Start saving 6-12 months before PCSing to the U.K. It is a high cost of living area for the military, so you should prepare and start saving for the move months before you PCS. To help offset the higher price of non-housing goods and services, you will receive an Overseas Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). To find more information about COLA, visit the Defense Travel Management Office website. Remember that in securing rental housing at a new location, you may be required to pay advance rent (which can range from 900 pounds to 2,500 pounds) and also a security deposit, which is a major expense.
Personnel should also be prepared to defray added expenses not normally found in the states, i.e., television license (annual cost is approximately 160 pounds), vehicle Ministry of Transport (MoT) roadworthy tests (approximately 60 pounds in addition to the cost to fix any problems identified to meet safety requirements); vehicle road tax (annual cost is approximately 280 pounds a year for imports, and up to 800 pounds a year for cars bought in the U.K.) Research cost of road tax for a vehicle before you purchase it as this is based on age of the vehicle, fuel type and CO2 emissions. More details on managing personal finances to assist with your move to the U.K. can be found in the ‘Financial Assistance’ section of Military and Family Readiness Center support.
All members PCSing to the United Kingdom are required to travel in civilian attire.
Please coordinate with your sponsor and leadership for details and share information with them for any assistance you may need.
The U.K. is a high cost of living area, and energy prices have significantly increased. The currency used in the U.K. is pounds sterling. Money can be exchanged from dollars to pounds (or vice versa) at the bank, credit union or clubs.
Please join our monthly Pre-Arrival Orientation event to help plan your upcoming relocation to the U.K. For details email the Military and Family Readiness Center.
All dependents must be command sponsored and have a U.S. no fee passport to accompany military members on your tour to the U.K. All U.S. Civilian employees, and their dependents must have a Visa prior to arrival in the country. U.S. Contractors must have Visas reflecting their contract terms. The Visa may cost approximately $1000.00 (prices subject to change) and is a reimbursable expense. An "Official No-Fee Passport" can be obtained from your local Military Personnel Flight. For additional information on passports and Visas visit this webpage, in addition to the U.K. border agency Website.
An added benefit of a USAFE assignment is the ability to travel in Europe and see sights that many people spend a lifetime just dreaming about. In addition to the documents required for PCSing to the U.K., it is imperative to obtain a tourist passport prior to arrival in the U.K. if you expect to travel for leisure purposes. Per the Foreign Clearance Guide for the U.K.: Due to limited resources at US Embassies/Consulates and OCONUS military passport application processing locations, DOD personnel and Eligible Family Members planning to perform unofficial (personal) travel during or in conjunction with the official overseas assignments should obtain a Regular (Tourist) Passport at their own expense prior to departure from CONUS.
In order for pets to come into the U.K. with little or no quarantine, a certain procedure must be followed. Details on this procedure can be obtained here. Read the Animal Welfare Act to ensure you understand how to care for your pets while in the UK.
Lodging is offered on base at the Gateway Inn, commercial 011-44-1638-542965 or DSN 314-238-2965, or email the team. Arrange for your lodging well in advance of your arrival, especially as there are limited rooms available for pets. If the Gateway Inn is full, lodging may be available at the Liberty Lodge, RAF Lakenheath, 011-44-1638-546700 or DSN 314-226-6700. RAF Lakenheath is a neighboring USAF base about 15 minutes drive from RAF Mildenhall.
Ensure that you do not bring American cordless devices to the U.K. as there is a good chance the frequency will interfere with the local emergency response system. Fines of 5,000 pounds can be issued to all offenders. Do not import cordless telephones operating below 853 MHz which do not conform to the UK requirements as these are prohibited.
Official Passports and Visas
All dependents must be command sponsored and have a no-fee passport to accompany military personnel on an official tour to the U.K. Your local MPS will be able to help with the process for all appropriate documents needed to bring dependents into the U.K. To initiate this process, contact your local Passport Agent within 15 days of receiving the initial briefing in virtual MPF. On average, it can take approximately 120 days to process no-fee passports. IAW DoD 1000.21-R, Chapter 4, Item D.3.b., if passports are not received by the departure date, personnel should not, under normal circumstances, be allowed to out-process and/or depart without the required passport. If you have not received dependent's passport within 30 calendar days of your report no later than date, then you should request a RNLTD delay. DOD civilian employees and their dependents MUST have no-fee passports and a 5-year visa (if staying in the country for more than six months) prior to arrival. DOD-sponsored contractors and their dependents must have passports and visas reflecting their contract terms.
Please use the following websites for more passport and visa information:
These actions are necessary to prevent unforeseen hardships to the military and civilian members and their families. Therefore, as the last reiteration, it is essential, members do not out-process without having the appropriate passports/visas for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
Arriving in the UK without the appropriate documents, could result in your family being denied entry or deported. There are also consequences for unaccompanied dependents (those who are in-country where the sponsor is NOT assigned). Please see the ‘Check-in procedures’ topic for more details and contact MPF at DSN 314-238-2222 or commercial 011-44-1638-542222.
The contact number for the base operator is DSN 314-480-1110.
"Provide a ready force and strategic forward base, projecting airpower through unrivaled air refueling across Europe and Africa." RAF Mildenhall is part of the United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA).
In order to meet a perceived "continental threat," the British military developed the idea to site a RAF bomber base at Mildenhall in the late 1920s. Shortly thereafter, the government purchased the land in 1929, and completed the first buildings in 1931. Three years later, RAF Mildenhall opened on October 16, 1934, as one of the RAF's largest bomber stations. For more information, visit the installation's homepage.
RAF Mildenhall is located in the county of Suffolk, in the region of East Anglia, United Kingdom (U.K.) It is a rural farming area with extensive travel opportunities both in the U.K. and on the European continent. The Tri-Base area includes RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath (approximately six miles away) and RAF Feltwell (approximately 11 miles away). Nearby towns and cities include Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Brandon, Newmarket, Bury St. Edmunds, Thetford, Ely, Ipswich and Cambridge. Please find us on the public web page and Facebook.
When traveling commercial to RAF Mildenhall or other USAFE installations across the United Kingdom you will fly into either Heathrow or Gatwick airports. There is no USO facility, but there is an information point at each airport that will be available to assist you. For details of transportation options to get to RAF Mildenhall please contact your sponsor as soon as possible.
For a list of transportation options (during duty hours) please contact the 100 LRS Passenger Travel Element at DSN: 314-238-5145/2929 or commercial at 011-44-1638 545145, or 48 LRS at 314-226-1854, or commercial at 011-44-1638 521854.
Plan to spend at least £50 per person on transportation from the airport to RAF Mildenhall. If you do not have a Government Travel Card (GTC), plan to use a personal credit card. Keep your receipts for use when filing a travel voucher during newcomer briefings.
If you are unable to contact your sponsor or someone at your unit, please call the command post at commercial: 01638 542121. They are available 24 hours a day and will contact your sponsor for you anytime, night or day.
Please note that civilian clothes must be worn when flying into UK airports, and any time you are off-base.
Luggage is limited to 2 pieces per person unless authorized on official duty orders. Checked luggage is not permitted in the passenger compartment.
If you have a large family, or are bringing pets, Outdoor Recreation offers a choice of transportation. All bookings must be made at least 72 hours in advance; however, it is best to book as soon as possible. Prices vary according to pick-up point (Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted). Pet transport is available, and for family or group bookings including parties with large amounts of luggage, this service could be cheaper than other alternatives. For a detailed list of prices, contact Outdoor Recreation at DSN 314-238-4283 or Commercial 011-44-1638-54-4283, or visit the Outdoor Recreation website at http://www.100fss.com/index.php/recreation-travel/odr.
If you choose this option, your sponsor can book directly with a commercial company that is authorized on to RAF Mildenhall. Please contact your sponsor and unit for details.
Try to avoid using taxis located at the airports as these are very expensive, costing approximately £350 for the journey.
Try to avoid taking a commercial bus such as National Express. These run from the airports to Mildenhall town, however they will not enter the base, and the journey will be much longer than the other options available.