Department of Defense Education Activity

PCS Checklist

A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move can be a stressful experience and requires a great deal of advanced planning. The checklist below will assist you in planning and executing each step of the PCS process. However, the most important things you can do are to be proactive and ask questions. Your primary point of contact is the Human Resources (HR) Specialist who extended you the offer. The HR Specialist will provide you with several documents that you will be responsible for completing. Take the time to read these documents and ask questions.

The list below gives you a broad outline and sequence of steps involved in your relocation. Not all employees are authorized the same relocation entitlements. Where an employee is hired from (locally, within the US, or overseas) and whether they are currently employed with DoDEA (DoDEA Americas, DoDEA Europe, or DoDEA Pacific) will determine what benefits each employee is entitled to. Be sure to discuss these steps with your HR Specialist to understand the benefits that apply to you.

Remember, this checklist is a guide and does not supersede any laws, regulations, or directives that are already in place.

Because DoDEA is a worldwide organization operating in a number of environments, not every employee is required to follow every step in the process outlined below. Please address any questions about the process to the appropriate office. If you are unsure of who to ask, please contact your HR Specialist and they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Getting Your Orders

For some positions, you will be required to complete a medical examination before orders can be issued. If you are required to submit this form, you will be informed by your HR Specialist and given further directions.

For some positions, you are required to provide evidence that you completed a number of trainings and briefings. If these are required of you, you will be notified by your HR Specialist or local security representative.

Please note: Not all trainings and briefings are required at every location. Common trainings and briefings include:

If you are traveling to Turkey or Bahrain, please contact the local Security Representative for current requirements.

 Most positions at DoDEA require a background check or clearance.  IF this is a requirement for your new position, you will be notified by your HR Specialist when you are given your tentative offer.  You will then be asked to enter your information into the Electronic Questionnaire for Investigative Processing System  (E-QIP).  It is important to enter this information as soon as possible in order to receive a final offer and a start date at your new duty station.

Most current employees will have current background check and clearances already in place.  If you have any questions, please contact your HR Specialist or local Security Specialist

Electronic Questionnaire for Investigative Processing System (E-QIP)

Request for Travel Orders

Upon completing all the steps listed above applicable to you, you must request travel orders. Current employees can enter their request through the Travel Orders Processing System (TOPS). New employees will be provided a "Request for Travel Orders" form by their HR Specialist.

Arranging for Your Move

Once you receive your travel orders, you will need to make arrangements to coordinate the transfer of your goods and belongings with assistance from your HR Specialist. Representatives at your local Transportation Office will be able to assist in the process. Please also reference the resources available on the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) website. It will be important to start this process as early as possible to increase your chances of getting your preferred pickup date.If you have questions about how to access these resources, please contact your HR Specialist or Transportation Office.

Household Goods Shipment (HHG)
HHG (Household Goods) are your personal property and home furnishings. Typically employees have a total weight allowance of 18,000 pounds which would include their household goods, unaccompanied baggage, and NTS (Non Temporary Storage). However, certain locations may restrict the weight limit of the goods you will be authorized to ship so you will need to determine your weight authorization prior to your pack out. You may also be eligible for temporary storage of your HHG during your move, for example if you are having difficulty finding a permanent residence in your new location. You may not be able to move all items from your household in this shipment because certain items are restricted (e.g. propane gas tanks and other flammable items). HHG typically take six to eight weeks to arrive at your new overseas location. Below is a link to the Defense Transportation Office's guide to DoD Civilian moves. More information on your move can be found there. Please consult your travel office or HR Specialist with any questions.


Unaccompanied Baggage
Unaccompanied Baggage (also known as your Express Shipment) is a small portion of your HHG that is not carried during travel to the new duty location but is transported by an expedited mode to your new duty location. This shipment is an opportunity to ship those items you will need immediately at the new duty location (e.g. linens, towels, kitchen utensils, etc.). You will need to check with your HR specialist for the actual weight limits you are authorized for this shipment.

Privately Owned Vehicle (POV)
Privately Owned Vehicles (POV) would include cars, motorcycles, and dirt bikes. Your authorization for POV shipment will depend on whether your move is within the Continental US (CONUS) or outside the Continental US (OCONUS). For a CONUS move, you may be authorized transportation of up to two vehicles and for an OCONUS move you may be authorized transportation of one vehicle. Generally motorcycles and dirt bikes can be shipped either as a separate POV or in your HHG shipment.

There are generally very specific guidelines to follow in preparing your POV for shipment. These procedures will ensure POVs are shipped safely and comply with all importation requirements. Certain countries may have restrictions in place for the importation of vehicles (especially motorcycles and dirt bikes) so it is important to check with your Transportation Office for clarification prior to shipment.

Once you have moved out of your overseas quarters you will need to submit a SF-1190 (Application for Foreign Allowance) through the DoDEA Allowance Processing System (DAPS) to terminate Living Quarters Allowance (LQA) and terminate Post Allowance (PA). If you have questions, please contact your local Transportation Office or HR Specialist.

Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance (TQSA) is an allowance to assist with temporary lodging, meals, laundry and dry cleaning in a foreign area when an employee is getting ready to depart his or her post permanently, and must vacate residential quarters. If you have questions or are unsure if you are authorized for TQSA, please contact your local Transportation Office or HR Specialist.

If you qualify for TQSA, make sure you complete:

  • SF 1190 through DAPS to terminate LQA and initiate TQSA.
  • File your TQSA claim through DAPS.

Please keep in mind you will need to return any unused LQA to the Human Resources Office. Please contact your local HR Specialist with any questions.

Overseas employees must complete relevant mandatory security trainings as directed by your HR Specialist and ensure they are accurately captured by completing the ISOPREP form, and submitting it to your local Security Officer. If you have any questions, contact your local security office or your HR Specialist.

Before You Leave Your Current Duty Station or Location

All DoDEA employees must complete the Information Assurance (IA) Awareness Training and the Computer User Agreement (Form 6600.1-F1) as prerequisites to accessing the IT systems at their new work location. If you have a current IA training certificate, you are not required to re-take the training. E-mail copies of the Completion Certificate and the Computer User Form to your supervisor at least two weeks before your start date at your new duty station.

Information Awareness Training

Computer User Agreement

A PCS move can be a stressful time, and it is easy to overlook some of the more basic tasks as you move forward. Take time to make a list of items that will need to be cancelled or updated. For example, this may include cancelling or forwarding credit cards, newspapers, online subscriptions, and utilities, to name a few. These entities will all need to be notified that you have moved.

To ensure that e-mails and other important data are transferred to your new location, it is important to notify IT through a Help Desk ticket through the Global Service Desk. Please complete this action approximately 10 days before your last work day at your current location to give IT sufficient time to prepare. Please contact your local IT Specialist with any questions.

Current employees paying a military deposit and transitioning between two different payroll databases (e.g., overseas and stateside) must provide information to their Customer Service Representative (CSR) or Financial Technician to ensure that the deposit payments can continue in the new payroll database. If you have any questions, please contact a CSR/Financial Technician.

To ensure that payroll-related information is forwarded appropriately, complete the Change of Address Form and submit it to your current HR/Payroll office before you leave your current duty station. If you have any questions, please contact your local HR/Payroll office.

Don’t forget to follow to complete the Base and School clearance procedures in accordance with your clearance checklist prior to leaving your current duty station.

Before your final days working at your current duty station, you will need to follow local procedures to return laptops, cellular phones, or any other assigned equipment to IT or any other equipment provider.

Before your final days working at your current duty station, you will need to ensure proper packing and shipping of your professional office materials. If you have any questions, or are unsure if you qualify for this benefit, please contact your local HR Specialist.

During the final two weeks before your last work day at your current duty station, you may be asked to complete a “Check-Out List”. Please complete this list and return to the appropriate party at your current duty station. Please contact your current supervisor with any questions.

Before you leave, remember to close out your GTS and any GPS responsibilities. Be sure to provide a forwarding address for any remaining billing related issues, if necessary. Please contact your Resources Management office with any questions.

When You Arrive at your New Duty Station

If you have not already done so, it is important to establish a new mailing address and current banking information as soon as you arrive at your new duty station. Establishing this information ahead of time will ease your in-processing experience.

TQSE is an allowance for lodging, meals (meal preparations), and laundry for the first 30 days of an employee’s move to their new location. If you are eligible for TQSE, you will need to collect receipts for lodging, meals, and other eligible expenses. It is important to remember that TQSE can be extended on a case-by-case basis, if certain conditions are met. Also, TQSE can be authorized for actual expenses or lump sum payment. This will be annotated on your travel orders. Finally, the TQSE can change; check with Resource Management or your HR Specialist to verify your per diem and reimbursement entitlement. You will use a DD2912 form to itemize your TQSE expenses, and submit it with a DD1351-2 to file your claim. If you are unsure if you’re approved for TQSE, please contact your local HR Specialist.

The reimbursement(s) for TQSE and PCS moves are taxed. The employee pays an increased portion for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and Medicare. RITA allows the employee to recoup some of these tax losses. In the next calendar year after your move, you will receive a separate W2 to file for TQSE/PCS reimbursement(s). You can file for RITA after you have filed and paid your previous year’s taxes, using a DD1351-2 and a RITA Certification Form.

If you are transitioning between two payroll databases (i.e., CONUS to OCONUS or vice versa), you must inform your local CSR of Financial Technician so that they can adjust your contribution level, if necessary. If you are unsure if this is necessary for you, please contact your local CSR or Financial Technician.

You will need to contact the local Transportation Office to track shipment and delivery of your household goods, unaccompanied baggage, and privately owned vehicles.