Each country has customs regulations that apply to all incoming mail.These may include prohibitions on certain kinds of food or entertainment products. Military units may also have additional restrictions imposed by the unit commanders, such as those on size and weight, to ensure logistics support can handle the mail along with other necessities. The maximum length of a package in any category is 72 inches. In addition, Military ZIP Code™ restrictions may be revised as military units move to different locations. While there are specific restrictions for each five-digit military (APO/FPO) Post Office™ area, generally speaking, it is prohibited to mail the following:
• obscene articles (pictures, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc.) and horror comics
• 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 recipient are permissible
• pork or pork by-products
For specific restrictions and mailing prices to an APO/FPO/DPO address, visit the Price Calculator at www.usps.com. You can also call 1-800-ASK-USPS, consult your local Post Office™, or phone the Military Postal Service Agency at 1-800-810-6098.
• Note: The intent of the customs prohibition against mailing religious items stems from the host country’s concern about distributing these materials to its citizens. Mailing a Bible or other individual religious item if it is solely for the personal use of the service member should not be an issue.
Packaging & addressing military mail.
It’s a good idea to keep the following in mind to ensure that packages are delivered promptly.
• Extreme Temperatures: Desert temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees.
• The Box: Select a box strong enough to protect the contents and large enough to accommodate cushioning. If reusing a box, cover all previous identifications and markings with a heavy black marker or adhesive stickers.
• Cushioning: Cushioning the contents with newspaper is a novel way to send news from home. Styrofoam and bubble wrap are also good choices. Close and shake the box. If it rattles, add additional cushioning to keep items from shifting.
• Batteries: Occasionally a battery powered item such as a radio or electric razor will turn itself on during shipment. Be sure to remove and wrap the batteries separately.
• Sealing: Tape the opening of the box and reinforce all seams with 2″ wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape or paper tape. Do not use cord, string or twine as it causes the package to get caught and possibly harmed in sorting equipment.
• Include a card describing the contents: Occasionally improperly wrapped packages fall apart during shipment. Including a card inside the package that lists the sender’s and recipient’s information along with a description of the contents helps in collecting items that have fallen open during processing.
The Post Office has issued the following guidelines for addressing your mail to deployed military and civilian personnel.
• Use the service member’s full name. The Department of Defense cancelled the Any Service Member program so mail must be addressed to someone specific.
• Include the unit and APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) address with the nine-digit ZIP Code™ (if one is assigned).
• Include a return address.
SSGT Kevin Taylor
Unit 2050 Box 4190
APO AP 96278-2050
SGT Robert Smith
PSC 802 Box 74
APO AE 09499-0074
Seaman Joseph Doe
FPO AP 96667-3931
SGT Jane Doe
APO AA 09045-1000
NOTE: Do not include the country or the base camp’s city, as it might be routed through the host country’s mail system.