Moving abroad can be a stressful experience, especially when you don’t know where to find all the information you need. We asked Esther Thomas, AFF’s Regional Manager Overseas, to answer your FAQs on far-flung assignments…
How do we… Get information about where we are going?
HIVEs hold location information packs and can often signpost you to local Facebook groups. Your soldier can check the defence intranet or you can find info at gov.uk
See opposite for more information on the new iHIVE.
For more remote assignments like loan service there are ‘Blue Books’ available, mostly for loan service posts, and you may be teamed up with a host buddy prior to your arrival. AFF also has a number of overseas volunteers so if you’re having difficulties contact firstname.lastname@example.org
…Check whether our family can be supported?
Once your overseas assignment is confirmed, your soldier can apply for a family pack from the MOD’s Families Section – email DESDSCOM-FamSec-Gp@mod.uk
There may be variations to this process for unit moves. The pack will guide you through things to consider and suggested timeframes.
…Find out about schools?
Some locations, such as Germany, Cyprus, Brunei, The Falklands and SHAPE, are well served by MOD schools. You can find out what they offer at gov.uk
Where no MOD school exists, the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS, 01980 618244) will help you find suitable educational provision. You will need to consider the implications such as:
- Being in an educational system which starts at a different age
- Schools which do not offer the English National Curriculum
- Other cultural issues.
You’ll need to submit a parental declaration form to the Families Section to show that you have understood and accepted this.
Remember, assignments can change or be curtailed, so consider the impact this may have on accompanying children especially if they’re in the middle of exam years.
CEAS can also advise on boarding schools and how to apply for Continuity of Education Allowance.
…Discover what allowances we’re entitled to?
Allowances are complicated and on certain assignments they are provided by the host nation. Your unit should be able to advise you of your specific entitlements or your soldier can check out JSP 752 and JSP 800 on the defence intranet.
The majority of overseas postings will attract:
- Disturbance Expense – a one-off payment to compensate for additional expenditure incurred during the move process. Rates differ for outward and homeward journeys.
- Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) – a non-taxable allowance to contribute towards the additional local cost of living. It’s a daily rate which is location specific and awarded on rank and family size. LOA is reviewed regularly but can also fluctuate due to exchange rates.
…Access removals and storage?
Agility Logistics will provide the unaccompanied baggage service including: management of applications, surveys, packing, collection, delivery, unpacking and storage, within your entitlement.
Call 0844 282 1465 or go to agility.com for further guidance.
…Find out about taking our pets?
The management and financing of moving pets overseas is your responsibility. In some locations it may not be advisable to take them. More info at gov.uk
Remember to seek specialist advice as early as possible and research the location thoroughly as in some areas there are limitations on spousal employment, childcare, schooling and medical support.
When you’re posted overseas, there are some key things to consider. Take a look at our checklist below to make sure your Army family is ready to move abroad…
Do your research
See our supportability article, read AGAI 108, JSP 820 and JSP 770 Part 1 Chapter 2A. You will be required to sign a certificate to confirm your willingness to reside overseas.
Medical and dental clearance
You’ll need a certificate of fitness valid for six months from your GP, which will be screened by Defence Medical Services.
Some locations have specific confinement policies, so make sure you check before travelling if you are pregnant or planning a family.
It’s very important to provide the chain of command with information about your specific requirements, whether that is housing, medical, welfare or educational.
All children require educational clearance before a move overseas. For children with special educational needs and/or a disability, register according to AGAI 108 and with the Children’s Education Advisory Service. An assessment will be carried out to ensure that your child’s needs can be met.
Passports and visas
Passports must have at least six months’ validity remaining from the date of travel. Some overseas locations will require an additional visa for the host country. Call the Defence travel visa team on 0207 218 4366 for more details.