Detailed guide: BFPO services guide

Defence Equipment Support

January 15
17:05 2021

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


BFPO Mail Services

In 2020, BFPO advised customers that from 1 January 2021, both domestic and international mail import/export regulations would change. This affects all packages and parcels posted outside of the UK and these new laws are driven by stricter aviation security and ?scal requirements. The introduction of these new regulations and familiarisation of the new processes within both the UK and EU mail systems are yet to fully bed in and are, unfortunately, having an impact on BFPOs ability to provide timely mail services to some UK Defence locations in the EU. This issue is being further complicated by COVID-19, which continues to impact world-wide commercial mail conveyance and is adding to service delays across the BFPO network.

BFPO customers in UK Defence locations in the EU are advised that, at this time, the above service complications are affecting BFPOs ability to provide routine mail services and delays are to be expected. In some cases, items that are not compliant with new mail import/export procedures will be returned to UK addresses. BFPO customers are reminded that it is a customer responsibility to ensure items are compliant with new international mail import/export regulations, guidance can be found at the export goods from the UK: step by step guide. BFPO customers are also reminded that that BFPO may not accept any liability for loss or damage for mail items which do not comply with the new regulations.

Please be assured that BFPO is working extremely hard to seek resolutions at the highest level and BFPO is confident that any impact/delay will be short-term. BFPO will continue to despatch mail to EU locations at every available opportunity however, at this time, BFPO cannot guarantee how long this process will take.

Important International & EU Mail Import/Export Changes

Changes to UK and international law will affect how mail and parcels will be cleared in the future and these new laws, which are driven by aviation security and fiscal requirements, will be getting much stricter throughout 2021. These changes start to be introduced as the UK/EU transition period ends and from 1 January 2021, parcels posted to/from BFPO customers located in EU/UK will require either a Royal Mail Customs Notification 22 (CN22), Customs Notification 23 (CN23) or Parcelforce Customs Pack (CP72) and Electronic Customs Data (ECD). Please note, that it is the senders responsibility to ensure that the new regulations are followed and failure to comply could result in items being seized and subjected to additional VAT/clearance charges prior to release by local customs authorities. In extreme cases, it could also lead to your parcels being returned or destroyed.

Ordering Online Goods for BFPO Overseas Addresses (including the EU)

New customs declaration procedures (CN22/CN23/CP72/ECD) will need to be completed by the seller/sender for products destined for overseas BFPO locations. Ordering/sending customers should have the opportunity to either pay VAT/clearance charges (if applicable) up front or opt for these charges to be paid by the recipient under local country arrangements. Additionally, from March 2021, there will be a requirement to supply ICS2 EU customs pre-arrival data which will be linked to your parcel and new mail VAT processes are scheduled for introduction in July. Further BFPO announcements will follow.

Posting Items at a Post Office Counter

When sending items to overseas BFPO addresses, you will be required to complete customs declarations forms in more detail than before, and in particular ensuring that exact contents and value are shown. Your local Post Office Counter staff will be able to take you through this process.

Customer Responsibility

Please note, that BFPO, who act solely as the shipping agent, have no responsibility or influence in customs matters and this responsibility rests with the sender or the selling/sending company.

Official Guidance on Mail Import/Export:

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

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