United States
Fact-checked

At UnitedStatesNow, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Certified Mail™?

Certified Mail™ is a USPS service providing proof of mailing and delivery, ensuring important documents reach their destination securely. With tracking and confirmation, it's a reliable choice for legal and sensitive correspondence. Have you ever wondered how Certified Mail™ safeguards your peace of mind? Discover the layers of protection it offers for your most critical mailings. What could it secure for you?
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Certified Mail™ is a service offered by the United States Postal Service. When an item is sent using this service, the person who sends it will receive a proof of delivery confirmation. Many people like to send things via Certified Mail™ to ensure that they know when the items arrive, and it can be bundled with other services, such as a return receipt with the recipient's signature and restricted delivery, which authorizes the release of the mail to a particular person only.

One important thing about Certified Mail™ that people should be aware of is that it does not include insurance, and it can only be used for First Class or Priority Mail. Therefore, it is not appropriate for valuable items, although it can be extremely useful in a situation where someone wants a delivery record. For example, legal documents may be sent this way so that all parties are aware of when the documents are sent and received, and in some cases, signing a delivery receipt is treated as proof that someone has viewed the material.

Certified Mail is offered by the United States Postal Service and gives the sender proof of delivery.
Certified Mail is offered by the United States Postal Service and gives the sender proof of delivery.

The mailing and delivery record for Certified Mail™ is stored at the post office. Users can log onto the United States Postal Service website and use a unique identifying number to look up their packages if they want to determine when and if they were delivered. In the event that delivery fails, the item will be returned to the sender.

The Certified Mail™ service is more costly than just sending something via regular First Class or Priority Mail. For this reason, most people only use it on occasions when they really need it, although the service is sometimes used in vote caging, a tactic that involves the use of mass mailing to challenge the addresses of registered voters. It is recommended for any situation in which someone wants to confirm that something arrived, from college applications to the results of medical testing.

Certified Mail™ is one way to ensure goods are delivered on time.
Certified Mail™ is one way to ensure goods are delivered on time.

For people who want insurance, Registered Mail™ is a better option. Registered Mail™ includes insurance and delivery confirmation, and it is treated differently than Certified Mail™ by postal employees. For example, much tighter security precautions are used to protect Registered Mail™, and there is a streamlined process in place for making claims against lost or stolen items.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is Certified Mail™?

Someone who sends Certified Mail will receive delivery confirmation.
Someone who sends Certified Mail will receive delivery confirmation.

Certified Mail™ is a service offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that provides the sender with a mailing receipt and electronic verification that an article was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made. It's commonly used for sending important documents where proof of mailing and delivery is required. According to the USPS, this service also allows for tracking and may include options for return receipt and restricted delivery.

How can I track my Certified Mail™?

Once you send a piece of Certified Mail™, the USPS provides you with a unique tracking number. You can use this number on the USPS website to track the status of your mail. The tracking feature allows you to see when your mail item was delivered or when a delivery attempt was made, giving you peace of mind and confirmation that your item has reached its intended recipient.

Is Certified Mail™ the same as Registered Mail™?

No, Certified Mail™ and Registered Mail™ are two different services offered by the USPS. Certified Mail™ provides proof of mailing and delivery, with options for electronic verification. Registered Mail™, on the other hand, is designed for sending valuable or irreplaceable items, offering a higher level of security and insurance. Registered Mail™ also provides the sender with a receipt and detailed tracking, but it is handled separately from other mail and may take longer to deliver.

How much does it cost to send Certified Mail™?

The cost of sending Certified Mail™ is in addition to the standard postage rate for the weight and class of the mail being sent. As of the knowledge cutoff in 2023, the fee for Certified Mail™ starts at $3.75. Prices can vary based on additional services such as Return Receipt or Restricted Delivery. For the most current pricing, it's best to check the official USPS pricing page or visit a local post office.

Can Certified Mail™ be sent to international addresses?

Certified Mail™ is a service that is only available for domestic mail within the United States and its territories. If you need to send important documents internationally with similar proof of mailing and delivery, the USPS offers International Registered Mail™ and Priority Mail Express International®, which provide tracking and delivery confirmation for international destinations.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a UnitedStatesNow researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a UnitedStatesNow researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

anon197379

You can come into the 21st century using any of the competing certified mail services. Refer to the wikipedia certified mail entry for a list. The one I use doesn't have any of the problems discussed here (like they'll send a certified letter unmarked).

anon163345

how long is the certified mail good for after signing it?

anon107613

Certified mail, sent to a private home with a return receipt requested, is a nuisance for the recipient and should never be used for soliciting donations.

When the addressee is not home, the letter carrier leaves a note; the addressee then needs to go to the post office, wait, and wait some more, before getting the mail.

It is infuriating to see that it is just a donation request and we will certainly never again donate to an organization that wastes money (the postage was $3.13) and inconveniences its potential donors.

anon101009

What happens if the Post Office loses a Certified Mail item?

anon90082

what happens if you don't sign for certified mail? Since you don't know where it came from. ms n

anon21057

I signed a certified letter that came to my mother's house addressed to my brother. My brother lives 200 miles away in no permanent address. We have not seen my brother for months. What responsibility do I have for getting this letter to my brother? I think from the return address on the letter that it's about a divorce proceeding concerning his wife.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Certified Mail is offered by the United States Postal Service and gives the sender proof of delivery.
      By: tab62
      Certified Mail is offered by the United States Postal Service and gives the sender proof of delivery.
    • Certified Mail™ is one way to ensure goods are delivered on time.
      By: iceteastock
      Certified Mail™ is one way to ensure goods are delivered on time.
    • Someone who sends Certified Mail will receive delivery confirmation.
      By: 135pixels
      Someone who sends Certified Mail will receive delivery confirmation.