Moving is a difficult task, especially when it involves starting a new job, uprooting family, and going to a new location. The stress and difficulty increases when required to move to another country. According to the Base Structure Report of 2019, this is a common occurrence for over 200,000 military families who must experience a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) overseas. Even with mandatory briefings, it is possible to miss valuable information prior to the move. Yet, with a bit of preplanning the move can be made just a tad easier. Here are 3 things know prior to PCSing to Japan.

1. Get copies of ALL personal documents.

It is a complete shock to many, as they learn the lack of communication between the different military branches. As a result, a number of important records get lost in the transition. From social security cards, passports, copies of orders, to school transcripts, these are important form that must be safeguarded and brought along with you. Once you receive your order, make multiple copies and begin requesting duplicates of your families’ important paperwork to hand carry to the new duty location.

2. Plan moving pets at least 6 months in advance, if possible.

Many overseas locations require a number of testing for a pet and it can be frustrating to discover that the cost to move the family pet is one that comes directly out of the pocket of the military member. Families report spending upwards being aware of the requirements in advance, can cut those costs drastically. MCCS Okinawa provides a handy brochure with numerous hints and tips to get your furry family member safely to your new home. Though it is not always guaranteed that you will know 6 months or more in advance, it wise to always keep your pet up-to-date on all vaccinations and to microchip your pet for safety precautions..

3. The experience is what a person makes of it.

Just like in life, the situation of being stationed overseas, is whatever anyone makes of it. Some have expressed contempt, citing memories of missing events in the states. Yet, if a person were to shift their focus, they will be able to enjoy the duty station. Being here is all what people make of it. Take the time to explore the island and learn little facts about the culture

Being stationed overseas is a unique opportunity, potentially filled with unique experiences not offered to everyone. Though a lot of prep work is required, it is the little things that can be done to make the next few years exciting.

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