The United Kingdom is a high cost of living area for the military. Personnel should be prepared to defray added expenses not normally found in the States, i.e., television license and road tax. Energy costs have also seen an significant rise within the United Kingdom and this should be kept in mind whilst residing in the community. Bills, especially utilities, are often paid on a quarterly, bi-annually, or seasonal basis so more advanced planning/budgeting is required.
Moving to and living in England can be expensive. One of your immediate concerns should be to assess your present financial status and then construct a spending plan based on anticipated expenses. Building a spending plan means knowing what your entitlements will be and what type of expenses you can expect when you arrive at your next duty location. Work closely with your sponsor to estimate anticipated expenses. Major items such as vehicle purchases, vehicle/home insurance, heating oil, utilities, rent, UK Road Tax and UK TV Tax, etc., should top your list. Additionally, depending upon your present financial situation, you may want to consider the following options:
Visit your Military Personnel Office to obtain Government Fee-Paid Passports for your family members; these passports allow them to travel to and from the overseas location.
You are also encouraged to obtain tourist passports because the No-Fee passports WILL NOT allow entry into some European countries. To travel freely within Europe you and each family member should obtain a Tourist passport at your own expense.
You can apply for a tourist passport before or after your arrival. If you apply after you receive a No-Fee passport, you can use the No-Fee passport as proof of citizenship, however may not be able to travel as freely initially.
Other documents you should be preparing and updating early:
Passports and Visas
Ensure member and/or dependents have the required passports and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Member and/or dependents are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. Members electing the accompanied tour will not be permitted to out-process without having the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
These actions are necessary to prevent unforeseen hardships to the military members and their families. Therefore, as a last reiteration, it is essential, members do not out-process without having the appropriate passports/visas for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
Drivers MUST have a 3rdAir Force driver's permit to operate a vehicle on base and to obtain fuel from the base service station, as well as the service stations at other USAF bases in the U.K.
Driving in the U.K. is a privilege, not a right. All personnel assigned to RAF Lakenheath who require driving privileges:
You and your dependents will attend the driver's briefing during in-processing with the Military and Family Readiness Center. The exam will be administered during that time. Service Members and their Dependents must study The British Highway Code book online and are encouraged to the use the USAF Connect APP for the 48 FW for additional driving related materials. This can be found under the Newcomers Tab and Driving in the UK. Please contact the staff with the Relocation Program at the Military and Family Readiness Center for the current guidance. +44 01638-52-3847
Weapons in Public and UK Law
All sponsors arriving in country will sign a memorandum at Pass and Registration indicating their understanding and compliance with laws and regulations regarding weapons, weapon storage and weapon accountability.
Personnel may store their firearms and weapons in their government military family housing quarters provided the method complies with British law, and they register their firearms at 48 SFS Pass and Registration.
Unusually dangerous weapons other than firearms are defined as any item concealed on the person or carried which could be used to cause bodily harm to others, or are likely to make reasonable persons fear for their safety. These weapons must also be registered with Pass and Registration. This list is not all-inclusive. Examples include:
48 SFS Pass and Registration will be responsible for maintaining a current listing of all personnel who register any weapon on RAF Lakenheath. This listing will be available, either in hard copy at the Pass and Registration section, or electronically on the squadron shared drive so that security forces, other agencies or personnel reasonably needing it have access to the information.
Questions/Confused? Call on DSN 314-226-1853 or Comm 011 44 1638 521853.Shipping Your Pets
A couple of other things to note when shipping your pets are:
You see that you must have a microchip implanted in your pet. The microchip implanted in your pet must be a 13-digit encoded chip. Many widely available microchips in the US do not meet the UK requirement, so have your chip checked by your vet before you assume it is acceptable.
A USDA certificate is required. Finding out where your state's nearest USDA vet is located will help determine if you need to mail the paperwork to them, or drive the paperwork there to get it filled out. Expect to pay at least $70.00 for this additional requirement.
While you prepare your pet for shipping, it is important to mention that contacting the airline you will be flying on about a month out is of the utmost importance. There tend to be very limited spaces for animals and there is typically a date when spaces are available for you to book your animal for the flight. TMO will not arrange the shipment of your pets for you. Communicating with the airline about when and where to drop the animals off is important as well, as the cargo areas that will accept pets for international shipping varies from airline to airline. With that said, pay close attention to the DEFRA website's pet travel scheme as there are only a few places that your pets may originate from in the US. Working with the airline and TMO together to sync everything up will make this process much smoother for your family. Be prepared to do most of the coordination yourself.
There are also other considerations like the breed of the animal and the time of year you plan on flying that may affect, or even prevent you from bringing your animal via commercial carrier all together. Once you have worked out those details, you must make sure your pet's carrier is of the appropriate size for your pet. Your pet must be able to stand in the carrier without their ears touching the top, or it will be considered too small. The carrier must also be fastened together with metal hardware to keep it from coming apart, i.e. nuts and bolts. Some cheaper carriers lock with plastic tabs, and are not acceptable for airline transport. Finally, the carrier must be outfitted with a food and water dish that can be accessed by the airline without opening the door. Fastening it to the door with zip ties is acceptable.
The Wing mission is to provide worldwide responsive combat airpower and support. As the USAFE's only F-35/F-15 fighter wing, the 48th Fighter Wing brings unique air combat capabilities to the fight, such as the most advanced Joint Direct Attack Munitions employed by the F-35A & F-15E. Each Airman and Family Member departs RAF Lakenheath with a life-long sense of pride for having joined a storied line of patriotic Americans serving in this corner of Europe.
About Us (af.mil)
The Army Air Corps activated the 48th Bombardment Group (Light) January 15, 1941. For the first two years of its life, as was the case with many of its sister units, the group and its squadrons underwent a series of re-designations and transfers to meet Air Corps operational needs. Designations changed from Bombardment Group (Light) to Bombardment Group (Dive) in September 1942, and again to Fighter-Bomber Group in August 1943. The squadrons were also re-designated as the 492nd, 493rd, 494th and 495th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons. The history of these squadrons leads to the squadrons that make up the 48th Fighter Wing of today. For more history visit Lakenheath’s homepage.
RAF Lakenheath consists of approximately 5,500 active-duty military members, 2,700 British, and U.S. civilians, and includes geographically separated units at nearby RAF Feltwell.
RAF Lakenheath is located in Forest Heath District of Suffolk County in East Anglia, England. The base is about 80 miles northeast of London and about 25 miles northeast of Cambridge. The nearest towns are Lakenheath, with around 8,200 residents, and Brandon with around 8,800 residents. Both towns offer shopping, dining and leisure opportunities.
Other nearby towns and cities include Thetford, Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Cambridge. RAF Mildenhall and Mildenhall village are approximately seven miles away. RAF Feltwell and the village of Feltwell are approximately eight miles away.
Prior to Departure
Before you depart your location, please ensure you have met all the immigration requirements for the United Kingdom. If the base you are stationed at is unaware of these requirements, then contact your sponsor to obtain more information.
Airports and Shuttle Bus Information
Before you leave, give your sponsor a copy of your flight itinerary, this will provide valuable information that can be used if there is an emergency. RAF Lakenheath is located approximately 80-100 miles from the major airports and as it is located in a rural area it can be hard to obtain transportation. When flying into the United Kingdom you will normally arrive at London Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick Airports.
Official Travelers/Taxi Services
National Express Coach
The National Express Coach is like the Greyhound bus and has a pick-up/drop-off location at the airport. A ticket to RAF Lakenheath can cost as little as £30 pounds. Either book your tickets on-line prior to arrival or purchase at the airport. RAF Lakenheath is not an actual drop off location so ask for either a ticket to Mildenhall or Brandon. Both of these places are within 5 miles of RAF Lakenheath so it will be easy to obtain a taxi to get you to the base. Link to book a ticket is www.nationalexpress.co.uk. Destination is Mildenhall High Town.
There are two taxi companies that have approval to come onto the perimeter without the need for you to sign them on the base M & L Taxi's and Phoenix Cabs. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at https://phoenixtaxis.business.site for Phoenix Cabs by telephone it's 011 44 1638 52 2306 and M & L Taxi's is 011 44 1638 712261 or by e-mail at email@example.com or on-line at http://www.mandltaxis.com/. Prices range from £100.00 - £250.00 pounds depending on whether you need a car or a van. You will be subject to a 6% processing charge if you use a credit card. Order this taxi in advance as it can take up to 2 ½ hours to get to the airport. If you choose to get a local taxi on arrival this can cost you up to £300.00 pounds, obtain local taxi information at the airport. Ensure you agree the price of the taxi prior to getting into the cab and make sure they are a licensed taxi company before you leave.
If you want to be a bit more adventurous you can always take the train. Again, obtain your tickets on arrival or on the website. The best station to get off would be Brandon as this is only 5 miles from the base. You would then be able to call one of the taxi companies above to obtain transportation to the base.
Arriving at Stansted and Gatwick Airports
Stansted or Gatwick Airports have no contracted bus service to RAF Lakenheath. If you plan to arrive at either of these airports, make arrangements with either the taxi's companies above or The National Express Bus is also available. Make sure your sponsor is aware of your travel arrangements so they can assist you.
Currently, there is no base transportation on RAF Lakenheath.
The Base Operator can be reached at 011-44-1638-521110, or DSN 314-226-1110.