Every Permanent Change of Station move has the potential to be a success, and there are things that can be done to make the moving process and your transition go smooth.
“Advanced planning and preparation is key to any successful move at any time of the year,” said Laura Morris, Army Field Support Battalion-Riley, chief, personal property. “However, when moving, or planning moves during the peak season time frame of May through August, early preparation is key, as you may encounter unique challenges due to the large volume of moves taking place during these months.”
She said that during a pandemic, and with additional mandated requirements, normal peak season challenges are increased. Moving may require additional preparation, organization and flexibility. Remaining flexible while arranging pick-up and pack-out dates and understanding that appointment availability is limited, will better prepare you for unforeseen circumstances. Once your shipment has been scheduled and confirmed with the transportation service provider, unless you’re able to arrange it directly with your Transportation Service Provider, changes or rescheduling of pack and pickup dates is highly discouraged.
Scheduling move day:
The personal property office provides the following steps for scheduling your move day and it will prevent delays of household goods shipments.
Immediately, upon receipt of orders for permanent change of station, separation or retirement, log in to www.move.mil and create or update your profile, orders information, self-counseling portion and input requested dates for household goods pick-up. Keep in mind these are only requested dates, and they are not locked in until you have been contacted by your transportation service provider and you both have confirmed agreed-upon dates. New this year is a requirement to provide a 7-day window called a spread date. The first day of the spread date is the desired pickup date entered on the Defense Personal Property application. Packing dates are determined by the estimated weight of the shipment and can be 1 to 4 days before the pickup date.
If you need assistance with the Defense Personal Property System website, you may contact the Transportation Office, or use on-site computers at building 210, room 004, to set up an account or shipment. A tutorial is also available online at www.move.mil under the Tutorial Tab. If you experience any difficulty accessing the www.move.mil you may try a different browser. You must use a User ID and Password to access the website unless you have previously uploaded common access card certificates and accessed the website using your CAC. If still experiencing issues accessing the website, it is highly recommended you call the help desk for assistance, or visit the Transportation Office to utilize onsite Self-Counseling computers where Personnel Property Office personnel are available to assist you.
Once you have registered and/or created your shipment, the next step is to contact or visit the transportation office to ensure all preparatory steps were successful. You will be required to sign documentation, and provide the Transportation Office a copy of your orders, (if you have not already uploaded them into DPS). Nothing can be done with your shipment without valid orders.
Once your move dates have been requested, don’t assume they are set. Move dates are not confirmed until you have been contacted, and dates have been coordinated with your Transportation Service Provider. If your Transportation Service Provider has not contacted you within one week of your scheduled pack date, you may reach out to the TSP directly, or contact the Fort Riley Transportation Office to assist you in a status check.
Ensure your contact information provided in DPS is accurate and up to date, as that is the sole source for all service providers to contact you.
Lastly, we encourage you to document your household good experiences through the online customer satisfaction survey at www.move.mil. Sharing your experience is important in helping the Department of Defense choose the best performing carriers for future military moves.
Preparing for move day:
Get ready for the packers on moving day. Before the first day of packing, the residence or pickup location must be free from clutter and untidiness so it will not hinder the movers.
“Transportation service providers have the right to refuse entry to a residence and packing a shipment where the conditions are deemed unacceptable,” Morris said. “It is very important to declutter and organize.”
Before pack day, the TSP will contact you to schedule either an onsite, telephone or virtual pre-move inspection. An inspection is required and it is highly recommended that you request an onsite pre-move inspection to identify unique or fragile items that may require additional packing materials or crating. However, if you don’t choose an onsite you must choose a virtual or telephone inspection. In some situations, the TSP must request and receive preapproval from the Personal Property Shipment Office before the service can be performed. Agreeing to a virtual or telephone pre-move inspection may result in items being overlooked, and not identified until pack day. This can cause delays if a third party is required to prepare or service an item properly such as a pool table, grandfather clock, exercise equipment, etc.
Health protocols must be followed throughout household goods pack or pickup. Before beginning any work in a residence, customers are required to provide the TSP a completed Reasonable Assurance Agreement. This form is included in the counseling packet and should be completed and ready to provide to the TSP upon their arrival at the residence on pack day. Failure to have a completed form available for the TSP will result in a delay, as they cannot begin any packing without receiving a completed agreement from the customer. In addition, the TSP must provide DOD customers a completed “Certification of Health Protection Protocols.” Household Goods Quality Assurance Inspectors will ask to see each form upon their arrival at the residence or pick-up location.
The customer must be onsite at all times while movers are packing and loading household goods. If an Inspector arrives onsite to a location where the customer is not onsite, the job will be shut down immediately, and movers asked to vacate the residence.
“Do not leave movers unattended in your residence,” Morris said.
A great tool to assist you, and keep your move on track is the Army PCS Move app. The app provides essential knowledge and tips designed to enhance the relocation experience. Those preparing for a PCS move now have access to an organized central hub of information on entitlements, types of moves, how to plan/schedule a move, claims, and important moving information and tips. Just recently, a household goods chat option was also added. The free app is available in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
All dependents who are U.S. citizens listed on orders and traveling overseas must apply for and use an official, no fee passport. A travel passport only allows a limited visit in a country. A no fee passport includes a Status of Forces Agreement stamp that allows the dependent to move and live in the nation.
“If applying for both a leisure/tourist passport and an official passport, you should always apply for your official passport first to prevent PCS travel delays,” said Amy Holmes, Army Field Support Battalion-Riley, passport acceptance agent, personal property.
Service members will usually travel on their CAC and orders. However, check with the passport office to verify entry requirements for the country of destination.
Passport applications may be submitted as early as four months before the report date and can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to process during peak season months. Visas can take an additional 4-8 weeks, depending on the country.
Passport Applications must be completed online at www.travel.state.gov and then printed. Do not sign the application in advance — the signature must be completed in front of the acceptance agent. The application must be typed and will have two barcodes, one in the upper left-hand corner and a second in the lower right hand of the application. No application will be accepted if it does not have the required barcodes. Below is a list of standard document requirements. Some situation may require additional documents and for questions on specific requirements, you will need to contact the passport office.
a. Typed application, not signed. (Signature must be done in front of the Acceptance Agent.)
b. Legible copy of ID (front and back).
c. The original and one legible copy of the birth certificate or proof of citizenship (front and back).
d. Passport photos taken at an approved commercial passport location.
e. Certified copy of any legal documentation such as name changes, sole custody, etc.
f. Consent from the absent parent is required for single parents or step-children (unless providing proof of sole custody/ guardianship).
Dependents on orders who are not U.S. citizens must have a passport from their country of citizenship to move OCONUS with their soldier and a Status of Forces Agreement stamp. The passport office can provide more on this requirement.
Contact the Passport Office for additional information on specific situations or to schedule an appointment at 785-239-3057.
Port Call - AMC/Patriot Express Flights:
Regulations during the COVID pandemic are still in effect and vary depending on the travel location.
“It is important that you are aware of all current COVID requirements and/or protocols for your destination State/Country prior to departing Fort Riley,” said Christine Hall, Army Field Support Battalion-Riley, traffic management specialist, personal property.
Customers wishing to book Patriot Express flights must have orders, and should have a Government Travel Card in PCS status to schedule commercial travel, or ship a personally owned vehicle (if authorized). If arranging travel for dependents, they must be listed on orders.
The space for pets is limited on these flights, so it is highly recommended anyone wanting to ship a pet(s) visit the Port Call Office as early as possible.
For more information on flights, contact AMC/Patriot Express Flights - Port Call at 785-239-3001 or 785-240-1700.
For questions or additional information on moves contact:
HHG Shipments- Personal Property Processing Office (PPPO) 785-239-6683 or 6603