at fort lee, he should graduate the middle of feb, we were hoping to plan a small wedding around that time, but now he got his orders this past week, for s. Korea! im freaking out because during christmas exodus we may of gotten pregnant then his Platoon seargent said that since its his first duty station that they may not sponsor me if i were to go over there & that we’d need to get married as soon as possible, ive tried google & heaven knows what else to get the information on all of this but theres just so much everywhere you never know whats right. Just lookin for some advice whos been in my shoes!!!

    • Lauren,

      I think they are telling you to get married asap because if he reports to his first duty station and you guys are not married the military will not pay for it. Additionally, I am not sure but it may already be too late to have the military sponsor you since you would be getting married between duty stations. That is all I know I am so sorry I couldn’t be more help. In our case we my husband and I were advised to get married before he left for boot, so it would not be too complicated afterward. Good luck with everything,

  21. my husband is currently finishing up his AIT, his S-1 is amending his orders to where our son and I are listed as dependents. they are also working on getting all of our EFMP documents looked at and signed. my question is mainly as long as we are on his orders we can travel with him to Hawaii right? his S-1 made it seem like that was the case as long as we flew out of his AIT base. do any of you know if that is correct? I am currently pregnant with our second child and will only be able to travel until a certain time and we are trying to make sure we are all together as a family as soon as possible. any advice would help!! thank you!

  22. Hi,
    My fiance and I are suppose to be getting married in June of 2014. He is leaving for Korea in a couple weeks and will be there for a year and then he will have orders to Alaska. We are to be getting married a little half-way through his time there. The problem we are facing is whether I will get on his orders in time to go with him to Alaska. We have been talking about making our marriage legal before he goes to Korea, and still have the ceremony in June. How long could it take for all the paper work to go through and for me to be medically/dental cleared? Can we get a head start on the paperwork befor we are married?


  23. Hello Army Wife 101!
    I just got married a week ago and my husband is already in Hawaii. I’ve been reading your post like non stop! I just am so confused about a lot of the things that I need to do to help him out to get shipped over with him. I know I need a EFMP to also get approved for command sponsorship. I’m also a Navy brat so I have my dad to help me but I wanted a military wifes point of view. I’d ask my mom but she has no clue of what to do. So your post have helped me out A LOT with the questions that I have and also things that I didn’t know that I needed to do. So again thank you so so so so so so so much!!!!

  24. Hi.
    I have so many questions but my main thing is I’m getting married April 3, but my fiancee already has his orders to go to fort Stewart from fort Sam. He reports there a week after our wedding so how do I get put on his orders? Another, question is how long does it usually take to get orders amended? Thanks, Amanda..

  25. I have a question my husband called a week ago and told me I needed to get a physical is this going to determine if we get stationed overseas?? I am pregnany right now.

  26. Hi , I am a military spouse with five children ages 24,18,16,9&4. We have been stationed here at Fort Bragg for over 10 years and we recently received pcs orders to Belgium, we are all excited and just completed our EFMP screenings now I’m a little worried since I came home and googled information I have a son with ADHD and a school iep just for testing accommodations and I take Zoloft for minor anxiety. I have read all kinds of horror stories that we may not be able to accompany my husband. Please give me some input I am stressed to the max and will be so disappointed. Thanks Amy :)

  27. Hey my name is Maysen Cantrell and my boyfriend just found out his order. He will be stationed in Alaska. We are planning on getting married and April. He will leave a week after to go to his duty station. Does anyone know how long the process is before I can go with him? Or what all I have to do?

  28. Hi, my name is Kirsten, and I have a question about the dental clinics. My husband and I live off base at fort stewart, and he has been in and out of the field the past month. He has an appointment scheduled for Tuesday, and needs to cancel it. We have both been on hold all morning, and both of our calls were dropped. Is it possible for me to cancel his appointment for him? Or does he have to do it himself? He is in the field again, and there is no set date for him to come home. Also, if he can’t get it canceled, will he get in trouble for this?
    Thank you!!!

  29. I am curious is it normal to register as a wife before getting married to a seargent in the army if he is on deployment, so that I am reconized as a wife by the army?
    If so is there a registeration and logistics fee?
    And what is the process?
    How do I find a record of that, if I chose to register?

  30. my boyfriend is stationed in GA and im in korea. when my tour is over i was planning on taking leave to see him and were trying to have a baby, but i have orders to WA. will that be reason enough to request a 4187 and get my orders changed?

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