Sending gifts overseas? USPS gives recommended holiday mailing dates for military members

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VIRGINIA - The holidays can feel a little less full if someone you love is serving overseas.

Mary Daniel knows that well. Her husband is deployed again this year and will be missing Thanksgiving and Christmas, but a little distance won't stop her from spreading holiday cheer in the form of a package.

"We like to do themed ones depending on which holiday is coming up, so like a Thanksgiving one with like turkey jerky and then Christmas some practical things but also silly things at Target," she says.

With time inching closer to the holidays, the U.S. Postal Service is reminding folks of the upcoming holiday mailing date deadlines for military members.

To send packages to friends and loved ones serving in the military and diplomatic posts abroad, the U.S. Postal Service offers a discounted price of $18.45 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box.

The price includes a $1.50 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 can also be ordered though their website. Postage, labels and customs forms can also be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship feature. All mailing products can be found at this link.

To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by December 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

Retail Ground

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. 9

Dec. 9

Dec. 4

Nov. 27

Nov. 6

APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-099

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

The Postal Service 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 this linkTo order Flat-Rate Boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo, go to this link.

Addressing the Package

  • 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)

MELANIE ADAMS
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
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