USPS Certified Mail | How to Send, Cost, Return Receipt

Most of the people in the United States make use of a valuable service called USPS Certified Mail. Several people all over the nation utilize this service. Many of you may be unaware of this service, so in this article, you will get insights about it that what is certified mail, what is the time taken to deliver your shipment, and what is the procedure to send the letter. To make it clear about the useful service offered by the USPS, we have also explained how to send a certified mail, who can send a certified letter, what is the cost and details about return receipt. Read through this article to know more about it:

USPS Certified Mail:

Certified MailThrough Certified Mail service, any critical or legal documents can be sent safely to anyone. It is a very reliable service that ensures the safety and confidentiality of your materials. They (USPS) also assure to deliver the documents to the destination at a specified time. It is purposefully designed to fulfill the needs of the customers who frequently send and receive the critical papers or legal documents. Due to its significance and confidentiality, a customer expects confirmation, for this purpose, USPS also provides the confirmation receipt. Before you mail your documents, you need to verify all the details provided on the envelope.

Three Methods for Electronic Verification:

If you ever wonder how to do Certified Mail verification, then below are the steps to do it. USPS offers electronic verification methods to verify the destination. Before the shipment is delivered, you can check and confirm the receiver in three ways.

  1. On punching the tracking number in the USPS site, you will be able to get the electronic verification.
  2. Dial to 1-800-222-1811 to verify the destination.
  3. If you provide the electronic manifest with the postal service, you can do e-verification of the delivery through bulk electronic file transfer.

How to Send a Certified Letter?

A Certified Letter can be sent through two methods. You can visit the local post office to send the mail, or you can opt for the online option. Read through the below steps to get insights about how does Certified Mail work and the procedure to send the documents.

Method 1 – Visit the Post Office:

post officeVisit the nearby post office and request for a PS Form 3800 or Certified Mail Form. This form contains all the necessary columns; you have to fill them all thoroughly. You will notice two things in the form, first is the barcode that will help you to track your post, and the second one is the receipt which is a record of your shipment. You will also receive a sticker along with the form which has to be stuck on the right side of the return address on the envelope.

SEE ALSO:  USPS General Delivery | Its Use and Restrictions

USPS offers several add-on services and options along with Certified Mail. Some of them are Return Receipt, Restricted Delivery, etc. So when you are sending the mail, you should opt for the suitable option and make the payment accordingly. You will be charged for the post and the add-on service you choose. After the payment, now you will able to send the post successfully.

Method 2 – Online:

onlineIf you have opted for the online option, the first thing you have to do is to create a user account. In the recent days, you can find several businesses offering this mailing service so that you can choose any one of the options as per your wish. When you choose the provider to send Certified Mail online, you have to make sure that the provider offers certain things. First one is tracking facility to track your shipment. This facility is essential if you wish to track the status of your shipment. Once you sent the shipment, you will be able to track your shipment on the next day. The second point is they should offer proof of delivery. It includes proof from USPS and also the mailing proof.

Above stated are the two methods to send a Certified Letter. Now that you are aware of all the procedures to send the confidential document, make sure to maintain the record of all originals and photocopies of add-on services you opted. You should also keep a record of your mail.

How Long Does Certified Mail Take?

If the customer has opted for First-Class Mail delivery, it would usually take around 3 to 10 working days to deliver the shipment. Whereas, if the customer has opted for Priority Mail delivery service, then it would take around 2 to 3 working days.

Who Sends Certified Mail:

The customers who need to mail some necessary documents such as legal documents and confidential documents can opt for sending a Certified Mail service. Not everyone can send every item using this mailing service. There are certain limitations and eligibility criteria for sending mail through this service. The list of eligible services that can be sent as Certified Mails is only First-Class Mail items, First-Class Package Service, Commercial and Priority Mail service. Only shipments sent with these services are eligible for Certified Mail service. These mentioned items can be sent as:

  1. Certified Mail Restricted Delivery: Item can be delivered only to the addressed person.
  2. Certified Mail Adult Signature Required: Items can be delivered only to the people who are more than 21 years.
  3. Certified Mail Adult Signature Restricted Delivery: Items can be delivered only to the addressed person who is more than 21 years.
SEE ALSO:  USPS Signature Confirmation | Form and Cost

What are the Ineligible items for Certified Mail service?

Not all the items can be sent through this service. As per the instructions, there are certain restrictions on specific items. Some of the ineligible items that cannot be sent using this service are:

  • International Mail
  • Bound Printed Matter
  • Media Mail
  • Library Mail
  • Priority Mail Express
  • USPS Retail Ground™ (this was previously called as Standard Post)

The items that fall under the above category cannot be sent through this mail service. If you have any further queries, you can get in touch with the US post office. They can give clear clarification for your query.

Certified Mail Cost:

Do you know how much does it cost to send a Certified Mail? In the recent days, its cost has gone up. The Postal Regulatory Commission approved this increase in the rates. Refer the table below to get insight about the new USPS Certified Mail rates.

Fee category Cost
Certified Mail Fee $3.45
Electronic Delivery Confirmation Receipt $0.80
Return Receipt Green Card or Old Fashioned Green Card $2.75
Return Receipt Electronic Signature (PDF) $1.45
First Class Postage (1 OZ) $0.46
Additional OZ First Class Postage price $0.21
Flats 1 OZ rate (9″ X 12″) $0.98
Restricted Delivery Service $4.95
Certified mail rates for Signature after sending your post Discontinued

Note: The cost as mentioned above may be different from the original cost. So, you should also verify it from the official site of USPS.

Certified Mail Return Receipt:

When you are sending the item, you can opt for the return receipt and make the payment accordingly. The receipt will contain information such as:

  • The signature of the person receiving the item
  • Recipient address
  • Delivery date
  • Delivery time of the shipment to show the confirmation of the shipment.

If a customer wants to opt for a return receipt, there is a specific procedure to follow. The customer can pay a visit to any of the local post office branches to get a valid receipt. You can send this receipt from the office or your home. Apart from this, there are several options; you can drop them in a Collection Box receptacle, or give it to any post office employee. For this option there are some restrictions on Aviation Mail Security, you need to abide by all the instructions. While sending the certified post, you should pay additional fees apart from postal charges. Make sure that your post consists of correct postage value with the correct address on the envelope.

SEE ALSO:  USPS Registered Mail, Cost, Delivery Time, Receipt, etc.

You will receive a valid Certified Mail receipt from the post office. The receipt will confirm the payment of your opted service. In case if you haven’t mailed it from the post office, you will not receive this confirmation. You can purchase this return receipt while you send the post. Please remember that the PS Form 3811 is only offered when it is provided with the Adult Signature options.

PS Form 3800 (Return Receipt) Front:

PS Form 3800 Front

PS Form 3800 (Return Receipt) Back:

PS Form 3800 back

Certified Mail Instructions:

Below stated are the other facts and instructions about sending a mail:

  1. By default, Certified Mail service does not offer delivery record to the customers. However, you can get a signature proof of successful delivery. For this, you need to opt for return receipt service while mailing your documents. You will receive the signature proof through the mail or e-mail.
  2. Once a customer has received the Return Receipt, he/she can request for delivery information. PS Form 3811-A has to be filled to obtain the delivery information. Also, the details have to be requested within 90 days as per the date mentioned on the receipt.
  3. Customers can request a refund.
  4. Once a customer has logged on to the USPS official site, they will be able to know the updates of the shipment through the online tracking feature.
  5. When a customer sends his/her mail to the Army Post Office(APO), Fleet Post Office(FPO), or Diplomatic Post office(DPO) locations, they should add a note to have access of the delivery information. This service does not offer International mailing service. However, the customer can send the mail to any of the APO, DPO, and FPO destinations.
  6. Record of delivery including the signature is maintained as a record by the Certified Mail service. These details will be maintained for two years from the mailed date.
  7. At the time of delivery, the customer needs to sign for this mail service.


It is an undeniable fact that the USPS is a reputed organization and it offers exceptional and safe services. Like its several other services, Certified Mail service is beneficial and reliable. It is one of the best services offered by the USPS. You can rely on it for transacting any confidential documents and other vital documents.

Happy and safe mailing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.