Military Kits from the USPS! You can order them by calling 800-610-8734.
APO & FPO Shipping Information
APO stands for "Army Post Office," and is associated with Army or Air Force installations. FPO stands for "Fleet Post Office," and is associated with Navy installations and ships. DPO stands for "Diplomatic Post Office" and is associated with U.S. embassies overseas. The only way to send an item to an APO, FPO, or DPO address is to use the United States Postal Service.
Shipments to APO/FPO/DPO addresses also require some additional customs paperwork to be filled out by the shipper. For a complete list of requirements and restrictions for a particular APO/FPO/DPO zip code, please contact the Military Postal Service Agency at the phone number below. If your product is small enough (a patch or sticker, for example), you can probably use a regular letter envelope and avoid filling out the required customs forms. All Military Post Offices (MPOs) have restrictions on items that can be sent using the APO/FPO/DPO system. While there are several "rules of thumb" that can be referred to, individual APO/FPO/DPO zip codes have restrictions that are specific to the overseas location they serve.
Military Postal Service Agency (for APO/ FPO questions) call: 1-800-810-6098
Here are some general tips about what you can send: Please make sure all items are small and lightweight. Large, heavy items (for example, family size bottles of shampoo) are impractical to ship. Do not send pressurized items (e.g., shaving cream). Do not send chocolate because it may melt all over the package.
Get the Address Right
- Write out the service member's full name in the address.*
- Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office or Diplomatic Post Office) address with the 9-digit ZIP Code (if one is assigned).
- For example...
CPT JOHN DOE
UNIT 2050 BOX 4190
APO AP 96278-2050
SGT ROBERT SMITH
PSC 802 BOX 74
APO AE 09499-0074
SEAMAN JOSEPH SMITH
FPO AP 96667-3931
MSG JANE DOE
APO AA 09045-1000
- Include a return address.
Always use the APO or FPO address, without the name of the city and country. This is to make sure the item is handled in the military mail system instead of the international mail system.
PFC JOHN DOE
123RD ENG 2ND PLT - B CO
APO AE 09398-9998
PFC JOHN DOE
123RD ENG 2ND PLT - B CO
APO AE 09398-9998
Guidelines and Restrictions
In addition to the military's guidelines, each country has its own customs regulations regarding incoming mail. So, before you send a letter or package to one of our troops overseas, make sure you're aware of the restrictions.
Although there are specific restrictions for each 5-digit Military Post Office ZIP Code (APO/FPO/DPO), generally, the following are prohibited in certain areas of operation...
- Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc).
- Any matter depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or non-authorized political materials.
- Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith. Items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible.
- Pork or pork by-products.
To make sure package contents arrive in good shape, take into consideration...
- Extreme Temperatures: Desert temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees; this can damage delicate goods (e.g. electronics).
For more information, call 1-800-ASK-USPS? (1-800-275-8777), consult your local Post Office, or phone the Military Postal Service Agency at 1-800-810-6098.
Safe delivery starts with careful preparation. When sending a package, follow these guidelines to get your shipment off to a good start.
Damaged, lost, or delayed item? File a domestic claim
Choose a box with enough room for cushioning material around the contents. If you're reusing a box, cover up or black out any old labels and markings.
Place cushioning around your items. Close and gently shake the box to see whether there is enough padding. Add more newspaper, packing foam, or plastic cushioning material if you hear things moving around.
Tape your box shut and reinforce the seams with 2" wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape, or paper tape. Do not use cord, string, or twine because it gets caught in mail processing equipment.
The weight of your package cannot exceed 70 lbs. If you're planning to use Priority Mail Express™ or Priority Mail® services for faster delivery, length plus girth (distance around the thickest part of the package) can't exceed 108". When you use Standard Post, available at retail Post Office locations, the total can't be more than 130".
Using a complete and correct address is critical for efficient delivery. Always use ZIP Code + 4 when possible.
For some items, if your mailing weighs less than 13 oz you can leave it in a blue collection box or hand it to your carrier.
More than 13 oz? If you're paying for postage with stamps, you'll need to hand it to an associate at your local Post Office.
Sending Military Mail?
Even though most mail to APO/FPO/DPO addresses requires a customs form, it ships using domestic mail class services at domestic prices.
Step 1: Make Sure You Can Ship It
Some items can be mailed internationally, but have specific restrictions.
- Lithium Batteries
- Medical Devices
- Medicine or Drugs
Other items, including some common household items, can't be mailed at all.
It's also important to check policies for your destination. Every country has its own rules; some may surprise you.
Check shipping restrictions by country http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/ab_toc.htm
Step 2: Pack It Up
Choose a box with room for cushioning your contents. If you need one, pick up a free, flat rate box at any Post Office or order them online.
Cushion your items with bubble wrap, foam, newspaper, or even shredded paper. To check your packing job, just jostle the box a little and see if things slide around.
Finally, tape your box shut and reinforce the seams with 2" wide packing or paper tape. Don't use string; it gets caught in sorting machines.
Step 3: Address It Accurately
Step 4: Weigh & Measure the Package
The Postal Service can't accept any packages, domestic or international, that weigh more than 70 lbs. However, the destination country may have lower weight limits.
To check the size, measure the longest side of the box. Then, measure the distance around, or girth, and add the two measurements. Finally, check your total against the size limits for the destination country.
See weight limits by country & service - http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immpg.htm
Because different services have different size limits, you'll want to measure your shipping box before you start shipping online. You'll then enter the measurements in Click-N-Ship to see available services.
Of course, you can always ship using a Flat Rate Box and skip this step entirely. No weighing. No measuring.
Step 5: Complete a Customs Form
Print your international postage with Click-N-Ship and our tool creates the customs forms for you.
Print a label with a customs form now - https://reg.usps.com/entreg/LoginAction_input?app=GSS&appURL=https://cns.usps.com/labelInformation.shtml
Or complete and print just the customs forms online.
Complete customs forms online - https://cns.usps.com/cfo/ShippingInformationAction_input
Which form do you need to complete?
- Fill out the GXG® International Air Waybill and the commercial invoice PS Form 6182 for Global Express Guaranteed® packages2.
- Use a PS Form 2976-B for Priority Mail Express International items.
- Use a PS Form 2976 or PS Form 2976-A customs form for all other USPS international services, including APO/FPO/DPO mail.
When you fill out the customs form, list the contents of your shipment completely and accurately. Otherwise, your package could be delayed or returned. When you're done, please insert your GXG International Air Waybill2 or your PS Form 2976-A or 2976-B in a plastic envelope (PS Form 2976-E) on the package where USPS employees can easily see it.
1. The weight limit for Priority Mail Express International flat rate boxes is 20 lbs. The weight limit for both the Priority Mail International medium and large flat rate boxes is 20 lbs. The weight limit for Priority Mail International small flat rate boxes is 4 lbs.2. PS Form 6182 is only required when shipping to select destination countries. Check Publication 141: Global Express Guaranteed Service Guide for individual country requirements. Insert all documents in PS Form 2976-E (plastic envelope) when complete.
This is a Military/Embassy specific ZIP Code for an APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office or Diplomatic Post Office).
Mail addressed to military and diplomatic post offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions of mailing regarding content, preparation, and handling.
For a complete list of restrictions to all APO/FPO/DPO destinations, see the most recent Postal Bulletin pull-out section. Reminder Flat Rate Boxes "If it fits it ships" can be sent this way too!!!
Military Kits from the USPS! You can order them by calling 800-610-8734. They will send up to 10 kits at a time. Large flat rate boxes get a $2 savings when shipping to an APO or FPO! Military Kits include: 2 large flat rate boxes, 2 medium flat rate boxes, 2 medium long flat rate boxes, 6 customs forms, 6 address labels, 1 roll of tape (you'll end up buying more tape) (The kits are free and the postman brings it to your home for free as well)
Information compiled by Cathy Lyons for Air Force MOMS BMT