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Are you considering/ due to move overseas for an assignment?


Your future overseas admin unit/Embassy are responsible for providing you with all overseas information, such as housing, schooling and pertinent local information.  This will normally be in the form of a pack or you are given a sponsor to liaise with.


Below are some general information for your reference:


Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) will assign suitable housing for you and your family once an MOD e1132 (application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) has been completed.  

The Royal Navy has a Relocations Officer who will be able to provide you with the FamilOverseas Removals and Travel Pack.  Relocations is only responsible for removals and travel to your destination.   


  • Joint Service Publication (JSP)  

JSP64 – Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations Volume 1: Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Substitute Service Family Accommodation – UK and Overseas 


  • Long Term Relationships (LTR) 

Overseas do not have surplus accommodation, therefore, long term relationships are not eligible to apply for SFA.  If you wish to accompany your partner on an overseas assignment you must be married.   

Overseas birth notification pilot launches

A birth notification pilot in Cyprus is enabling babies born to British Forces families, who are registered with Defence Medical Services, to be registered on the Birth Notification Application (BNA) by Primary Care Support England (PCSE). Babies will receive their NHS number at (or soon after) birth to enable immediate and ongoing care provision and aide secure information sharing between approved health and care organisations. Since March 2021,10 babies have already been registered on the BNA. With the aim of keeping babies and children safer and improving efficiencies, the pilot has been made possible through partnership working with military, charitable, NHS and public health bodies, including NHS Digital, Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Defence Public Health Unit, Defence Primary Healthcare, SSAFA and PCSE. It is anticipated that the pilot will be rolled out to other overseas bases in the future.

British Forces Post Office (BFPO)

All BFPO numbers have been allocated a shadow postcode e.g Naples = BFPO8/BF1 2AB 

Up to date information about BFPO can be found here on the Post Office website. Also, additional information can be found on the government’s website here. 


  • Shadow Postcodes 

Full list of current shadow postcodes can be found here. 


  • Smartphone apps 

You can find BFPO numbers, UK retailers who post products to BFPO addresses and calculate you postage costs by downloading the BFPO app for Apple and Android devices.  


  • BFPO/Brexit

BFPO customers in EU locations are advised that mail subject to recent delays is continuing to work its way through an extremely busy civil mail network system. BFPO have experienced an interruption with deliveries to, and UK return services from, Naples and Milan. BFPO customers in these locations are advised that parcel services and UK return services via the Naples Forces Post Office are temporarily suspended with immediate effect. Moreover, changes to UK and international law will affect how mail and parcels will be cleared in the future and these new laws, which are driven by aviation security and fiscal requirements, will be getting much stricter throughout 2021. You can find a BFPO service update here.

UPDATE: From April 4th, Royal Mail Group has announced changes to private BFPO mail tariffs, these new tariffs affect BFPO customers sending mail via a UK Post Office Counter or an overseas Forces Post Office (FPO). BFPO customers should note that private BFPO mail items posted over a UK Post Office Counter or at an FPO Counter will be limited to 20Kg and new size dimensions. For more information visit:


In overseas locations, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provides services (or access to services) that, so far as is reasonably practicable, conform in type, scope and standard to that required by legislation in England.  


Parents will have access to the following: 

  • In MOD nursery setting overseas parents with children aged 3 and 4 years old can access 15 or 30 hours free childcare (depending on eligibility).  30 hours free childcare applies when registering for the additional entitlement.   
  • Recently renamed to Overseas Nursery Authority (ONA), Parents of 3 and 4 year olds in overseas locations, where MOD schools and setting are not available, can apply for reimbursement of nursery fees  


Applications (from all three services) should be sent to  


The education provision for Service children overseas can be categorised as Ministry of Defence (MOD) Schools and Settings or non-MOD schools locations. Please click here for more information.


Employment criteria can differ from country to country.  Opportunities can be limited, especially in areas that are more isolated.  Job vacancies are posted on the Tri-Service platformForces Families Job, as well as opportunities to upskill. 


Further support:


Depending on your personal financial situation, you may find information within the following links useful when considering an overseas assignment.  


Local Overseas Allowance (LOA)

From 1 July 2021, the way in which the Armed Forces’ Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) is calculated will be changing. The changes will make the allowance more transparent, fairer to all Service personnel, and improve oversight. They do not impact eligibility or other allowances and are not a saving measure but designed to be cost neutral. Click here to find out more about the updates. We have received several enquiries on the new package and have put together a quick guide/FAQ here.

Where to find in country information
  • British Defence Staff US –  
  • British Forces Social Work Service (BFSWS) and Community Support Cyprus – 
  • British Forces South Atlantic Islands families’ handbookClick here
  • European Joint Support Units – 
  • Tri-Service International Hive (iHIVE)  –
    • When assigned overseas the International Hive information service (iHIVE) will provide Tri-Service support and up to date and relevant information for all oversea locations.  Through researched information, overseas location guides will provide easy access to relevant information regarding the overseas location and include researched information on several key topics including health, education, welfare and local facilities plus details of the various policies that support those overseas.  The guides, available to view or download via the web, also include useful contacts.  The guides are developed to help personnel and their families understand more about locations overseas and can be used to decide if specific location are suitable for overseas assignment for the Serving person and their family.

There is no Service provision for dental care by Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC) (Dental) in ISODET locations, please click here for further information.

Posted on: 22nd October, 2020
Updated on: 25th October, 2021

Did you know that Welcome Guides have been produced to help Service families as they move across the UK or return from overseas?


These booklets were designed to provide information you may need to help you and your family settle in to a new location. They cover aspects such as housing, education, healthcare, employment, benefits and social care and other useful information, as well as a list of supporting organisations.


If you are considering moving, or are due to move for an upcoming assignment order, please do read the guides, which can help to ease your mind.

Welcome to England poster.
Welcome to Wales poster.
Welcome to Scotland poster.
Northern Ireland
Currently in production. Please watch this space.

These guides can also be accessed via the Armed Forces Covenant here.

Posted on: 2nd April, 2019
Updated on: 29th March, 2021

For enquiries about loss of entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) resulting from retirement, redundancy, discharge or estrangement, please contact the Loss of Entitlement Team by telephoning 01904 418000 or 94510 8000. Please note their phone lines are only operational between 9.00am – 12 noon and from 1.00pm – 3.00pm.


They are contactable via email throughout the whole working day at



If you believe that you will lose entitlement to SFA in the future, or find yourself in this situation, advice is available from a variety of sources. As well as the Joint Service Housing Advice Office, other sources of information and advice are: service charities; families federations; housing advice centres; and local authorities.


Base Port Agreement

If you are occupying SFA in one of the three Base Port Areas (Portsmouth, Plymouth or Faslane) then you can retain your SFA on assignment to a new Duty Station, but in advance of your assignment date you must log onto the e1132 form (application to occupy SFA) via the Defence Intranet. You need to click the button ‘retain current SFA on posting within the Base Port Scheme’. This should be done within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order and should be done on each assignment in order for your retention expiry date to be amended. Your occupancy data is updated and your continued entitled occupation can be confirmed for allowance purposes or for disturbance if moving at a later date.


What happens in the background is that the stock management system then recognises you as part of the RN/RM and therefore able to remain in your Port Area. If you don’t inform the ‘system’ that you wish to remain it thinks that there is not a match between your assignment location and SFA location which prompts the system to issue you with a Notice to Vacate. You need to be aware that if you occupy Substitute SFA (SSFA) in one of the Port Areas retention will be granted, but you will be expected to move to SFA if and when there is suitable availability within that Port Area.


If you are serving away from a Base Port area and you are then assigned away from the area then you should apply for SFA at your next place of duty. There are exceptions to this regulation, however, you must apply for a retention.


There has to be explicit reasons to retain that are recognised under the regulations and you will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the application. A number of retention criteria require Chain of Command support particularly for welfare or medical reasons when, in the first instance, the Local Service Commander will consider the case in consultation with appropriate medical, welfare (RN FPS and Divisional system), educational agencies and Pinnacle Service Families. If agreed, retentions will be granted for a period of up to 12 months (you can re-request prior to expiry if the circumstances continue to persist) and confirms continued entitled occupation for allowance and disturbance purposes.


If a retention request is unsuccessful it does not form any kind of bar to future use of SFA, but it may be that if you wish to stay in a particular location (other than Port Area) for a period of time beyond assignment dates, then housing options outside the SFA estate will need to be considered such as rental or purchase. There are schemes for Tenancy Deposit Loans (DIB201516) which enables personnel to receive an advance of pay for rental properties or the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for assistance to buy into the property market. More information can be found here.


Tri-Service SFA and SSFA accommodation regulations are contained in JSP464 Volume 1 parts 1 and 2 here or via DII. Retention is fully covered in Chapter 7, Paragraph 0725 and includes guidance for all retention criteria.


Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 27th April, 2022