By Marguerite Cleveland
Yes, 2020 will have holidays and if you have loved ones stationed or deployed overseas time is running out. The first deadline for a December 25 arrival is November 6. Here are the 2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines from the United States Postal Service:
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to domestic addresses and Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office addresses*:
- Nov. 6 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground service
- Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 11 — APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
- Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
- Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
- Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
- Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
- Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
- Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service
Did you know you can order free Military Care Kit online from USPS which contains boxes, tape and labels? There are also a variety of Priority Mail® APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes and other mailing supplies at Free Shipping Supplies.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the season:
- Ship Online – Visit USPS.com. You can order supplies, print labels and if you ship using Flat Rate Boxes you can schedule a pickup at your home and avoid the lines at the Post Office. Just note that almost 500,000 consumers will use online services on Dec. 14, 2020 so plan to ship prior to that date.
- USPS Busiest Time – If you must visit the post office know that customer traffic picks up beginning December 7. The week of Dec. 14-21 is predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.
- Use Click-N-Ship for APO & FPO and sending overseas. Click-N-Ship® allows you to create Priority Mail International® and Priority Mail Express International® postage and address labels. When you send an international package through military and diplomatic mail, follow the destination country’s restriction policies, and include customs forms when necessary. Click-N-Ship will guide you through the customs forms process. Click-N-Ship will alert you to some of the prohibitions and restrictions based on the 5-digit Military Post Office ZIP Code™ you’re shipping to, but you are responsible for ensuring your package complies with the laws and regulations of the U.S. and the destination country. You often need a customs form to ship overseas. Click-N-Ship will also let you know which customs forms you need.
- Note you can’t ship hand sanitizer or flammable sanitizing wipes overseas.
- Properly prepare your shipment correctly. For international shipments tuck an address inside the box in case the box gets damaged and include delivery and return addresses. Also don’t forget temperatures in the desert can exceed 100 degrees so take that into account when planning a care package.
Properly Address Mail Going to an APO/FPO/DPO
According to the USPS website each shipment to an APO/FPO/DPO needs the recipient’s name, rank, and unit, and the APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code™. Always include a return address. Mail and shipments must be addressed to a specific person; addressing to “Any Service Member” is no longer permitted. To prevent mail from entering foreign mail networks, do not include city or country names in APO/FPO/DPO shipping addresses. Here are properly addressed shipment examples:
Army/Air Post Office (APO)
PFC JOHN 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)
UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048