Instructions for mailing overseas

Who we are

The Canadian Forces Postal Service (CFPS) provides mail service to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and families who are serving outside Canada at various locations throughout the world. It is a vital link between those who are serving, and their friends and family at home. The CFPS is authorized to operate Canadian Forces Post Offices (CFPO) in accordance with the Canada Post Corporation Act.

Who can use the CFPS

You can use the CFPS if you’re sending mail to

  • CAF personnel who are serving on operational deployments outside Canada, including on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships that are sailing on maritime deployments in international waters;
  • Designated CAF personnel and DND employees (and their families) who are serving on a temporary basis outside Canada;
  • an employee of the Department of Defence (DND), or another official organization, who’s entitled to use CFPO (such as PSP members)

You should only use the CFPO to send mail to someone you know - there are other ways to support members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Latest Updates
Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers cannot be shipped by mail internationally - There has been an increase in customers trying to ship hand sanitizer products to destinations outside Canada affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Hand sanitizers are alcohol or ethanol-based products classified as Class 3 Flammable Dangerous Goods and cannot be mailed internationally.

Canada Post Offers Free Postal Services to Deployed CAF Members Serving Overseas

Canada Post is continuing with free delivery of letters and parcels to deployed troops from their family and friends during the 2021 Holiday Season. They understand how important these messages are to uplift the spirits of Canadian men and women serving overseas.

Canada Post offers the following services:

  • Free delivery of letters weighing up to 500 g to deployed troops will continue until December 31, 2022. Note: The Canada Post free letter mail program is not extended to letters/cards addressed to “Any Canadian Armed Forces Member” and all such items will require postage.
  • Free Regular Parcel service to designated missions and deployed ships from October 13, 2021 until January 14, 2022. Note: The Canada Post free postal service program is not extended to parcels addressed to “Any Canadian Armed Forces Member”. Letters/cards that are consolidated into a larger package will require postage.
  • These items are sent to any of the PO Box Stn Forces, Belleville, Ontario addresses and to HMC Ships addressed in Halifax or Victoria, as listed in CFPO Address section.

It is important to note that the mail item must be addressed to a specific CAF member and include rank and mission information. They must be brought to a Canada Post retail outlet for processing. Mail deposited in street letter boxes bearing no postage will not be delivered.

Mailing Deadlines for Guaranteed Christmas Deliveries

Canada Post has seen a significant increase in parcel volumes as Canadians stay home and shop more online. With incoming parcel volumes at Christmas levels, the safety measures they’ve implemented in their processing facilities mean it is taking longer to process. Those measures include physical distancing in facilities that were not designed for keeping people 2 meters apart. While they are delivering in record numbers for this time of year, customers should anticipate delays.

In order for the CFPS to offer guaranteed delivery by Christmas, the Christmas mail deadline is November 22th, 2021. Mail must reach our postal facilities in Trenton (via the Belleville address) or the Fleet Mail offices in Victoria or Halifax by that date to guarantee delivery by Christmas.

Having said that, if you are a bit late with mailing, don’t worry too much. While the letter, card or package you send may not be guaranteed to arrive by Christmas, any and all mail that arrives at the Canadian Forces Postal Unit is still sorted between the different operations/locations, combined into larger shipments, and then sent to each location on a weekly basis. This work by the postal unit staff continues every week, all year round. Regardless of what day it is on the calendar, any received mail item is always appreciated by the deployed soldier, sailor or aviator when it arrives.

How to prepare your mail
Packaging

Careful preparation and packaging helps ensure safe and secure delivery of items. The Canadian Forces Postal Services strongly recommends the use of environmentally friendly packaging.

The following tips are recommended for most parcels:

  • Choose a rigid, good quality, corrugated cardboard box. If you’re reusing a box, be sure to remove old shipping labels or cover up old addresses.
  • Wrap the item in tissue paper or newspaper (if fragile). For items mailed in a frame, like pictures, protect the front and back with strong cardboard larger than the frame. Place soft material between the frame and the cardboard to reduce pressure on the glass.
  • Package all liquids in multiple layers of waterproof wrapping to prevent damage to other contents and packages if the liquid spills.
  • Pack and seal the item in a container or box small enough to fit inside your shipping box.
  • Label the inner container with the address and return address and then put it inside the shipping box.
  • Surround the inner container with cushioning material (like an old t-shirt or bubble wrap) on the top, bottom and all sides to limit movement and protect the item.
  • Close the shipping box with reinforced tape.
  • Wrap the shipping box in kraft paper.
  • Tape all seams with reinforced tape.
  • Write the address and return address on the top — the largest side of the box.
Addressing your mail item

To avoid unnecessary delays in delivery of your mail items, follow these addressing guidelines:

  • The address should ideally be printed in uppercase
  • There should be two spaces between the province or territory and the Postal Code.
  • Postal Codes should be printed in upper case with the first three elements separated from the last three by one space. Do not use hyphens. If the Postal Code is not formatted in this manner, the mail may be delayed.
  • Mail Items must be clearly addressed with rank, initials and name on the first line; unit/ship (and section if known) on the second line.
  • Clearly write your return address in the top left corner.

Note: For the Any Soldier letter or card program, you may substitute “Any CAF Member” (or “Any Canadian Sailor” if sending to a deployed ship) instead of rank, initials and name on the first line.

Address Format for a CAF Member

Rank, Initials and Last Name
Unit (and section if known)
Operation (name of operation)
PO Box ---- (box number assigned to operation) Stn Forces
Belleville ON K8N 5W6

Address Format for a family member accompanying the CAF member

Use this format if the item is for a dependent of the CAF member who is posted with their family to an OUTCAN location supported by the CFPS.

Dependent’s Name
c/o Rank, Initials and Last Name
Unit (and section if known)
PO Box ---- (box number assigned to location) Stn Forces
Belleville ON K8N 5W6

Address Format for non CAF personnel

Use this format if the item is for a civilian employee of the DND/CAF, who’s entitled to use the CFPO, e.g. PSP members

PRI No (if available), Initials and Last Name
Unit (and section if known)
PO Box ---- (box number assigned to operation/location) Stn Forces
Belleville ON K8N 5W6

Current address list
Ships of the Royal Canadian Navy

The RCN assigns its ships to a “home port” to either the Atlantic Fleet in Halifax or the Pacific Fleet in Victoria. Mail for these ships are addressed as follows:

Rank and Name
HMCS (Name of Ship)
Fleet Mail Office Halifax
PO Box 99000 Stn Forces
Halifax NS B3K 5X5

Rank and Name
HMCS (Name of Ship)
Fleet Mail Office Esquimalt
PO Box 17000 Stn Forces
Victoria BC V9A 7N2

When the ship sails on training exercises, maritime patrols and/or operational deployments, the postal clerks assigned to the applicable Fleet Mail Office ensures that any mail is forwarded on to the ship, regardless of where the ship is sailing. The mail is be picked up during regular port visits or on occasion, even directly flown out to the ships.

Current Deployments

Each Operation/Location is assigned a specific PO Box Number, which is combined with the Belleville, ON K8N 5W6 portion to form the last two lines of the address. Simply find the location, and take the name of the operation and the assigned box number to enter into the address format from above. Don’t forget to write Stn Forces after the box number.

Operations in Africa
Location Operation Box No Notes

Sinai, Egypt

Calumet

5237

 

Goma, Congo

Crocodile

5311

Authorized Users only, all other mail returned to sender

Knsha, Congo

Crocodile

Nil

Mail addressed to PO Box 500 (Knsha), Station A, Ottawa, ON K1N 8T7.
No rank used.
Authorized users only, all other mail returned to sender

Bamako, Mali

Task Force Mali

5164

Don’t use either the words “Operation” or “Task Force Mali” in the address

Dakar, Senegal

Operational Support Hub

5299

 

Sudan

Saturn or Soprano

5225

 
Operations in Asia
Location Operation Box No Notes

Japan

Neon

5222

 
Operations in the Middle East
Location Operation Box No Notes

Qatar

Foundation or Impact

5301

 

Amman, Jordan

Impact

5242

 

Bahrain

Foundation

5302

 

Baghdad, Iraq

Impact

5304

 

Beirut, Lebanon

Impact

5241

 

Erbil, Iraq

Impact

5113

 

Kuwait

Impact

5006

 

Jerusalem

Jade

5239

 

Jerusalem

Proteus

5240

 
Operations in Europe
Location Operation Box No Notes

Pristina, Kosovo

Kobold

5249

 

Latvia

Reassurance

5004

 

Poland

Reassurance

5219

 

Romania

Reassurance

5200

Only active part of year

Cyprus

Snowgoose

5051

 

Ukraine

Unifier

5214

Packages containing food may cause long delays due to Ukrainian customs restrictions
Permanent locations served by the CFPS (use location, not operation in address)
Location Operation Box No Notes

Alert, Nunavut

5210

CFS Alert

 

Belgium

5048

CFSU Det Casteau

 

Great Britain

5051

CFSU Det UK

 

Naples, Italy

5045

CFSU Det Naples

 

Geilenkirchen, Germany

5053

Canadian Forces Support Unit (Europe) – CFSU (E)
Serves many other CAF members in Europe

 

Ramstein, Germany

5238

   

Stavanger, Norway

5266

   

Turkey

5244

   

Riga, Latvia

5004

CFSU Det Riga

 

UNC South Korea

5255

Lettermail only (No parcels)

 
Size and Weight
Letters
  • The minimum size of a letter is 14 cm x 9 cm (5.5 inches x 3.5 inches)
  • The maximum dimensions of a standard letter are 24.5 cm x 15.6 cm (9.6 inches x 6.1 inches)
  • The maximum dimensions of an oversize/non-standard letter is 38 cm x 27 cm (15 inches x 10.6 inches)
  • A letter can’t be more than 2 cm (about 3/4 inches) thick
  • The maximum weight of a letter is 500g.

If your letter is larger than the maximum dimensions or weight above it will be considered a parcel instead.

Parcels
In the following illustration, the parcel has the following dimensions: length = 1.0 m (Approx 39"), width = 0.3 m (Approx 12"), and height = 0.15 m (Approx 6").
  • The maximum size of any one side is one meter
  • The length plus girth of a parcel can’t be more than two meters.

    Girth

    Length: Longest side of your item
    Width: Depth of your item
    Height: Thickness of your item
    Girth: The distance around the parcel: (width + height) x 2

    For example, if the width of your item is 20 cm and the height is 15 cm, the girth is 70 cm (20 + 15) x 2 = 70 cm.

  • The maximum weight is 20kg.
What you can’t send

The customer is solely responsible for ensuring that an item is acceptable for mailing. Without limiting that responsibility, by depositing an item with Canada Post and/or CFPS the customer represents to Canada Post and/or CFPS that the item has been properly prepared and paid for, does not constitute non-mailable matter, and that the mailing of that item is permitted by applicable law. The customer acknowledges that in accepting an item for deposit, Canada Post and CFPS may expressly rely on that representation from the customer.

Security Screening

All mail using the CFPS will be security screened for dangerous or prohibited items before it is prepared for shipment overseas.

Parcels suspected of containing questionable contents,

  • Canada Post will be contacted
  • the parcel will be opened
  • the contents verified
  • prohibited items removed
  • a letter enclosed explaining the actions of the CFPS, and
  • if possible, the parcel will be forwarded to the addressee.

The CFPS will maintain a record of their actions concerning the parcel, the removed contents, a copy of the letter, and disposition of the contents.

Prohibited items

When an item is prohibited from importation, it means the item is not allowed to enter the international destination. If the item does enter the destination, it will most likely be seized and destroyed by customs, and will cause delays in mail delivery for other mail packages for other deployed members.

No article may be sent by mail if their nature or packaging may expose postal employees to hazards, or damage other items of mail. Mailing the following items is strictly prohibited by Canada Post and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF):

  • Weapons, (including knives) or replica weapons
  • Obscene material including magazines or pictures
  • Dangerous goods as defined by Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations
  • Compressed gas, (i.e. aerosol cans such as shaving cream, air fresheners, etc.)
  • Corrosive fluids
  • Flammable liquids or solids (matches, lighters, Many perfumes and toiletries have an alcohol base which is flammable)
  • explosives, radioactive materials or ammunition including inert ammunition
  • Lithium Batteries
  • Alcohol (beer, cider, coolers, wine, etc.)
  • Tobacco products (Cigarettes, Cigars, Cigarillos, Chewing Tobacco, Loose Tobacco, etc.)
  • Electronic Smoking Products (E-Cigarettes, Cigars, Cigarillos, Pipes and Liquid Cartridges, etc.)
  • Cannabis or any product containing Cannabis
  • Drugs or other controlled substances including narcotics
  • Perishable items (Fruit, Vegetable, Meat, etc.)
  • Plants, Seeds, Fruit, Bark, Plant Parts or Soil
  • Animals

Additional mailing prohibitions may be placed on parcel contents by the destination Country. It is the sender’s responsibility to ensure that they comply with the prohibitions listed above and destination Country prohibitions for mail as the CFPS, DND and Canada Post can’t assume responsibility when mail is returned or seized outside of Canada because these articles are prohibited at the destination.

A list of International Country restrictions and prohibitions can be found at International Destination Listing.

Charitable Goods/Humanitarian Aid

CAF Policy states that it is strictly prohibited to use the CFPS to send humanitarian aid or charitable donations considering that neither can be forwarded overseas via the Canadian Armed Forces Postal Service as per existing regulations

(CANFORGEN 02/09 - CHARITABLE GOODS DONATIONS).

It’s understandable that you, either as an individual or an organization/company, may wish to provide something tangible to improve the quality of life for the CAF member deployed outside of Canada. The intention to donate is admirable and it’s understood that this is a show of support for the work of the CAF and its members.

The Canadian Armed Forces operates an efficient and effective supply chain to support operations maximizing use of limited cargo space while minimizing excess capacity. The CFPS is not a separate means of delivery, but a part of this overall supply chain. Generally there is no space available in the postal system for humanitarian aid or charitable donations.

There are other ways to support CAF members, such as:

Customs Declarations

Letters and Postcards do not normally require itemized content lists or Customs Declarations Forms unless other items are included inside the envelope (e.g. DVDs).

All parcels are subject to Host Country Customs Inspections. Therefore, a detailed list of contents including quantity, weights (if known), and values must be annotated on the bottom left corner of all parcels. A Canada Post Customs Declaration Form (CP 72/CN 23), available at any Canada Post outlet and/or MFRC, must be filled out and attached to all parcels. The annotated list and Customs Declaration Forms will help expedite processing by the CFPS should there be any security observations with the parcel, and to expedite clearing of Host Country Customs. Parcels without annotated lists and Customs Declaration forms risk being delayed for security issues and/or confiscated by Host Country Customs.

In case the parcel can’t be delivered as addressed, the Customs forms also include a list of choices of what the CFPS should do with the parcel. Two options are it can be forwarded on to the CAF member’s home address (on file) or it can be returned to you (sender). Both of these options will require additional postage costs, which will be collected at the destination before it’s delivered. A third option is to “abandon” the parcel, in which case it will be disposed of locally.

Note: The forwarding/Return to Sender options are limited to those CFPOs which include CFPS staff for processing via the postal system. CFPOs which only offer one way, delivery point services can’t process mail back to Canada, therefore will treat undeliverable parcels as abandoned, and will dispose of them locally.

Where to drop off my mail
  • You may send your regular mail through any Canada Post Outlet in Canada.
  • If you are near a Canadian Forces Base in Canada, there may be a Military Post Office located onsite, which offers the same postal services as Canada Post but include military postal clerks who are well versed in the Canadian Forces Postal Service. (Note: not all bases have an MPO)
  • If you are family member or close friend using Morale Mail service to a CAF member you know personally, you can drop off your package at a local MFRC or Base/Wing Mailroom (This service does not extend to “Any CAF Member” mail)
  • Directly at the Canadian Forces Postal Unit, Bldg 348, 15 Westwin Ave, 8 Wing Trenton, Quinte West, Ontario (Note: local access to the base requires identification, and may be restricted at times due to ongoing security measures)
Any Canadian Armed Forces Member program

The thousands of Canadian Armed Forces members who are serving overseas appreciate receiving letters and cards from Canadians across the country. This program is also very popular with schools, clubs, and other organizations from across Canada.

Only letters or cards are acceptable for the program. Packages addressed to Any CAF member are considered charitable goods, which are prohibited in the Canadian Forces Postal System.

You may choose a specific mission from the address list or you may address the letters/cards to one of the three locations below:

 

Any CAF Member mail program
c/o CFPU Operations
Astra ON K0K 3W0

Any Canadian Sailor
Fleet Mail Office Halifax
PO Box 99000 Stn Forces
Halifax NS B3K 5X5

Any Canadian Sailor
Fleet Mail Office Esquimalt
PO Box 17000 Stn Forces
Victoria BC V9A 7N2

 

In addition, older retired members of the CAF also appreciate these letters and cards. For a veterans facility in your local community, please use this link to find an address to mail them a letter or card as well.

This program isn’t limited to Remembrance Day or the Christmas season. All mail that arrives at the Canadian Forces Postal Unit is sorted between the different operations/locations, combined into larger shipments, and then sent to each location on a weekly basis. This work by the postal unit staff continues every week, all year round. Regardless of what day it is on the calendar, any received mail item is always appreciated by the deployed soldier, sailor or aviator when it arrives.

Note: Canada Post’s offer of free postage services to deployed members is meant for friends and family of the deployed CAF member in question. Letters/Cards addressed to “Any CAF Member” can be sent, but will need a postage stamp. An option to save mailing costs is to combine multiple letters and cards into one larger package for sending, as only the package itself will need to be paid for.

Morale Mail Service

CAF Morale Mail is an internal Department of National Defence (DND) program providing an alternative one-way mail service to deployed soldiers from their families and friends. Most Bases across Canada offer the Morale Mail service either through the Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC) or local Military Post Office (MPO) as designated. Family and friends are encouraged to liaise with the Base Postal Clerks, unit family liaison/rear parties or local MFRC to determine whether this service is available in their area and if there are any local limitations to this service.

The service is provided at no cost to the sender, however the items are not trackable, nor are timelines for delivery guaranteed.

Loss of personal property

Morale Mail service is not recommended for sending personal property or items of any significant value. For those items, customers are advised to use the Canada Post mail service and to purchase insurance. In case of loss, CAF members and DND employees may submit a claim pursuant to DAOD 7004-2, via chain of command, to their serving AJAG office.

Limitation of Liability

As Morale Mail service is provided entirely by the CAF, no claim is to be raised against CPC. Except as specified at the “Loss of personal property” paragraph above, the Canadian Force Postal Service (CFPS) and DND shall not be responsible for any direct, indirect, general, special or consequential damages regardless of whether such damages result from loss or mishandling, damage or delay in delivering of items mailed through the Morale Mail service.

Delivery Time

Morale Mail service is normally processed weekly instead of daily, therefore expect timelines to be extended beyond what Canada Post can offer.

Frequently Asked Questions
What happens to your parcel if it’s delivered after the CAF member returns to Canada?

Letters that have postage stamps will either be forwarded to the member back in Canada (if the forwarding address is on file) or returned to sender.

Parcels that arrive will comply with the instructions on the customs forms attached. The options include:

  1. The parcel can be forwarded to the member but will have additional postage charges.
  2. The parcel can be returned, but requires a return address and will also have postage charges.
  3. The parcel can be “abandoned”, in which case the contents will be disposed of.

If there isn’t a choice indicated on the instruction on the customs form, or the customs form itself is gone, the parcel will be treated as per above, using the best option available.

There is always possibilities of delays in processing the mail in any one of the Canada Post system, the CFPS system, the Morale Mail system or even with arrangements for the final delivery in the country you send to, so if you know the CAF member you’re sending to is scheduled to return to Canada within the next four weeks, you should avoid sending them mail.

I’m a teacher whose class has written letters/cards to our soldiers, what’s next?

You can package the letters/cards into a larger envelope (to save postage costs) and mail to one of the current operations, or you can find a veterans home in your local area to send to. Veterans Affairs also offers various tools for teachers in the classroom.

Can I send a care package to any CAF member?

Thank you for your kind intentions; unfortunately, the Canadian Forces Postal System can't accept parcels unless they are addressed to a specific soldier/sailor/aviator on deployment (in other words, no “any Canadian soldier” packages). Having said that, letters and/or cards are good to go, and much appreciated as well.

At times, the soldier/sailor/aviator who receives one of the cards or letters may write back and that becomes an opportunity to build an enhanced relationship, one that can include packages as there will then be a name associated with the address.

Is there a Pen Pal Program?

There isn’t a program, but at times, the soldier/sailor/aviator who receives one of the cards or letters may write back and that becomes an opportunity to build an enhanced pen pal relationship.

If I write to Any CAF Member, do I need a stamp on every letter inside a package?

No, only the outside package needs postage. This is a great way to reduce costs.

I saw a post on Facebook that has PO Box 5140, but it’s not on the address list.

Unfortunately, that particular Facebook post, which has gone viral over the years, has an error with the actual PO Box used, in that it’s a “retired” PO Box assigned to an operation from years ago. We’re glad you noticed the error in the post and reached out to confirm the information.

You can choose a current operation from the current operations list and use its assigned PO Box number instead.

The media is reporting that the address for Any CAF Member is PO Box 5004.

Each Operation/Location is assigned a specific PO Box Number. In this case, PO Box 5004 Stn Forces is assigned to the CAF members who are part of NATO’s mission in Latvia (Operation Reassurance). You may use that PO Box number, or you may choose one from the list of current operations.

Again, thank you for reaching out and confirming the address. We know that the soldier, the sailor or the aviator who does receive your mail will appreciate it as well.

Why do I need a customs form for Alert, which is in Canada?

At times, the mail transits through Greenland (which is part of Denmark) via an American air base establishment. This form ensures there are no issues with either country.

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