All military mail must:
Be properly addressed
- At the very minimum, you must list the service member's name, PSC (Postal Service Center) and Box, or Ship's name and hull number, APO/FPO "state" (AP, AE, AA) and ZIP.
- If your mailpiece is going to a military base in the United States, please do NOT use the actual state the base is in - use "AA" instead. For instance, if mailing to a Marine stationed at Camp Pendelton, California, use "AA" as the state instead of "CA". Otherwise, your mail may be delayed or misrouted.
- Due to security concerns, in times of war, the Department of Defense generally disapproves of using actual unit designations (such as Co. A, 5th Batallion, 3rd Infantry Regiment) on mail.
- Please do not send mail addressed to "Any Service Member" or "Any Soldier" or "Any Sailor". While such packages were encouraged as a morale boost in the past, the Department of Defense has asked that the USPS return any such mail to its sender out of security concerns.
Transit times vary for military mail packages, especially when being shipped to combat zones. Please use the following estimates as rules of thumb, and not as firm service-commitment guarantees:
- First Class Mail: 2 to 3 weeks
- Priority Mail: 2 to 3 weeks
- Express Mail: up to 1 week, Express Mail is available only for certain destinations (please consult the USPS for details)
- Parcel Post: Up to 6 weeks.
How to Send APO/FPO Military Mail
Military Mail is a vital communication link with members of our armed forces. Military Mail refers to both letters and packages. All Military Mail is treated as domestic mail, even if the destination is a foreign country. Please use standard domestic mail rates for letters.
To correctly address Military Mail, please include:
- Name of the recipient (rank/grade/rating is optional)
- Include the:
- PSC (Postal Service Center),
- CMR (Community Mail Room),
- UMR (Unit Mail Room),
- RPO (Regional Post Office),
- APO (Army Post Office) or
- OMDC (Official Mail Distribution Center) number.
- For FPO addresses aboard a United States Navy or United States Coast Guard vessel, use the ship's name and hull number.
- The recipient's Military Post Office Box number. It is not necessary to add specific military formations (for example "1/20 24th Infantry").
- When mailing to a DPO address, do not include the street address of the embassy or the recipient's job title.
- Include the APO and "state" designator (AA, AP, AE). Do not use the state that the distribution hub is in (FL, CA, NY). This may cause delays in package processing and delivery.
- The correct ZIP Code, preferably ZIP+4.
- All packages must have completed Customs Forms attached if being sent to a foreign country. How to Fill Out US Customs Forms
Here is a sample of a correctly formatted APO Address:
GEN Omar Bradley
PSC 1234, Box 12345
APO AE 09204-1234
Here is a sample of a correctly formatted FPO Address:
CAPT John Paul Jones
USS Cochrane (DDG-21)
FPO AP 96543-1234
Here is a sample of a correctly formatted DPO Address:
Unit 8400, Box 0000
DPO, AE, 09498-0048
There are some restrictions when sending Military Mail packages:
- All packages must be 70 lbs. or less
- Packages cannot exceed 130 in. combined length and girth.