Properly addressing mail destined for military post office

by Lionel Rivera
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa A6 Postal Operations Branch

One of our closest and strongest ties to home is the mail. Whether it’s birthday cards from Grandma, holiday presents, bills, special online orders, or cookies from Mom, the mail touches each of us every day.  Fortunately, mail service is relatively quick and efficient despite being overseas.  However, family members and mailers back home need to know a few important pointers about mailing to an overseas APO or FPO. 

Inform your correspondents NOT to include “City” and/or “Country” before or after the PSC, UNIT or APO number.  United States Postal Service (USPS) international agreements require mail addressed with city and country names anywhere on the address to be sent to the host country’s international postal system

Use APO (for Army/Air Force Post Office) or FPO (for Fleet Post Office) for the city, and either AA, AE, or AP for the state.  For European/Africa APOs, use AE. Using the foreign city and country name will most likely cause the mail to be handled through international mail channels instead of the military postal system.  

Host country customs could levy import customs duties based on the merchandise value in the mail you receive through the international mail system.

USPS processes parcels using automated sorting machines.  If a package is incorrectly addresssed, it could potentially get stuck in an automation loop situation.  This mail is enventually manually sorted and sent through the international mail system.

Bottom line: Do not include foreign city or country name as part of the mailing address or the customs declaration form.

Contact your local Air Force installation postmaster for additional information on how to properly address mail bound for overseas military postal service members.