Military POV Shipping: Rules & Restrictions

If you need your POV shipped, either because of a PCS order or for another reason, there are some limitations you should be aware of. Depending on the circumstances, you may qualify for free shipping with the Department of Defense, though that is not always an option. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the requirements and limitations of shipping a privately owned vehicle for members of the military. The sections below address issues of vehicle size and weight restrictions, shipping timeframe, eligibility for government-sponsored POV transport, and what can be shipped inside the vehicle.

Whether you’re moving as a family or by yourself, this resource from Military One Source has a wealth of helpful information and links about relocating, both for CONUS and OCONUS permanent change of station orders.

Vehicle Restrictions – Most standard autos and family cars can be shipped by the government, but there are limitations with other types of vehicles. RVs, large trucks and some SUVs may not be able to shipped at no charge. Certain requirements must be met in order to ship a POV, which means that any modifications or customizations could be an issue. Any nonstandard or impermanent changes to the vehicle fall into this category and include things like rear spoilers, wings, lift kits and body kits. Vehicles that exceed 20 freight tons–which is more than almost all standard cars and light rucks–may be excluded from POV shipping through the DoD, except under special circumstances.

Timeframe Considerations – For members of the Army and Air Force, a privately owned vehicle must be shipped within 90 days of your departure for OCONUS vehicle shipping and 30 days for change of station orders within the U.S. If the shipment is not made within the allotted timeframe, approval must be granted. Members of the Marine Corps and Navy may have a POV transported as long as they have at least one year of service remaining at their current station at the time when the vehicle arrives.

For the most up-to-date information about shipping your POV, see this PDF from the U.S. Transportation Command that includes current regulations as of March 2015.

Eligibility For POV Shipping – To ship a POV at the expense of the government, you must be a member of the armed forces, or a retiree or DoD civilian that is authorized for POV shipment. Entitlement is limited to  permanent change of station orders and applies to only one vehicle, which must be owned or leased by you or a dependent.

Shipping Personal Items – For the most part, personal items must be removed from the vehicle before it can be transported. There are some exceptions for items like tools, spare tires, and luggage racks, but they must be firmly secured. If you have any doubts as to whether something is allowed inside the vehicle while it’s being shipped, it’s a good idea to contact either the shipper or vehicle processing station to make sure that you’re not including anything that will increase the cost or delay shipping times.

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