Military Addresses

Learn the basics of U.S. military addresses to ensure smooth & accurate delivery of letters and packages to those who serve

Personal letters or packages are a helpful way to feel connected to those who live abroad. This is especially true for families with loved ones in the military. Ensuring a smooth and accurate delivery is important in this case. Let’s walk through some of the basics and help make this process easier.

How do I write a military address?

For domestic bases, the delivery address is simply the street address as well as the city, state, and ZIP Code or ZIP+4 Code, (including P.O. box or unit number if needed).

For overseas bases, it becomes a bit more complicated. First, you’ll need to identify whether the Post Office is an APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office) or DPO (Diplomatic Post Office). APOs correspond to any Army installation and FPOs serve the U.S. Navy and any carrier ships. DPOs apply to diplomatic installations, like an embassy.

Next, you’ll need to also include a two-character “state” abbreviation, which corresponds to the route of travel as well as the location of the base. These include:

  • AE: Armed forces in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada
  • AP: Armed forces in the Pacific
  • AA: Armed forces in the Americas (excluding Canada)

Additionally, you’ll need to include the military address type:

  • CMR: Consolidated Mail Room
  • OMC: Official Mail Center
  • PSC: Postal Service Center
  • UMR: Unit Mail Room
  • UNIT

Along with the recipient’s name, rank and unit, you must also include the ZIP Code. This is nine digits and specific to the APO, FPO or DPO area.

Here are some examples of formatted military addresses:


PSC 4 BOX 4130     UNIT 8400 BOX 0001       UNIT 100 BOX 4005

APO AE 09021         DPO AE 09498-0048       FPO AP 96691

In order to prevent the mail from entering foreign mail systems, don’t include any country or city names. Also, make sure to include a return address.

What am I allowed to send?

There are restrictions to what can be sent. Apart from the International Shipping Prohibitions and Restrictions guidelines, each APO, FPO and DPO has its own conditions regarding content, handling and preparation. For specific guidelines, visit the USPS’s Military Restriction look-up tool and enter the five-digit ZIP Code of the recipient’s location.

What do military addresses mean for my business?

With several unique codes, like the state abbreviation or military address type, there’s room for error when mailing packages or letters to military addresses. For businesses that ship to APO/FPO/DPO destinations, verifying the address is crucial in preventing missing or returned mail. With overseas addresses, the cost of missing mail is particularly expensive due to higher postage and transportation fees. Plus, for those serving, receiving a package on-time, without hassle, makes a difference.

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At Melissa, we’ve leveraged 38 years of address verification expertise to give you the best possible products. Learn more from our collection of Address Experts articles.

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