Ship Your Household Goods During a PCS Move

Moving furniture

Household Goods Shipment

When you are ordered on PCS, you are also authorized to ship your household goods (HHG) at government expense. The government authorizes you a weight limit based on your rank and family status. You are also authorized to ship unaccompanied baggage in conjunction with your orders. The unaccompanied baggage can be delivered separately when you report to your new station and before you find a new house.

Unaccompanied baggage is generally limited to 2,000 pounds, but there may be lower limits in some cases such as certain overseas locations, unaccompanied tours, etc. This 2,000 pounds is part of your weight limit, but you normally use unaccompanied baggage to include clothing, electronics, etc., that you do not want to haul with you when you travel. 

Arranging Household Goods Shipments

As soon as you are alerted to your upcoming PCS move, you can start getting your house and family ready. Clean up and get rid of junk. Hold a yard sale or take serviceable items you no longer need to a thrift shop or donate them to charity. Get important family records together in one place. You can even check your weight allowances and estimate the weight of your household goods before you start to set up your move.

If you are going overseas, you should begin to plan what items you will take in your unaccompanied baggage or in your household goods shipment, and what might need to go into long-term storage. Remember, in overseas areas, the electric current may be different, and houses are generally much smaller than U.S. standards and cannot handle large furniture.

Most likely, you will set up your move online using your service's personnel website. There is also quite a bit of information on to assist you in planning your move. As soon as you have your PCS orders, you should go to the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) portal to set up your account and plan your move.

You may ship personal property anytime after you receive your official orders/authorization. Begin planning early to increase the chances of having your personal property moved on the date you want. Pack dates are usually a day or two before the actual pickup date of your shipment. Pack dates can and do vary. To ensure a smooth move, the travel office coordinates the pack dates with you during the pre-move survey process. Delaying the call or visit can create hardships for everyone.

Shipping or Storing Your Vehicle

If you are ordered on a PCS move from or between overseas locations; you are on a ship that changes homeport; or when specific conditions, such as time or physical constrictions, are met within the continental U.S., the government may ship your privately owned vehicle (POV) for you. If you have more vehicles than you and your dependents can drive between PCS locations, you may have to transport your extra vehicle yourself and bear any extra costs.

Generally, motorcycles or dirt bikes can be shipped either as a separate privately owned vehicle shipment or in your HHG shipment. However, some countries do not allow the importation of motorcycles or dirt bikes.

You may also be eligible for government storage of your POV at a storage facility if you have overseas PCS orders and either the local laws prevent shipment of your vehicle or the vehicle would require extensive modification to be allowed into the country. This is handled through your transportation office  

Shipping Firearms

When shipping firearms within or to the continental U.S., you must comply with local and/or state laws as well as Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations. For shipments to overseas countries, you must abide by the laws of the host country. When returning firearms from overseas to the U.S., you must identify your firearms on your individual customs declarations and obtain ATF Form 6, Part II and ATF Form 6A. These forms are required to bring firearms into the U.S. The forms are available on the ATF website, and the process period may be as long as six weeks.

Arrival and Delivery of Household Goods Shipments

It is your responsibility to contact the transportation service provider (TSP) as soon as you arrive at your new duty station. Let the provider know how you can be contacted by phone, mobile phone and email. If you already have new quarters, the provider will help arrange delivery of your personal property shipments. Otherwise, it will arrange for temporary storage until you have permanent housing.

Make certain that you, or someone who can act in your name, is available at your new home on delivery day. If the TSP arrives and cannot deliver the shipment, you may be charged for the attempted delivery and any additional storage that may result.

Claims Process

If something of yours is damaged, lost, or destroyed during the move, you are eligible for full replacement value protection on DoD-sponsored household goods and unaccompanied baggage shipments. With this protection, the TSP will either repair or pay to repair damaged items and pay the full replacement cost for items that are lost or destroyed.

Providing prompt notice of loss or damage is an essential part of the process. The TSP's delivery crew will provide you with a form to note any loss or damage you discover at the time of delivery. You will complete and sign this at the time of your delivery, and a copy will be sent back to the TSP's claims office.

If loss or damage is discovered after the delivery crew departs, you must notify the TSP within 75 days of delivery in order to retain your right to full replacement value protection.  

Other Items

There are other regulations regarding shipment of more uncommon items such as boats, boat trailers, mobile homes, pets, alcoholic beverages, etc. You should check with your transportation office to answer any questions you may have regarding these shipments.

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