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Shipping to Military Bases – Military Mail FAQ

April 2nd, 2018

Care packages and letters are some of the best ways to send your loved ones a slice of home when they are deployed abroad. At Stamps.com we often receive questions from customers looking to send packages to military destination so we compiled a list of the 10 most frequently asked questions about Military Mail:

How do I format a military address?

Like a domestic address, a military address lets postal clerks know where to send your mail piece, so the address must follow a specific format. This special address must include:

  1. The full name of the addressee. Mail sent without a full name will not be delivered
  2. The unit or Post Office box number
  3. A three letter code associated with the type of location. APO is used for Army and Air Force installations. FPO is used for ships and Navy installations. DPO is associated with U.S. embassies overseas.
  4. The “state” of the addressee. Rather than an actual state or province in a foreign country, the “state” for a military address should be:
  • AA for Armed Forces Americas
  • AE for Armed Forces Europe, Armed Forces Middle East and Armed Forces Africa
  • AP for Armed Forces Pacific
  1. The 5-digit zip code for the military unit. All military zip codes will start with a 0 or 9.

Example:

CPT John Doe

Unit 45013 Box 2666

USAG J

APO AP 96338

 

What is my best option for shipping to a military base?

Due to security restrictions, the USPS is the only carrier that can deliver mail and packages to APO/FPO/DPO locations. While carriers such as FedEx and UPS offer delivery to countries where military personnel may be stationed, packages from these private carriers cannot be delivered directly to a military base.

Should I include a country in the military address?

No! One of the most common mistakes when sending military mail is including a country in the address. Typically, including a country in the address will result in a delayed or rejected mailing.

Is Military Mail considered international mail?

No. In 1959 the Department of Defense and the Post Office Department agreed that the USPS would be required to provide continual mail service to military personnel and their families worldwide. Because of this agreement military addresses (APO/FPO/DPO) are not considered international addresses by the USPS, even though they may reside in foreign countries.

How much does it cost to send a letter to APO/FPO/DPO addresses?

When sending a letter to military addresses, you are only required to provide domestic postage. The current cost to send a domestic First Class Mail letter is $0.50 at the Post Office or $0.47 for Stamps.com customers.

How is Military Mail processed?

Letters and packages addressed to military personnel are first sent to Miami, New York City or San Francisco before being shipped to their international destinations. Once the letter or package arrives in its destination country, it is handed over to a Military Postal Service representative who transports it to the Military Post Office, from where it is distributed to the service member’s unit for delivery to the recipient.

Do I need to fill out a customs form when shipping to a U.S. military base abroad?

Since the recipient country may have restrictions on what can be imported, mailpieces addressed to a military destination must include a properly completed PS Form 2976 or PS Form 2976-A.

What is the estimated delivery time for Military Mail?

The transit time for sending mail and packages to military addresses varies by destination and mail class. See the table below for delivery time estimates:

Can I ship electronics to military destinations?

Many electronics are prohibited from being shipped to military destinations. A good rule of thumb is anything that sends a radio, satellite or phone signal is prohibited for being shipped to military bases. Prohibited items include mobile phones, cordless phones, GPS hardware and software, and FM transmitters.

 

How should I package shipments to Military destinations?

Be sure to package shipments securely enough to withstand up to six weeks of transit. Consider the destination of the package and extreme temperatures or conditions the packages may need to endure. If your package contains fragile contents add adequate cushion.   If any portion of the box looks like it is sagging or can be easily depressed, add packing material on the inside.

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