Defence and armed forces – guidance

BFPO services guide

How to use the British Forces Post Office, claim compensation and use the Enduring families free mail service (EFFMS).

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

Announcements

There are currently no announcements.

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

  • 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; customers must contact the company to initiate the process

  • ensure you have the correct amount of compensation for the value of the goods being sent, basic cover included in the postage cost is for Royal Mail a maximum of £20 per mail item and Parcelforce £100 per mail item; if your goods are valued in excess of these amounts purchase the extra compensation or you will not recover the full cost

Compensation services

Letters and small parcels

No fee payable in addition to postage. Compensation up to a maximum of £20 may be paid where it can be shown that a letter was damaged or lost while in the custody of either Royal Mail or the British Forces Postal Service. Customers are to be advised to obtain a Certificate of Posting, which must be produced in the event of loss, in cases where they feel they would wish to claim if the item was lost.

Royal Mail Signed For (formerly Recorded delivery)

Available for all Letter Services (Air and Surface Letters, Small Parcels and Printed Papers) to UK plus to and from BFPO numbered addresses. Prices start from £1.72. Maximum compensation is £50 for loss or damage.

Special delivery (not by surface mail)

This service provides a signature on delivery and compensation cover for valuables. There are 6 weight steps for the sending of ‘special delivery’ to BFPO. These are as laid out on the tables below. The maximum weight that may be sent is 20 kg. Customers may use their own envelope, but items containing money or jewellery must be sent using the Royal Mail Special delivery prepaid envelopes if compensation is to apply for loss or damage. Special delivery does not provide timed delivery, telephone confirmation of delivery or compensation for delay or consequential loss. See table below for compensation available and the cost of the service including postage.

Assess the cost of special delivery

Check the weight of the item to be covered for compensation in the first column and read off the cost in the second column, this includes postage. Affix the correct postage to the item.

Weight (Max) Cover to £500*
100 g £6.45
500 g £7.25
1 kg £8.55
2 kg £11.00
10 kg £26.60
20 kg £41.20

Additional cover can be purchased up to £2,500 at the time of posting.

*Prices effective from 29 March 2016

International signed for

For airmail and surface mail letters, small parcels and printed papers up to 2 kg, available to all International destinations. The fee payable in addition to postage is £6.00, if your ‘International Signed for’ item is lost or damaged; compensation is up to £50. Further compensation is available for £2.50 and gives compensation up to £250 (depending on the country).

Sending tablets/iPads

BFPO are increasingly seeing instances of damaged tablet computers/iPads due to insufficient packaging. Senders are using Jiffy bags and or bubble wrap which is not adequate to protect the screens from damage within the postal system. BFPO will not accept any claims for damaged screens where inadequate packing was used. Senders should where possible use the manufacturers original packaging or as a minimum standard a rigid cardboard box and solid polystyrene foam blocks to cushion against impact and keep the item from moving inside the box.

BFPO Worldwide parcels

Compensation for the loss of or damage to parcels up to £100 per parcel is included in the price charged for the BFPO Worldwide service. For the fees shown below customers may increase this cover up to a maximum of £2500 per parcel.

Level Additional Total Cover Cost*
1 £200 £1.80
2 £300 £6.30
3 £400 £10.80
4 £500 £15.30

Every subsequent £100 add £4.50

Compensation is subject to conditions and certain exclusions. If you have any questions contact the Parcelforce Worldwide Enquiry Centre on 08448 00 44 66 or the BFPO Enquiries Team on 03457 69 79 78.

*Prices effective from 31 March 2014

All HM forces parcels sent by customers who do not have a business contract with Parcelforce Worldwide must bear a fully completed despatch pack PFU5/CP72 (or replacement) available from your local Post Office branch. Business Commercial customers will be supplied with relevant documentation.

Online postage issues

Customers are reminded that the Royal Mail online postage service is not available from a BFPO location to the UK or international destinations. Online postage expires if the stamp has not entered into the UK postal system by 11:59pm the next working day after purchase and as such BFPO cannot support/offer this service.

Customers who purchase and use online postage may find the recipient is surcharged before the mail can be delivered. If the recipient refuses to pay the surcharge the mail may become difficult to trace if no senders details are available resulting in the loss of the item. In such cases BFPO cannot pay compensation.

Enduring families free mail service (EFFMS)

Enduring families free mail service (EFFMS)

The MOD Enduring Families Free Mail Service (EFFMS) has been authorised for Ops and HM ships in support. This service will operate until further notice.

Families and friends in the UK and at BFPOs can send packets up to 2 kg in weight, free of charge, to military and entitled civilian personnel only on the below operations and HM ships in support.

Essential information

Packets are limited to 2 kg in weight.

Size limits: Minimum one surface at least 90 mm x 140 mm. Maximum length + depth + width = 900 mm width greatest single dimension not more than 600 mm.

Only relatives and friends within the UK or at BFPO addresses can send packets to named Service personnel and MOD deployed civilians only, in authorised operational areas.

The following items should not be sent (please also check ‘mail prohibitions’):

  • aerosols: prohibited by the BFPO mail network, eg hairspray, deodorant
  • perishable goods: foods like fruit and meat
  • fragile Items: glass
  • magazines containing images that might offend the cultural values of host nations, even if they are widely available in the UK, eg ‘top shelf’ magazines

Alcohol: Booze and bullets do not mix! The consumption of alcohol on operations is strictly controlled and the sending of alcoholic drinks in parcels sent under the MoD funded Enduring Families Free Mail Service is forbidden. Welfare parcels sent to operational addresses are not to include alcohol of any strength. Following screening at BFPO any parcels thought to contain alcohol will have a sticker identifying them applied. Controlled delivery of such parcels will enable checks in Theatre leading to confiscation or where incidences represent blatant contravention of local standing orders it could render the recipient liable for disciplinary action.

Customers posting items under the The MOD enduring families free mail service must ensure that these items are physically handed over to a counter clerk at a UK Post Office or BFPO overseas.

NB: This service is one-way only from the UK/BFPOs to Operational BFPOs or HM ships in support.

Addressing your ‘MOD enduring families free mail service’ items

Service Number, Rank, Name
Unit/Regiment
Operation Name
BFPO number

Please be advised that town or country must not be included in the address.

Our poster (PDF, 59.7KB) provides a quick guide to sending mail correctly.

BFPOs included in the MOD enduring families free mail service

The following BFPOs and ships in support of operations have entitlement to the service:

EFFMS Ops:

  • Op Atlanta: BFPOs 496, 497
  • Op Azotize: BFPO 583
  • Op Backwell/Op Modest/Op Praiser: BFPO 617 •Op Branta: BFPO 664
  • Op Catan: BFPO 616
  • Op Elgin: BFPOs 501
  • Op Hallex: BFPO 689
  • Op Kipton: BFPO 632 , 639, 767, 779
  • Op Litten: BFPO 572
  • Op Marmat: BFPO 652
  • Op Matchmaker: BFPO 611
  • Op Newcombe: BFPOs 602, 608
  • Op Orbital: BFPO 590
  • Op Percival: BFPO 606
  • Op Shader: BFPOs 550, 556, 597, 598, 625, 626, 627, 636, 637, 660, 675, 684
  • Op Silvan: BFPO 482 (Ongoing)
  • Op Tangham: BFPO 631
  • Op Toral: BFPOs 759, 762, 764, 798
  • Op Tosca: BFPO 567
  • Op Tramal/Tailpin: BFPO 685
  • Op Trenton: BFPO 618, 619
  • Op Turus: BFPOs 604, 605, 695
  • Op Veritas: BFPO 651
  • Op Vocate: BFPO 576
  • Op Vogul: BFPO 607

EFFMS ships:

  • HMS Ambush: BFPO 205 (Ongoing)
  • HMS Bangor: BFPO 222 (Ongoing)
  • HMS Chiddingfold: BFPO 254 (Ongoing)
  • HMS Defender: BFPO 267 (Ongoing)
  • HMS Daring: BFPO 270 (02/09/16 – Ongoing)
  • HMS Enterprise: BFPO 276 (Ongoing)
  • HMS Middleton: BFPO 335 (Ongoing)
  • HMS Penzance: BFPO 358 (Ongoing)
  • HMS Portland: BFPO 361 (Ongoing)
  • HMS St Albans: BFPO 399 (Ongoing – 05/08/16))
  • RFA Cardigan Bay: BFPO 436 (Ongoing - 05/07/16)
  • RFA Fort Victoria: BFPO 442 (Ongoing)
  • RFA Lyme Bay: BFPO 447 (Ongoing)

If you would like further clarification of entitled BFPO locations, please contact the BFPO Enquiries Team on telephone: 03457 69 79 78

Forces Free Air Letters (FFALs)

FFALs, commonly known as ‘Blueys’, can be posted in a standard postbox in the UK or a BFPO postbox overseas. HM Forces Aerogrammes (blueys) are an all in one letter and envelope. They are available from all UK Post Office branches or BFPOs and may be sent free of charge to forces personnel on operational duty at the following BFPO addresses:

205, 222, 254, 255, 267, 270, 276, 292, 318, 334, 335, 358, 361, 367, 381, 432, 442, 443, 447, 448, 482, 485, 494, 496, 497, 501, 550, 556, 567, 572, 576, 583, 590, 597, 598, 602, 604, 605, 606, 607, 608, 611, 616, 617, 618, 619, 625, 626, 627, 631, 632, 636, 637, 639, 651, 652, 655, 660, 664, 675, 684, 685, 689, 695, 759, 762, 764, 767, 779, 798

Note 1: FFALs are not to include enclosures of any kind.

Note 2: FFALs sent to BFPO addresses not listed above must be paid for at normal postage rates.

Special delivery

If you wish to send an item using the Royal Mail special delivery service, please note that the The MOD enduring families free mail service does not apply, and full postage rates will need to be affixed to the item.

Restricted and prohibited items

What you cannot send.

General prohibitions and restrictions

The below sets out the requirements that apply to retail customers only.

Restricted goods

Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverage type UK destinations International destinations
Alcoholic beverages and liquids (less than 24% ABV), eg beer; ale; cider; fortified wine; champagne Yes Yes
Alcoholic beverages and liquids (24-70% ABV), eg whiskey; vodka; most spirits and liqueurs No No
Alcoholic beverages and liquids (greater than 70% ABV) No No

Volume must not exceed one litre for any one item. The items must be securely closed and placed in a leak-proof liner, like a sealed polythene bag. Surround with absorbent material and sufficient cushioning material to protect each item from breakage. Mark as ‘FRAGILE’ when sending glass bottles.

Alcohol - The consumption of alcohol on operations is strictly controlled and the sending of alcoholic drinks in parcels sent under the MOD funded enduring families free mail service is forbidden. Welfare parcels sent to operational addresses are not to include alcohol of any strength.

Batteries

The table below outlines what type of battery can or cannot be sent:

Battery type UK destinations International destinations
Alkaline, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries, including household AA and AAA Yes Yes
New and used lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries sent with equipment (eg rechargeable batteries sent with equipment but not installed in the equipment) No No
New and used Lithium ion/polymer batteries contained in equipment (eg rechargeable batteries found in electronic devices) Yes Yes
New and used Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent on their own (eg lithium batteries sent as replacements) No No
Lithium metal batteries sent with equipment (eg non-rechargeable batteries found with electronic devices) No No
Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment (eg non-rechargeable batteries found in electronic devices) Yes Yes
New and used Lithium metal batteries sent on their own (eg lithium batteries sent as replacements) No No
New wet, non-spillable batteries (eg sealed lead acid batteries, absorbed glass mat and gel cell batteries) No No
Batteries classified as dangerous goods and certain used batteries that are classified as dangerous goods by the latest edition of the ‘Technical instructions for safe transport of dangerous goods by air published by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) including wet spillable lead acid/lead alkaline batteries (including car batteries), lithium batteries when not sent with or inequipment, damaged batteries of any type, together with used alkaline and nickel metal hydride batteries No No

The following details requirements for each battery type that can be sent:

Alkaline, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries: must be new and sent unopened in their original retail packaging. Surround with cushioning material eg bubble wrap. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Lithium ion/polymer batteries contained in equipment: each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. Watt-hour rating must not exceed 20 Wh per cell or 100 Wh per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN ‘Manual of tests and criteria’, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested. Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the ICAO ‘Technical instructions for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air’. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden.

Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit. The equipment containing cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Lithium metal/alloy batteries contained in equipment: each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5 kg per package. The lithium content must not be more than 1 g per cell or 2 g per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN ‘Manual of tests and criteria’, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested. Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the ICAO ‘Technical instructions for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air’. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden.

Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit. The equipment containing cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Biological Substance

Diagnostic specimens including blood and urine. Category B (UN3373) as classified in the latest edition of the ‘Technical instructions for safe transport of dangerous goods by air’ published by the ICAO. May only be sent by, or at the specific request of, a qualified medical practitioner, registered dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, registered nurse or a recognised laboratory or institution. The total sample volume/mass in any parcel must not exceed 50 ml /50 g. All biological substances must be posted in packaging that complies with ‘packaging instruction 650’, like the Safebox product. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Infectious Substances assigned to Category B are only permitted for destinations within the United Kingdom.

Financial documents

None of the following can be sent on any Parcelforce Worldwide export service. They can be sent on a Parcelforce Worldwide UK service, however these items are excluded from compensation.

Money: bankers drafts, current bank notes, currency notes or coins, postal orders, cheques or dividend warrants, bearer securities including share warrants, scrips, or subscription certificates, bonds or relative coupons, unfranked postage or revenue stamps, (except a revenue stamp embossed or impressed on an instrument which has been executed); coupons, vouchers, tokens, lottery tickets, scratch cards or similar items which can be exchanged themselves or with any other item for money, goods or services; national insurance stamps; all tickets, including travel and events. Out of circulation coins (not made of Silver or Gold) are classed as collectables.

International export licences and international packaging

Items requiring Parcelforce Worldwide to obtain any special licence or permit for transportation, importation or exportation; or consignments with a declared value for customs in excess of that permitted for the particular destination should not be sent on any international service. Please note: any items that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind cannot be sent on any of our globalexpress services. Any items packaged in Kraft paper cannot be sent via our globalexpress service.

Living creatures

Certain living creatures are accepted only if enclosed in packs constructed so as to prevent injury to Parcelforce Worldwide staff, its agents or damage to other packages.

The following are accepted: bees, destroyers of noxious pests and other insects sent to or from officially recognized institutions, leeches and certain parasites, silkworms.

In addition the following may be sent to destinations in Zones 1 to 3: caterpillars, earthworms, fish fry and eggs, lugworms, maggots, mealworms, pupae and chrysalides and ragworms. To send any of the above, express9, express10, expressAM or express24 services must be used for Zones 1 to 3. No other living creatures are acceptable. No living creatures can be sent through the globalexpress service and to certain destinations on the globalpriority and globalvalue services.

Fragile

In the case of fragile items, we will pay compensation for loss, but not damage to the following items:

  • automotive parts and body work including doors, bumpers and headlights
  • cases (including suitcases and musical instrument cases) when used as external packaging
  • ceramics or composites wholly or partially made of china and/or porcelain
  • computer monitors - including laptops, all-in-one desktops and iMacs
  • fossils, rock and stone items - including fragranite
  • furniture - flat packed and ready built
  • glassware - items wholly or partially made of glass or containing glass, e.g. bottles, picture frames, TV’s and laptops that contain glass
  • lighting; damage in transit or in handling of fluorescent tubes, neon lighting, x-ray tubes, light bulbs or any other inherently fragile items
  • marble or any stone derivatives
  • plaster items including plaster of paris, fibre clay
  • resin items including amorphite, amber and composites
  • televisions - including CRT, LCD, LED and Plasma screens
  • eggs
  • cakes of all types

Musical instruments

There is no enhanced compensation available for musical instruments.

Perishables

Fresh fruit, meat, fish and other perishable articles should be able to withstand transit times of at least 48 hours and must be sent by guaranteed next day service as a minimum requirement within the UK . Packages must be clearly labelled “PERISHABLE”. Packages of fish should be smoked or chilled, and sealed in vacuum packs before consignment. In all cases they must be enclosed in adequate polystyrene containment to prevent contamination. It is the responsibility of the shipper to package all perishable articles in such a manner that during transport within the system the contents are kept at an appropriate temperature that is unlikely to give rise to a risk to health.

Certain international destinations prohibit the import of perishable articles, including perishable and non-perishable foodstuffs. Please check individual country restrictions before sending consignments containing perishable foodstuffs or articles (including plants, flowers, medicines, seeds and other vegetable products intended for further processing) using our globalpriority service. Perishable articles cannot be sent using our globalexpress, globalvalue or globaleconomy services. For more information about service availability, or for country-specific prohibitions, exclusions or licence requirements, please refer to our worldwide directory or ask at a Post Office® branch.

Plants

Live plants may only be sent in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the heading ‘Perishable articles and foodstuffs’ above.

Prescription medicines and drugs sent for scientific purposes

Prescription drugs sent for medical or scientific purposes, for example from a medical practitioner to a hospital, must contain the address and telephone number of the sender in case of non-delivery, so that they may be returned without delay. The properties of these drugs, when classified by the sender, should not meet any of the criteria of the 9 classes of dangerous goods. Drugs in prescription quantities may be sent by private individuals in the case of emergencies. In all cases, the sender’s name, address and telephone number must be included on the inside of the package.

Radioactive materials

Radioactive materials not classified as dangerous goods in the latest edition of the ‘Technical instructions for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air’ published by the ICAO, like samples of granite rock, can be sent to UK and International destinations. Surround with cushioning material eg bubble wrap. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Sharp objects and instruments (including scissors and kitchen knives or utensils)

These items may only be posted if they are packaged appropriately so that they do not present a risk to employees, other packages or recipients.

Works of art

Works of art cannot be exported to certain destinations on the globalpriority and globalvalue services and are excluded from compensation for loss and damage with globalexpress although they can be sent using this service.

BFPO and Globalexpress specific prohibitions

In addition to the prohibitions and restrictions set out and/or referred to above, the following items must not be sent through the globalexpress service:

  • foodstuffs and perishable food articles and beverages requiring refrigeration or other environmental control
  • plants and plant material, including seeds and cut flowers (cut flowers are acceptable to certain destinations, information available upon request)
  • perishables
  • wet ice (frozen water)
  • items requiring Parcelforce Worldwide to obtain any special licence or permit for transportation, importation or exportation
  • consignments with a declared value for customs in excess of that permitted
  • parcels that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind
  • parcels that are wrapped in kraft paper
  • live animals and insects

In addition to these prohibitions, the following items are excluded from our liability for compensation for globalexpress:

  • artwork, including any work created or developed by the application of skill, taste or creative talent for sale, display or collection. This includes without limitation, items like paintings, drawings, vases, tapestries, limited-edition prints, fine art, statues, sculptures, collector’s items, customised or personalised musical instruments or similar items
  • film, photographic images, including photographic negatives, photographic chromes and photographic slides
  • any commodity that by its inherent nature is particularly susceptible to damage, or the market value of which is particularly variable or difficult to ascertain

Prohibited goods

In the event of Parcelforce Worldwide returning an item to the sender due to contravention of customs regulations for ‘prohibited goods’, the charges will not be refunded and a return charge may apply.

Arms and ammunition

All firearms including: imitations and antiques; paint-ball or toy guns; taser guns; air rifles, air pistols, components of firearms and all other items similar to, or resembling the foregoing are prohibited. All ammunition (including components thereof) and airgun pellets are also prohibited.

Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers are prohibited.

Counterfeit currency

Counterfeit currency and counterfeit stamps are prohibited.

Dangerous goods

To comply with strict transport regulations and in line with other parcel delivery companies, Parcelforce Worldwide does not carry the majority of goods classified as dangerous in the latest edition of the ICAO’s ‘Technical instructions for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air’. Prohibited dangerous goods include (for example):

  • explosives like fireworks, flares and blasting caps
  • gases including cylinders for camping stoves, gas cartridges, pressurised containers such as aerosols, fire extinguishers and scuba tanks
  • flammable liquids including acetone, benzene, petroleum, lighter fluid, solvent-based paint thinners and removers and many paints, enamels, adhesives, as well as perfumes and aftershaves
  • flammable solids including magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, sodium hydride, zinc powder, fire lighters and matches
  • oxidising materials or organic peroxides, (including many disinfectants, nitrates and hair dyes or colourants containing peroxide)
  • toxic or infectious substances
  • radioactive material
  • corrosives including acids, corrosive paint and rust removers, caustic soda, some dyes, mercury and gallium metal
  • miscellaneous, eg car airbag inflators, dry ice

Unless specifically identified within the ‘restricted goods’ section above, we do not carry dangerous goods and such items are not covered by our compensation. Sending prohibited goods or failing to comply with the conditions which apply to those that are permitted is a criminal offence which may result in prosecution. In such circumstances, Parcelforce Worldwide may deal with the goods as it sees fit, including destroying or disposing of the relevant items.

Damaged batteries

Damaged batteries of any sort and those identified by the manufacturer as being defective for safety reasons are strictly prohibited and must not be sent.

Drugs and certain substances

Controlled drugs and drugs detailed in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (as amended) may not be sent by any Parcelforce Worldwide service. Those discovered in transit will be stopped, and handed to Customs or the Police, who may take legal action against the sender and/or recipient. Examples: cocaine, cannabis resin, LSD, heroin, amyl nitrate, leaves from the Catha Edulia plant, narcotics, morphine, opium, psychotropic substances etc.

Controlled drugs and drugs detailed in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (as amended) may not be sent by any Parcelforce Worldwide service. Those discovered in transit will be stopped and handed to HM Revenue & Customs or the police, who may take legal action against the sender and/or recipient.

Certain other substances which may be prohibited or are illegal to import or export to and from certain countries, or which Parcelforce Worldwide considers to have as having an effect similar to a controlled drug may be deemed as prohibited by Parcelforce Worldwide.

Frozen food

For all international services, foodstuffs and perishable food articles and beverages requiring refrigeration or other environmental control are prohibited.

Foreign and illegal lottery tickets

Foreign and illegal lottery tickets and related advertisments for illegal lotteries are prohibited.

Goods made in foreign prisons

Goods made in foreign prisons (except those imported for a non-commercial purpose) of a kind not manufactured in the UK or those in transit.

Human and animal remains

Human and animal remains (including ashes) are prohibited.

Indecent, obscene or offensive articles

Including pornography as detailed in Part 5 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child as detailed in section 160 and 161 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Indecent, obscene or offensive communications, prints, photographs, books or other articles, and packets bearing grossly offensive, indecent or obscene words, marks or designs are prohibited. Those discovered in transit will be stopped, and handed to Customs or the Police, who may take legal action against the sender and/or recipient.

Infectious substances

Infectious substances assigned to Category A (UN2814 or UN2900) as classified in the latest edition of the ICAO ‘Technical instructions for safe transport of dangerous goods by air’ are prohibited. Clinical and medical waste, including contaminated dressings, bandages and needles, is prohibited.

Live animals or insects

For all international services live animals (including snakes, mice and reptiles) are prohibited.

Misleading endorsements

Parcels must not bear words, marks or designs which are unauthorised and which may reasonably lead the recipient to believe that the package has been sent On Her Majesty’s Service.

Waste, dirt, filth or refuse

Foul or disgusting material (including household waste) is prohibited.

Wet ice (frozen water)

Commercial mail

Commercial mail is mailed items that are sent through the HQ BFPO mail system by a UK based commercial operator in response to an order placed by an authorised individual.

Ordering goods through the BFPO Commercial Mail system

The following individuals can use the system:

  • British forces personnel
  • entitled civilians
  • dependants of the above

These ‘end customers’ based at a BFPO address, can arrange to receive goods via a UK based Commercial Operator, which is categorised by BFPO (the Authority) as ‘Commercial Mail’ (also known as ‘Commercial Receipts’). Family and friends (living in the UK) of the above can also arrange for ‘Commercial Mail’ to be received by end customers. For example, end customers based at a BFPO address, or family and friends (living in the UK), will directly contact a mail order or catalogue company, possibly via the Internet, to place an order for goods for delivery to a BFPO address.

Check the commercial contracts list of companies already in direct contract with HQ BFPO under the ‘Commercial Mail’ process.

All potential users of the BFPO Commercial Mail system are strongly advised to read both the disclaimer and additional information.

Disclaimer:

The Authority does not endorse any company that appears on the BFPO Commercial Contracts List, in any way whatsoever, including any product(s) or service(s) they offer.

Individuals who make use of these companies do so entirely at their own risk.

Individuals are to be aware that there may be other companies, not appearing on the BFPO Commercial Contracts List, who may be able to offer the same, or similar product(s) or service(s).

Should you choose to order from a company not appearing on the BFPO Commercial Contracts List, they will be required to adhere to one of the following processes;

Once a company has received an order from an Authorised Individual, they can despatch articles of Commercial Mail to End Customers at worldwide BFPO locations, via the HQ BFPO Northolt Commercial Mail (CM) System, by following one of the four following options:

  1. Companies who foresee a potential ‘one off’, or infrequent use of the BFPO CM System can either;

a. Physically post the article at a Post Office and pay the appropriate (HM forces) postage rate (note: using either Royal Mail documentation (CN22/23) or ParcelForce Worldwide PFU 509 despatch pack). Payment for this method allows for both the shipment to HQ BFPO Northolt and the onward shipment to the BFPO End Customer, with no additional requirement for a direct CM Contract with BFPO, or any extra costs incurred.

or

b. Use the arrangement BFPO has with Parcelforce Worldwide*, named the ‘One Stop Shop’ Process. Under this process, Companies contract directly with ParcelForce Worldwide (see below for contact details), who, in turn, are in direct CM Contract with BFPO. Payment for this method also allows for both the shipment to HQ BFPO Northolt and the onward shipment to the BFPO End Customer, with no additional requirement for a direct CM Contract with BFPO, or any extra costs incurred.

*NOTE: Many Companies are already in direct contract with ParcelForce for collections of goods direct from their premises for addresses in the UK mainland only. This does not allow for the correct documentation or onward shipment (and extra cost) for despatch from HQ BFPO Northolt to the BFPO End Customer. We recommend that you speak to your Parcelforce representative for further information.

or

c. Use any CM Contract BFPO may have with other Courier Companies who have chosen to be in direct CM Contract with BFPO. Under this process, companies contract directly with the courier company on the list who, in turn, is in direct CM Contract with BFPO. Payment for this method is made direct to the courier company, who are themselves invoiced by BFPO. This allows for both the shipment to HQ BFPO Northolt and the onward shipment to the BFPO End Customer, with no additional requirement for a direct CM Contract with BFPO, or any extra costs incurred.

  1. Companies who foresee potential frequent use of the BFPO CM System enter into a CM Contract directly with BFPO Commercial (see below for contact details), for the onward shipment by BFPO to the BFPO End Customer, with prior use of either your company’s own transport or a carrier of your company’s choice for the inland journey to deliver articles to HQ BFPO Northolt.

Additional Information

All potential users of the HQ BFPO Commercial Mail System must read the rules on mail prohibitions and restrictions.

Adhere without exclusion to the weight and size restrictions that apply to ‘Commercial Mail’.

Note that articles outside of these maximum weight and size restrictions will be refused upon entry at the HQ BFPO Commercial Mail reception desk.

Note that Purchase Order numbers cannot be accommodated under the electronic Invoicing process that supports the automated BFPO Commercial Mail System and will therefore not appear on any invoice issued by the Defence Business Service, Liverpool

Note that HQ BFPO will not enter into any compensation arrangements with, or make any direct compensation payments to, any third party who use a company that is itself already in direct Commercial Mail Contract with BFPO to despatch their articles to HQ BFPO Northolt and beyond, to end BFPO addresses overseas. BFPO’s responsibility and authority remains within the Commercial Mail Contract with the Company in possession of a Commercial Mail Contract with HQ BFPO only. Any arrangement between the third party and the company in possession of a ‘Commercial Mail’ contract with BFPO, regarding the despatch of the third party’s articles to HQ BFPO Northolt and beyond, is entirely the concern of those two parties only. HQ BFPO bears no responsibility, authority or commitment in that relationship, as its contractual relationship is with the Company in possession of a ‘Commercial Mail’ Contract with HQ BFPO only

Note that BFPO offers a very limited service for items destined for 5000 series BFPO numbers, one that does not offer any delivery guarantees or compensation coverage. This is due to the fact that once items have reached HQ BFPO for processing, they are then passed to a separate, 3rd party for subsequent processing and distribution, who operate very strict controls on mail volume allocations and types of items allowed. This places the items totally outside of BFPO’s control, therefore no assurance as to final delivery timeframes can be given and BFPO does not accept liability for compensation in the event of any item(s) going missing. Should the 3rd party, for whatever reason, refuse to accept any item upon presentation by HQ BFPO, then the Sender shall be notified by BFPO and be responsible for its collection from BFPO, or, BFPO will return the item back to the sender, at the sender’s cost (the 3rd party, responsible for onward processing and distribution, may be contacted on 01908 852222 - Option 3).

Contacts

For enquiries connected with an individual article or despatch, please contact:

BFPO Enquiries
HQ BFPO
West End Road
Ruislip
HA4 6DQ

Telephone: 0208 589 3450
Fax: 0208 589 3291

For details regarding a direct Commercial Receipts Contract with BFPO and all other contractual enquiries only, please contact:

Commercial Manager 4
BFPO Commercial
HQ BFPO
West End Road
Ruislip
HA4 6DQ

Tel: 0208 589 3277
Fax: 0208 589 3454

Email: DESBFPO-Enquiries@mod.uk

For ‘one stop shop’ process enquires, please contact:

Contract Manager
ParcelForce Worldwide
Lytham House
25 Caldecotte Lake Drive
Caldecotte
Milton Keynes
MK7 8LE

Tel: 07801 094 421

Contact us

If you need to contact us:

Telephone 03457 69 79 78 (calls are charged at local rate in the UK)
Alternative 020 8589 3450 Civil, 94676 3450 Military
Fax 020 8589 3309

E-Mail: desbfpo-enquiries@mod.uk

Or write to

BFPO Enquiries
HQ BFPO
West End Road
Ruislip
HA4 6DQ

Other ways to get support

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