2021 USPS Holiday Shipping Cut Off Dates for Military Members

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The U.S. Postal Service sets deadlines to mail packages to and from overseas locations, including overseas military locations and Army or Air Force Post Office, Fleet Post Office and Military Post Office addresses.

The Christmas holidays are almost here, which means you need to act quickly if you have friends or family members who are living overseas on a military installation. Shipping to MPO/APO/FPO/DPO addresses can take a little longer than shipping within the continental U.S., especially when the holiday season rolls around.

The following tables list the USPS holiday cutoff dates for domestic, MPO/APO/FPO/DPO and other overseas locations. Pay attention to the shipping cutoff dates in order to ensure your Christmas gifts and care packages arrive on time for the holidays. You should try to beat the cutoff dates if possible, since some shipments may require customs checks or may experience other delays.

2021 Domestic Mail Holiday Shipping Cut Off Dates

The following chart lists the cut-off dates for domestic mail packages to reach their destination by the Christmas holiday. When in doubt, try to get your package out earlier than the cut-off date if possible.

Domestic Mail Class/Product Cut-Off Date
USPS Retail Ground Dec. 15
First-Class Mail® Dec. 17
Priority Mail Dec. 18
Express Mail* Dec. 23

2021 Military Mail Christmas Holiday Cut Off Dates

Military members can receive standard packages at Military Post Offices, Army or Air Force Post Offices and Fleet Post Offices (FPO) addresses. The price of military mail postage is the same as domestic postage, and a First-Class mail stamp will deliver a letter to a U.S. military service member located anywhere in the world. These packages are first sent to the East or West Coast of the U.S. and then shipped to military installations worldwide. Keep in mind that there can be delays, so it’s best to ship your package early if possible.

Military Mail Addressed To Express Mail® Military Service (PMEMS)1/ First-Class Mail® Letters and Cards Priority Mail® USPS Retail Ground
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 090-092 Dec. 16 Dec. 9 Dec. 9 Nov. 6
APO/FPO AE ZIP 093 N/A Dec. 9 Dec. 9 Nov. 6
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 094-098 Dec. 16 Dec. 9 Dec. 9 Nov. 6
APO/FPO AA ZIP 340 Dec. 16 Dec. 9 Dec. 9 Nov. 6
APO/FPO AP ZIPs 962-966 Dec. 16 Dec. 9 Dec. 9 Nov. 6
* PMEMS is available to select military post offices. Check with your local post office to determine if this service is available.

2020 International Mail Christmas Holiday Cut Off Dates

International Mail Addressed To Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG)* Priority Mail Express International® (EMS) Priority Mail® International (PMI) First-Class Package International Service (FCPIS)
Africa Dec. 20 Dec. 6 Nov. 29 Nov. 29
Asia/Pacific Rim Dec. 20 Dec. 13 Dec. 6 Dec. 6
Australia/New Zealand Dec. 20 Dec. 13 Dec. 6 Dec. 6
Canada Dec. 22 Dec. 13 Dec. 6 Dec. 6
Caribbean Dec. 21 Dec. 13 Dec. 6 Dec. 6
Central & South America Dec. 20 Dec. 6 Nov. 29 Nov. 29
Mexico Dec. 21 Dec. 13 Dec. 6 Dec. 6
Europe Dec. 22 Dec. 13 Dec. 6 Dec. 6
Middle East Dec. 20 Dec. 13 Dec. 6 Dec. 6
*GXG: Cutoff does not take into account time needed for customs clearance. Extra Transit time should be allocated.

Tips for Sending Military Members Mail Overseas

There are a few restrictions for sending mail to military members in overseas locations. In general, ensure anything you send to military members in an overseas location is legal in the country in which they are located. Also avoid sending hazardous items, illegal substances and anything else that may be restricted.

Other tips:

  • Use sturdy packaging. Use a strong box with appropriate tape (no string or twine).
  • Use adequate cushioning. Bubble Wrap, air cushions, and Styrofoam peanuts are great for securely packing items.
  • Labels and customs forms. Clearly label the contents, especially if you need a customs form.
  • Batteries. Remove batteries from objects and wrap them separately.
  • Be aware of heat or other extremes. Many military members are stationed in extreme temperatures, and some contents may not do well in hot weather. (For example, it’s not a good idea to send chocolate bars to a desert location in the summer).
  • Don’t send packages addressed to “Any Service Member or Any Wounded Warrior.” This practice has been discontinued following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Only send packages to troops you know, or make a donation to a service organization that supplies troops with care packages.

Customs Forms May Be Required When Sending to/from APO, FPO and MPO ZIP Codes

Effective Aug. 13, 2020, if you are sending a package from an APO, FPO or MPO ZIP code, you must create a customs form online, or bring a completed PS Form 2976-R to a retail counter for the clerk to create the label.

Use the Military Care Package Kit to Send Presents and Care Packages

You can order a free military care kit, created by the Postal Service and containing the following items, which military families most frequently requests:

  1. Two Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO flat-rate boxes
  2. Four Priority Mail medium flat-rate boxes (two top-loading and two side-loading)
  3. One roll of Priority Mail tape
  4. Six Priority Mail address labels
  5. Six customs-form envelopes

Call the U.S. Postal Service at 800-610-8734 to order a kit, and visit their website for guidelines for packing and shipping packages to service membersTo order flat-rate boxes featuring the “America Supports YOU” logo, go to usps.com/freeboxes.

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