Recommended Mailing Dates for Diplomatic and Military Service Members Worldwide

Presort.com   October 12, 2016    

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 at shop.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.

Mail Addressed To 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 Standard Post
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
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
Dec 16 Dec 09 Dec 09 Dec 02 Nov 25 Nov 07

1 PMEMS: is available to selected military and 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. It is available for Standard Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight and 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price of postage 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.

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 Post Office (APO) Fleet Post Office (FPO) Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)
PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021
UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691
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


Domestic mailing deadlines are as follows: 

Domestic Mail Class/Product Cut Off Date
First-Class Mail® Dec. 20
Priority Mail® Dec. 21
Priority Mail Express®* Dec. 23
Standard Post™ Dec. 15

* Priority Mail Express postage refund eligibility is adjusted for shipments mailed Dec. 22-25


The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) and DMM Advisories are available on Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com).