You will be supported in your move. The processes and entitlements may differ according to your individual circumstances, so please check with your Unit Welfare Office (UWO) or HR Office for full details.
Passports and Visas
You and your family must have a valid passport to enter the UK.
If you need to apply for a new or replacement passport, you should do so immediately. For advice on the UK passport applications process, please contact your Unit Admin Office (RAO) or UWO.
UK Entry Visas must be valid for all members of your family.
If you have any concerns regarding you or your family’s UK Entry Visa status please contact your Unit RAOor UWO immediately. Please see the following link for further advice: http://www.aff.org.uk/army_family_life/index.htm
If applicable, ensure your Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) stamp is in date and if you plan to drive through Europe on the way back to the UK you should have a valid Schengen Visa.
Whilst the removals will be arranged for you, you will need to apply for Disturbance Expenses. If you require accommodation either in BFG or in the UK once your furniture has been packed please check with your UWO or RAO for the correct booking procedure. You must have a completed JPA F008 ‘Non Availability Certificate of Service Accommodation / Messing’ in order to claim Day and Night Subsistence Expenses. This information is available on Dii.
To plan your move, you will need an individual Assignment Order (AO) or a certificate in lieu of an AO, acknowledging that you are moving as part of a unit move. If you have not received an AO, check your JPA workflow now or speak to your Unit Admin Office. The AO or certificate in lieu will be required to complete any contract cancellation paperwork – it is your proof that you have been posted.
Moving out of SFA
You can plan the move out of your Serivce Families Accommodation (SFA) by following the process on the Housing pages.
Entitled service personnel and other MOD staff will receive a Movement Order outlining the process of moving through DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation).
If you are moving under the 2016 bulk rebasing moves then a different process applies to you. Specific Detail for Rebasing personnel and families is available on the Rebasing Moves pages. If you are not sure about whether this applies to you then talk to your UWO or HR office.
Military personnel with Assignment Order
Serving personnel and families, who have an individual AO, can book removals with Agility
The process for UKBC/T staff and families is available on the UKBC/T Moves pages.
Applying for UK SFA
Apply for SFA using the online e-1132 form www.gov.uk/government/publications/forms
More information about UK SFA can be found at via CarillionAmey
Many people find that the houses and flats in Germany are more generously sized than their UK counterparts. Your SFA quarter in the UK may not give you all the storage space you are used to or large items of furniture may not fit well into UK SFA. Please take this into consideration, when you plan your move.
Labour Support Unit (LSU) Employment
HQ BFG LEC Support Services has published a Top Ten Tips list for your reference.
If you are employed by the LSU, inform them in writing of your leave date giving eight weeks notice.
Giving the LSU eight weeks notice is essential, as it allows them to prepare for your departure. If you have worked for the LSU for two years or more, you may be eligible for a gratuity upon departure. This only applies if you provide the full eight weeks notice. However, if you are posted at short notice and cannot give the full notice, you can discuss this with LSU representatives. Make an appointment to see them as soon as you can. Further details are available from: http://bfgnet.de/employment.
When you leave, the LSU will issue you with a BFG Form 126, which confirms your period of employment with BFG and reason for leaving work. This document will prove useful when visiting local benefit offices once in the UK.
If you are planning to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, you should register as a Jobseeker at your new location within a few days of arrival and submit your claim.
A guide on claiming Jobseeker's Allowance is available from LSU or can be downloaded from the LSU MOSS Team Site. For more information, you can also visit: www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance
Civil Service Employment
If you are interested in looking for Civil Service posts back in the U.K., you can check availability www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk
National Insurance Credits
You may wish to apply for National Insurance (NI) Credits to fill the gap of having lived abroad.
Spouses and civil partners accompanying Service personnel on overseas assignments may not have paid UK National Insurance contributions. This is likely to create a gap in the spouse or civil partner’s NI record, which could affect their entitlement to the basic State Pension and contribution based Social Security benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.
From 6 April 2010 spouses and civil partners accompanying Service personnel overseas have been entitled to claim NI credits to maintain their NI record. The Department for Work and Pensions announced increased support on 6 April 2016. NI credits will not entitle a person to benefits but they will maintain the position that was held on departure from the UK.
To obtain these National Insurance credits a spouse/civil partner must apply to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) using the forms available at www.gov.uk/national-insurance-credits/eligibility
Once completed, the form must be signed and stamped by the UWO to validate the application. Before signing the form, the UWO must verify that the information provided on the form is correct. You should apply no more than four months before you leave.
Good Conduct Certificates
Individuals returning to the UK from BFG, and looking for employment or volunteer opportunities working with children or vulnerable adults may be asked by prospective employers to provide a ‘Good Conduct Certificate’ for the period covering their stay in Germany. This is also likely to happen if you are applying for a further/higher education course or to join the Armed Forces.
To apply for a ‘Good Conduct Certificate’, you should write to the Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB) in UK, providing your full name, date and place of birth and a full address history, and enclosing a copy of the photograph and details page of your current passport, requesting a Subject Access Request Certificate. The address to write to is:
Service Police Crime Bureau,
Specialist Operations Regiment,
Bassett Wilson Building,
Certificates are provided free of charge.
It should be noted that SPCB are unable to provide certificates for individuals who have German/Dual German nationality as they cannot access the relevant information, therefore German dependents should either contact their local registry office, or if applying from outside of Germany, the Federal Office of Justice in Bonn. Full details can be found online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants.
Guidance to Transfer Childminding Registration from British Forces Early Years Service (BFEYS)
Childminders can transfer from BFEYS to Ofsted or SSAFA (SSAFA cover areas such as Cyprus and Gibraltar). The process for transfers is the same for either organisation. BFEYS cannot transfer childmindersto Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland as Ofsted do not cover these countries.
By transferring their registration the childminder does not have to go through the complete vetting procedures again. The childminder will have to complete a registration visit, and Ofsted/SSAFA reserve the right to request additional checks.
Full details of the process are available on the Childcare pages.
Leaving The Military
Successful resettlement requires clear aims, good job intelligence, effective networking and an intelligent approach to employers. It can also help to acquire extra skills.
It is therefore vital to take full advantage of the resources and facilities at your disposal from The Career Transition Partnership. www.ctp.org.uk, including support for those staying in Germany or moving to other countries.
Finance and Household
UK Child Benefit and Kindergeld (German Child Benefit)
If you are in receipt of UK Child Benefit, you will need to let them know you are changing your address.
You can report this online at: www.gov.uk/report-changes-child-benefit
If you are leaving Germany you must cancel your Kindergeld as soon as possible. You can use the ‘Notification of Change’ form available on the Kindergeld pages. Also tell the Familienkasse your UK address and bank account details, in case they owe you money.
It is not permissible to claim it if you live outside of Germany. For more information visit
www.arbeitsagentur.de/ or contact your Unit Welfare Office.
The Familienkasse and the UK Child Benefit authorities work closely together. If you continue to claim once you have left Germany, the money will be deducted from your UK child benefit later and you are committing fraud, which the German authorities will follow up with criminal charges.
If you are staying within Germany, don’t forget to notify the Kindergeld authorities of your new address and/or banking details as soon as possible.
Ensure pet passports, microchips and vaccinations are up to date in advance of travel.
There are certain vaccinations and treatments that must be carried out within a specific timeframe before your departure or your animals may not be able to travel with you on the day. Check with your vet well in advance to book in any time-sensitive appointments that your pet may require, and don’t forget to have the chip updated with your new contact details when you move back. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad or pop into your local HIVE for a copy of ‘Pet Guide.’
Banking and Insurance
Let banks, building societies, insurance companies etc. know your new address.
Cancel any Direct Debits or Standing Orders, informing the relevant organisations of your UK bank account details if you plan to switch rather than cancel them. Update your pay details on JPA to your UK bank account if necessary. If you are planning to cancel your German bank account you must finalise any bills – such as Mess, nursery, clubs, etc. – whilst your German account is still active. Account for any bills that may be outstanding before you close your account, e.g. if you are liable to pay for the remainder of a mobile or internet contract.
Don’t forget to get in touch with your home/contents insurance company to let them know your new address and the date that you will be moving. It’s a good idea to double-check your contents are covered during the removals process – your provider will be able to advise you on this.
Check that your car insurance is valid for residency in the UK (this is a legal requirement to register your car with DVLA) and arrange cover with a UK company if necessary. If changing companies, remember to get your ‘Certificate of No Claims’.
Taking Tax-Free Goods back to the UK
If you have any questions or require advice please contact a C&I officer.
Items must remain in the owner’s possession for at least six months either in Germany or on return to the UK. All items must be opened and used in Germany prior to removal back to the UK. If the value of the item is over €1,000 you must obtain a BFG Form 38 to dispose of (sell or give away) the item.
Returning Your Vehicle to the UK
For more information on returning your vehicle to the UK please see the Vehicle Licensing pages.
Cancel Your Contracts
Many contracts in Germany operate differently to those in the UK, often running on a two-year cycle and requiring cancellation in writing. If you cancel a contract within the two-year period you may be liable to pay for the remainder of the contract depending on the provider. Some companies may let you out of a contract early with no penalty if you have received a short-notice posting provided you supply a copy of your assignment order.
Try to give as much notice of your departure as possible and cancel your contract(s) in writing, giving details including your name, address, contract number, effective date, etc.
TIP 1 – Cancellation
This applies to contracts with companies that do not allow early termination of the contract without paying for the unused months. When it comes to cancelling your contract on posting outside Germany and your end-of-tour date is a few weeks or months after the end-of-contract date, give notice in time for the end-of-contract date and ask if you can extend the contract for those weeks or months. If they agree, you have saved the cost of the unused contract period.
TIP 2 - Get ready for cancellation
Check your end-of-contract date NOW, write it on your contract together with the last date for termination without paying for any unused months, so it is to hand when you get your assignment order. Alternatively check online or by telephone to get those details.
If the company writes back after your cancellation demanding half the payment for the remaining months, DO NOT IGNORE IT. If you do, they may sell your debt to a debt collector in Germany or in UK, and if/when they find you, you will have to pay much more than the original debt.
Cancellation forms can be found on the Telephone Contracts pages or from your local HIVE.
If you are a member of a breakdown cover organisation, don’t forget to cancel your policy with them (or change the address if you are staying on in Germany) and/or find an alternative provider
Redirecting BFPO and German Post
Change your address with any catalogues, magazine subscriptions, etc. and let your Unit Post Room know of your move and new address so they can redirect any post. For your quarter address, the German post office (Deutsche Post) offers a re-direction service (Nachsendeservice): visit your local branch for details or German-speakers can visit www.deutschepost.de/de.html
Returning a Deactivated Firearm or Offensive Weapon to the UK
All deactivated firearms must be correctly certified if they are to be legally imported into the U.K. as failure to obtain correct certification could leave the owner liable for a heavy fine or six months imprisonment. Please read advice on Decommissioned Firearms.
Cost of Living in the UK
Think about your budget when returning to the U.K.
There are some significant differences in the cost of living between BFG and the U.K. Extra allowances available here, such as Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) and Kindergeld coupled with tax free purchases on fuel and other goods may result in you and your family having to alter your budget on return to the UK.
Being aware of the differences and taking them into account can help make the transition smoother for you and your family.
The Royal British Legion provides a Benefits and Money Advice Service, for information on how to contact them see: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/can-we-help/financial-assistance/benefits-and-money-advice
Utilities in the UK
For most UK SFA properties, the utilities (gas and electric) are paid directly to the utility provider by the occupant. Most users set up a monthly direct debit. On move in, you should receive paperwork detailing the current providers and the current metre readings. You are then free to source an alternate provider if you wish. It pays to shop around to see which providers will offer the best rates, price comparison websites such as: www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricityor www.comparethemarket.com/energy, can be a useful starting point when checking the rates offered by different companies.
Telecommunications in the UK
When you arrive in the UK, you may wish to set up a contract for a monthly mobile phone bill, landline telephone and/or internet package. Contacting a variety of providers to obtain the best price and most suitable package for your needs is recommended, many offer special deals for new customers. Depending on the provider, you may find it difficult to set up an initial monthly contract for mobile phones if you have never (or not recently) had a UK address, as credit reference agencies may be unable to find a credit score for you. An alternative is settling up a ‘pay as you go’ tariff initially until you have built up enough credit score to be eligible for ‘pay monthly’ packages.
A valid TV Licence is a legal requirement if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder.
Armed Forces Personnel are not exempt from requiring a TV Licence, whether they live in SFA or in SLA: In Ministry of Defence (MOD) accommodation on or off base, you need to be covered by a valid TV Licence. The MOD fully supports authorities in administering TV Licensing legislation. You could be fined up to £1000 for not having a licence. For more information on how to apply for a licence visit: www.tvlicensing.co.uk
Tax credits are payments from the Government. If you are responsible for at least one child or young person, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work but are on a low income you may qualify for Working Tax Credit. You can often get both types of tax credits; they are not taxable. Tax Credits can assist families with childcare costs. For more information visit www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit or call Tax Credit Helpline: UK 0345 300 3900 (if you’re calling from Germany or elsewhere abroad use telephone: +44 2890 538 192). Please have your National Insurance number to hand before you call.
In order to vote in UK elections and referendums, you need to apply to have your name included on the electoral register. Getting on the Electoral Register also helps if you need to get a mortgage or credit card; lenders often use the Register when considering applications. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Medical and Dental Centres
De-register at the Medical and Dental Centres before you leave.
Depending on where you are posted in the UK, you will either register with a Medical and/or Dental Centre on camp but most commonly, with a local NHS GP and dentist. Information on local services can be found at: www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx
To register at another GP surgery in the UK, patients will be asked to complete a form with their details, including name and address, date of birth and NHS number. The new surgery will contact your BFG Medical Centre to have your records sent over, which is why it is important to de-register before you leave. (If you do not know your NHS Number, your Medical Centre will be able to provide this before you leave). There is no need to request a copy of your medical notes from your Medical Centre.
European Health Insurance Card
The BFG Health Service covers serving personnel and families whilst in Germany, but for travel elsewhere or to your new posting, you should take your EHIC with you. EHIC is free of charge and valid for up to five years. It can be renewed up to six months before expiry. Check your EHIC is still valid before you travel. Official website: www.nhs.uk/ehic
N.B. Avoid unofficial websites, which charge to issue EHICs.
Schools and Nurseries
On confirmation of your posting from Germany, let your children’s school or nursery know that you will be moving on and give them your new contact details, as well as the details of your children’s new school or nursery; they may be able to provide some guidance on moving your child.
Education in the UK – state schools
Admissions procedures and timings can vary depending on the type of school and the location, so you should contact schools in your new area and check the application and admission procedures. This information is normally available on school or local authority web sites. You can find out details of schools in your new location by contacting the local HIVE as they produce Fact Sheets on local schools. Should you need to appeal for a school place contact CEAS for advice: www.gov.uk/childrens-education-advisory-service. CEAS can also provide guidance for your child’s move if (s)he has additional support at school.
If your children will be attending a state school in England, let the new school know that you are in the Armed Forces as they can then access the Service Pupil Premium, enabling them to provide extra support for Service Children.
To find out about pre-schools in your area, contact the Children’s Information Service in your local authority or look on the Find a nursery school place website.
Education in the UK – boarding schools
Education in other overseas locations
If you are assigned to another overseas location with SCE schools, speak to your current school or look at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sce-school-websites for contact information.
The Armed Forces and many other employers offer a Childcare Voucher Scheme. 'Childcare Vouchers' is a government initiative designed to help working parents pay for childcare. You can convert part of your salary into vouchers before your usual tax and NI contributions are taken. This means that you only have to pay the tax and NI on what’s left, saving you up to £933 per year.
Childcare vouchers can be used to pay any Ofsted (or equivalent) registered childcare providers, which can include nurseries, childminders, nannies, play schemes, out-of-hours school clubs and holiday camps, as well as certain elements of Independent school fees. For more information see www.modchildcare.co.uk/