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Returning From Overseas

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If you require Service Family Accommodation (SFA) apply to the relevant Housing authority. Remember to notify your current supplier that you will be moving and arrange handover dates. See our moving housing information.

Transit Accommodation

You may have to arrange accommodation during your travel to your new posting. The HIVE at your new area may be able to give you information on accommodation in their area. If you need temporary accommodation for a longer period the Cotswold Centre in Wiltshire provides self-contained family accommodation for families of all three services, details are available from units.


All family members should be in possession of a valid passport. Check the validity of your passports and see your Unit admin or personnel management branch if in doubt.

Children’s Education

If your child is changing school from a Service Children’s Education (SCE) school to a UK school or another SCE school, it is your responsibility as the parent or guardian to collect the school transfer folder and to deliver it to the child's new school in the UK. The folder will contain information for you on your child's progress and achievements, and also information for your child's new teacher. The collection and delivery of this information should usually involve a meeting with your child's teacher or Head teacher so make an appointment in advance of your leaving date.

Finding a new school for your child back in the UK can be started whilst you are still abroad, visit our education pages for useful information and contact numbers on all the devolved regions including curriculum and admissions policies. Many Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and schools themselves have websites. If you need more help, or your child has special needs, contact the CEAS Helpline Tel 01980 618244.


If you will be needing childcare visit the childcarelink website for information on provision in Scotland, England and Wales. For Northern Ireland you will need to contact the appropriate local Health and Social Service Community Trust.


Apply for Disturbance Allowance & other claims if you haven't already. Contact your unit personnel/allowances staff for applications and your entitlement. Disturbance allowance is payable 28 days in advance of posting and rates vary according to your circumstances. Check with the appropriate Service what you are entitled to.


If you are planning on bringing pets back with you, check the details on quarantine regulations and the Pet Passport scheme at the DEFRA website. The DEFRA leaflet “The Pet Travel Scheme” is available at your HIVE or via this link. DEFRA will also be able to give you advise on any Plants you may wish to bring back.

Importing Your Car and Other Vehicles

If you are leaving Germany, you must contact your licensing office at least 28 days before you leave to obtain details of importing your car and de-registering your vehicle. Full details are in SO BA(G) 3213 / RAF SA 1No5 . You can get further advice from your unit registration officer. The BFG VLO Helpline will also be able to offer advise on importing cars from other countries

It is important to follow the correct procedures to avoid a bill for UK VAT on the vehicle. You must also register your vehicle promptly after arriving in the UK - there is no period of grace. Remember to organise your car insurance for the journey and for return to the UK. For more information look at the HM Revenue and Customs website or the DVLA website.


If you want to claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) it is important you follow certain guidelines to maximise your claim. These can be found on our JSA page. Remember to notify the Jobcentre as soon as you return as any benefit will be calculated from the date of your visit to the Job Centre.


Notify dental/medical centres of your departure and collect any documents you may need for yourself and your family. Once you return to the UK you will need to register family members with a GP and Dentist. If you or members of your family have any special needs contact the Local authority to arrange any services you may require on your return.


Close any Overseas Bank Accounts and notify Benefits agencies of your impending return. If you are currently claiming benefits, or thinking of applying, visit our benefits section for more information or contact the Department for Work and Pensions to notify them of your change of address.

The 'Get You Back Pack'

There is an excellent pack available which you can download for free here - it a .pdf file.

Back to the Families' Advice Portal