Detailed guide: BFPO services guide

Defence Equipment Support

May 28
15:40 2020

Follow our short guide to find out how to send mail with the British Forces Post Office (BFPO).


BFPO Service update as at 28 May 2020

The current situation across the BFPO world-wide mail distribution network is that mail routes to Cape Verde, Nepal, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia (Not Riyadh) and Tunisia, remain suspended and commercial restrictions to Nepal have been extended until at least 02 Jun 2020.

BFPO customers in USA should note that BFPO continue to monitor USA routes which remain stable at present.

BFPO customers should not expect a return to pre-COVID-19 service levels and in most locations service frequencies will remain inconsistent for a number of weeks/months. For those locations yet to be reconnected with BFPO mail services please be assured that BFPO are continuing to monitor the commercial world-wide mail conveyance network and will exploit all available outlets, where possible. BFPO will update customers with any new information regarding resumption of BFPO mail services in advance of service resumption.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty, at this time, BFPO customers are still strongly advised to:

  • not to place on line shopping orders or post mail destined for delivery via the BFPO system to any of the countries listed as service suspended until further notice
  • customers should expect delays and mail which is unable to be moved forward will be securely stored at BFPO Northolt until an outlet becomes available
  • customers in Brunei are reminded that mail items containing liquids/creams which are received in BFPO Northolt after 25 May 2020 will not be forwarded via current commercial outlets.

Customers are reminded that BFPO do not offer a guaranteed timed service and hold no liability for items which are perishable, out of date or unusable at the point of receipt.

Age Verification Knives and Blades

Amendments to the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 (OWA) will come into force shortly. One of the main outcomes of the OWA is to prohibit the online sale and delivery of blades to people under 18 years of age. Under the OWA, both the vendor and the courier company will, in certain circumstances, be criminally liable if bladed items are delivered into the hands of an individual who is under 18 years old.

Customers should note the following:

  1. Parcelforce has announced it will introduce an Age Verification Service on 1 November 2019. This service will only be available to account customers and not to personal customers at Post Office counters. Further details can be found on the Parcelforce website.

  2. Royal Mail has updated its prohibited and restricted advice to customers and has added Age Verification items to the prohibited list for BFPO customers. This will also commence on the 1 November 2019.

  3. Due to these prohibitions personal customers can no longer send a bladed product to or from a BFPO address using Royal Mail or Parcelforce stamped products, for example non-account holders purchasing mail products/services at the counter.

International driving licences

For enquiries about International Driving Licences, visit the DVLA website.

Advice for customers buying goods by mail order and online

BFPO has become aware that some customers based overseas are purchasing valuable items without ensuring that adequate compensation (insurance cover) for the item has been purchased at the same time.

Please note that it is entirely the customers responsibility to ensure that an item has adequate compensation cover when purchasing items that will be sent through the postal and BFPO system.

If the company will not offer additional compensation cover for your item, we advise careful consideration before placing an order with them and that you give further consideration to purchasing instead from a company that does.

It is especially important to ensure that items are adequately insured when buying from small marketplace sellers (e.g. EBay, Gumtree, Spock ).

Its worth remembering that couriers used to deliver goods will not know the value of your parcel and will not allow for additional compensation unless the individual or seller requests this. You should check with the supplier that they are using a service that offers the right level of compensation for your purchase.

As the individual placing your order, it is your responsibility to make sure your purchase is adequately covered should loss or damage occur.

Please note that BFPO cannot pay full compensation for damage or loss should your item not be covered for its full value. We strongly recommend using Royal Mail Special Delivery for expensive purchases, which offers several levels of compensation and comes with a full track and trace capability.

See full details in our Customer Service, Compensation and Commercial Mail Service sections.

BFPO customer services

Whilst the vast majority of customers will receive an excellent service and customer experience occasionally things go wrong and mail becomes lost or damaged.

To minimise the risk customers are advised to ensure the following:

  • use the correct full address, include the unit and sub unit, BFPO receives many letters and parcels with only a name and BFPO number; it may be impossible to locate the correct recipient especially in larger garrisons without the unit details; ensure that third parties have the full address and use it especially when internet shopping with commercial companies

  • BFPO mail may endure a long journey to reach its destination especially in remote areas of the world and mail may pass through several organisations e.g. airport cargo handlers and foreign mail administrations; senders of mail should use good quality packaging sufficient to withstand rough handling

  • the main cause of damage to contents is when the tops of plastic containers open in transit covering contents in liquid or gel. The main cause of this is shower gels. BFPO has to deal with several of these daily. Customers are advised to send these with screw caps or if not feasible secure the cap with adhesive tape to prevent opening in transit

  • include the senders address preferably on the reverse in order that the mail can be returned if we are unable to deliver it.

If your mail has not arrived within 30 working days then initially:

  • at a BFPO Location contact the Forces Post Office staff who will advise what course of action to take and assist with compiling claim forms, ensuring that the necessary evidence is attached to the claims form

  • in the UK collect a claim form from your local Post Office and once complete ensure that the necessary evidence is attached to the claims form

  • normally the sender of the mail should initiate claims for lost mail and the recipient for damaged mail

  • for goods purchased from commercial companies (mail order/on-line shopping) the commercial company holds the contract with BFPO and has to initiate the claims procedure; cus

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