If you need to know how to ship your POV through the VPC then look no further. So what is the VPC? The VPC is the vehicle processing center. This is the place that you will drop your vehicle off to in order to ship it OCONUS. You only utilize the VPC for the one vehicle that the military authorizes you to ship. If you plan on shipping a second vehicle then that is a different process and I plan on writing a different post with that information. So, let’s dig into all the ins and outs of shipping a vehicle through the VPC.
First, we need to discuss the locations of the VPCs. As of right now there are fourteen locations. We have used the location closest to us for our first OCONUS move. The most recent move we used a location that was along the road trip route. Here are those fourteen locations:
- Atlanta, GA
- Alaska – Anchorage
- Alaska – Fairbanks
- Baltimore, MD
- Charleston, SC
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Los Angeles, CA
- Norfolk, VA
- NY/NJ Metro (Edison, NJ)
- Orlando, FL
- San Diego, CA
- Seattle, WA
- St. Louis (Pontoon Beach, IL)
There is a list of requirements for pre-inspection when you arrive to drop your POV off. These requirements are not flexible. We have had great experiences at all the VPCs we have used; however, we made sure we were complying. Read through this list of requirements and make sure you have plenty of time to comply with them. Here are the requirements:
- Must be in operational condition
- No open recalls (check on this website)
- Fuel level is at ¼ tank or LESS
- Brakes are fully operational, includes emergency brake
- Vehicle must be clean inside and outside (standards posted here)
- No cracks or chips in the windshield
- Cannot have any leaks
- Must provide key if equipped with wheel lock lug nuts
While some of these requirements seem a little silly, they are sticklers to them. We got a chip in our windshield as we were driving to the VPC. We literally stopped and had it filled prior to arriving at the VPC to ensure we passed inspection.
Some locations will be nice and let you drive around to bring the fuel levels down. The VPC is NOT required to allow this! You can miss your appointment if you do not arrive ready for inspection. We were putting a couple of gallons of gas in at a time to make sure we would be under the ¼ tank requirement. The VPC has no control over that requirement as it is maritime law.
As for the cleanliness, they aren’t kidding on that either. We always take our vehicles to be detailed the day prior to our VPC appointment. Just ensure that no water is used while detailing inside to avoid mold. The biggest thing I can stress is to review the requirements and make sure you are within standard before your appointment.
Documentation Required by VPC
The next biggest hurdle when it comes to shipping your POV at the VPC is ensuring you have ALL documentation that is required. I cannot stress this enough…PRINT IT ALL OUT! I’m not kidding. When we arrived to the VPC just a couple months ago we had everything printed. There were others who did not, and it was not a good experience for them. We went as far as printing out the page showing that there were no recalls. Just print it if it’s listed below. Also, MAKE SURE your orders have the statement that says you are authorized to ship a vehicle. If not, then get your orders amended and have that amendment on hand. Here are the documents that are required:
- Pre-shipping Instruction Form filled out and printedShipper Acknowledgment Form filled out and printed
- Print out from this website showing no recalls
- A complete set of orders with ALL amendments
- Military ID and/or State Issued ID
- Legible copy of your title (front & back) – this if you own your POV
- Lien-Holder Authorization Letter if you have a lien on your POV (this letter is from your lien holder authorizing the export of the vehicle)
- Registration – they may not ask for it but it’s best to have it on hand
- Power of Attorney or Letter of Authorization if someone other than the service member is turning the vehicle i
- If the vehicle is in the spouse’s name (not the service member) then please refer to the PCSmyPOV website on how to handle that situation.
So, you are probably wondering what the process is, right? Here is the step by step:
- Receive hard copy orders to OCONUS location
- Go onto PCSmyPOV and schedule your drop off date
- Attend online briefing with VPC
- Gather and print your documents
- Clean/Detail your vehicle and ensure proper fuel levels
- Show up to your appointment 10-15 minutes early
- Hold on to your documents for POV arrival in country
These steps simplify the process. As someone with major anxiety, the unknown is a trigger for me, so I laid the steps out in a way that helps it from being unknown.
As I have said before, this is not my first time shipping our POV. We have dealt with three of the fourteen VPCs listed. While I tried to give you some tips throughout this post, I want to reiterate them here.
- Schedule your appointment quickly – this is especially important if you are PCSing during high season. The VPC is only open 0800-1600 and their last appointment is at 1500. They close on weekends and holidays.
- Check for recalls early. Recalls must be fixed/cleared before your appointment. (Keep your paperwork to prove it’s cleared!)
- Ship your car out as early as possible. Take it from me, it’s much easier and cheaper to rent an extra vehicle in the US than in a foreign country. This is especially true if you don’t drive a manual transmission and are PCSing to Europe.
- Understand that shipping your POV is all about timing and what port you are shipping from. I am not familiar with shipping your POV anywhere other than Europe. With that said, it’s typically a 60-day process before you get your vehicle.
- There are five vessels that run the United States (multiple ports), United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany route. I was able to track when our POV would leave the US port and arrive at the German port by tracking the vessel schedules here. I knew the date we dropped our POV at the VPC and then I tracked on PCSmyPOV when it arrived at the port. Once it was at the port, I used that website to figure out what ship came into that port and my POV would be loaded onto. After that it’s just following that vessel schedule to see when it arrives at the destination port.
- I can’t stress enough that you MUST follow the POV preparations guidelines. You will miss your appointment if you aren’t ready for it. The appointments fill up fast so getting a new one will be hard.
- The military only covers the shipment of one POV per service member. If you want to ship a second vehicle then you will need to do that through a separate company. You will have to pay out of pocket for this though. We have a big SUV and a smaller sedan. We sent our SUV through the VPC and paid to ship our sedan. You can read that experience and get all the details on a future blog post.
Hopefully this will help you navigating your journey of shipping your POV through the VPC. Please feel free to contact me or comment with any questions you might have. Also, be on the lookout for the future post with all the details regarding shipping your second vehicle. You can also check out my post on The Basics of an Overseas PCS to help you prepare.