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PCSing overseas! Germany!

Hubby & I just found out we are being stationed Heidelberg, Germany starting in April!  We are very excited and anxious for a new adventure!  Does anyone have any advice on moving overseas?  

A few questions I have are:  Will we be able to take a dog? (we don't have one yet, but we really want one)  Will they pay for BOTH of our cars to be shipped over there?  I read online that unless there is absolutely no availability, we will be required to live in on base housing...?  Does anyone have experience with housing overseas?  How difficult is it (as a spouse) to find a job overseas? 

Soooo many questions!  any advice would be much appreciated!  Thanks! 

Re: PCSing overseas! Germany!

  • Generally, they only pay to ship one POV.

    They won't pay for a dog, but continental Europe doesn't have nearly as many restrictions as islands like England or Japan.  IIRC it's a 5 day quarantine. They may, however, require a puppy to be a certain age.    Your other concern with a pet is whether housing will allow it.

    That's really all I know.  I've hoped for Germany, and I've spent a lot of time looking into dog stuff there, but I've never been, so I can't give specifics.

    Anyway, exciting!  I'd love to get to go there. 

  • My recommendation is to wait until you are in Germany to get a dog. I can't imagine traveling overseas with a puppy. Most of the time pets have to be quarantined for days, weeks, months depending on the area. I know a couple that PCSd to Hawaii and had to board their dog for a month.

    A buddy of mine had no problems getting a dog in Italy.  But, if you are only in Germany for a year I would suggest waiting until you get back to add a dog to the family.


    As for housing, I have nothing... sorry.

  • Germany is a lot different than Hawaii due to geography, so import is a completely different process.

    I looked into all this last December since we knew we'd be PCSing in 6 months but obviously didn't know where to, and some of the tests need to be done 6 months ahead.  Japan, England, and Hawaii are the only difficult ones IIRC, since they're rabies free islands. 

  • Keep in mind how expensive and complicated it can be to get an animal over there and back here. Airlines have restrictions on when animals can be in the cargo hold due to high or low temperatures, among other things. One of the posters on here (AF_EOD_wife I think) was stationed overseas and mentioned how many people on base were trying to get rid of their animals once they realized how much it was going to cost to get them back to the states.

    I am, by no means, telling you not to get a dog. Just make sure you are willing to make a life-long commitment that doesn't falter once you see the bill, KWIM?

    p.s. I'm really jealous. I'd love to live in Germany!



  • I tend to think the people who ditch their dogs would have found another reason to do so if it weren't for the flight cost.

    I can't remember the exact temp restrictions, but it has to do with take off and landing temps.  You can't ship a dog if it's expected to be above 80.  I don't remember the bottom temp, maybe 40?  With a little creative routing, most of the time you can ship in safe temps.  For instance, I took a 4am flight to get into Phoenix before sunrise.  This required an overnight stay somewhere, so I chose Dallas, where my sister lives.

    I got quotes from airlines that were anywhere from 200 to 800 for a flight from Japan to the States.  Not cheap, but compared to the cost of dog ownership, it's not a whole lot more than you might expect from average medical and food costs.

    What could really drive up costs is if you have to quarantine in country, but you shouldn't have to do that in Germany, and there are ways to get around it in the more restrictive countries.

  • Congrats! That's so exciting, we'd love to get stationed in Europe!

    I have zero answers to your questions...but I did post a few days ago about the stress of owning a dog and moving around frequently. I'm too overwhelmed at the moment to think about putting a dog through the stress of flying (we are in Hawaii currently) so we are, unfortunately, holding off until our next station at least. Good luck to you, whatever you decide! Obviously it's not impossible and people do it all the time, but the more I researched the more nervous I got about it. 

    PersonalMilestone Anniversary
  • We PCSed into Germany with two dogs.  It is not hard at all and there was no Qurranteen.

    There are specific rules on when the vaccinations SPECIFICALLY need to be done (which can be expensive if you have to do them all at once) and you will need the "Well Vet Check-up" 10 days prior to the flight.

    Yes, there are specific dates that most airlines (those that take pets in cargo anyway) do not fly the pets due to the heat.  Continental does have a special pet process though. 

    However, we flew on the Rotator out of BWI into Ramstein on Sept 9th and the cost for flying the two dogs (not the vet stuff) was about $500.  You can always request the Rotator.  You will just need to get to Heidleburg from there, but I suspect there is a shuttle, just like Spandahlem has one.

    As for housing, you are Army....the Air Force is actually PUSHING people out of base housing, as in the rule is now only 10% of the base population can live on base.  So I cannot answer that. 

    But I would push to live off base if you can.

    Finally, the job market.  It depends on what you want to do.  I know that to cover day care costs (I have a 2 year old),I have only seen 3 jobs with the salary large enough, in the past 2 years...and of those 3, I was only qualified for 2. 

    Between the low salaries, small number of jobs, our SOFA contract with Gemany (ie so many jobs MUST go to German Nationals), cost of /ability to find child care, it almost not worth it. 

    And while I miss working, I have used my free time well.  I take classes, do volunteer work (to keep me busy and my resume fresh) and I TRAVEL.  Monkey and I travel by ourselves or with other Moms.  Its been great.

    Enjoy your time here and take full advantage of it.  TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL.  Go off base and visit the local sights and eat local foods.  And have fun.

  • I didn't see your part about a job... some people have gotten really lucky and found work. However, I know most branches and overseas bases have resources for you to take classes to further your education because it is so hard to find work.
  • I just did an overseas PCS about 5 months ago.  It was stressful, but totally worth it!

    The only thing I can add to what has already been posted is to make sure that you have a sponsor, and stay in touch with that person regularly!   My sponsor and his wife made life SO much easier for me when I got here. 

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