Essential Documents for a Military Family’s PCS Move

Permanent Change of Station

A lot of military families may feel anxious about a move brought about by a Permanent Change of Station order. These longer-term assignments usually last from two to four years, allowing families enough time to settle and enjoy their new communities.

While relocations are usually stressful, they don’t need to be daunting. Each move can be a fresh start and a chance to make new friends. In addition, the Department of Defense offers allowances to help families recoup the cost of housing and moving.

In fact, the military provides a whole suite of services to make a PCS as orderly and as efficient as possible, even during a pandemic. Browse these resources for help:

One of the key things to focus on when moving to a new permanent station is to keep key documents with you at all times. These papers will reduce the stress of moving especially when you deal with the military moving service, enroll children in a new school, or look for a health provider to treat ongoing or recurring illnesses. The documents may even reduce your need for military relocation assistance.

Here’s how to get your papers in order:

  • Organize documents by categories into folders
  • Make sure to have both physical and digital copies of all of your essential papers
  • Don’t ship documents; carry them with you so they don’t get lost

Ideally, you should start organizing all your key documents three months before your move.This way, you can make a list of all the documents you’ll need, and avoid panicking at the last minute because your papers aren’t complete.

PCS orders

Make sure that you have the original set of orders with you. You’ll also want to have both physical and digital copies of your orders, in case you misplace your original set.

Keep the original set with you at all times and make more than one copy.


You’ll need identification for each member of the family, such as:

  • Passports
  • Original birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Original marriage certificate, if applicable
  • Naturalization certificates, if applicable

Medical and dental records

Keep the comprehensive medical and dental records of each family member on hand. This includes everyone’s immunization record. These are essential for employment as well as for registering your children in school. If you have prescriptions for important medication, you should have them in your possession as well.

School records

Make sure that you have easy access to each family member’s diplomas and transcripts, report cards, and grade sheets, especially if you have school-age children. You’ll need these documents to make it easy to register at a nearby school. If your child is being homeschooled or has an individualized education regimen, then also you’ll need to have your lesson plan with you.

Financial information 

Keep your state and federal income tax returns on hand. Don’t throw away your latest bank, credit, and debit card statements. Bring them with you, along with your personal checks. Make sure that you also have soft copies of all of your most recent financial statements. You’ll also need to bring the life insurance policies of each family member.


Before moving, make an inventory of everything in your house. This is important because you’ll want to ensure that you’ve brought everything that’s important. Keep your household inventory list on hand, as well as any titles or deeds to property that you own. If you have a mortgage, you should also bring the paperwork with you. If you household items are being shipped from one location to another, make sure that your storage and shipping documents are with you and secure.

Legal papers

Some of the legal documents include:

  • Wills
  • Active power of attorney
  • Adoption or custody papers
  • Annulment or divorce papers

Vehicular ownership

Bringing your beloved car or truck with you? Make sure to have your vehicle title, registration, and insurance. If you’re just leasing your vehicle then you’ll need to bring your vehicle’s lease information.

If you find the number of documents that you need to have on hand overwhelming, don’t hesitate to consult a military relocation professional who can guide you through the process. I am an experienced military relocation Realtor from Las Vegas. I’ve been helping military families successfully relocate since 2001. Call me today at 702.419.3212 or drop me a line at loralee(dotted)wood(at)cbvegas(dotted)com

As a full service residential Realtor, I service all of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Centennial Hills, Summerlin, and Henderson, NV.