All Military Post Offices (MPOs) have restrictions on items that can be sent using the APO/FPO/DPO system. While there are several "rules of thumb" that can be referred to, individual APO/FPO/DPO zip codes have restrictions that are specific to the overseas location they serve. Our online database can be searched quickly and easily to verify any and all restrictions to overseas military bases, posts and camps.
Most APO/FPO addresses have the following general restrictions:
For a complete description of the restrictions at your APO/FPO/DPO zip code, click the "Restrictions by Zip Code" tab and enter your zip code in the text box. This database is kept current with the twice-monthly Postal Bulletin Publication, which outlines all APO/FPO/DPO zip code changes. Please note that the customs forms mentioned in the restrictions apply to packages and not to typical letters that just weight a few ounces.
- Packages may not exceed 70 lbs. (Some zip codes have lower limits)
- Packages may not exceed 130 inches in combined length and girth. (This means if you have a package that is 100" in length and 40" when you measure around it, you cannot send the item)
- All packages must be sent via the U.S. Postal System. The post office also requires companies or individuals to hand deliver packages being sent to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. (This is one reason why many merchants won't ship to APO/FPO/DPO addresses.)
- Firearms, alcohol, perishable foodstuffs and certain hazardous items also are restricted. Each zip code has a more detailed list of the restrictions for certain types of products.
Find the restrictions for your APO/FPO/DPO Zip Code - Data obtained from the USPS Postal Bulletin
How do I ship to an APO,FPO or DPO address?
This is a common question that we get from merchants who are exploring the
possibilities of serving overseas military shoppers through their websites. For starters you must use the United States
Post Office (USPS) to send your merchandise. While there have been discussion and negotiation to allow Federal Express and
UPS to send packages to these addresses in the past, the only way to send an item to an APO, FPO or DPO address as of today is
to use the USPS. Shipments to APO FPO addresses also require some additional customs paperwork to be filled out by the
shipper. For a complete list of requirements and restrictions for a particular APO, FPO or DPO zip code, please enter the zip code
into our online validator (located on the "Restrictions by Zip Code" tab). If your product is small enough (a patch or sticker,
for example), you can probably use a regular letter envelope and avoid filling out the required customs forms.
What is an APO/FPO address or DPO address?
APO stands for "Army Post Office," and is associated with Army or Air Force installations.
FPO stands for "Fleet Post Office," and is associated with Navy installations and ships. DPO stands for "Diplomatic Post Office," and
is associated with U.S. diplomatic offices (such as embassies and consulates) around the world.
The official definition of APO/FPO mail is (according to the Military Postal Service Agency):
APO/FPO/DPO Mail - Domestic mail and international mail that bears a U.S. military delivery address or return address and that,
in some stage of its transmission, is in the possession of the DOD. This is mail that is being sent to or received from
military installations located outside the Continental United States (CONUS). This mail may be official or personal in
nature. This mail is centralized at certain locations such as San Francisco and New York for transport overseas.
When mail is received in the CONUS from these facilities, letter mail is normally received in sleeved half trays, flats
are received in sleeved plastic flat tubs, and parcels are received in #1 sacks.
How do I make my site APO/FPO/DPO friendly?
Over 70% of our APO/FPO/DPO shoppers indicated in a recent survey that they have
abandoned their shopping carts when they could not find their APO,FPO or DPO "state" in the state dropdown box. The only
legitimate APO,FPO or DPO states are "AA," "AE," and "AP." The should appear in a dropdown box like this:
AA - Armed Forces Americas
You don't need to provide anything except for a standard text box for the city portion of an APO, FPO or DPO address.
The city will always be either "APO", "FPO" or "DPO" in a properly formatted APO FPO address. Customers should never indicate the
host country (e.g. Germany) in their APO/FPO/DPO address as these addresses are considered "domestic" by the USPS. Here's an example of a properly
formatted APO address:
PFC Gomer Pyle
A note about fraud:
CMR 345, Box 12334
APO AE 09250
The APO/FPO/DPO system is not immune to theft and fraud. Usually the crooks use a legitimate U.S. zip code with a
bogus APO or FPO address. Since many credit card verification systems don't deal very well with APO or FPO addresses, the address may not be rigorously
verified. Since the zip code is valid, the Post Office will ship the item to the proper destination, which is usually a
P.O. Box that is rented for a short period of time. The crook will use the P.O. Box until someone becomes suspicious
and then find another P.O. Box to use. For this reason we recommend the use of our APO FPO zip code validator if you
have any questions about an address. If the zip code that you put into our validator comes back as "not found," it is
not legitimate and further investigation should be undertaken prior to shipping the product.
We often hear from family members (or service members) who have sent a package to an APO/FPO/DPO address and are concerned that
it has not arrived. Many times the reason for the delay has to do with the type of postal service selected when the package was
shipped. For items sent Parcel Post, it is not uncommon for the package to take 60 (sometimes even up to 90) days to reach the
final destination. This is because Parcel Post and some other low-cost postal services use surface transportation to deliver the
parcel. In this case the package will travel by ship and ground transportation to the final destination.
Certain overseas locations are also prone to "losing" packages more frequently, so we always recommend that individuals purchase insurance and
select a delivery service that requires a signature (such as registered mail) when sending packages to APO/FPO/DPO locations.
If it has been at least 60 days since your package was shipped, the MPSA does prove a way for you to submit a mail inquiry concerning
your missing package. You can submit the mail inquiry using this form
MPSA asks that you include the following details in your mail inquiry:
The type of container used for mailing
A detailed description of the container content
Any additional information that could be used to help identify your item such as distinctive marking
Once the information is received, the MPSA will contact the service member to positively identify the owner and ship the item to the recipient
should it be found. To check the status of a mail inquiry, or to ask a mail question, MPSA customers can use this military mail inquiry form
You can also contact the MPSA via mail at the following address:
Military Postal Service Agency
2900 Crystal Drive Suite 410
Arlington VA 22202-3557
The USPS Postal Bulletin also lists 800-810-6098
as a toll-free number for the MPSA.
The USPS also allows for claims to be submitted for packages that are lost when shipping to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. Claims can be submitted no sooner than
45 days after the package was sent, and if a claim is to be submitted it must be submitted within 1 year of the mail date. See Filing Indemnity Claims for Loss or Damage
the USPS Domestic Mail Manual for more information. Note that claims may only be filed for insured mail, collect on delivery (COD) items, Registered Mail with postal insurance, or Express Mail. These claims can be filed online with the USPS
using the this online claims form
There are several considerations to bear in mind when ordering from (or shipping to) an APO/FPO/DPO address:
For packages, Priority Mail is highly recommended. If a you or a merchant ships a package to your APO/FPO/DPO address using
standard or "surface" mail, it will likely be a while before you see it. This is because all Priority Mail
eventually makes its way onto an airplane. Surface mail does not. Sending a package via surface mail may
take 8 weeks or longer because it will be placed on a ship instead of a plane.
Some items just can't be shipped to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. Just because a merchant won't ship an item to you does not mean
that they don't ship to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. If you are planning on ordering a new range for the kitchen, you
aren't going to find anyone who will (or can) ship it to you. We take great care at Oconus.com to ensure that
our merchants will ship to APO/FPO/DPO addresses within the limits imposed on them by the MPO and the law.
The APO/FPO/DPO "states" of "AE", "AA", and "AP" are the only legitimate states to use for an
APO/FPO addresses. Some forms will allow you to use "NY" for "AE", "CA" for "AP", and "FL" for "AA",
but you run the risk of having your credit card rejected because the billing address they have on file
(with AA, AE or AP for the state) does not match what you submitted online. For this reason we are very
hesitant to put merchants on Oconus.com who do not have the APO/FPO/DPO "states" available in their drop-down
boxes. We review all sites for this feature prior to listing them and have helped dozens of merchants improve
the APO/FPO/DPO capabilities of their site.
Never put the host country name (Germany, Afghanistan, etc.) in your APO/FPO/DPO address. The USPS treats APO/FPO/DPO addresses
as domestic mail, and including the host country name can cause confusion and your package to be lost or rejected. Additional
APO/FPO/DPO addressing guidelines can be found on the USPS APO/FPO/DPO addressing guidelines
Keep in mind that the APO/FPO/DPO restrictions on your package are in addition to the standard USPS mailing restrictions. You
can learn more about common mail restrictions in the USPS Publication 52 - Hazardous,
Restricted and Perishable Mail publication.
All APO/FPO/DPO packages require a customs declaration for shipment. These customs forms can be filled out online using this form.
The customs declarations are reviewed by the host country to ensure that no violates of their customs laws have occurred. As long as you are
not shipping any restricted items to the APO/FPO/DPO address, you should be okay.
Finally, the purpose of our site is to help overseas military servicemembers, DOD employees, government contractors
and expatriates improve the quality of their lives by providing a vast selection of merchants who ship to APO/FPO/DPO
addresses. Should you have additional questions or comments that are not currently addressed on our website, please
don't hesitate to send us an email message from our contact page
. We would love to hear from you and assist you where we can with any of
your APO/FPO shipping problems (this includes merchants, too.)