Thousands of men and women serving abroad in the nation’s Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force and in U.S. diplomatic service worldwide won’t be home for the holidays this year. The mail is a great way to stay connected with them by sending cards, letters, presents and “care packages” for the festive season.
The Postal Service offers a reduced price of $17.40 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box for mail sent to Air/Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) or Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) destinations worldwide — a $1.50 discount from the regular price.
Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes are available at no cost at local Post Offices and also can be ordered online. Postage, labels and customs forms also can be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship. All mailing products can be found at store.usps.com/store/home.
To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by Dec. 25, the Postal Service recommends that cards and packages be sent to military APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas no later than the mailing dates listed below from a 2018 chart prepared for mailers by the USPS:
|Military Mail Addressed
To and From
|Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)1||First-Class Mail
|Priority Mail||Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL)2||Space Available
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092||Dec. 18||Dec. 11||Dec. 11||Dec. 4||Nov. 27||Nov. 6|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP 093||N/A||Dec. 4||Dec. 4||Dec. 4||Nov. 27||Nov. 6|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098||Dec. 18||Dec. 11||Dec. 11||Dec. 4||Nov. 27||Nov. 6|
|APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP 340||Dec. 18||Dec. 11||Dec. 11||Dec. 4||Nov. 27||Nov. 6|
|APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966||Dec. 18||Dec. 11||Dec. 11||Dec. 4||Nov. 27||Nov. 6|
1 PMEMS (Priority Mail Express Military Service) is available to selected military/diplomatic Post Offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.
2 PAL (Parcel Airlift) is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. PAL is available for Standard Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.
3 SAM (Space-Available Mail) parcels are paid at Standard Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.
In general, the less expensive the delivery service, the slower it travels, and the slower it travels the earlier it needs to be posted to reach your loved ones in a timely fashion. Mail early to assure they’ll have your letter or parcel − and a big smile − on that special day!
Use Military Care Kits to Send Presents, Care Packages
The Postal Service also has created a free Military Care Kit based on the items most frequently requested by military families. The kit contains:
- Two Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO Flat Rate Boxes
- Four Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes
- Priority Mail tape
- Priority Mail address labels
- Appropriate customs forms
To order the kit, call 800-610-8734. Guidelines for packing, addressing and shipping items to U.S. troops can be found at store.usps.com/store/product/shipping-supplies/military-care-kit-P_MILITARYKIT. To order flat-rate boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo, go to usps.com/freeboxes.
Package Address Instructions
- Write the service member’s full name
- Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code (if one is assigned). For example:
Army/Air Post Office (APO)
PFC JANE DOE
PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021
Fleet Post Office (FPO)
SEAMAN JOSEPH SMITH
UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691
Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)
UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048
- Do not write the country name where the service member is stationed in the address.
- Include a return address.
- Inside the box, include the service member’s name and address as well as the sender’s name and address on an index card in case the shipping label gets damaged in transit.