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Moving with the Military Overview

The Department of Defense relocates more families than any other organization in the United States. At that scale, the process can sometimes feel overwhelming - but you have choices regarding how you move. Do not hesitate to reach out to the local personal property office or the family support center at your current installation for help. Another amazing resource is MilitaryOne Source - they have representatives available 24/7 to answer those late night questions about your upcoming move.

Just Remember: Moving is never easy, but you will get through it.

Moves Start with Orders

In general, your moving process will start with the job/travel orders you receive from your service. 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. If you have any questions, your local personal property office is the place to go for help deciphering your orders as they pertain to moving.

Permanent Duty 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 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.

Destination Matters

When you are moving for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or a Temporary Duty (TDY) with the military, the way your household goods get transported from “Point A” to “Point B” largely depends whether your entire move will happen within the 48 contiguous US states or internationally (includes Alaska & Hawaii).

Continental U S

CONUS (48 Contiguous States)

CONUS are moves that start and end within the 48 contiguous states of the US. Most moves in the US Military are CONUS moves.

What to expect for a CONUS move

Outside Continental U S

OCONUS (International + Hawaii & Alaska)

Moves to or from Alaska and Hawaii along with international stations are considered OCONUS moves. These moves are more complicated and each location may have additional limitations on what you are allowed to transport.

What to expect for a OCONUS move

Choose How to Ship Your Household Goods (Move Types)

Once you have figured out the type of move (PCS or TDY) and your move location (CONUS or OCONUS), 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 PPM (Personally-Procured Move or “do it yourself”) shipment of their prized, valuable possessions and an HHG (“Household Goods") shipment using a government-furnished moving company for the bulk of their belongings.

If you have any questions, your local personal property office is the place to go for help figuring out how to break up your weight into various shipments.

Move Types

  • 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 transporter is responsible for packing all of your belongings and transporting them to your new location. If anything becomes lost or broken during your move, you can work with your transporter or the Military Claims Office to receive financial compensation for your items.

    Approved for:

    CONUS
    Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
    OCONUS
    Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
  • 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 95% of their cost to hire a moving company on your behalf. 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. If necessary, for most branches of service you can receive an advance payment of up to 60% of the incentive value. Calculate your estimated PPM incentive for an upcoming move.

    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:

    CONUS
    Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
    OCONUS
    Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Sometimes approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

    *PPMs for OCONUS Permanent Change of Duty Station Moves are generally reserved for situations where the government does not have the resources to arrange a household goods move. These moves are reimbursed at 100% of the actual cost.

    lightbulb icon
    Did You Know: If the government cannot arrange a Household Goods (HHG) move within the timeframe requested, you can do a PPM and receive reimbursement 100% of the actual cost associated with hiring a commercial moving company.
  • Unaccompanied baggage (UG) 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:

    CONUS
    Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Not approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
    OCONUS
    Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
  • In general, if you are traveling overseas (OCONUS), the government will pay to ship one POV to your new location, but you will need to arrange for it to be dropped off at the designated drop-off center before departing. (Note: There may be some overseas bases, such as in Japan, where it is not possible to have a car. In these cases, the government will pay to store your POV stateside for the length of your tour.)

    If you are travelling within the 48 contiguous states, the government requires you to drive your car to your new location or to pay for shipment at your own expense. The government will reimburse you for the mileage as well as any toll expenses you encounter along the way, so be sure to save receipts/tickets. In some cases, service members may be able to get a waiver to allow for vehicle shipment if a medical condition prevents them from sitting for long distances or if the report date makes it geographically impossible to drive with the allotted period of time.

    Privately Owned Vehicle Shipments (POV) can be booked at PCSMyPOV.

    Approved for:

    CONUS
    Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Not approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
    OCONUS
    Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
  • Non-temporary storage (NTS) is long-term storage of your belongings used generally in lieu of shipping your items to your new duty station. Expect the storage location to be located near the origin (pickup) location where items may remain for the duration of your tour. When you return and have established a new address, you can request retrieval and shipment of your stored belongings once you have established a new address.

    Approved for:

    CONUS
    Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Not approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS), exceptions may apply
    OCONUS
    Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
    Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
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 transporter is responsible for packing all of your belongings and transporting them to your new location. If anything becomes lost or broken during your move, you can work with your transporter or the Military Claims Office to receive financial compensation for your items.

Approved for:

CONUS
Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
OCONUS
Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
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 95% of their cost to hire a moving company on your behalf. 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. If necessary, for most branches of service you can receive an advance payment of up to 60% of the incentive value. Calculate your estimated PPM incentive for an upcoming move.

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:

CONUS
Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
OCONUS
Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Sometimes approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

*PPMs for OCONUS Permanent Change of Duty Station Moves are generally reserved for situations where the government does not have the resources to arrange a household goods move. These moves are reimbursed at 100% of the actual cost.

lightbulb icon
Did You Know: If the government cannot arrange a Household Goods (HHG) move within the timeframe requested, you can do a PPM and receive reimbursement 100% of the actual cost associated with hiring a commercial moving company.
Unaccompanied Baggage (UG)

Unaccompanied baggage (UG) 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:

CONUS
Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Not approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
OCONUS
Approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
Privately-Owned Vehicle (POV) Shipment/Storage

In general, if you are traveling overseas (OCONUS), the government will pay to ship one POV to your new location, but you will need to arrange for it to be dropped off at the designated drop-off center before departing. (Note: There may be some overseas bases, such as in Japan, where it is not possible to have a car. In these cases, the government will pay to store your POV stateside for the length of your tour.)

If you are travelling within the 48 contiguous states, the government requires you to drive your car to your new location or to pay for shipment at your own expense. The government will reimburse you for the mileage as well as any toll expenses you encounter along the way, so be sure to save receipts/tickets. In some cases, service members may be able to get a waiver to allow for vehicle shipment if a medical condition prevents them from sitting for long distances or if the report date makes it geographically impossible to drive with the allotted period of time.

Privately Owned Vehicle Shipments (POV) can be booked at PCSMyPOV.

Approved for:

CONUS
Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Not approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
OCONUS
Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
Non-Temporary Storage (NTS)

Non-temporary storage (NTS) is long-term storage of your belongings used generally in lieu of shipping your items to your new duty station. Expect the storage location to be located near the origin (pickup) location where items may remain for the duration of your tour. When you return and have established a new address, you can request retrieval and shipment of your stored belongings once you have established a new address.

Approved for:

CONUS
Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Not approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS), exceptions may apply
OCONUS
Not approved for Temporary Duty (TDY)
Approved for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

What does rank have to do with it?

The rank specified on your job/travel orders will be used to determine how much total weight or moving allowance (a.k.a. "how much stuff") you are allowed to take to your new location. In general, as your rank increases, your moving allowance also increases. Any cost to move items/weight above a service member's moving allowance will be charged to the service member after delivery.

Learn your weight allowance (entitlements).