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You might think that regular commercial move is the hardest thing ever. But, have you ever tried relocating classified documents from your office? Of course, moving companies NYC can help you with packing and transporting. But, what is the correct procedure when moving such vital documents?

What procedures should you follow when relocating classified documents?

The following procedures apply to the distribution or transport of classified materials. These procedures cover the most common circumstances but do not include the transportation of oversized materials. Therefore, you should use them as a general guide only as they do not replace the overview of official rules.

Classified documents
We will try to help you understand all the procedures for relocating classified documents

TOP SECRET documents

TOP SECRET material cannot be mailed under any circumstances. It must be transmitted with courier service or approved electronic means.

You may ship SECRET materials by registered mail or the United States Postal Service within and between the United States and its territories. Additionally, you may send SECRET documents by certified mail from the U.S. Postal Service through the Army, Navy, or Air Force Postal Service outside the United States, provided that this information is not out of the control of US citizens at any time. And that it does not pass through a foreign postal service system or any external control. Federal Express can also be used for SECRET materials only for urgent delivery overnight. But contractors must obtain permission from their state procuring authority to use this method.


When it comes to CONFIDENTIAL documents, they are subject to the same distribution procedures as Secret materials, with the following exceptions:

  1. CONFIDENTIAL material may be sent by US Certified mail, not US Registered mail.
  2. Government agencies (but not contractors) may also send CONFIDENTIAL materials by first class mail only between government agencies. You cannot send it through contractors via first class mail.

Under any circumstances, the outer envelope should read, “Do not forward. Return to sender”. Under no circumstances should you use the USPS Express Mail 11-B label “Waiver of Signature and Indemnity.”

Street mailbox
You must mail the classified materials to the post office. The government prohibits the use of street mailboxes.


Before your office movers come, you must wrap all classified material twice with opaque internal and external coatings. Also, you should mark it as follows:

  • Mark the top and bottom of the inner envelope on both sides, preferably red, with the classification in capital letters. And you must label a box with classified material with designation on all surfaces of the inner packaging.
  • Write down the full mailing address and return address on the inner envelope. The address on the inner envelope must have the name of an appropriate person.
  • When relocating classified documents, on the external envelope, write the full mailing address and return address. You should not write on the outer envelope that it contains classified information. You must address any secret mail or parcels to the Commander or other leaders of the organization by title, not by name. Or by the approved classified postal address of federal activity. Or by a cleared contractor using the name and classified postal address of the facility. The name of the person should not appear on the outer envelope. Instead of a person’s name, use service letters, numbers, or phrases in the attention line to assist in internal routing. If you want to direct the material to the attention of a particular person, put his name on the attention line in the transfer letter or on the inner container or package.
Classified mail
For Official Use Only is a designation of document control, not a classification. You can mail such material in one envelope.

Receipt for relocating classified documents

You must attach or enclose a receipt identifying the sender, addressee, and record in an inner envelope. The receipt should not contain classified information. One has to sign it and return to the sender.

  • You should transmit top-secret materials through a continuous chain of receipts, covering every person who receives custody.
  • For Secret materials, a receipt should be in all documents that you are transferring outside the facility.
  • In the case of Confidential materials, you should include the receipt only if the sender considers it necessary. Or if you are sending the information to a foreign government.

Carrying Classified materials yourself

For materials that you transport by hand, various procedures apply for land transport, commercial air transport, government air transport. And for transportation outside the continental United States.

If you transport sensitive material by car or on foot to another place, you must ensure to protect the information against all unforeseen circumstances that may arise during transportation.

Aluminum briefcase
For flights, a briefcase cannot serve as an external wrapper

Unforeseen circumstances

A car accident, theft, and sudden illness are all unforeseen circumstances. That means that classified information must be double-packed or packed as if it was sent by mail. And you need to keep them under your constant control (i.e., do not leave in the trunk of your car during the execution of another order) and deliver only to an authorized person. A briefcase can serve as an external wrapper only if you lock it, and authorities approve it to transport classified material. Prepare an inventory of the material and leave one copy in your office and the other with a security officer or other responsible person. You can also assign the task to some people you trust so that your employees can help with moving the office.

Transportation of classified materials on trips involving an overnight stop is not permitted without prior agreement on storage overnight at a U.S. government agency or freed contractor. For flights, you need a written permission from the security service. Your security officer will inform you of the appropriate procedures. There are more stringent procedures for flights outside the United States.

Did you think that moving office furniture was difficult? Wait until you get into the situation to move some files whose content must remain secret. But relocating classified documents does not have to be that complicated. The only thing you need to do is to follow all the procedures.

About Author

John has been with Divine Moving and Storage in New York for nearly two decades. Starting as a young helper and climbing up the ranks to be a staple in our organization. John has the knowledge and experience to assist our clients with any move or storage related needs. You can reach John or any of our associates in NYC at 212-244-4011