USPS Certified Mail – Cost, Services, FAQ

USPS Certified Mail: The idea of Certified Mail in U.S.A. began in 1955. The Certified Mail gives a sender proof of mailing by the mailing receipt and if requested, the electronic verification that an article is delivered or an attempt to delivery was made. Certified Mail is available for Priority Mail and First Class Mail for the letters which are made in the territory of USA.

Every Item which is mailed generates a unique Label Number(Tracking Number) which is an official record that tells that the item has been shipped by the USPS.It also allows the receiver to track their shipment through the online system with the help of the label number provided by the USPS.

There is one more service which is provided by the USPS, often known as “RRR” or “Return Receipt Requested”, but this service comes with an additional fee.The return receipt is a Post-Card sized green paper which is mailed back to the sender by the post office as a proof, that the addressee has received the package.In this world of tech-savvy people, USPS has also gone techno and now providing a digitally signed mail by the receiver to the sender as a proof of delivery of the package.

What is Certified Mail?

USPS offers a service called certified mail for First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service or Priority Mail under which a user will get confirmation that his/ her mail package has reached its destination successfully. Under this service, USPS sends a mailing receipt to the sender after a recipient signs an envelope or package. You can also receive a copy of recipient’s signature by purchasing return receipt service, USPS keeps a copy of the recipient’s signature as a proof of delivery for two years from the date of mailing. In short, if you have any important or legal document to be sent through USPS then use certified mail service to get an assurance that your mail packages have reached their destination safely. Now let’s understand how it works and how can you send a USPS certified mail package.

How to send USPS Certified Mail?

If you have got something secure and important to send that requires confirmation of receipt then use certified mail service to get ensure that your important mail packages, including confidential and legal documents, reached their final destination successfully. Follow the information shared below to send certified mail online or from your local post office.

Send Certified Mail from Post Office

  • Visit a local Post Office & obtain certified mail Form 3800: Fill all the required on the form correctly. Look out for a barcode which will be there in a green and white sticker. A barcode allows you to track your package through USPS.com There will be a perforated receipt as well as a proof that you send the item.
  • Put Sticker on the Envelope: Put the sticker on the top right area of the envelope by removing the backing.
  • Pay the Postage: Pay a fee for USPS certified mail (check free from costs section). Buy additional services such as restricted delivery, return receipt, or any other additional service, if required and pay their fee as well.
  • Send Mail: After fulfilling all the formalities, it’s time to send the mail item.
  • View the delivery information: Make sure to check online at the USPS.com to see when and to whom the certified mail was delivered.

Send Certified Mail Online (USPS.com)

  • Sign up for a free account: Multiple web businesses offer USPS certified mail delivery service. Sign up for a free account, check the price for sending certified mail, and make sure that the service provides USPS Tracking and USPS Proof of delivery.
  • Prepare your Letter: If you’ve decided about the one web service that you’re going to use, then it’s time to prepare your mail letter in your word processing program. Take the printout of a letter and sign it, if required.
  • Scan the Document: Scan the document using the scanner and then save it.
  • Upload: After scanning, upload the document onto the website of mailing service that you chose.
  • Keep a copy of your proof of mailing as well as the USPS proof of delivery.

It is recommended to use USPS.com for certified mail delivery rather than other online platforms.

USPS Certified Mail Tracking

USPS assigns a unique tracking number to each package or mail item, this tracking code or number is used to track the package by visiting the official website of US Postal service i.e. USPS.com. It is usually a 22 digit number, the number of digits may or may not vary depending on the type of service you’re using. Check the USPS certified mail sample tracking number from below.

Sample of Certified Mail Tracking Number: 9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00

Certified Mail Tracking can easily be down by visiting the official website of US Postal service. Visit USPS.Com to track a certified mail item online. To track a package through this website, you must have a correct certified mail tracking number (as shown in the sample above).

USPS Certified Mail Return Receipt

USPS certified mail return receipt service provides a mailer delivery proof or record. If a user has purchased return receipt at the time of mailing then he will get a recipient’s signature and information about the recipient’s actual delivery address.

There are two return receipt options available for purchase at the time of mailing:

  • Purchase of Electronic Return Receipt: You receive a proof of delivery signature data by email. 
  • Purchasing a Return Receipt using a PS Form 3811: Domestic Return Receipt provides you with a hard copy ‘green card’ receipt by mail that includes the recipient’s signature.

Proof of delivery includes the following information:

  • Date of Delivery.
  • Signature of Recipient.
  • Information about the recipient’s actual delivery address, if different.

USPS Certified Mail Cost

USPS Postage & Special Services Rates
Certified Mail Fee       $3.35
Electronic Delivery Confirmation Receipt      $0.80
Return Receipt Green Card (Old Fashioned Green Card)      $2.75
Return Receipt Electronic Signature (PDF) (replaces Green Card)      $1.45
First Class Postage (1 OZ) (Metered Rate)      $0.46
Additional OZ First Class Postage       $0.21
Flats 1 OZ rate (9″ X 12″)      $0.98
Restricted Delivery Service       $4.95
Signature After Mailing (PS Form 3811-A) Discontinued

From January 2017, the USPS has revised its rate for shipping and mail classes.The new rates are applicable from 22 January 2017.

USPS Certified Mail Services

Here are few certified mail services that a user can purchase as per his/ her requirement.

1. Certified Mail with Electronic Delivery Confirmation $4.61 (Electronic Delivery Confirmation Report).
A USPS Special Service that provides the sender with a mailing receipt and, upon request, electronic verification that an article was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made. Customers receive Electronic Delivery Confirmation by email. A record of the transaction including USPS postage, Special Service, mail piece acceptance, tracking and the delivery or the delivery attempt is kept in your account for 10 years.

2. Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested (Signature) $6.06  (Return Receipt Electronic Signature + Electronic Delivery Confirmation Report ) The Certified Mail Special Service described above plus additional evidence of the letters delivery.  This includes the recipient’s signature, name, and delivery address. Customers receive Electronic Delivery Confirmation by email (see the attached report). A record of the transaction including USPS postage, Special Service, mail piece acceptance, tracking and the delivery or the delivery attempt is kept in your account for 10 years.

3. Certified Mail with Return Receipt Signature RESTRICTED DELIVERY $11.01 (RRE-Signature Signed by the addressee or authorized agent  +  Electronic Delivery Confirmation Report.) The Certified Mail Special Service described above plus additional evidence of the letters delivery. USPS enables delivery of the item only to the addressee or addressee’s authorized agent. The addressee must be an individual(or natural person) specified by name. Restricted delivery may be used only when combined with Certified Mail, Insured Mail over $200, and Registered Mail. Customers receive Electronic Delivery Confirmation by email. A record of the transaction including USPS postage, Special Service, mail piece acceptance, tracking and the delivery or the delivery attempt is kept in your account for 10 years.

Hence, the USPS Certified Mail rates will increase to $3.35 per mailing.The cost of using the green card with the USPS Return Receipt Service increase to $2.75 per mailing.The cost of using the Return Receipt Signature Electronic increases to $1.45 per mailing.

So obviously, you can save your money by opting the Certified Mail Labels with electronic Delivery Confirmation. USPS Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested service can only be purchased at the time of mailing.

Certified Mail Service can also be combined with three other services: 

  • Certified Mail Restricted Delivery – Using this direct delivery of Certified Mail only to the addressee.
  • Certified Mail Adult Signature Required – Using this a Customer may direct delivery of Certified Mail only to an adult.
  • Certified Mail Adult Signature Restricted Delivery – Using this service, a Customer may limit delivery only to a specific addressee who is 21 years of age or older.

USPS Certified Mail FAQ

If you’ve any other question or query, other that the ones covered here, then use the comment section and ask us. We will answer that question under this section at the earliest.

How much time will USPS take to deliver my certified letter?

As per First Class delivery standards, it may take up to 3 to 10 business days to reach a destination. But if you’re using Priority Mail service, then it may deliver within 2 to 3 business days. However, USPS doesn’t guarantee an exact delivery time. Keep tracking your package through USPS.com to know the delivery status.

Can you send a Certified Mail letter to a P.O Box?

The answer is Yes. You can send a Certified Mail to a P.O. Box address. A delivery notification will be placed inside the P.O Box by letter carrier When the Certified Mail arrives at the delivery Post Office. The notification instructs the person to present the delivery slip to the window clerk. The letter is handed to the recipient after signing the delivery receipt.

How do I get ‘proof of mailing’ I sent a Certified Mail letter?

If you purchased return receipt at the time of mailing then you will get a recipient’s signature and information about the recipient’s actual delivery address. Proof of delivery includes the information such as Date of Delivery, Signature of Recipient, Information about the recipient’s actual delivery address, if different.

Can I send certified mail from any country besides the US?

The answer is no. USPS Certified Mail can only be sent to the country only as it is a product of the United States Postal Service. You can use Registered Mail outside the US in place of Certified Mail.

Can someone refuse to accept a letter and not sign for certified mail?

As there is no legal requirement to accept a certified mail letter, so a person can refuse to accept a letter and not sign it.

If you’ve nay question or query related to USPS Certified Mail, then use the comment section provided below. We will respond back at the earliest.

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