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Understanding Orders

Traveler

In general, your moving process will start with the job/travel orders you receive from your agency.
 

In your orders, information describing your new position title and grade/rating, your assigned location, what dependents are authorized to come, what you are allowed to bring, and how those items will arrive to your new location.

Your Human Resources office should provide you with mandatory PCS counseling prior to your relocation orders (Chapter 5, Part B, Section 1- 5510). Please contact your local Human Resources if you have additional questions.
 


 
 Where to start


Once you have received a job offer, accepted, and have been notified of the location for your new Permanent Duty Station (PDS), you may want to begin researching the surrounding area to determine where you want to live.

Where am I going to live?

At this stage, you should start looking into places to live near your new PDS and getting organized for the pending move. Don’t make any permanent decisions (i.e. home purchase) until there are orders in hand.

Sometimes, your command/agency may authorize a House Hunting Trip (HHT). This discretionary allowance will reimburse you for meals and lodging for up to 10 days, while you look for a new place to live in your new city. 


 
Review Orders

 

Once you receive your orders, carefully review them to ensure all of the details are correct.
  • Names
  • Addresses
  • SSNs
  • Dependents Names, SSNs, etc.
  • Gaining and Losing duty stations
  • Reporting dates

The below list contains relocation allowances that your agency must pay.  Please see the appropriate scenario that pertains to your move.

First Official Station  See order example here
  • Transportation for employee & immediate family members
  • Per diem for employee only
  • Transportation & temporary storage of Household Goods (HHG) 
  • Extended storage of HHG (Out of the Continental United States - OCONUS) only)
  • Transportation of a mobile home or boat used as a primary residence in lieu of transportation of HHG (Continental United States - CONUS only)
  • Relocation income tax allowance (RITA)   
Transfer Between Official Stations in CONUS See order example here
  • Transportation & per diem for employee & immediate family members
  • Miscellaneous Expense Allowance
  • Residence transactions or Unexpired Lease
  • Transportation & temporary storage of HHG
  • Transportation of a mobile home or boat used as a primary residence in lieu of transportation of HHG
  • Relocation income tax allowance (RITA)
Transfer From CONUS Official Station to OCONUS Official Station  See order example here
  • Transportation & per diem for employee & immediate family members   
  • Miscellaneous Expense Allowance
  • Transportation & temporary storage of HHG
  • Extended storage of HHG
  • Relocation income tax allowance (RITA)
Transfer From OCONUS Official Station to CONUS Official Station  See order example here
  • Transportation & per diem for employee & immediate family members
  • Temporary Quarters Subsistence Expenses (TQSE) when returning CONUS to a new non-foreign official station
  • Miscellaneous Expense Allowance
  • Residence Transactions when returning CONUS to a new non-foreign official station
  • Transportation & temporary storage of HHG
  • Relocation income tax allowance (RITA)
Transfer Between OCONUS Official Stations  See order example here
  • Transportation & per diem for employee & immediate family members        
  • Miscellaneous Expense Allowance
  • Transportation & temporary storage of HHG
  • Extended storage of HHG
  • Relocation income tax allowance (RITA)
Return From OCONUS for Separation See order example here
  • Transportation for employee & immediate family members
  • Per diem for employee only
  • Transportation & temporary storage of HHG 
  • Relocation income tax allowance (RITA)   

NOTE: If there are any corrections that need to be made, let the administrator that sent your orders know immediately.
 

Helpful Tips
Some helpful hints for your move
  1. Be sure to review the Civilian relocation DD Form 1351-2 Voucher checklist.
  2. Submit DD Form 1614 (Travel Authorization/Orders) with all amendments
  3. Submit Direct Deposit Form SF1199A
  4. Carefully review the specific requirements for each entitlement as they are all different.
  5. Most Civilian Relocation entitlements are TAXABLE.
  6. Pay attention to the Temporary Quarters Subsistence Expenses (TQSE) method authorized:
    1.  Actual Expense:
      1. Reimbursed standard CONUS per diem rate for first 30 days for employee, dependents over 12 - 75%, dependents under 12 – 50%
      2. Additional days 31 – 120  daily percentage decreases for employee and dependents
      3. Must itemize all daily expenses
      4. Lodging receipts and meal/grocery receipts $75 and over are required for reimbursement
      5. Up to 120 days can be authorized
    2. Lump Sum:
      1. 75% of locality rate for employee, 25% for each dependent
      2. ONLY 30 days can be authorized
      3. No receipts required, but lodging receipts can be requested
  7. Real Estate Sale – a seller credit to the buyer is not a reimbursable expense unless the traveler can provide a significant amount of home sales over several years to support customary practice (CBCA 6226-RELO, CBCA 6218-RELO)
  8. Real Estate - Fees/Service Charges incident to using home buying and selling companies such as Opendoor are not reimbursable (CBCA 6596-RELO)
DFAS processes vouchers for civilian employees of the following agencies:
  • Defense Department Agencies
  • Navy Revolving and General Funds
  • Army and the Army Material Command
  • Marine Corps

 
Weight Allowance
 
Weight Allowance

As a civilian, you’re entitled to move 18,000 lbs. of household goods. Any amount over that limit will need to be reimbursed to the government.  You may also be entitled to either temporary storage known as Storage-In-Transit (SIT) or long term storage known as Non-Temporary Storage (NTS). Please visit or contact your local personal property office if you have any further weight allowance questions.

HHG Shipment and storage are taxable to the employee. 

Moving with family?

Check to see if dependents are specifically listed in your orders.  If not, speak with your Human Resources/Travel Office for assistance in requesting dependent authorization.  This addition of dependents will require amended orders.
 

Pet Information
 
Traveling with Pets

First, research your new destination’s rules and regulations about bringing pets. Start by contacting your local personal property office to see if there are any breed restrictions, quarantine requirements, and timeline for vaccinations. Check the Defense Travel Management Office’s Pet FAQ for more information.

Will my pet's expenses be reimbursed?
  • Pet quarantine fees and transportation charges are included in the Miscellaneous Expense Allowance (MEA) when claiming actual expense. Non-transportation and handling pet-related expenses are not reimbursable.  This applies to dogs, cats, and other house pets. Other animals like horses, fish, birds, and rodents are excluded because of their size, exotic nature, and shipping restrictions.
How are my pets going to get there?
  • During the summer months, most airlines won’t ship pets due to the heat.  You could send them home in advance or bring them to your new location after the temperatures have cooled down. 
 
Page Updated June 29, 2020