Interstate Transfers in the Army National Guard

One amazing benefit to the National Guard is that we don’t have to PCS around the country or world every few years; we can serve right at home. The big pull is that we serve our communities as well as our nation. While this works great for most people, some end up moving to other states for many reasons (family, civilian job, etc).

Some Soldiers are like me, who joined in one state and then realized they went to college in another state. Yep! I enlisted into the California ARNG in between years at Oregon State University. I did one or two drills with my recruiter doing a lot of fun stuff (like rafting down the Sacramento River and doing CTT). When I went back to OSU, I went to the local recruiters office to ask them one simple question:

“What’s the most cost effective way for me to get to drill down in California when I am a PV1 and driving takes a long time?” (I thought I was fortunate only living 8 hours away). The recruiter looked at me like I was an idiot, and then told me that I needed to do one simple thing: Interstate Transfer.

I honestly didn’t even know this was an option, or that it was something that happened. I thought we had to report to whatever unit we joined, no matter where it was. I was pretty naïve, but you have to commend my willingness to do the right thing. I feel like it is important to talk about interstate transfers, so you can help yourself, or help your buddy.

When I went through my IST experience, it was very easy. My recruiter jotted down a few basic notes, such as my SSN, MOS, and the like. He found me a slot and processed the necessary forms with my old unit. What I gathered from that is that it is a team effort to help this process go through. If you, the Soldier, know the unit you want to move to, it is a good idea to put them in contact with their state’s IST Coordinator. If not, then you can talk to the IST Coordinator and let them know what you’re all about.

The form NGB 22-5 will need to be filled out and iPERMed. This form has the standard oath of enlistment, because you have to swear into your new state, with an addendum about fulfilling your prior contract even though you moved to another state. It will have your current  data, the gaining unit’s information, and a portion where you sign, acknowledging that you understand you will report to your new unit within 60 days.

One thing to bear in mind is that you will need to clear your old unit, so you can’t just skip town and move without saying anything to your old unit. If you are moving before the IST can be completed, you need to ensure that you can coordinate a SUTA with the gaining unit, so you aren’t U coded for pay.

You can also request to be excused from IDT in order to look for a new unit, if you have to move quickly. However, if they deny it, you need to be prepared to attend training. I don’t know of any commanders that would deny this, though. Some states will not accept you if you have not completed IET, so be sure to research this beforehand.

One plus I found to doing an IST instead of sucking it up and driving down to CA, is I actually got in state tuition at OSU. This saved me thousands and thousands of dollars, for that I am more thankful than any bonus (not that I really got one of those).

Bottom line: ISTs are fairly common and easy to do, but you need to take initiative and spearhead your own career. Coordinate with your old unit and new unit, and help them do whatever it takes to make this process go faster for you.

Have you ever done an IST? What was your experience?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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14 thoughts on “Interstate Transfers in the Army National Guard”

  1. I am trying to find out the current (2017) IST Coordinator information for the State of California, does anyone have this current information?

  2. I need some advice. I’m trying to get transferred to a unit in another state, but it’s only temporary. I’m living with my girlfriend, and she’s been given a job that will only go on for 2 and a half months. I’ve even contacted the unit I would do drill with, and they said it should be an easy process. But, my unit is telling me they’re not allowing me to go, and expecting me to show up for drill when I’m 800 miles away. Do you have any advice? I’m not sure what to do.

    1. That is a very difficult situation. I would proceed to sit down with your chain of commend and explain it as you did here. Have you done so? Sometimes it means just explaining it in a cool and calm manner. If they still won’t, you may have to just bite the bullet and make the way to travel for each drill.

  3. Oh yeah. I would have been one to keep driving back & forth. Probably find a great reason to justify the drive like…while I’m here I guess I’ll visit with old friends (or something like that). An important thing for anyone going through an IST is keeping track of your paperwork! It would be pretty terrible to get lost in a file box somewhere. Document everything and keep it in a safe place.

  4. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been trying to figure out the requirements for actually transferring states, from what I’ve found so far online the process is relatively simple. Though, when speaking to our recruiter here, she informed us that you have to do drills in your current state for at least 6 months before transferring states, is this something you heard before?
    My fiance is the one currently in the national guard, he is currently at Fort Jackson for BCT and AIT. We’re originally from Oregon, but wanting to move down to Kansas. I was going to move down there and start getting settled before he returned, but if he has to return to Oregon and stay for at least 6 months, then I don’t want to waste time and money going to Kansas as of yet.
    Thank you for your time, much appreciated.

  5. I think it would be wise to take a trip to wherever you are considering moving and transferring to. Each State has many National Guard posts, and I believe it would be best for the soldier to go and inspect each one, looking for where they would be most comfortable. This would just be my opinion… What do you all think?

  6. Yes, this was a great post Candace. I must admit, I started laughing about the part of you driving from Oregon to California without knowing you could do an Interstate Transfer.

    It is good that you passed along all this advice. It could really help others who may find themselves in similar circumstances.

    1. Candace Ginestar

      I literally thought I would have to do that! I knew the military didn’t care about things like that, but thank God the people care. I would have been up a creek! I think I had maybe 150 in my bank account at any given time back then.

  7. Great article about interstate transfers, Candace.

    The bottom line is that if you are a Soldier who needs to do an interstate transfer, or might need to in the future, take some time and educate yourself about the process.

    Don’t just expect someone else to take care of everything for you. You will probably get the runaround and the process could take much longer than desired (if you don’t know the process).

    Just my two cents.


    1. Candace Ginestar

      Yes Chuck, ESPECIALLY if you are an officer trying to IST. You need to be on the ball, take care of your own career, and take the initiative to make things happen. The hardest part for officers is finding an empty billet.

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