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Understanding Shipping to an APO Adress

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for “shipping to APO address” information! Getting your letter or package to a member of the armed forces may be complicated, but we’ll talk you through it. 

Shipping to military bases is a common occurrence, and they’re quite adept at getting the package to the right person. With that being said, there are still details that, if not followed, can prevent your shipment from getting delivered.

What Is APO Shipping? 

Ship to APO (Army Post Office) addresses if you want your package to reach a member of the U.S. Army or Air Force. Mailing to an APO is necessary whether the person is stationed at a U.S. base or deployed to an overseas base. 

Interestingly, even though all APO addresses always list the country as The United States, you’ll still need to fill out a customs form when shipping to APO address locations. 

There are other codes for other military branches, such as the Navy’s FPO (Fleet Post Office) and U.S. Diplomats’ DPO (Diplomatic Post Office). 

FPO delivers packages to ships (which is why they can take a while to get to the recipient), and DPO takes shipments to embassies or other foreign locations where ambassadors, translators, and other U.S. diplomats may work or reside.

How Does APO Shipping Work? 

You’ll need a Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note. This is the name of the form you’ll need at the Post Office. Here’s what you need to put in each line:

Line 1: Fill out the service member’s name.

Line 2: This is usually for a business name, which can be ignored. You may put in a Navy ship’s name in this section if you want, but it’s not required.

Line 3: Enter the unit information.

Line 4: The zip code goes in the Postcode section. Enter the city (APO, FPO, DPO), too.

Line 5: This is where you enter your state designator (AA, AE, AP). DON’T enter the country where the base is located.

Confused? Don’t be! We’ll go over all this info in detail in a later section.

What Can’t Be Shipped to APO addresses?

The military will deny shipments containing obvious hazards like weapons and drugs. They will also reject shipments with:

  • GPS hardware or software
  • Oversized products like major appliances
  • Cell phones or cordless phones
  • CB radios or walkie talkies
  • Anything obscene, such as pornography or depictions of nudity
  • Unauthorized political materials
  • Pork and pork by-products
  • Bulk amounts of religious materials contrary to the Islamic Faith
  • FM transmitters

Personal use items counter to the Islamic faith are allowable. 

What Carriers Ship to APO Addresses?

The United States Postal Service is it. Yes, FedEx and UPS may ship to the country where the service member is stationed, but they can’t deliver to APO, FPO, or DOP locations for security reasons.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Package to an APO Address?

It will only cost as much as a regular stamp if you’re sending a letter. Yes, even if it’s going to an overseas base. As for packages, they’re also subject to domestic shipping prices rather than international. In other words, if you want to ship a package Priority Mail Express, the prices start at $26.95, just as they do for U.S. addresses.

5 Steps for How to Ship to an APO Address

Shipping to APO address recipients requires filling out the right information and avoiding banned items. Let’s go over how to address your shipment.

Step 1: Write the Recipient’s Full Name

Fill out the service member’s name as it appears in military files. Include their rank if applicable.

Step 2: Designate Where It’s Being Sent

You’ll need the unit information, which might not make sense to you, but that’s okay! It’ll make sense to the people in charge of delivering the package. 

In the address, you’ll see the name of the base. Depending on where the person is stationed, you may or may not have that information. If you know, that’s where it goes in the address.

Just FYI, PSC stands for Postal Service Center. There are other designations, such as CMR (Community Mail Room), UMR (Unit Mail Room), and OMDC (Official Mail Distribution Center).

Step 3: Find the State Designator

Think of the APO, FPO, and DPO as the city. Then, you have the state designator, AE, AP, or AA. The numbers after are like the zip code. You don’t have to include a country.

So what are the state designators? This can be confusing because these designators may tell the USPS which country to take the package to. This information tells the Post Office which U.S. city the shipment will get routed to before going overseas (or domestically).

AP: Armed Forces Pacific. Mail destined for bases in the Pacific gets routed through San Francisco.

AA: Armed Forces America. For the Americas, excluding Canada. Mail gets routed through Miami.

AE: Armed Forces Europe — for Europe, Canada, Africa, and the Middle East. Mail is routed through New York City. There used to be a specific AM for the Middle East, but that area is now covered through AE.

Step 4: Get the Exact Address

Everything must be in the correct order. If you have the recipient’s name below the address, for example, or you’re missing a piece of the address, the package will not get delivered.

Step 5: Complete the Address

Here’s an example of what an APO address might look like:

CPT Steve Armyman
PSC 404 Box 92
Eglin AFB
APO, AA 12097-1201

Every piece of the address is present and accounted for. Of course, this is a fictional address, but it gives you an idea of what it should look like. Run it past the service member to make sure it’s correct.

Trust Print Bind Ship to get Shipments to the Military

Sending packages to military members requires getting the address right, avoiding banned items, and using the U.S. Post Office. Is it still a hassle? Yes. Can Print Bind Ship take care of that hassle for you? Yes, we’ll take care of getting that package sent through the USPS. 

Perhaps a military service member ordered your latest self-published novel. As long as we get the address, we’ll print the book, bind it, package it, and ship it. If you’re ready to never step in line at the Post Office for an order fulfillment again, it’s time to talk to Print Bind Ship.


What Is the Delivery Lead Time for Military Mail?

Delivery lead time is as little as three days for European, Atlantic, and Asian locations. A week or more might be more common for Middle Eastern and Central American locations.

Is Shipping to an APO International?

Even for overseas APO addresses, the USPS treats these shipments as domestic.

Can Anyone Ship to APO?

For security purposes, only the USPS can deliver packages to APO addresses.