Arrivals Checklist

Starting the relocation process can seem daunting, but we’re here to help. Lots of people have been through it before you, and the earlier you engage the easier it should be. 

This checklist provides you with a basic overview of the key things you need to do, though it can vary depending on your circumstances. A number of these items will also be covered by your DBS relocations officer, and you should refer to their advice for more detail. There will also be other things personal to you, such as what you choose to do with your UK home. You can print this checklist off and work your way through it.

Please complete the Personal Information Proforma (BDS Form 940) with as much detail as you have now and e-mail it to the Personnel Support Team via This will enable us to make your arrivals process in-country as smooth as

You can claim an Advance of Salary up to the equivalent of three months gross salary (i.e. basic pay (including appropriate pay lead), plus any promotion increase, as appropriate to your overseas post). The advance will be credited to your UK Bank account and will be recovered from you in regular monthly instalments by deductions made direct from your salary immediately after arrival overseas. The repayment must be completed within three years of arrival overseas. DBS Civilian Personnel Relocations will supply the appropriate claim form and policy guidance regarding use of the advance, as part of your overseas posting pack. You can transfer your Advance of Salary and your Overseas Transfer Grant into your US bank account on arrival if you bring a UK cheque with you. The rate will be the current Global Accounting Rate.

See page 22 of the Overseas Transfer Document policy for full details.

If you are posted overseas for 12 months or more on permanent terms, you can claim the Overseas Transfer Grant. This is a tax free lump sum to cover essential costs incurred through your move that are not covered by any other allowances or entitlements.

Your DBS civilian relocations officer will send you the form which you must submit to them to claim the grant.

See page 23 of the Overseas Civilian Transfer document for more detail on the different rates, what it can be used for, and requirements to re-pay if you short tour.

You are entitled to have your personal effects (e.g. clothing, kitchenware, items of furniture) shipped to the US and your allowance depends on your personal circumstances. Your DBS civilian relocations advisor will provide you with a link to the website for the unaccompanied baggage contractor, Agility Logistics. You must complete all the forms direct with Agility.

The average transit time for unaccompanied baggage arriving by sea to the US is 8-10 weeks from collection. It can be delayed for several reasons, including forms being incorrectly filled out, so take the time to ensure they are done correctly.  You will be provided with a furnished property in the US so you don’t need to ship any essential furniture items, but may like to bring additional things such as rugs.

See page 24 of the Overseas Civilian Transfers policy document for full details.

DBS will book the flights for you and your family’s initial journey to the US.  Your luggage entitlement can be found in the Overseas Civilian Transfer Policy.  Should you need to exceed your luggage entitlement, Defence Business Services are the approving Department.

All UKBC’s require an A1 or A2 visa, depending on position, prior to travel to the US. The visa is acquired through the MOD Visa Section. Instructions on required forms and photographs and how to contact the visa section will be sent to you by your DBS Civilian Relocations Advisor. You are advised to follow the visa sections advice carefully to ensure your visa is processed without delay.

Once the Personnel Support Team receive your Posting Notice, you will be provided with the details of the Accommodation Support Team. It is advised to give the Accommodation Support Team at least 6-8 weeks’ notice prior to your arrival.

Please read the Accommodation pages on this site in detail, where you can also find a link to contact the team

If you are planning on moving with children, please read the Education pages of this site carefully to understand the implications of moving with school age children and to research the best schooling options for your children prior to arrival.

The Overseas Education Support Team (OEST) must provide clearance for all children to accompany you on a posting and flights will not be booked until this has been completed. DBS will provide you with the required forms to complete and send to OEST.

There are no specific vaccination requirements for entering the USA, but those travelling with children of school age will be required to provide proof of their vaccination records before they can register for any US school. Familiarise yourself with the immunization information found on the site here, as well as contact your future US school (if known) prior to leaving the UK. Many US schools require immunisation against Hepatitis B; all vaccinations required by schools can be obtained for free in the US. If you pay for any vaccinations prior to arrival, the cost will be a personal expense. Additional assistance is available from the Healthcare team

You are entitled to 14 days car hire on arrival in the US, or on departure from the UK.  This to help you do essential arrival/departure admin.  The 14 days can be split (10 days in the US & 4 days in the UK) – It is a personal preference as to how the allowance is split.

UK Car Hire

You are authorised to book a compact vehicle (Vauxhall Astra or similar) whilst in the UK. No pre-authorisation is required, however value for money should be adhered to, ensuring a competitive rate. Personnel can reclaim costs upon arrival via MyHR.

The MOD self-insures staff for the two weeks of car hire so any additional insurance for other drivers will be a personal expense. Under no circumstances can an extension to car hire be authorised.

Note: The cost of fuel is not reimbursable.

US Car Hire

You should confirm the time and location (the closest Enterprise Rent-a-Car depot to your hotel, unless an alternative location is requested) for hire car collection with the Personnel Support Team and the Embassy will make the booking on your behalf. You must pay for the vehicle yourself using a credit card, claiming either through the BDSUS online claims facility (US bank account) or BDSUS Form 100 (US bank account). If you collect the hire car whilst staying in the hotel you may be charged a daily parking charge, the cost of which may be claimed back.

The hire car may not be collected until after at least eight hours of consecutive rest, and no later than the afternoon of the Tuesday arrival’s briefing for those posted to the DC/Metro area, or Wednesday for those posted elsewhere in the US.

The MOD self-insures staff for the two weeks of car hire so any additional insurance for other drivers will be a personal expense. Under no circumstances can an extension to car hire be authorised.

Note: The cost of fuel is not reimbursable.

You may need to book a hotel for your first night in the USA, however the Accommodation Support Team will advise.

The hotel should be booked by you using HRG, within cap limits, and paid for on departure. This can be reclaimed along with actual subsistence costs for you and your family up to MOD daily limits converted at the current exchange rate. Claims should be made through the appropriate DBS form.

You should try to set up a US bank account as soon as possible. The Personnel Support Team will send you a proof of earnings letter and a bank introduction letter (within the Data Capture attachment) to assist you with setting up the account.  

If you have any serious issues on arrival, you can contact the BDSUS Duty Officer on +1 202 288 6083.

In the event of a medical emergency, go directly to the closest Emergency Room in any hospital or dial 911 to call an ambulance. This does not require any prior approval.

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2023 @ 1:23 pm

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