CONUS Hire Civilian PCS Orders

15 posts in this topic

Posted

Greetings!

I have been monitoring this Board for several months and found much useful information.

I am currently located in CONUS, have been offered a "tentative" offer for a GS position in Stuttgart (Kelley Bks), and have completed all the laborious paperwork that follows. The CPAC rep tells me by email that the next step is that she will issue a "final" offer that will include some additional paperwork and a Request for Orders (RFO). My understanding is that I then have to complete this next round of paperwork, including some data on the RFO, and return to the Stuttgart CPAC.

My question: how long will it take from the return of the RFO to CPAC to get PCS Travel Orders published an returned to me?

I am trying desperately to get POV shipped as early as possible, ideally before I depart on a long-planned leave on 29 August.

Another factor: our leave is in Germany, so we plan to use part of it as a house-hunting trip. Ideally, we would have orders in-hand when we arrive on leave to search for housing in Stuttgart in order to facilitate access to the Housing Office list and official review of any housing lease for a property we might find on our own.

Can anyone offer a reasonable idea of how quickly I can expect a turn on the Orders? Is it out of the question to hope for them by Friday, 24 August?

Anyone with similar civilian PCS orders experience, I welcome your thoughts.

Seeker

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Posted

Hi Seeker336, welcome to TT and to Stuttgart.

Could be a 1 week to 4 weeks it just depends on who is processing, staffing in the office and who is pushing to get your position filled. Expect a POV to take about 45-days to ship from the east coast [your time will vary by several weeks based on with your location port availability (you might get it faster, you might not...). Housing hunting here (and 'in high season' no less) can take a while (occasionally someone 'falls' into something but for most it ranges from several weeks to several months, once again, your time will vary dependent on your requirements and luck (yard none/small/large), location & commute (none/short/long-haul).

As a DOD civ, support from the housing office is not unrestricted. The office is made up of GS and contractors, the GS in process you into their system and do lease review, etc… The contractors who arrange for visitation see military first and DOD civ on space available. It is HIGHLY suggestion you arrive, go through newcomer in-processing BEFORE you rent a house (it’s a week long course for the sponsor and spouse). The Legal office also recommends that you go through inproc first (leases are first and foremost German contracts after all). Prior to moving into your house you should be authorized TQSA (lodging costs) and per diem (food) for 90-days (pretty standard). Since you are a US hire this is almost 100% certain (your job advert should have noted it (i.e. relocation costs; your orders will confirm it.

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Posted

My original post was in mid-August. Let me offer follow-up now at the beginning of November:

We did NOT receive orders prior to our departure on German vacation on 29 August. However, we stepped out in faith and spent a week in Stuttgart house-hunting. I did endless research on immobilien-scout. As of the week prior to our departure, I identified about three dozen houses that we thought might work for us and sent emails to each agent requesting an opportunity to view the property. About 10-12 actually responded; I suspect the others already had leases pending on the properties or were on vacation (urlaub). [i later learned that was true for 4-5 properties.]

As responses came in, I corresponded with the agent to set up appointments (I had a rental car and a GPS). We generally limited ourselves to about 4 appointments per day, allowing 30-45 minutes to examine a property and an hour or two to get to the next one. I had printed out the internet linting for each property and used that to take notes.

In three days (a Friday, Saturday, and a Monday) we saw about 10 properties and narrowed down to two. After consideration, we made an appointment to see one a second time and measure rooms. the agent representing that property had a copy of the correct German/English lease contract from the Housing Office and filled it out completely and accurately. Everything completely by the book. We were able to settle on a place in advance of arriving and returned to the States with measurements in hand to draw out furniture placements and have a better idea what to ship and what to store.

By the way, two days before leaving Germany to return to the States, I received my orders via email.

Upon return, my first action was to ship POV from st. Louis on 17 Sep. As of today (2 Nov) it has arrived in Bremerhaven and should be placed on a truck this weekend. The required delivery date is this Tuesday (6 NOV).

We had Unaccompanied Baggage picked up on 25 Sep; it was delivered to our German house on 26 Oct. We had HHG packed and picked up on 25/26 Sep; the required delivery date is 23 NOV, but we know all crates will arrive by 4 NOV and transportation says we could get delivery the week of 12 Nov.

Meanwhile, we arrived in Stuttgart for PCS on 7 Oct. Since the 8th was a holiday, we had to wait until the 9th to get ID cards made. Once we had ID cards, we could open local accounts at the Community Bank. I carried cash to open the accounts to preclude having a hold on funds; we were able to pay first month rent and security deposit by the end of the week and get the keys to the house. We stayed in the hotel through the weekend only because we had to wait until Monday, 15 Oct to get loaner bed, table, chairs, sofa from Furnishings office. We also got a set of loaner kitchen things from ACS.

The agent was great to work with. Yes, we had to pay two months basic rent (kalt miete) as Commission, but she happily accepted the VAT form, so we avoided the 19% value added tax.

Regarding transportation, we sold a car before leaving US, so we brought that money with us to get a "second car." Within the first week, we found a 2009 Renault Twingo (Google it) for under 4000 Euro. We had been studying the driver manual on line and watched the videos, so we had our licenses before the end of the first week and were able to register the used car before we had been in country a week. Turned in rental car 6 days after arrival.

Now I must admit this is not our first time in Germany! Three previous tours, including two in the Stuttgart area, but all were well over 20 years ago and all while in uniform. First time as a civilian and first time out on the economy. But, the moral of the story is that this is not an impossible task, by any means. People do look at me crazily when I tell them we have been here four weeks and in our house for three of them. I go to the in-processing classes and find I have already gone to to all those offices and made all those arrangements. Can't imagine how people get caught up in hotels for 60-90 days and can't seem to find a place to live.

Sorry this is rather lengthy. Hope our experience is useful and encouraging to others. Glad to be here and excited about the next 3-5 years!

Tschuss!!

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Posted

Thanks for updating this thread - glad to hear that things worked out so well for you! Of course, reading through what you did to prepare beforehand, I think you're unusually organized and goal-oriented, and that paid off in spades. And yes, your previous experience in Germany, even though it was quite a while ago, certainly also helped, you've got to remember that for many who struggle to adapt the flood of new, unknown and even strange (compared to home) can be overwhelming.

Meanwhile, we arrived in Stuttgart for PCS on 7 Oct. Since the 8th was a holiday, we had to wait until the 9th to get ID cards made.

Just curious about this, as I've never heard of a holiday on October 8 - or is it a US holiday?

EDIT: Ah right, Columbus Day. Gotcha. ;)

All the best for your time here!

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Posted

Hi Seeker,

I recieved a "tentative" offer for a GS position in Stuttgart today a bit out of the Blue (boy was I suprised!).

I've made CONUS PCS moves, but all my overseas stuff was with the Navy 30 years ago.

Do you mind if I send you a Priviate Message (PM) with some questions?

Repectfully,

-N8

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Posted

Congrats N8! Hope it all goes smoothly and make it official soon.

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Posted

It's been a whirlwind; I applied on a bit of a whim a month ago, got a call last Fri for a Mon interview (they said they had 200+ applicants to screen), phone interview this past Mon (I thought it went ok, but not super great -so I wasn't expecting anything further), and a tentative offer shows up in my email on Wed.

I feel a bit overwhelmed to say the least. I have A LOT to learn in a short amount of time and I've been scouring thru this forum and learned many things I didn't know I didn't know...

:blink:

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Posted

I wouldn't worry too much about it, you'll find out the rest of what you don't know when you get here...

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Posted

Thx! I'm sure about that! :D

Right now I have a lot of logistics questions about OCONUS moves, COLA/LQA, what to put in storage, what to ship, what to do with my US residence, return rights (I'll be transferring to a different agency but same Fed Dept)...

I have a call scheduled with the personnel officer this morning, so I'm sure many questions will be answered.

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Posted

TT has lots of info on what to (not) bring, etc...; just use the 'search' box. There are lots of threads with tons of answers to questions that people before have asked. If you have any specific questions that you don't see answered in any other threads just ask as in this one.

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Posted

"Sorry to reserect an old thread, but I am a GS12 who's been offered a GS13 position in Stuttgart.

After working thru the base pay issue (going from locality pay to no locality pay), think I've figured out how to calculated Post Allowance (COLA) - but I'm not 100% sure. So I'll submit my figures for your review and commentary:

LQA - $47,900/yr based on a GS13 with family

COLA - $8700/yr ($315/pay period)

Does this sound right? "

------------------------------

Yes, A GS-13 falls into Group 3.

Per DoS, LQA for Group 3 for Stuttgart is: a maximum of $47.9K (without family).

Remember they don't actually pay you that amount, your bills (rent, trash, heat, elec, etc...) just cannot exceed that amount.

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Posted

COLA (actual it's PA or Post Allowance) for a GS-13 in Stuttgart it is 25%. Using the PA calculator your figure appears to be correct. Remember these amounts are not fixed, they vary with the USD/€ rate.

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Posted

Thanks, yes I understand it's a reimbursement. I'm looking at this as an opportunity to do some interesting work in Europe and do some traveling, not as a money making venture. It's a break-even proposition for me.

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Posted

To N8! --

Sent you a PM. No problem with sending questions back that way. Will be happy to share any and all my experience with you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Seeker

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Posted

Roger that, thx.

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