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Summer is almost upon us, which means PCS season is about to be in full swing. The excitement and stress of moving to a new duty station are enough to make even the most seasoned service member forget what needs to happen after they in-process. Here are the most important things you’re probably forgetting to do (and should definitely do) post PCS.

Register to vote. According to the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), around 3/4 of 1.4 million active duty service members are eligible to vote via absentee ballots. However, only about 69% of all service members are registered to vote. Registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot is the easiest way to ensure you and any voting-age dependents are able to vote. The process is fairly simple, and you can update your registration to let your election office know your address after every move and every year. First, you’ll fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) using FVAP’s online assistant. Then, you print it, sign it and send your form into your local election office by FVAP’s recommended deadline of August 1. FVAP has a helpful search tool to look up your county’s election office address. Depending on your state, you may be able to mail, fax or email your FPCA to your election office. You can reference the online Voting Assistance Guide for a complete list of state-specific absentee voting regulations and deadlines. Once you submit the FPCA, you should receive your blank ballot about 45 days before midterm elections. Vote, sign and send it back as soon as it arrives!

Change your address, officially. Take it from me – I had an electricity bill go to collections during deployment because I neglected to provide a forwarding address with the Post Office after vacating an apartment. It’s important to make sure you fill out a change of address form with USPS when you move. You can do it online or in person, and it only takes a few minutes. USPS recommends applying for mail forwarding about two weeks prior to your move and allowing 7-10 days for your mail to begin arriving at your new address.

Change your address everywhere else. Here are some often forgotten places you’ll need to change your address:

  • Vehicle insurance
  • Credit cards and banking
  • Meal, grocery, and app-based food delivery services
  • Mail based subscriptions (magazines, monthly membership boxes etc.)
  • Online subscriptions (billing address for paid apps, music platforms etc.)
  • Voter registration

Make necessary cancellations. To avoid paying for services you’ll no longer need after your move, you’ll want to do a quick tally of local memberships, services, and utilities that you’re currently subscribed to. Here are a few things you may need to cancel or put on hold before moving:

  • Gym membership
  • Utilities (water, electricity, gas)
  • Trash or recycling services
  • Big box store memberships
  • Cell phone plan (if moving overseas)
  • Tanning or massage membership programs
  • Meal kit delivery services

Consider updating your vehicle registration and driver’s license. Each state has different regulations regarding vehicle registration for military members and their families who PCS to a given state or choose to maintain a state as their home of record. Generally speaking, most states do not require service members on PCS orders to update vehicle registration to reflect their new duty station state. However, if you plan on establishing residency in a new state you should update your registration and license within 30 days. No matter what you choose, make sure you keep your registration and license up to date. Most states have options for online renewal for out of state residents. Check with your state’s licensing office for their particular laws and regulations.

That’s It! PCSing isn’t always a breeze, but paying attention to the little details can pay dividends in reducing your stress. 

This article was sponsored by Federal Voting Assistance Program.

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