Postal Authorities Lift Ban on Overseas Mailing Electronic Devices, Lithium Batteries

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

ElectronicsGood news for overseas troops and the people who love them: The U.S. Postal Service has announced that they are lifting the prohibition on mailing lithium batteries and electronic devices that contain them to overseas addresses. This means you can send laptops, cell phones and other similar devices to your deployed or otherwise stationed overseas loved one.

The U.S. Postal Service originally prohibited shipping these items last May, citing international aviation regulations. Some aviation regulators were concerned that lithium batteries may catch fire or combust in transit, putting aircraft and crews at risk. Originally, the USPS anticipated getting clearance to resume transportation of lithium batteries. Regulators were able to come to an agreement earlier than anticipated, however, and the Post Office will once again begin transporting lithium batteries to overseas locations as of 15 November.

This also means that military members stationed overseas can once again freely buy electronic items via mail order, without having to pay extra for FedEx or UPS service, and without running afoul of postal regulations.

The lifting of the ban is also welcome news, because it comes in time for families and loved ones to meet Christmas mailing deadlines.

Mailing Deadlines

To ensure your deployed loved one receives his or her Christmas package on time, be sure to adhere to the mailing deadlines:

  • 26 November – The deadline to send mail via SAM. Per the MPSA, “SAM parcels are paid at Parcel Post postage rate of postage with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.”
  • 30 November – The date to send mail via PAL to APO, FPO or DPO codes starting with 093. Per the MPSA, “PAL is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for Parcel Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface rate of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.”
  • 03 December – The date to send mail via PAL to all other APO, FPO or DPO codes.
  • 03 December – The deadline to send packages via First Class or Priority Mail to postal codes starting with 093.
  • 10 December – The deadline to send First Class or Priority Mail to all other APO, FPO or DPO codes.
  • 17 December – The deadline to send packages by Express Mail Military Service to overseas postal codes.

Note: The deadline for mailing by Parcel Post has already passed. It was 13 November.

Note also that no Express Mail Military Service is generally available to APO, FPO or DPO codes starting with 093. Express service is only available to select postal codes. Check with your military post office to see if you can send Express mail to your desired destination.

For more information, visit the Military Postal Service Agency’s Web site.


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