Preparing for a PCS Move

Preparing for a PCS Move

Last updated April 5th, 2022 at 3.30pm

Military careers and frequent moves go hand in hand.  While moving to a new location can be exciting, it can also be filled with stress.  If you have received Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders – or are expecting to in the near future —  it is important to plan ahead, stay organized, and tap into all the resources available to you.  Whether you are moving within the contiguous U.S. or overseas, the following information can help you start your PCS relocation on the right foot.


If you are moving within the contiguous U.S. (a CONUS move), one of the first decisions you need to make is what type of move you want to do. There are three options:  a standard move, a Personally Procured Move (PPM), and  a partial PPM.

  • Standard Move – If you do not want to handle the move yourself, you can choose to have a standard move.  These are government-contracted moves. Military-approved movers will pack, load, transport, unload and unpack your belongings.  The government will pay for you to ship your household goods and you’ll be given a weight limit for your goods.
  • PPM –  With a PPM you hire the moving company of your choosing, you load the truck, and the moving company will drive it to your destination. You are responsible for unloading and unpacking.  One of the biggest advantages of this type of move is that you will receive 95% of the payment it would cost the government to move you. That means, if you can keep your costs to less than that, you can actually make some money. You’ll get to keep the difference between the government stipend and your actual costs.  Just be sure to keep all your receipts.  Other advantages are that you can decide which moving service you want to use, you have more control over your belongings, and you’ll typically receive more time to move when compared to a standard move.
  • Partial PPM – You also have the option to have a “partial PPM” where you move some of your belongings and military-contracted movers will move the rest.

To plan a PPM or partial PPM, you’ll need to meet with a representative at your Personal Property Transportation Office (PTO) who will go over all the details and all the forms you will be required to fill out. outlines the steps you’ll need to take. You’ll also want to contact your military installation’s Transportation Office and the Relocation Assistance Program.


If you are moving outside of the contiguous United States (OCONUS), your move will be as complicated as it is exciting.  Fortunately the military provides quite a bit of support to help you as you relocate to your new overseas destination.  Make an appointment with your installation’s Transportation Management Office for move preparation assistance.  They will go over all the details involved with your move, from getting passports and vaccinations to converting currency and shipping your car.  Personally Procured Moves are not allowed for OCONUS moves.

There’s a lot that goes into a PCS move and even if you have moved before, it can be difficult to remember everything you need to do. has several helpful PCS checklists that break down your moving  “to-dos” for the months, weeks, and days leading up to your relocation.  While making a PCS move can be a challenge, it can also be an adventure and a positive experience that gives you the opportunity to meet new people and see different parts of the country and the world.  Good luck with your move!

The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a financial professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.