USA — Postal Service Sets Holiday Mail Deadline

WASHINGTON — The rec­om­mend­ed mail­ing dead­line for send­ing econ­o­my-priced hol­i­day pack­ages to ser­vice­mem­bers in Afghanistan, Iraq and oth­er places around the world is Nov. 12, offi­cials at the U.S. Postal Ser­vice say.

“Ship­ping hol­i­day pack­ages ear­ly helps ensure that they arrive in time for the hol­i­days,” Pranab Shah, vice pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing direc­tor of glob­al busi­ness at the Postal Ser­vice, said in a press release this week. “They are a great morale boost for those men and women serv­ing their coun­try in places far from home.”

Oth­er dead­lines for arrival by Dec. 25 are Nov. 26 for space-avail­able mail; Dec. 3 for par­cel air­lift mail; Dec. 10 for pri­or­i­ty mail and first-class mail, let­ters and cards; and Dec. 18 for express mail mil­i­tary ser­vice.

Hol­i­day pack­ages and mail head­ed for Iraq and Afghanistan must be sent a week ear­li­er than the dead­lines above, Postal offi­cials say. Express mail mil­i­tary ser­vice is not avail­able to those des­ti­na­tions.

The Postal Ser­vice offers a dis­count on its largest pri­or­i­ty-mail flat-rate box -– a 12-inch by 12-inch by 5.5‑inch car­ton that can accom­mo­date lap­top com­put­ers, small con­ven­tion­al ovens, and mil­i­tary care pack­ages.

Mail sent to over­seas mil­i­tary address­es costs the same as domes­tic mail and the usu­al price for the large flat-rate box is $14.50. But for pack­ages head­ing to APO/FPO address­es, the Postal Ser­vice charges $12.50 or $11.95 for those who print the pri­or­i­ty-mail postage label online.

Pri­or­i­ty-mail flat-rate box­es are free at any Post Office and can be ordered online at Postage, labels and cus­toms forms can be print­ed online at the Postal Ser­vice web­site.

APO/FPO address­es usu­al­ly require cus­toms forms, Postal offi­cials say, and each coun­try has cus­toms reg­u­la­tions that apply to all mail, includ­ing U.S. mil­i­tary mail, com­ing into the coun­try.

Mail addressed to mil­i­tary and diplo­mat­ic post offices over­seas is sub­ject to restric­tions in con­tent, prepa­ra­tion and han­dling. Each five-dig­it mil­i­tary and post office ZIP code [APO/FPO] has spe­cif­ic restric­tions but the fol­low­ing are pro­hib­it­ed in the regions of Oper­a­tion New Dawn in Iraq and Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom in Afghanistan:

— Hor­ror comics and obscene arti­cles like prints, paint­ings, cards, films and video­tapes;
— Any­thing depict­ing nude or semi­nude per­sons, porno­graph­ic or sex­u­al items, or unau­tho­rized polit­i­cal mate­ri­als;
— Bulk quan­ti­ties of reli­gious mate­ri­als con­trary to the Islam­ic faith, though items for per­son­al use are per­mit­ted, and, — Pork or pork by-prod­ucts.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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