Preparing to move
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You are responsible for ensuring that all passports are valid.
Everybody travelling must have a passport that is valid for at least the first six months of your posting. If you don’t, a new passport will be supplied for free from your soldier’s current unit.
If someone in your family doesn’t have a British passport, they may need a visa before they fly. Your soldier’s Regimental Administration Office (RAO) will guide you.
Visa requirements are very strict so start this process without delay.
Complete MOD F1132 (Application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) at the earliest opportunity to help the Housing Estate Manager (HEM) assign suitable housing to you; the form is available online (Army Intranet Forms) and from the unit administration/housing provider.
- Pets are not always permitted in hirings; check with the HEM prior to travel.
- Families with children of pre-school/ primary school age are best housed in Ralston due to the schooling and support facilities in the village.
All quarters and hirings come fully furnished. A full list can be found in this extract from the main BATUS pre-arrival guide.
On arrival at Calgary International airport, depending on the time of day, you may be booked into the Delta Hotel directly opposite the airport prior to your onward travel to BATUS.
Once at your SFA, you will be met by the HEM and their team who will deal with all aspects of your move-in and answer any questions you may have with the property. The Unit Welfare Officer or a representative from AFF will also call in and give you a detailed arrivals briefing as well as dropping off a few essential supplies. This is a great opportunity to ask all of your burning questions!
Children start school later in Canada than in the UK; this may affect when your child starts school depending on where in BATUS you live. The class your child will be placed in is determined by their age on the 28 February, not the 31 August.
To enrol your child in a Canadian school you need to complete the Education Information Pro-forma and return to the BATUS Education Officer as soon as possible. This will enable BATUS to establish whether suitable educational provision can be provided.
All children follow the Canadian curriculum; the following websites will give you more information:
There is no MOD Schools provision for children in BATUS; however, an MOD Schools teacher works in the school in Ralston village to ensure an appropriate curriculum is followed.
If your child is due to start school during your posting, or is currently aged between 4 and 6, then you will probably need to live in Ralston Village; you will be given priority for a quarter there unless you state otherwise. There is no formal education provided for children of this age in other areas.
Please Note: Education for children entering their GCSE years during a posting to BATUS is not provided in Canada, since all schools run a Canadian Curriculum.
If your child is of this age, it is strongly recommended that they remain in the UK in order that their educational requirements can be met.
To discuss boarding school options, contact our Education Specialist, Lucy Scott at email@example.com or contact the Children’s Education Authority Service (CEAS) 01980 618 244.
If your child has special educational needs, you may encounter issues in the local Canadian schools. Please contact the BATUS Visits and Education Officer on 001 403 544 4020, for more information. If your child is receiving support in the UK, they are better to remain in the UK to ensure that their educational support network continues. For more information, contact the Children’s Education Authority Service (CEAS) on 01980 618 244.
You will need a car in Canada as public transport is extremely limited.
On arrival in BATUS a welfare car will have been arranged for you for up to seven days until you buy your own car; the cost is about $15 per day.
Ensure that you have enough money available to purchase a car shortly after arrival in Canada; often, you can purchase one from other BATUS personnel that are posted.
Bringing your car to Canada
You may be able to bring your current car to Canada on the two maint sailings, generally in November and February, if space is available.
If you wish to do this, your soldier should speak to their respective Division (DTMOC) presenting their posting order as authority.
The UK/EU Driving Licence is valid in Canada for your soldier only. The rest of your family will have to exchange their UK Licence for an Albertan Licence within three months of arrival. For more information, see AFF's Guide to driving in Canada.
Once in BATUS, your family must report to the RAO with your passports and visas to apply for your Alberta Health Card(s), entitling you to free healthcare in Canada; it can take up to eight weeks to arrive and should be carried at all times.
The Alberta Health Care System is similar to the NHS but you must produce your card when seeking treatment. Most medical costs not covered by Alberta Health will be paid for by BATUS.
Families living in Ralston /Medicine Hat can be treated in the BATUS Medical Centre; however, if you are posted to Calgary or Cochrane you will need to register with a local clinic.
There is a small dental team in BATUS; the charges raised for civilians are the same as the NHS.
We strongly recommend you insure you belongings while they are in transit, in storage and in use in Canada.
Many UK household contents insurers won’t provide cover while your belongings are overseas so you may have to shop around.
Don’t forget travel insurance to cover your family during your move – you never know what could happen!
Want to bring your pet to Canada? Fill in the pet’s section (Annex B) of the MOD F1132 to inform BATUS of your needs. While a pet passport is not essential, it will make the return to the UK a lot simpler.
The import and export of pets between Canada and the UK/Europe is very expensive. As a general rule, the larger the animal the greater the cost will be.
You need to make your own arrangements for your pet’s transportation. Contact the airline you are flying with for a list of companies with kennels that they deal with.
Pets brought into Canada from Europe don’t need to undergo quarantine in Canada providing they have been vaccinated against rabies not less than 30 days and not more than one year before you move.
Please note: DO NOT bring pet food into Canada. You will be heavily fined by the authorities!
Get your dependant passes from the RMP Clerk in Camp Crowfoot telephone 403 544 4306 - make sure your soldier is with you. Children aged 16 and over should obtain a pass too. Opening times are as follows:
Mon to Thu 8am – 4pm
Fri 8am – 3pm
You are entitled to allowances such as Get You Home (Overseas) Allowance and Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) while in Canada. These allowances are designed to offset some of the extra costs of living abroad as a family.
LOA recognises the amount by which average day-to-day living costs in a particular overseas location differ from those in the UK and takes into account the differences in local lifestyle where appropriate. It isn't a financial incentive for overseas service or a second income supplement. LOA is calculated by comparing the costs of a wide range of goods and services with similar ones in the UK.
We don't publish details of the allowances available because they are renewed regularly and there is a danger of providing you with out of date information. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you with the most recent rates.
The LOA rates for Canada are scheduled to be updated in April 2015.