USPS lists recommended holiday mailing dates for overseas military personnel

WASHINGTON — Ensuring those serving in the nation’s armed forces and diplomatic service receive their presents, care packages and cards in time for the holidays is a priority for the U.S. Postal Service and for friends and family members of military and diplomatic personnel serving their country around the world.

To send packages to loved ones serving in the military abroad, the Postal Service offers a discounted price of $16.75 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. The price includes a $2 per box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are available at no cost at local Post Offices and online atshop.usps.com. Postage, labels and customs forms can be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship at usps.com/ship.

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.

Military Mail Addressed 
To and From

Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)1

First-Class Mail
Letters
and
Cards

Priority Mail

Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL)2

Space Available
Mail (SAM)3

USPS Retail Ground

APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092

Dec 16

Dec 09

Dec 09

Dec 02

Nov 25

Nov 07

APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP   093

N/A

Dec 02

Dec 02

Dec 02

Nov 25

Nov 07

APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098

Dec 16

Dec 09

Dec 09

Dec 02

Nov 25

Nov 07

APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP   340

Dec 16

Dec 09

Dec 09

Dec 02

Nov 25

Nov 07

APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966

Dec 16

Dec 09

Dec 09

Dec 02

Nov 25

Nov 07

 

1 PMEMS 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 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 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.
Use the Military Care Kit to Send Presents and Care Packages

The Postal Service has created a free Military Care Kit based on the items most frequently requested by military families. The kit contains:

  1. Two Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO Flat Rate Boxes
  2. Two Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes
  3. Priority Mail tape
  4. Priority Mail address labels
  5. 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 usps.com/ship/apo-fpo-dpo.htm. To order Flat-Rate Boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo, go to usps.com/freeboxes.
Addressing the Package

  1. Write the service member’s full name
  2. 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 JOHN 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)

JOHN ADAMS
UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048

  1. Do not write the country name where the service member is stationed in the address
  2. Include a return address
  3. 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

Domestic mailing deadlines are as follows:

USPS Retail Ground

First-Class Mail

Priority Mail

Priority Mail Express

Dec 15

Dec 20

Dec 21

Dec 23

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.