Your Germany posting

A families’ guide to living in Germany

Contents

01   Passports

Do you have a valid passport?

Leave plenty of time for your passport to be processed before you travel; at least eight weeks if applying by post.

Don’t have this long before travelling? Consider visiting the Passport Office in person to purchase your passport.

You can claim back the cost of your passport for all immediate family members where renewal or initial application is necessary.

Claim this in advance to avoid putting yourself out of pocket, but remember to keep all receipts as these will be checked by your Regimental Admin Officer (RAO).

02   Your Germany SFA

See your current Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) for help with correctly completing and authorising a hardcopy of the MOD Form 1132 as the e1132 system in the UK does not apply to BFG at the moment.

Be sure to send your form to the Housing Office within 14 days of receiving your posting order.

In the same time frame you should let the HASC know that you are moving out of your current SFA; although it is no longer standard practice to receive a pre-move visit, you can request one if you feel it necessary.

The Housing Office should allocate your new SFA within 15 working days of receipt of your application and you will receive a letter detailing the offer of an address and move in date.

Things to consider before you move:

  • Booking removals
  • How long you will remain in the UK to handover your current SFA
  • Whether you will use the pre-paid cleaning service
  • How you will travel to BFG
  • It can take as long as seven days for removals to reach BFG

Remember that you are entitled to stay in a hotel, all expenses paid, for a maximum of four nights during this time. Speak to your UWO for more information and details of current subsistence allowances.

03   Move-in

In BFG the SFA is managed by the Senior Estates Manager, who will be a serving WO1, and a team of Housing Estate Managers (HEM).

You will be met by your HEM at your SFA. He/she will run through the same process as a DIO Housing Officer would do on move-in in the UK.

Don’t forget that in Germany, although the 14 day report will generate maintenance appointments, you are also advised to report them to Babcock (maintenance company) yourself.

04   Schools

Give schools as much notice as possible on posting so that they can make arrangements to obtain your child’s records.

Click here to find out more on MOD Schools.

Childcare

There are a number of British run nurseries on or near camps. There are also registered childminders and local German nurseries.

As long as you are posted to BFG, if your child qualifies for 15 hours free nursery placement in the UK the same rule applies and if, because you work, you qualify for the 30 hours free childcare this is also offered by the settings.

05   Additional Needs

If anyone in your family has a disability and/or additional need, you will need to register according to AGAI 108 so that your family is supported, both by housing and the medical centre.

For more information on AGAI 108, click here.

06   Cars

You will be required to complete a BFG Matrix Test in order to BFG register your car. This can be done in advance online via BFGnet.de – remember to print out your pass certificate.

The test covers driving in Germany and to a lesser degree driving in Belgium, Holland and France. The BFG matrix test is generic to all units in Germany.

The Aral Fuel Card allows entitled personnel to purchase tax free fuel.

You must BFG register your vehicle within 45 days of arrival in Germany. Visit your BFG Office at the earliest possible opportunity to apply.

Go to the BFGnet Vehicle Registration webpage for all you need to know.

07   Travel to BFG

Your RAO can advise you on what travel expenses you can claim.

You must have winter tyres fitted before travelling through Germany in winter and have headlights fitted to your car that are adaptable to left hand driving conditions; if not, you may be required to change the headlights in order to obtain BFG registration for the vehicle.

If you’ve never driven in Europe before, it is worth paying a visit to your Military Transport WO for advice on the European Driving Theory Test; although not essential you will find this knowledge useful when travelling through the continent.

If travelling in winter, consider what provisions you may need if you get stranded in extreme weather; it can snow in Europe like you’ve never seen – consider temperatures as cold as -20°C.

08   Medical and dental

You can apply for a free European Health Insurance Card for each of your family members. This allows you to access health care within the remit of NHS care in Europe if, for whatever reason, you cannot attend a military health care facility.

You are entitled to use the local medical centre on camp for both medical and dental care; you will pay for prescriptions and dental treatment as per the UK or be exempt if you were exempt in the UK.

Please remember that any family or friends who visit you will NOT be entitled to use these facilities.

09   Insurance

You will need to consider what your current home insurance covers in terms of removals; is it suitable for your move to Germany, including while your things are in transit?

You will also need to consider travel insurance for you and your family for the journey to your new unit.

The cost of these elements is covered by your disturbance expense. You can claim in advance for disturbance expense, approach your RAO for guidance.

10   Pets

Want to bring your pet to Germany? You must include the details on your housing application form and seek permission from the Housing Community Support Officer (HCSO) of the receiving unit to house large pets (cats and dogs) within your SFA.

There is no requirement for your pet to have a passport to enter Germany but, should you wish to obtain one, you are advised to start the procedure in the UK as it can be more expensive in Germany.

Check what vaccinations are relevant to the date that you are moving as regulations change regularly.

If you are allocated a local hiring, you may not be allowed to keep pets. Bear this in mind when requesting SFA.

Once you have made contact with your receiving unit’s HCSO, you will be given guidance on current German Law regarding keeping pets and in respect of certain breeds that are banned in Germany; all dogs are required to be registered with the HCSO within two days of your arrival.

There is no quarantine required for pets entering Germany but it’s important to familiarise yourself with the requirements for your pet to return to the UK at the end of your posting. Click here for further information.

Pick up a ‘Pets Guide’ from the HIVE. This gives pet-owners all the information they will need to know relating to keeping a pet in Germany.

11   ID card

Make this your first priority after arriving in Germany!

Visit your receiving UWO as soon as possible to get a temporary Dependant ID card and authority to apply for your permanent ID and Ration Card.

You will need an ID card to access the barracks and the many BFG dependants’ benefits available to you.

12   Allowances

We can’t publish details of the allowances available because they are reviewed fairly often and we don’t want to provide you with out-of-date information.

Please contact us at rmgermany@aff.org.uk and we will get back to you with the most recent details.

13   Self-employed and working overseas?

AFF has received a number of queries from spouses posted overseas who want to continue running their own business from a BFPO address, but are concerned about tax and National Insurance.

This is a very complicated area; however, we have done a lot of research with the University of Wolverhampton and HMRC and the answer is actually surprisingly straightforward.

A simple solution

If you’re posted within the European Economic Area (EEA) and are registered as self-employed, it should just be as simple as calling HMRC on 0191 2037010 or 0300 55 5734, and changing your address (probably to your BFPO address). This will enable you to continue paying tax and Class 2 NI as per normal.

AFF is also working on this issue for spouses posted outside of the EEA and will let you know the outcome as soon as we find it.

You tell AFF

“I am a self-employed teacher and work from home online. We are off to Belgium and I want to continue teaching online but am unsure of how to go about declaring my income for tax. Do I need to register with a tax office locally?

“I make soft furnishings for a couple of design studios in the UK and they have indicated that are happy to courier work out to Germany for me to then send back to them. Would I have to pay German or UK tax?

We are very interested to hear your stories about running a business from an overseas posting, to share your experiences, contact AFF at etam@aff.org.uk.

14   Leaving Germany

Removals

Your soldier will receive a Posting Order outlining the process of moving through DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation). Once this is received, you can then apply for  Service Family Accommodation (SFA) using the online e-1132 form, found on the Defence Intranet. Book your removals online through Agility Logistics.

Moving out

On receipt of your Posting Order, you can start planning your move.

You will need to get a pre-move out inspection booked with the Housing department, and can either opt to have your SFA cleaned for a charge, or you can clean it yourself.

Checklist

You will need to:

  • De-register your BFG vehicle
  • Cancel any German contracts preferably three months in advance of leaving
  • Cancel your Kindergeld benefit
  • Close any German bank accounts.

Your local HIVE produces up-to-date guides detailing all of the above and more.

Rebasing

Click here to see the rebasing FAQs

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