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Preparing to Move

There are several steps in the moving process that occur before packing even begins. Understanding what each step includes is key to a smooth transition. When in doubt, give your local transportation office a call, they are there to assist and answer your questions.

Step 1: Assignment Notification

While each service does this just slightly different, you are typically notified that you will be moving through an assignment notification process. This could be done through an e-mail, a phone call or a notification from a supervisor. It's important to understand that an assignment notification does not mean that you have "orders" yet. However, at this stage, it's recommended that you begin some of the preparation work, which may include looking at places to live at your new destination and getting yourself organized for the pending move. The one constant within the Department of Defense is change, so we caution you not to make any permanent decisions (e.g. home purchase) until there are orders in hand.

Here are a few things you can do while you wait for your official orders:

  1. Research your new base on militaryinstallations.dod.mil.
  2. Review these moving tips to help you stay organized.
  3. Visit Military One Source for relocation and housing resources and advice.
Step 2: Orders Received

In general, your moving process will start with the job/travel orders you receive from your service or agency. In your orders, information describing your rank, the duration of your job/training, and your assigned location will determine if your entire dependent family can come, what you are allowed to bring, and how those items will arrive to your new location. Your orders are an important document, so make sure everything is accurate. Verify the administrative details (your name, social security number, etc.) and make sure it has the correct duty station, dependent information, and reporting dates. If you see anything that does not look right, you need to let your administration know that there is an error so it can be corrected as soon as possible. If you have any questions, your local transportation office is the place to go for help deciphering your orders as they pertain to moving.

  • Types of Orders
    • Permanent Change of Station (PCS) is when you are assigned to a location for 20+ weeks, regardless of whether your assignment pertains to training or a new job. In these circumstances, you should be allowed a full household goods move should you choose to take it.
    • Temporary Duty (TDY) is when you are temporarily assigned to a new location, for an extended period of time (over 31 days), but generally less than 20 weeks. For TDY, it is common that only a small subset of your household belongings will be able to travel with you to your new location.
  • Types of Destinations
    • CONUS (48 Contiguous States) are moves that start and end within the 48 contiguous states of the U.S. and District of Columbia.
    • OCONUS (International + Hawaii & Alaska) are moves to or from Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories, along with other international locations.
       

NOTE: First time movers, separating service members and retirees must contact their local transportation office before scheduling a move in DPS.

Step 3: Schedule Your Move

Now that you have orders in hand, you get to choose how to ship your goods and schedule your move dates. You should contact your local transportation office to schedule an info/counseling session and learn what options there are for transporting your goods. 

Using The Defense Personal Property System (DPS)

The Defense Personal Property System (DPS) is where you upload your orders and create a shipment(s) (e.g., House Hold Goods, Unaccompanied Baggage, Non-Temporary Storage, Personally Procured Move, etc.). Users can login using a Common Access Card (CAC) or obtain a User ID and password before accessing DPS. Follow the instructions in the "New User Registration" tutorial when setting up your account. After that, follow the instructions in the "Create a Shipment" or "Create a PPM Shipment” tutorial.

  • When creating your shipment, you will select the packing and pick up dates (7-day spread starting with actual pick up date requested) during your self-counseling or counseling session with your local personal property office.
  • Once your shipment application (DD Form 1299) has been created and submitted, the PPPO will review and submit for routing and awarding to a Transportation Service Provider (TSP). 

NOTE: First time movers, separating service members and retirees must contact their local transportation office before scheduling a move in DPS. 

Please note that when you sign in to DPS you can expect to be asked a series of questions about your move. Make sure you are prepared to provide the following:

  • Your contact information
  • Estimated weight (use the Weight Estimator tool to help)
  • Pick up & delivery locations
  • Pick up & delivery dates
  • Special entitlement items (boat, guns, large electronics, etc.)
  • Estimated weight of professional books, papers and equipment (PBP&E)

 

Related Forms:

Choosing How to Ship Your Goods and Understanding Move Types

When scheduling your move, you will have some choices to make regarding how your belongings are shipped to your new destination. Remember, you can split up your total allowable weight into multiple shipments. For example, most service members doing a PCS CONUS move will have both a Personally Procured Move (PPM) and a Household Goods (HHG) shipment. If you have any questions, your local transportation office is the place to go for help figuring out how to break up your weight into various shipments.

 

Move Types

Icon of a moving truck with a "house" picture on the side.

Household Goods Move (HHG)

A Household Goods (HHG) move is a move completed by a government-furnished moving company, also called a Transportation Service Provider (TSP). During a HHG move, your TSP is responsible for packing all of your belongings and transporting them to your new location.

Note: If your HHG shipment includes storage-in-transit you may have the option to request the use of a container. Shipments in containers are dependent on what the moving and storage industry is able to provide at the time of your move. Check out the “Can I Containerize My Move?” Brochure to learn more.

Approved for:

An icon representation of the United States of America, in black, with a black, circular border. CONUS

Temporary Duty (TDY)

 Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

An icon representation of a flattened globe, in black, with a circular black border. OCONUS

Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

Icon of three moving boxes, two on the bottom row and one open moving box on top.

Personally Procured Move (PPM)

Think of a personally procured move (PPM) as a "Do-It-Yourself" move within the military. You will be responsible, for either packing/unpacking and transporting your belongings to your new location yourself or hiring your own commercial moving company. You can use a pod, U-Haul, or any other method of your choosing to conduct a PPM.

As an incentive to move yourself, the government will pay you 100% of their cost to hire a moving company on your behalf or perform your own move. If you can move your belongings yourself for less money, you get to keep the difference. Remember, this money is considered an incentive and is based on the household goods weight you actually transport, not to exceed your authorized weight allowance. If necessary, for most branches of Military Service you can receive an advance payment of up to 60% of the incentive value. 

PPMs are especially recommended for any irreplaceable valuables you own (i.e. family heirlooms, photos, important documents, etc) or for necessities you will need immediately at your new location while waiting for your transporter to arrive.

Approved for:

An icon representation of the United States of America, in black, with a black, circular border.CONUS

Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

An icon representation of a flattened globe, in black, with a circular black border. OCONUS

Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

 

Related Forms:

Did You Know: If the government cannot arrange a HHG move within the timeframe requested, you may be authorized to do a PPM and in some cases receive reimbursement of the actual cost associated with hiring a commercial moving company if approved in advance by your military service or agency. Contact your local transportation office for more details.

Icon of a briefcase from the side, two white stripes through the black icon.

Unaccompanied Baggage (UB)

Unaccompanied baggage (UB) is an option for shipments where a small subset of your total weight allowance is expedited to your new location, typically while you wait for the rest of your belongings to arrive at a later date.

Approved for:

An icon representation of the United States of America, in black, with a black, circular border.CONUS

Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

An icon representation of a flattened globe, in black, with a circular black border. OCONUS

Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

Icon of a car, shown from the front.

Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Shipment/Storage

In general, if you are traveling overseas or outside of the contiguous United States (OCONUS), the government may pay to ship one POV to your new duty station or store one POV during your OCONUS tour.  You will need to make an appointment with the global POV contractor, International Auto Logistics (IAL) and take it to a vehicle processing center (VPC) for transportation to your new duty station or to a contracted storage facility.  You can find global VPC locations, schedule your turn-in or drop-off appointment, and view POV shipping and storage documentation requirements on IAL’s website, PCSmyPOV. 

NOTE:  Some OCONUS countries do not allow POV transportation into the host country.  Check with your local personal property office for country-specific restrictions.  In these situations, you can store your POV at government or personal expense for the length of your OCONUS tour.  Please contact your local transportation office for storage authorizations and reimbursement options.

If you are a Service member travelling within the 48 contiguous states (CONUS), you can drive your vehicle to your new location or pay to ship one or more POVs at your own expense.  The government will pay you a monetary allowance in lieu of transportation, or MALT, for mileage, fuel, tolls, and certain other expenses you encounter along the way.  Be sure to save your receipts and tickets.  In some situations, a Service member may be allowed to ship a POV between CONUS duty stations if he or she is physically unable to drive or has insufficient time to drive and report to the new duty station as ordered. 

If you’re a civilian employee changing duty stations within CONUS, you may be allowed to ship up to two POVs to your new duty location if the new CONUS destination is further than 600 miles away.  There are other exceptions, so check with your servicing civilian personnel office or local transportation office if you have questions.

Approved for:

An icon representation of the United States of America, in black, with a black, circular border. CONUS

 Temporary Duty (TDY)

 Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

An icon representation of a flattened globe, in black, with a circular black border. OCONUS

 Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

Icon of a house with three moving boxes inside it, taking up most of the icon's whitespace.

Non-Temporary Storage (NTS)

Non-Temporary Storage (NTS) is long-term storage of your belongings used generally instead of shipping your items to your new duty station. Expect the storage location to be located near the origin (pick up) location where items may remain for the duration of your PCS/tour. When you return and have established a new address, you can request retrieval and shipment of your stored belongings. There may be restrictions on CONUS NTS, so be sure to contact your local transportation office if you have any questions.

NOTE: For Retirement: NTS may be authorized for 1 year beginning with Retirement date, and may be extended for up to five years. 

NOTE: For Separation: NTS may be authorized for 180 days, and may be extend one time for an additional 180 days.

Approved for:

An icon representation of the United States of America, in black, with a black, circular border. CONUS

 Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS), exceptions may apply

An icon representation of a flattened globe, in black, with a circular black border. OCONUS

Temporary Duty (TDY)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

Related Forms: