Your Germany posting

A families’ guide to living in Germany

Rebasing? Click here to see the rebasing FAQs

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   Travel to BFG

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.

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

You must have winter tyres fitted before travelling through Germany in winter (October through to end of March) 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.

You are advised to complete a European Highway Code test (not required to BFG your vehicle). 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.

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.

Car insurance

You will need to phone your current insurer to make them aware of your move to Germany, this may incur an extra cost which is covered by your disturbance allowance. You may also have to change insurance companies as they may not insure for overseas postings.

03   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.

04   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.

05   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.

06   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. Please note, after BREXIT the EHIC card may not be valid, you will then need to source your own personal travel insurance, especially when travelling outside of Germany.

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.

07   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.

08   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.

09   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.

Your RAO or JPA account will give you an up to date version of current rates for allowances in BFG.

10   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.

11   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:

  • Check whether your current contents insurance covers your belongings whilst in transit.
  • De-register your BFG vehicle.
  • Cancel any German contracts AT LEAST three-six months in advance of leaving. A generic letter is available from all UWOs and HIVEs to assist.
  • 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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