Your EJSU posting

A families' guide to living in EJSU supported locations


The European Joint Support Unit (EJSU) HQ provides tri-Service support to 4,000 Service personnel and families, in over 110 locations across 26 countries in Europe. The main headquarters is based at SHAPE, which is in Mons, Belgium. EJSU has 16 National Support Elements (NSE) with locally based EJSU staff while the remaining units are supported centrally from EJSU HQ.

Covering such a diverse area, it is impossible to provide specific information for all EJSU supported locations, so the information below is a broad outline of areas for you to consider.

Most people would view the standard of living in Europe as equal to, if not better than, the UK; but AFF’s experience is that some of the locations may present challenges for some families.

Whilst the EJSU endeavours to match UK standards in healthcare, education, welfare and family support, there are some forms of support that are not possible to provide in certain locations.

As a CO of EJSU said: “It is best to come with an expeditionary mindset” to make the most of your assignment and time in Europe.

If you are at the stage of considering a family posting to EJSU, please do get in touch so AFF can provide you with the information and contacts you need to make an informed choice.

EJSU HQ has recently launched, an information gateway providing details on living in Europe and Turkey. Through the site families can access helpful guides to most locations.

Please check our COVID-19 section for up-to-date information, as the coronavirus outbreak may affect the advice given on this page.
See also our BREXIT – EU Transition page for up-to-date information.


01   Pre-screening

Once in receipt of your assignment order, you should be able to access a web link to the EJSU welcome pack. Not only does this provide key information on your posting, it also includes all the forms you will need to complete prior to booking your removals.

Families have a responsibility to declare their circumstances, medical and educational needs, that may require additional support, to ensure that these needs can be met in their assignment area prior to accepting their assignment.

Back to top

02   Passports

Check them today! You are responsible for ensuring that everyone in your family has a valid passport and in some cases a valid visa. Passports need to have at least six months left and be less than ten years old on the day of travel.

You can claim back the cost of your passport for all immediate family members where a renewal or initial application is necessary; your soldier’s Unit Admin Office (UAO) will guide you.

If someone in your family doesn’t have a British passport, you must ensure they have the right travel documentation for the country that you are posted to. Visit for all you need to know, or try the Foreign & Commonwealth section of the AFF website.

Back to top

03   Housing

In EJSU, all Service Family Accommodation (SFA) allocations are processed by DIO. You must complete an MOD e1132 (application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) at the earliest opportunity. This will enable DIO to assign suitable housing for you and your family. Please note:

  • DIO and the MOD do not own any houses within EJSU, all housing stock are private hirings and as such they are unlikely to have any excess stock. You are unlikely to get more than one choice of property and you have no automatic right to refuse the accommodation.
  • Depending on your posting, you are unlikely to be allocated a house on a traditional patch, you are more likely to be located within the local community, which gives excellent opportunities to learn the language and fully immerse yourself in a country’s culture.
  • The general housing stock within EJSU is of an excellent standard and usually modern.
  • Please be aware that although DIO can make some adaptions to houses, to suit an individual’s medical requirements, they cannot always do these if the works required would be extensive or if the landlord does not consent to the changes to be made to the property.
Back to top

04   Spousal employment

Now the UK has left the European Union, employment cannot be undertaken without a relevant host nation work permit. There are some opportunities to work as a dependant for EJSU but these are limited. Training and educational opportunities are also limited. So plan what you will do with your time.

Back to top

05   Primary education

Education provision varies across EJSU supported areas. In some locations, MOD schools are used. Where MOD schools are not available, international schools are used where possible. However, parents should be aware that some of the international schools offered will not be suitable for all children and there is no English speaking provision in some locations.

The only EJSU locations that have access to MOD schools are SHAPE, Brunssum, Naples and Ramstein.

Using a local school can bring other holistic benefits to a child; it exposes them to a different culture and community and gives them the opportunity to learn a different language at a young age.

Back to top

06   Secondary education

There are no MOD schools providing a secondary education in EJSU. Secondary education is covered by the use of international schools, where possible, which either provide the facilities for children to complete the International Baccalaureate or IGCSE’s. There can be quite a considerable amount of travel involved for children to get to these schools, and in many locations there is no access to a school bus, which will mean that you will be responsible for taking and collecting your child from school.

Back to top

07   Childcare

Childcare for children up to three years old is available through the local host nation provision or the American Child Development Centres (CDC) in the larger NATO bases. Please be aware that host nation childcare will differ from UK standards and will, more than likely, not be in English. The American provision, where available, is full time only and there is a priority waiting list dependant on the working status of both parents.

For 3 to 4-year-olds the provision varies across the EJSU locations, but in general, families should be able to access 15 hours of childcare per week for 38 weeks free of charge as per UK entitlement as well as the 30-hour provision if eligible. Both entitlements may be restricted by local provision in some EJSU locations.

Childcare for 3 to 4-year-olds will either be through MOD-provided settings or through access to the MOD Overseas Nursery Authority (ONA). The ONA allows parents of 3 to 4-year-olds to apply for reimbursement of nursery fees. More information can be found here.

Back to top

08   Medical & dental

Healthcare in EJSU is managed through Healix. In SHAPE, Naples and Brussels, UK military clinics provide primary care. In all other locations it is sourced from local providers using host nation public health services or the private sector. Secondary care is provided locally in all locations.

It is essential that all medical screening forms are completed for each family member as soon as possible prior to arrival to ensure that you are eligible for medical treatment. You will need to complete both MOD and Healix medical screening for all family members.

On leaving your current NHS GP Practice (if you are UK based) all families are required to register with the Central European Practice (based in SHAPE). This ensures that you are able to have medical oversight by the EJSU UK medical team if needed and a summary of your medical records are accessible during your posting.

Your UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will continue to be valid until its current expiry date. Thereafter you will be able to apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). (Please note a GHIC will only cover you in EU countries, they do not apply in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.)

EHIC and GHIC are issued free of charge – be wary of unofficial websites that may charge.

For more info, see Apply for your GHIC and

EHIC and GHIC do not replace travel insurance so make sure you have appropriate travel insurance with health cover for any pre-existing conditions before you travel. You can read advice on buying travel insurance with the right cover here.

All dental treatment is delivered through host nation provision (apart from at SHAPE and Brussels where this is a UK Dental Practice). Where there is a local NSE they will be able to advise and help with sourcing local provision. Your family will be entitled to standard NHS treatment but any treatment beyond this must have UK approval first. All boarding school children within EJSU (including SHAPE and Brussels) must be registered with a UK dentist as there is no entitlement for host nation dentistry during their holidays (apart from emergency treatment).

Back to top

09   Pets

Families planning on bringing pets with them to EJSU supported locations should be aware that they will need to comply with local law as well as UK regulations in taking their pets abroad and then back to the UK. The UK is now a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. This means that a current EU pet passport issued in GB is not valid for travel to the EU. You are advised to make yourself fully aware of the requirements. For more information see

Back to top

10   List of EJSU Locations

Belgium – Brussels, SHAPE

Bulgaria – Sofia

Estonia – Tallinn

France – 17 locations including Lille

Germany – 25 locations including Geilenkirchen, Goch, Mönchengladbach, Münster, Oberammergau, Ramstein, Ulm, Wesel

Greece – Thessaloniki

Italy – 12 locations including Milan, Naples, Poggio, Rome

Latvia – Riga

Lithuania – Vilnius

Netherlands – 8 locations including Brunssum

Norway – 4 locations including Stavanger

Poland – Bydgoszcz, Elblag, Szczecin

Portugal – 4 locations including Lisbon

Romania – Bucharest

Slovakia – Bratislava

Spain – 7 locations including Madrid, Torrejon

Turkey – Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir

Back to top

11   Alternative sources of information

Alternative sources of information for EJSU can be found either through the other Families Federations or the HIVE and iHIVE:

Families Federations:

Naval Families Federation
RAF Families Federation


On behalf of the chain of command Army HIVE delivers information, arrival packs and deployment packs to support the military community on a variety of topics. In some locations support is available face-to-face through a network of HIVE Information Centres and HIVE information support officers, as well as online through social media and and the local HIVE blogs:

SHAPE, Belgium
Brunssum, The Netherlands
Naples, Italy


The tri-service International HIVE (iHIVE) provides location-specific guides and information available to download from the iHIVE blog at

Back to top

What our families say about AFF

“AFF - just a thank you for all that you do!!”

“What an awesome organisation”

“Thank you so much Army Families Federation!”

Find out more
11,177enquiries received in 2020
10,000+followers on Facebook
32,687unique website views during May