CONTRIBUTED BY SIBO LUNGU
“Well, that was easy.” Those are definitely not the words I expected to say once this was all done. Granted, the medical clearance was just for me (no kids or pets), and I am in good health so that is probably why it turned out to be a fairly simple process. As for many first time PCSers like me, knowing where to begin can be hard, particularly as NCSP, so I hope this post helps give you a general idea of how the process of obtaining the medical clearance for a PCS from Osan AFB to another OCONUS location goes.
I started with this first since I figured it would take the longest time because I had never used a military facility before and wouldn’t have a medical file with them.
I called to set my appointment at the Osan AB clinic and specifically said it was for my “dependent PCS overseas medical clearance”. They didn’t ask me to bring anything with me so I just showed up. It turns out I needed to fill in and bring the AF Form 1466 that you can get from the Tri-Care window. They were kind enough to print it out for me and so I quickly filled in my part before proceeding to my appointment.
The medical check-up was very quick. They did the regular assessments (height, weight, blood pressure), asked me a few questions about my health history, and that was it. The doctor said he would complete the AF Form 1466 form that I left with him, and call me when it was ready.
About two weeks later, the form was completed by the doctor. My husband picked it up and I started the dental clearance process which took less than five minutes. You can actually do both medical and dental concurrently, but I had ongoing dental treatment at the time that I needed to be deemed a success.
If the medical clearance was easy, then I am not sure what to call this 3-minute stop I made at my off-base dentist to ask him to sign the AF Form 1466D (dental clearance form). I didn’t need an appointment. I just walked in, the receptionist called him to the front, he signed the form and I was out the door. It took me longer to walk up the stairs to his office!
The form has four categories that you can be rated for, ranging from good oral health (no issues), to current ongoing treatment (orthodontics included). I got a two. I have heard that a three and four can be a problem if the receiving base doesn’t have a big dental department. I think the best thing to do is to get all big issues taken care of before trying to get the dental clearance.
I submitted the completed medical clearance form, the completed dental clearance form, and a couple of other medical forms to the Tricare desk. You can get a printed checklist of the forms you will need from Tricare window and print them at home. Just ask for the Family Member Relocation Clearance Checklist.
Two weeks after submitting the handful of forms, my husband got a call to go to the clinic. Evidently, I wasn’t required. He met with the review board/panel, answered a few questions about my health, and that was it. About three weeks later he got another call to pick up the forms or clearance letters, and it was all done.
click photo for source
In the end, the medical clearance took about 5 weeks and I only went there once for my medical appointment. I never had to send in any historical medical records. They did explain, however, that if there was an issue, they would send my file to the receiving base, who would then review my file and make a decision about whether they had the facilities to manage my medical condition. Since I have no medical issues, I suppose this cut the processing time in half. No additional vaccines are needed for where we are heading to, so that made it easy too. I believe UK requires a recent TB test, so in a case like that, they will need to advise you about what additional steps are required.
They say you can start the clearance process six months before you PCS. To start, go to the Tricare desk at the clinic and ask them for the list of forms your need for Family Member Relocation Clearance (FMRC). Set a medical appointment and show up with your filled in AF Form 1466. Wait a week or two to get the call back telling you it is ready. During this time, you can also begin your dental clearance with your on-base or off-base dentist. I used Soo Dental Clinic in Songtan. Once all the forms are ready, submit them back to the Tricare desk. From there, it’s just a waiting game. They will email your spouse or call you with the next steps.
click photo for source
I honestly had no idea what this even was since I’ve only ever had a regular passport. I found out that if you are PCSing as a command sponsored dependent, you need one. So that got added to the to-do list. I am still waiting for the passport which I expect at the end of May. We were given a timeline of 6-8 weeks and it won’t halt getting orders. The only challenge about this part is that the dependents and the spouse need to go to the passport office.
We only made 3 visits which were more than enough for me. Other people we saw there were on their 5th and 7th visit! Let’s just say it can be as bad as the DMV. There is only one staff member and he is very specific, dare I say subjective, (I was advised to wear a “lady-like” scoop neck and not a square neck in my passport photo) about photo size and quality so you may get sent back and forth until it is perfect according to him. If you don’t already have a no-fee passport, start this part early to avoid any unnecessary stress; the passports are made stateside so it can take a while.
So all in all, my part of things was done in about two months. My medical appointment was on February 27th, and hubby got his orders on April 23rd. It may actually take even less time if you have no medical issues. We were still deciding our travel route so we waited a week or two before submitting everything. This post is just one case for someone with no kids or pets, so I am sure it is more involved the more coordinating you need to do with travel plans, TMO, and anything else that make your situation unique. Either way, it is do-able, and if you start early, it can be pretty stress free.