Guest Blogger: Andrea Hacker
First thing to do when you PCS to Hawaii is REST! The flight takes forever, but the next day is no day to sleep in. You have work to do. Here are 8 crucial tasks you need to complete ASAP.
#1 Check in!
If you are married, your spouse can travel ahead of you and can check in to certain places before you arrive. They need a Special Power of Attorney in hand and have contacted all of the offices they plan to check into: housing, medical, CDC, school, etc., ahead of time.
#2 Go to medical and register for your new PCM
The Hawaiian islands are covered by TriWest. During the prime PCS season, open slots for on post doctors on Hawaii bases fill up fast. If you can’t get a doctor on base, you will have to go out in town. Luckily, you and your family are required to go through a series of medical screenings before you PCS to Hawaii, so you won’t need any routine medical care anytime soon upon arrival.
#3 Check in at the pay office
Hawaii BAH is higher than the average, PLUS you get Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) which is an extra allowance to cover for the increase in the cost of living. It makes a big difference in your pay. The military will adjust your BAH and COLA for you once the service member has “in processed,” however it isn’t uncommon for someone to forget to switch over pay. An in person visit ensures the job gets done.
#4 Check in at the housing office and see where you are on the list
Military housing in Hawaii is privatized. There are two main management companies which are Forest City Military Communities (Navy Housing) and Island Palm Communities (Army housing) Check in at the office to let them know you have arrived, or send them a quick e-mail.
If you want to live off base, check out some of the listings available at AHRN.com.
#5 Check with personal property (transportation office, JPPSO)
It can take anywhere from 30-90 days for your household goods (HHG) to arrive. Check in with personal property to get an updated ETA of when your HHG will arrive and see if your UB shipment has arrived. If you didn’t send off your UB shipment in time and need home and kitchen basics go to the bases family readiness office and borrow items from the lending closet. Items to borrow include everyday necessities like pots, pans, plates, glasses, silverware, etc. During prime PCS season these items go fast! If you are unable to get what you need, search SargesList.com in your area to find PCS sales are or look for individual home items – you don’t want to buy new things if you don’t have to!
#6 Register kids for school.
Contact the School Liason Officer before you PCS for any personalized questions.
Children registering in Hawaii for the first time need:
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Cards
- DEERS forms
- Report card and/or records from their previous school
- Medical records, including:
- Examination by a licensed physician within 12 months of date entering school
- Current and up-to-date immunization records
- Tuberculosis clearance test within 12 months of date entering school
- Students entering 7th grade need the chicken pox immunization
If the children are not the service members biological kids, you will need your marriage license and signed court documents stating you have residential custody of the children.
If you plan on using CDC services, get your kids on that waitlist as well.
#7 Register your POV
When you register your POV, remember to use a NONRESIDENCY FORM. Hawaii has very high taxes and as a military non-resident you do not have to pay to pay them. You can pick up Form DF-L (MVR) 50 from your military personnel office or your military unit. Note that it can take up to 120 days for your POV to arrive since it is shipped from the main land and the ship won’t depart until it is 100% full.
#8 If you have pets register them with the base
Register your animal friends as soon as you can. Hawaii has very strict pet laws. According to the Department of Agriculture Administrative Rules, “animals are required to complete a 120-day confinement in the State Animal Quarantine Station. If specific pre-arrival and post-arrival requirements are met, animals may qualify for a 30-day quarantine or a new 5-day-or-less quarantine.” You need to have all pet paperwork in order and in hand when getting on the plane.
Do you have any more tips to share about PCSing to Hawaii? Leave a comment on Facebook below or submit your best info on MilitaryDutyStations.com.