Detailed guide: BFPO services guide

Defence Equipment Support

October 7
13:24 2020

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


In conjunction with our UK partners, BFPO have now finalised and released advised latest recommended posting dates for Christmas 2020 and the entitlement to Christmas Families Free Mail Services, which commences on 23 October and ends on 21 November: BFPO last recommended posting dates for Christmas 2020.

BFPO Christmas 2020: Mail Services update:

As COVID-19 continues to impact world-wide commercial mail conveyance, it is extremely important that BFPO customers fully understand that BFPO do not expect any increase to current service provision levels and that BFPO anticipate, that service frequencies will remain inconsistent for the remainder of the year, at least.

BFPO customers can be assured that throughout the run up to Christmas, that BFPO will continue to exploit every opportunity to move mail forward in support of the overseas defence community, however due to the ongoing uncertainty, at this time, BFPO customers are strongly advised to:

  • post mail items and place mail orders as early as possible BFPO overseas customers are also advised to pass this message to family and friends, to avoid disappointment should the world-wide mail pipeline become further disrupted in the run up to Christmas 2020
  • 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are reminded that BFPO do not offer a guaranteed timed service and hold no liability for items which are perishable, out of date or unusable at the point of receipt.

BFPO Service Update, 11 September 2020

The current situation across the BFPO world-wide mail distribution network is that mail routes to Cape Verde, Khamis (Saudi Arabia), and Tunisia remain suspended.

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 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. 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
  • expect delays and mail which is unable to be moved forward will be securely stored at BFPO Northolt until an outlet becomes available
  • be 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 for

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