Mailing to U.S. military abroad from Germany

36 posts in this topic

 

... At the main post office here in Stuttgart, however, I haven't had any problems. So far my packages have always reached their destination, even when sent from one of the post offices where they weren't sure what to do with them initially. So as much as they may tell you otherwise, you do not need to add a country to the APO/FPO address. ...

Just a cautionary note here, if you must, you can write 'USA' on an APO/FPO. Never add the host country's name, otherwise you risk it being misrouted to the host country's mail system which means long delays and likely going astray permanently because they cannot deliver to a US address (which is what a APO/FPO really is). Do not add anything else.

 

From the Postal Master:

If mailing via German mail to an APO/FPO the Deutsche Post will charge you for international shipping to the USA even though it will never leave Germany (it's gets sorted at the airport, but that's the way it works). The US forces have been here a long time and while your local German post office may be confused, Deutsche Post knows what to do with them in routing. As previously noted, you can write USA on it to keep your local German post office happy. DO NOT WRITE 'GERMANY' on it -it's not going to Germany, it's going to an APO/FPO which is a USA based address

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You can't. Ever. You'll need to rent an address in town or know someone in town who's willing to receive for you.

Wrong. See Prev. posts.

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I was also curious how to convert my APO box into a German address so i can receive mail from my German doctors etc. any ideas?

 

From experience I know that you cannot send a certified letter through the German mail to an APO address.

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From the Postal Master:

If mailing via German mail to an APO/FPO the Deutsche Post will charge you for international shipping to the USA even though it will never leave Germany (it's gets sorted at the airport, but that's the way it works). The US forces have been here a long time and while your local German post office may be confused, Deutsche Post knows what to do with them in routing. As previously noted, you can write USA on it to keep your local German post office happy. DO NOT WRITE 'GERMANY' on it -it's not going to Germany, it's going to an APO/FPO which is a USA based address

 

Not true. You do not have to pay for international shipping when sending stuff to an APO/FPO address from Germany. You pay for domestic shipping as the mail is handed over in Germany.

I've done this several times (as have others I know), never had any issues. I also did not put USA under the address (I don't put another country either of course as that'd get the mail lost). Some on another forum have suggested writing "Amerikanische Feldpost - wird zu einem US-Stuetzpunkt innerhalb BRD befoerdert, daher nur Inlandsporto" on the package or letter which may help if you are in an area where they are not familiar with APO addresses (in Heidelberg I have not ever had to explain). If one post office tells you that you have to pay int'l postage, try another one. If it's just a letter the difference isn't that much (though 3x as much) but if it's a package it's actually quite a lot more expensive with int'l postage. See here.

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Apo is really only good US - US base and base- US.

 

Base to Base works too. I sent something from Germany to Japan via APO.

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My apologies if I got it wrong...I'm asking again to verify as I dislike putting out bad info.

Will post update one-way or the other.

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Agreed with Mariposa, but the best way to do it is to just ask the APO mail room people the CORRECT Local German addres

from the get-go. No guessing, no problems, local postage. Stop beating about and just request the correct address/formatting from

the person you are sending the package too..Yeeeeesshh

 

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Yeah but you may not always have that option, i.e. when you are sending something to someone who is deployed or not stationed in Germany (you still only have to pay for domestic postage though).

 

By the way, a friend of mine who lived in family housing on post in Mannheim and her family had a regular German street address (for the street they lived on).

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To Darkknight & Mariposa I was wrong (I ran down a better source than I had originally).

 

For posting from the German mail system to an German APO it should be the equivalent of the German first class rate

As for using your CMR as a German address, follow the directions from Darkknight he had it right

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I was told from the mail room just put

 

Your Name

CMR #

Box #

PLZ Heidelberg

 

and that should work.

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Hey BostonSprotsFan,

Honestly the easiest way i could think about sending him mail (and this depends on if you are certain of his address)  is that theres this iPhone app that lets you send mail to military service members and they are based in the US, so basically you just send text and an image if you want from your phone and they print it out and send it to him, it also comes with a return envelope thats automatically addressed and stamped to come back to you so they don't have to buy stamps/envelopes and find your address, it costs $1.89 to send a letter but its worth it to me anyway since its so much quicker and easier. Its called Sandboxx (not a typo it has two x's) and its free in the apple app store, i use it to send my buddies mail all the time cause i feel like i never remember to or really have time to sit down and write a full on letter and im basically on my phone all the time anyway. heres the link if you want to download it  SANDBOXX

Good luck man

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I had a question about Customs forms for APO mail. I mailed a package today to an AE APO thru Deutsche Post; did I need to fill out a Customs Declaration? The postal clerk was unfamiliar with APO's, so I explained that AE APO all go to Frankfurt before being sorted and redirected; in this case the package was ultimately gong to the Middle East. On the one hand I can see that a Customs form wouldn't be required by Duetsche Post since, as far as they are concerned, it isn't leaving the country. On the other hand, I can't imagine the US military wanting to accept a package without some idea of what is in it. In the end the postal clerk agreed to attach a Customs declaration, even though she felt it was unnecessary; we'll see if it makes it to the destination.  As far as cost, I just had to paid the local rate for shipping within Germany. Does anyone have any experience this; was a Customs form required/necessary?

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A Customs form is normally required, but the APO might not care or even read the customs label.  There are two self-adhesive shipping labels at my Deutsche Post.  One is for mail within the EU, and the other is for all other destinations.  The label for all other destinations includes an area for the customs declaration, and this is the label you should use when mailing anything other than envelopes to an APO address from a German post office.

 

For one of my birthdays, my sister in North Carolina sent me a package and put something like "dismembered body parts for experimentation in reanimation" on the USPS customs form.  The package arrived in the normal time without incident or signs of being opened.  Even the APO clerk who gave me the package didn't notice.

 

Unless the process has changed, all packages from foreign post offices bound for APO/FPO addresses go to the U.S. before being routed to the destination.  Even within the U.S. military postal system (MPS) all accountable mail (insured, certified, and registered) being sent between APOs goes to New York before being sent on to the destination and requires the appropriate postage.  If the mail is not accountable, then MPS packages go directly to the destination through the local airport hubs free of charge.

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So just to follow-up, the package did find it's way to the Middle East. Looking the DL tracking, it took it about 10 days to be handed over to the US Military mail facility outside of Frankfurt...that's about a 90 minute drive from where I mailed it, so I'm guessing the APO address did cause some confusion. ) Took another 10 days to get to the deployed soldier.  Got there in the end!

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The APO system in general seems to be quite the mess at times. Which is somewhat surprising, given how long it's been around.

 

At work, we do send feedback forms to customers (mostly folks at Patch, Panzer or Kelley) and from what I can tell, the majority of these never arrive. But good to know it did eventually work out for you, Chuck.

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For what it's worth, I just MPS'd a package from Germany to Japan and it arrived within a week. For free! Your milage will definitely vary with the military postal system.

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