Emergency PCS Procedures for the Military

A permanent change of station, or PCS in military jargon, is a change of assignment requiring a change of residence for 180 days or more. A PCS move is for service members with a personal or family emergency. Military members and their dependents may be entitled to relocation allowances, such as temporary lodging allowance, advance travel pay and housing allowances at the new duty station.

Procedures are different for each military branch, which have separate personnel policies. The military's generous emergency leave program is usually sufficient for most emergencies. For rare situations where only a PCS will suffice, the general rule is that it must be in the best interests of the service.

  1. Army

    • PCS procedures fall under Army Regulation 614-6, but transfers and PCSs for compassionate purposes are covered under AR 614-200. Enlisted service members can apply for an emergency PCS while on emergency leave through the commander of the nearest military installation. In either case, the soldier must complete a DA Form 3739, Application for Compassionate Action.


    • The Navy Department handles emergency PCSs under MILPERSMAN 1300-500, Humanitarian Reassignments. If you are on emergency leave when you make the humanitarian reassignment request, send a letter request from your nearest shore activity to the place where you are taking your emergency leave. Officers should address requests to the appropriate assignment division in NAVPERSCOM, Career Management Department; PERS-4. Enlisted sailors should address requests to NAVPERSCOM PERS 40-HH.

    Air Force

    • Air Force personnel must apply for humanitarian reassignment, under Air Force Instruction 36-2110. You can apply through the Virtual Military Personnel Flight or through your personnel officer. You will need to fill out Attachment 24 for yourself or Attachment 25 for the Exceptional Family Member Program.

    Marine Corps

    • Emergency PCS procedures in the Marine Corps fall under Marine Corps Order 1000.6, Paragraph 1301. Marines should prepare a written request and forward it to the CMC (MMOA, MMEA or RA) via the chain of command, except for Marines who are attached to recruiting stations on permissive temporary duty, and Marines at I-I staffs and at 4th MAW units. They will submit requests directly to the CMC.

    U.S. Coast Guard

    • The U.S. Coast Guard handles emergency PCS procedures under COMDTINST M1000.6A, Paragraph 4.B.11, Humanitarian Assignments. Typically, the commander authorizes a temporary duty assignment at no cost to the government for up to six months in extreme emergencies. Past this, the commander may authorize a PCS, which is treated and funded like a normal PCS move. A humanitarian assignment (HUMS) request must be submitted for consideration. Contact the HUMS coordinator for the letter's specific language.

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