Your Germany posting

A families’ guide to living in Germany

Overview

If you’re posted to, or considering, a Germany posting you will find that there have been many changes since the Army drawdown in 2019 and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Hopefully, we can answer most of your questions on this page, but do get in touch at contact@aff.org.uk if you need more info. There’s also a handy overseas compatibility checklist you can download.

Most military personnel and their families are based in Sennelager but there are several detachment postings in Germany; information and family support may differ dependent upon your location and you may be covered by our EJSU Regional Lead.

See also our BREXIT – EU Transition page for up-to-date information.

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).

If someone in your family is not a British passport holder, you must ensure they have the right travel documentation for the country that you are posted to. Visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk for all you need to know, or try the Foreign & Commonwealth section of the our website.

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02   Travel to Germany

A Green Card is required for all vehicle insurance issued from the UK for use within the EU. You must register your vehicle with the Vehicle Licensing Office (VLO) within 45 days of arrival in Germany. Visit or apply through your National Support Element (NSE) at the earliest possible opportunity to apply.

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03   Spousal employment

NATO SOFA

Following AFF discussion with the Global Support Organisation, a new Force Information Note (03/2022) has been developed and is available from EJSU National Support Elements. Read our update posted on 15 June 2022.

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04   Schools

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

All parents need to obtain educational clearance for their children, aged 0 to 18, before proceeding with a move overseas. Educational clearance is provided by the receiving MOD school or by the UK Education Advisory Team (UK EAT) – formerly CEAS, dependent on the assignment location and the age of your children.

As the clearance process can take up to nine weeks, it is recommended that an early application is made to ensure that the needs of the child can be met in the new assignment location. See Education overseas for service children for further information on educational clearance.

Secondary school options in Germany are limited. There is no MOD secondary school or international schools within reasonable travelling distance of Sennelager. There are no suitable local boarding options and elective home education is not supported.

If you opt for a German senior school be aware that they do not follow a UK curriculum and ‘bi-lingual’ schools will expect pupils to be fluent in German.

Parents may contact the Overseas Education and Supportability (OES) Team via RC-DCS-HQ-OES@mod.gov.uk who can provide advice and guidance regarding educational options for Germany in ISODET locations.

See Defence Children Services (DCS) to find out more on MOD Schools.

Childcare

In Sennelager, Attenborough Early Years Nursery offers extended day care and wraparound childcare for 0 to 11-year-olds for 45 weeks of the year. This OFSTED-regulated, MOD-supported setting is located within Attenborough School, close to the housing areas, offering breakfast clubs, core sessions and after-school sessions until 5pm.

Parents of children aged three and four who are entitled to 15 or 30 hours’ free childcare in the UK are entitled to the same number of free hours at this setting.

For further information, to register or arrange a visit, call +49 5254 982 2779 or email attenboroughearlyyears@modschools.org

Alternatively, local German-registered childminders and nurseries in Sennelager offer year-round full and part-time childcare options. Whilst these tend to be cheaper, it is important to note that this option is at personal cost. Contact Germany HIVE or your NSE welfare for more information and support regarding German Kindergarten applications. You should apply as soon as possible as places can be limited.

Isolated detachments – in those locations in Germany where there is no MOD childcare setting you may be entitled to claim Overseas Nursery Authority against the costs of local host nation provision. The ONA allows parents of three to four-year-olds to apply for reimbursement of nursery fees. More information can be found at gov.uk/guidance/childcare-for-service-children.

Children aged 18-24

Dependants aged 18-24 or older, who are not in full-time education, are not recognised as ‘entitled dependents’ on accompanied overseas assignments. Families with dependent adult children should seek advice on their entitlement to accompany a serving person overseas and understand the potential limitations.

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05   Additional Needs

Do you or any family member have disabilities/additional needs? If yes, then you should discuss these needs with your assigning authority as early as possible to ensure that suitable support can be provided prior to your assignment being confirmed.

You will need to register a family member’s additional needs with APC according to AGAI 81, Part 8 – supportability and additional needs and complete the Annex L – Career Management Proforma, so that your family can be supported when assigned overseas. More information can also be found in JSP 770 Chapter 2A – Assessment of Supportability Prior to Overseas Assignment.

For more information on this process, see Military policy and support on our additional needs page.

Any families wishing to discuss medical issues in confidence prior to accepting an overseas assignment order may contact the Defence Global Practice on: UKStratCom-DMS-DPHC-DGP-Grp@mod.gov.uk

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06   Move-in / Move-out

Move in – a minimum of 8 weeks’ notice must be given to the Housing team for your move in.

Move out – a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice must be given to the Housing team for your move out. You must complete a form ToR1. Your shipping agent should be able to advise you.

On the day of your move-in you will be met by your Estate Manager (EM) at your SFA. The EM will run through the same process as a DIO Housing Officer would do on move-in in the UK.

Do not report any repairs on your 14 day report; you need to report these yourself through Babcock on 0800 888 4242. They will give you an appointment and a reference number – keep this until works are complete and satisfactory.

For more details on move-in and move-out, please see bfgnet.de/housing/

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07   Medical and dental

Primary healthcare in Germany is managed in Sennelager with DPHC and in other Germany locations through the Central European Practice or Healix. Secondary care is provided locally by host nation providers 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.

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 www.gov.uk/european-health-insurance-card

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 at gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-insurance

In Sennelager all dental treatment is delivered through the Dental Centre on camp and in other locations at German practices. Your family will be entitled to standard NHS treatment but any treatment beyond this must have UK approval first. All boarding school children must be registered with a UK dentist as there is no entitlement for host nation or Dental Centre treatment during their holidays (apart from emergencies).

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08   ID card

Make this your first priority after arriving in Germany!

Visit your receiving NSE as soon as possible to get a temporary Dependant ID card (temporary ID passes are issued by Welfare) and authority to apply for your permanent ID, SOFA Stamp and Ration Card (Unit Clerk or Welfare will give the email address and forms to apply for SOFA Stamps, Ration Cards and Permanent ID Passes for Dependants).

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

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09   Pets

From 1 January 2021 the UK has become 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 or NI.

For more information see gov.uk

You must also include the details on your housing application form and seek permission of the receiving unit to house pets within your SFA. If you are allocated a local hiring, you may not be allowed to keep pets. Bear this in mind when requesting SFA.

All dogs must be registered via your local NSE and you will require the following documents:

  • Your ID or passport
  • Your dog’s pet passport
  • Your pet insurance, which has personal liability valid for Germany (Haftpflichtversicherung)
  • You will need to provide the contact details of the vet at which you are registered

If your dog is over 20kg or over 40cm (shoulder height) they are classified as a large dog. This means that you will also need to obtain a General Knowledge Test Certificate from your local vet, which will cost approximately €45 (this may differ between vets).

In Sennelager, you can contact 05254 982 2669 or email SennelagerGSU-HQ-G1-CommSpAdmin@mod.gov.uk to make an appointment or if you have any questions. In other areas of Germany, please contact your local NSE.

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

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. See gov.uk/take-pet-abroad for further information.

For more information call The Community Support clerk on 0049 5254 982 2669.

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10   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 Germany.

Kindergeld

There is no further entitlement for new Kindergeld claims for families assigned to Germany.

Please see Kindergeld on our Brexit-EU transition page for all the latest information.

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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 Assignment Order, you can start planning your move. For more details, please see bfgnet.de/housing/. Remember you will need to complete a form ToR1. Your shipping agent should be able to advise you.

Getting your family back to the UK

Documentation/UK entry requirements

Everyone travelling must have a valid passport with at least six months remaining to present at both exit and entry airports/ports.

Ensure that you have the correct documentation required for travel, not only for entry into the UK but also for transiting countries en-route to your final destination. Please seek advice from your unit or NSE welfare.

Information for EU nationals

See EU Nationals – Army Families Federation

Visa requirements for non-EEA citizens

Please visit the Foreign & Commonwealth section for all information.

Getting UK job-ready

Start looking for work at Forces Families Jobs.

If you are employed through the GEO LEC (Germany Enabling Office Locally Employed Civilians) HR department, please contact them as soon as you know you will be leaving. They will offer advice and contact details for obtaining future references.

See bfgnet.de/employment/lec-support/posted-to-the-uk for further advice on what you need to do on posting.

Checklist

You will need to:

  • Check whether your current contents insurance covers your belongings whilst in transit.
  • Complete your ToR1
  • De-register your vehicle & arrange UK registration
  • Cancel any German contracts AT LEAST three to 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.
  • Don’t forget to check what documentation any pets need for travel

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

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12   Alternative sources of information

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

Families Federations:

Naval Families Federation
RAF Families Federation

HIVE

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 https://www.facebook.com/ArmyHIVE and www.twitter.com/ArmyHIVEinfo and the local HIVE blog at sennelagerhivegermany.blogspot.com

iHIVE

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

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