By Mark Heeter
Installation Management Command-Europe
UPDATE, Feb. 24: The change regarding customs forms has been moved to Aug. 13.
The U.S. Postal Service has granted an extension to DoD for elimination of handwritten customs declaration forms on packages destined for stateside, APO, FPO and DPO addresses. However, the extension did not remove the DoD requirement for military post offices to no longer accept handwritten custom forms for international addresses; therefore, customers must use an online customs form for non-DoD overseas addresses starting March 13. To allow for a smooth transition period, the military postal service will not accept handwritten customs forms after Aug. 13. However, military postal officials recommend that customers should start using the online version of the forms now in order to familiarize themselves before the new August start date.
WIESBADEN, Germany — A significant change to how military postal customers overseas may mail packages internationally is coming.
Clerks at military post offices, including those in Europe, will soon be unable to accept handwritten customs declaration forms, according to a recent U.S. Postal Service internal bulletin.
The change is scheduled to take effect during the month of March, however officials are working to delay the onset of this change overseas, but “customers should be prepared to start using the new forms as early as mid March,” said Bill Hilsher, chief of postal plans and policy at U.S. Army Europe.
Customers will be required to use PS Form 2976-R, USPS Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note. Once the change goes into effect, all other editions of the Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note will be obsolete and removed from post offices.
“There will still be an option to fill out a customs information worksheet, which will then be typed into the retail system software by the postal clerk,” Hilsher said. However, this option could cause longer wait times at the retail windows. Customers can go online to fill out and print the correct form at home or fill it out at computer-equipped kiosks that will be available at the military post offices
“We ask for customers’ patience and understanding if the policy change causes longer wait times at the counters. We will continue to do everything we can to support their needs as we implement this new policy,” said Chuck Sharpe, program manager for the postal operations branch at IMCOM-Europe.
Dialing it in
Stuttgart military community customers should address questions to their local military post office.
Kelley Barracks, APOs 423 and 489: Open Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., in Bldg. 3312. Call 421-2330.
Panzer Kaserne, APO 445: Open Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. in Bldg. 2953. Call 596-2563.
Patch Barracks, APO 480: Open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. in Bldg. 2325. Call 596-7226.
Robinson Barracks, APO 447: Open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1–3:30 p.m. in Bldg. 196. Call 420-7932.