To Do List: Before You PCS to Italy

Helpful Pages


Levy Brief

  • Attend a levy brief as soon as you have selected or been assigned your next duty station. Orders are not necessary to attend the levy brief.
  • You will receive information on medical clearance and out processing.
  • You may also receive documents for EFMP screening and visa/passport application.
  • Representatives will be present from each department to answer questions concerning travel, moving, finance, etc.
  • Usually only the soldiers go to this brief, but it is highly suggested that spouses go to the levy brief as well.

Orders

  • Make sure the sponsor has orders. Actual names of dependents must be included on the sponsor’s orders in order for their move to be paid.
  • It is best to have the EFMP screening done for command sponsorship approval BEFORE a paper copy of orders is made. It makes is much easier to obtain concurrent travel (traveling at the same time as your spouse) and have the dependents’ names listed on the orders. Getting orders amended can be a timely process.
  • Report date: if your orders do not state that you are authorized for early report, then the earliest you can fly out is 10 days from the report date. Getting orders amended for early report can be a timely process. This timeline of 10 days can help determine the dates to reserve temporary lodging for… you don’t need to wait for an exact flight date.
  • Make copies!!! You will need many for in and out processing!

Command Sponsorship

  • Soldiers with dependents need to be sure they have Command Sponsorship. The levy brief will describe the process of command sponsorship, which mainly involves going through the EFMP screening.

Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Screening

    • Soldiers who want authorization for accompanied travel to overseas assignments must have their family members screened by the EFMP before travel, even if the family member is already registered in the EFMP. This ensures that the proper medical or educational resources are available at your new duty station.
    • Soldiers located on or near an Army Post in the U.S. must follow these steps to complete the overseas screening process.
        • The soldier or spouse makes an appointment (some accept walk-ins) for the family member(s) at the EFMP office in the Military Treatment Facility (MTF). You will need to bring your military ID and you may be asked to bring your health records from the records department. You may be asked to fill out forms (such as a health questionnaire provided during the levy brief) ahead of time or complete them during the appointment. Once those forms have been submitted, your health records will be reviewed by an EFMP practitioner for any medical or educational needs of the family members.
        • If no medical or developmental problems are identified, the physician or medical practitioner indicates enrollment not warranted. The form will be sent to the Soldier’s Unit Personnel Office for Family Travel processing. Family travel then forwards the evaluation onto the new duty station for command sponsorship approval.
      • Families in remote places (not near a military treatment facility) or families that are in the U.S. while the soldier is overseas will have a slightly different EFMP process.

Hotel Reservation

  • Make your hotel reservation at the Ederle Inn on post as soon as possible, especially if you have pets! The Ederle Inn can book up quickly during peak PCS time (summer) and they only 18 pet friendly rooms are available. Reservations are made as 45 day blocks for incoming personnel.
  • You do not need to have physical orders in order to book the hotel. Estimate the date you will arrive and make the reservation a few days earlier than that date. It is much easier to modify a date for a later arrival, than it would be for an earlier arrival.
  • If the inn does not have any availability, you will be put on the wait list for the inn and be allowed to book  temporary lodging off post. The inn should also assist you in finding a hotel to stay at off post. They have a list of the approved off post temporary lodging with phone numbers, e-mails, rates, pet rules, and amenities.
  • If you have to stay off post, you will be given a temporary lodging allowance (TLA) until you are able to find permanent housing. Note: you will be required to re-validate your TLA every 10 days showing that you are aggressively seeking housing and that no rooms are available at the Ederle Inn.
  • You are also advised to check with the Ederle Inn periodically to see if rooms become available during your stay.

Contact Unit/Request a Sponsor

  • Contact your unit. Ask to be assigned a “sponsor” who can help answer questions and assist with transportation on arrival. Note: dependents will also need your sponsor’s information in order to apply for their visa.
  • The official sponsorship website should be your first method to obtain a sponsor, but this method does not always work. You may need to contact someone that is currently stationed in Italy to gain a point of contact.
  • Spouses can also request a spouse sponsor through ACS.

Passport and Visa

  • Civilian employees and dependents of both soldiers and civilians assigned to Italy must apply for an official passport and visa.
  • Without your no fee passport AND visa, the transportation office will not book your flights!
  • This is the most time sensitive part of the PCS process and should be done as soon as possible in order to maintain concurrent travel.

Transportation Briefing

  • During this briefing you will be able to ask questions about the moving process.
  • You will fill out DD form 1299 to request pick up dates for each shipment
  • You will need two (2) copies of your orders per shipment. Unaccompanied baggage, non-temporary storage, and household goods are separate shipments.
  • You will need to have a rough estimate of the weight you intend to ship. Calculators for estimating this can be found on the internet or by use historical data from past moves.
  • You should note any odd shaped or heavy items you intend to ship, such as a grandfather clock or grand piano.

Set Up Shipments

  • Set up your move and divide your belongings for shipment.
    • Non-Temporary Storage
    • Household Goods
    • Unaccompanied Baggage
    • Professional Gear
  • Pre-move survey: The moving company will contact you to set up a date and time to physically assess everything you will be moving as household goods. They will write down any large or difficult to pack items.
  • The company in charge of moving unaccompanied baggage may also contact you to verbally go over any breakables, difficult to pack items, or food products you will be sending. They may also ask for an estimated weight of professional gear.

Ship Your Vehicle

  • Decide whether or not you will ship your vehicle or purchase one in Italy.
  • Make any necessary repairs or maintenance services to your vehicle. Note: the vehicle will need to pass inspection once in Italy.
  • If any debts related to the vehicle have not paid in full, then you will need written permission from the dealer or financial institution to send it to Italy.
  • If someone other than the sponsor will be dropping off the car or receiving (registering) it once in Italy, you will need to create a power of attorney.
  • Make an appointment with the Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) to drop off your car.
  • Clean the car inside and out before drop off. Photograph any pre-existing damage before shipping.
  • Purchase the necessary emergency equipment in order to pass inspection in Italy: flashlight, safety vest, first-aid kit, and road triangle. These can be left in the trunk of the vehicle when you ship it. A parking meter sticker may also be useful
  • Keep in mind all weather tires or M+/S (mud and snow) tires or snow chains will be required during the winter months for driving on the autostrada and certain roads. It may be a good idea to purchase all weather tires before leaving, since tire orders can take several weeks. Snow chains can be purchased on arrival at supermarkets and home improvement stores.

Driver’s License

  • Make sure all family members planning to drive in Italy have a valid stateside driver’s license that is not expiring anytime soon. You may want to renew any licenses set to expire during your time in Italy, as some states require the driver to be present.
  • Those who plan to drive a vehicle outside of Italy should obtain an international driver’s permit or European Union Driver’s License. While the SETAF license (obtained in Italy) should allow you to drive in NATO countries, they are not always recognized and each country has their own driving laws. International driver’s permits can take a month or more to obtain once you are overseas.

Vehicle Insurance

  • Your car must be insured in order to ship your car, pick up your vehicle, and drive in Italy.
  • Set an effective date with your car insurance company to start insuring your vehicle in Italy
  • Vehicle insurance rates will be 2 to 3 times higher in Italy. This goes for both new and old cars. USAA and Geico are the two main options for car insurance in Italy and it is recommended to obtain a quote from each.

Housing

  • Notify housing of your intended move out date, some require 30 days written notice
  • Clean and make necessary repairs
  • Schedule a final inspection
  • Attend any required move out briefings
  • For clearing purposes you may need to have a pre-move out inspection done in order to clear post.

Pets

  • Decide if and how you will bring pets with you to Italy.
  • Make vet appointments for a 15 digit microchip, rabies vaccination, and/or pet health certificate.
    • Schedule the pet health certificate appointment once your flight is booked.
  • Purchase any airline approved pet crates or food/water dishes for travel.
    • Train your pet to walk into the crate/turn around and use a hamster style water bottle.
  • Research airlines that ship pets internationally, so that you can be better prepared when transportation books your flights.
  • Make a pet reservation for the flight you will be taking and confirm the reservation on each leg/flight of the journey, especially when using multiple airlines. Transportation does NOT do this for you.
  • Arrange transportation for your pet to get from the airport to the hotel.
    • Currently the Venice airport shuttle bus only accepts dogs that can fit inside of their crate and be placed on or between the seats of the bus. It is a commercial tour bus with only two small seats together per row. Medium to large pets will most likely not fit.
    • The next person to contact would be your sponsor to see if they can arrange transportation.
    • If you have exhausted all options and your dog is too large to take the shuttle, PCS Pet Project of Italy (a non-profit organization run by volunteers) may be able to help. They require at least 2 weeks notice.

Out Processing Briefing

  • ALL Soldiers who are within 30 days  of Permanent Change of Station are required to attend a mandatory out-processing briefing.

Book Flight

  • Go to your transportation office (SATO or Carlson) and book flights when you have a firm PCS date.
    • Dependents must have their no fee passport and visa in order to book a flight with the transportation office.
    • Unless your orders specifically state you are authorized early report, you will not be able to book your flight for a date any earlier than your “availability date” listed on the last pages of your orders. Otherwise you would need to have your orders amended to list “authorized for early report”.
    • You cannot fly on a weekend or major holiday
    • Typically, the travel agency will book your flight through Delta, but other airlines are available.
    • Commercial flights arrive at Marco Polo International Airport in Venice.
    • Space A flights will arrive at Aviano Air Base.
    • If possible, book a flight direct from New York, Philadelphia, or Atlanta to Venice. The flight from New York is shortest at around 8 hours.
    • If you cannot get a direct flight, you will stop over at another airport in Europe and change planes. Leave plenty of time to go through passport control and security screenings to make your connecting flight.
    • Make sure pets are allowed on all the flights you will be taking and any stop over countries do not require a quarantine.

Arrange Transportation from the Airport

  • Ask your sponsor in Vicenza if someone from your unit or organization can pick you up from the airport, or if you should use the free military shuttle bus
  • A regular shuttle bus goes between Venice Marco Polo and Caserma Ederle in Vicenza. The military shuttle runs multiple times daily to/from Caserma Ederle.
    • To use the shuttle, you will leave the baggage claim area by exiting the frosted glass doors, then turn right. Look for the Military Liaison Desk (looks like a ticket window). Military staff will be there to assist you and tell you when the next shuttle leaves. It is open daily, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. If there is no one there, pick up the phone at the desk to get assistance
    • All pets will need to be crated in order to ride the shuttle bus and must be small enough to fit on or in between the seats.  It is a commercial tour bus with only two small seats together per row. Medium to large pets will most likely not fit.
  • If you have pets traveling with you and have exhausted all possible transportation options by contacting your sponsor or the pet is too large to take the shuttle, then PCS Pet Project of Italy (a non-profit organization run by volunteers) may be able to help. They require at least 2 weeks notice.
  • Save all of your receipts for travel expenses.

Utilities and Services

  • Cancel or modify your internet, TV, and phone services.
  • Unlock your cell phones, so that they can be used in Italy. Make sure your phone model has global (GSM) capability.
  • Set up a disconnect date for water and electricity.

Banking

  • Notify your bank and credit card companies that you will be moving overseas
  • Make sure you will have a working credit card in Europe
  • Inquire about CHIP and PIN cards
  • Request new credit cards if some will expire soon.
  • Ask USAA about applying for 0% foreign transaction fee benefits
  • Research banking options in Italy

Medical and Dental Records

  • Service members on PCS orders should request a copy of their medical records from the administration or records office at least one month before the PCS date.
  • Service members on PCS orders can also request to transfer copies of their family members’ medical records to the military hospital or clinic nearest to the new duty station.
  • You should also request copies of medical and dental records from any civilian healthcare providers you have visited.

TRICARE Medical/Dental

  • If a dependent is moving overseas, they must be command-sponsored to enroll in TRICARE Prime Overseas or TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas. If not command-sponsored, they can use TRICARE Standard Overseas. Remember that you must be enrolled in Tricare Prime Overseas, it does not transfer over by itself.
  • If you do not set up enrollment before you leave, you can also enroll in Tricare Prime Overseas during in-processing once you arrive. This seems to be what most dependents do in addition to updating their DEERS information.
  • Your sponsor can begin the enrollment transfer process for the entire family as soon as they get orders to move. To start the process, call your overseas contractor to enroll. Your overseas contractor will ask for:
    1. Sponsor’s name, SSN, cell phone number, and e-mail address
    2. Your estimated arrival date at your new duty station
    3. Where you’re moving (to determine your new contractor and appropriate Prime option).
    4. Names and contact numbers for any family member’s who are also moving.
  • Your new contractor will call or e-mail you within five business days of your estimated arrival date to discuss your Prime enrollment options. Your enrollment transfer is effective the day your new contractor calls you and you agree to the enrollment transfer. It may take up to four business days to complete the transfer, but you’ll be covered by your old contractor until the enrollment transfer is complete.
  • Tricare Dental did not need to be notified of my move overseas.

Postal Service

  • The sponsor can request a post office box prior to arrival at Caserma Ederle. Learn more about Vicenza’s Postal Service
  • It may be easier to have your sponsor request a mail box in person at the post office.
  • Change mailing address with USPS and other organizations you receive mail from. If you do not have a P.O. box address before moving, then forward your mail to a relative/friend temporarily.
  • Try to change the address a month before moving to make sure all mail is being forwarded.

Employment

  • Dependents of personnel stationed in Italy may not work off-post on the Italian economy.
  • Those who wish to work can search USA JOBS for jobs at Vicenza.
  • Read more about Finding a Job in Italy
Advertisements

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s