PCS Out 2020: Here’s what you need to do when you PCS

A German child renders a salute to U.S. service members marching to the Soldiers’ Fest at the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart. Photo by Bardia Khajenoori, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

By Central Processing Facility
USAG Stuttgart

All uniformed personnel in the ranks of E-1 through O-6 and civilians, including hires who are not their own sponsor, must clear the Stuttgart military community through the Central Processing Facility, or CPF, prior to departing. This includes Reservists coming off of activations of more than 179 days.

To begin out-processing, you need to complete an out-processing questionnaire and ensure that it is receives the CPF stamp before making your appointment with Transportation. To make appointments with Transportation, Housing, or SATO to schedule flights, you don’t need an Installation Clearance Record. However, orders are required. Housing, Transportation, and Vehicle Registration will sign your Installation Clearance Record, or ICR, after you finish clearing with them.​

The out-processing questionnaire
An out-processing questionnaire is mandatory and must be turned in to CPF in person or via email, preferably at least 30 days prior to leaving, at the CPF front desk, through email, or at the optional briefing described below. To receive your ICR, all service members must submit a copy of their orders and must submit a DA Form 31 leave form not later than their final out appointment date.

Everything is backwards planned from your date of departure. Personnel must be as precise as possible when filling out the questionnaire. If you are retiring or separating from service and taking transition leave, you need to provide the date when you begin transition leave. For those taking that option, you must complete out-processing before beginning transition leave. Note, you’ll have no more logistical support here once transition leave begins. If you plan on separating or retiring while in Stuttgart and wish to take leave, plus hang on to your vehicle, Esso fuel card and household goods, you can take leave first and then continue your out-processing during your final two weeks.

Out-processing briefings
The mandatory out-processing briefing can be done in a couple of ways. For most, reading the online out-processing briefing is an easy way to check that block. Visit the garrison’s official USAG Stuttgart webpage.

Classroom briefings
Out-processing briefings are offered to all out-processing uniformed and civilian personnel, including those separating, retiring, or PCSing. They are currently scheduled on the first Wednesday of each month from 8:15 a.m.to noon at CPF. Space is limited. Registering for this brief can be done online. These briefings are designed to provide basic information 45-120 days before departure. They include services provided and contact information from relevant agencies such as Transportation, Customs, Tricare, Vehicle Registration, Housing, VAT/ UTAP, the Exceptional Family Member Program, and legal. These briefings are quick, usually 5-10 minutes each, and generally don’t include time for question and answer sessions. If you have a specific situation or question for any agency please contact them directly.

The pre-clear period
Once your questionnaire is received, CPF will automatically include you on an electronic pre-clear roster. Three weeks before your departure date, some agencies such as Outdoor Recreation, the Patch Library and Central Issuance Facility, will be able to check the names on that week’s roster in their computer systems and can pre-clear you if there’s no reason for you to physically visit them. If an agency pre-clears you, then that agency will already have a preprinted name on your ICR. If you haven’t been pre-cleared, you’ll have to go to that agency to resolve any outstanding issues and get a signature from them on your ICR.

Take the out-processing questionnaire

Questionnaires are available online.

For those people who submit their questionnaire less than three weeks before their departure date, pre-clearance is no longer an option, and your ICR will include all necessary organizations and agencies from which you are ​required to clear in person. If you submit your questionnaire less than five days before departing, you’ll also need a memorandum from your noncommissioned officer or officer in charge, detailing by name the individual who will be responsible for finishing your installation clearance, if necessary.

Civilian clearing papers do not include a pre-clear period. The supervisor of the civilian will have the discretion to sign-off on many of the stations if their employee hasn’t had any dealings with them. The supervisor will be the last signatory and will collect the employee’s ID card if the employee is terminating service. A copy of the completed civilian clearance papers must then be provided to CPF.​

Installation clearance record and clearing
After your pre-clear week, the CPF will generate your individualized ICR tailored to each service member’s situation. There is no standard ICR! For instance, a Marine who is PCSing from U.S. Africa Command will have a very different set of clearing stations than a Soldier retiring from U.S. European Command. Two weeks prior to your departure, the CPF will email your ICR directly to the email address on your questionnaire, so be sure to provide at least one email address that you will have access to throughout your departure date. Personnel have 10 working days to clear using their individualized ICR. Service members should wear their duty uniform while clearing. ​

Unit clearing
If you are assigned to EUCOM, SOCEUR, or USAG Stuttgart, your unit requirements will be included on your individualized ICR. All other personnel must obtain a unit or agency specific clearance sheet from their administrative office.

In some instances, these other unit lists may overlap with the ICR, so it is best to obtain both lists before you start clearing so that you can get them both signed off  at the same time. You must obtain a signature from each agency on your ICR that has not pre-cleared you. Marking these “not applicable” or signing-off yourself will result in a failure to clear that is reported to your unit. Your unit commander or supervisor would then be responsible to assign someone to finish clearing for you. The worst case scenario is that you may be required to return to Stuttgart at your own expense to complete clearing.​

The Final Out
Your final out appointment to turn in your completed ICR that includes your commander’s or supervisor’s signature to the CPF will be set two working days prior to your departure. You’re required to come to the CPF office in-person to turn in your ICR. If you receive an amendment or cancellation of orders, please advise CPF of your new departure date.

Your ICR expires 30 days from issuance. Therefore, if you are delayed by more than two weeks after your original date of departure, you will need to submit another questionnaire to begin the process over again.​

How to reach the CPF
To get your journey started, go to the CPF page. There are three ways to contact CPF. The first is by visiting Bldg. 2913 on Panzer Kaserne; the second is to call 596-2803/2599 or 09641-70-596-2803/-2599, and third, send an email.