How Do I Send Certified Mail Through USPS? (Full Guide)

Whenever you’re mailing something important, whether it’s tax documents, an eviction notice or legal paperwork, you want to make sure your item is delivered safely to the right place.

Well, USPS’ Certified Mail service is one way to make sure that happens, and if you want to find out how to send something using this service, then check out this guide for more facts!

How Do I Send Certified Mail Through USPS In 2024?

Certified Mail is a USPS service that provides the sender with a receipt showing proof of mailing in 2024. Senders must complete a Certified Mail Receipt and attach it to the envelope to use this service. Certified Mail can be sent from home or from a post office and costs $3.75 (in addition to the regular postage price).

Certified Mail is important, so to make sure you’re doing everything right, read the rest of this guide for facts and tips on sending your mail properly!

How Does USPS Certified Mail Work?

Certified Mail is an add-on service offered by USPS that is used to show proof of mailing.

Typically, Certified Mail is used in conjunction with a Return Receipt (Form 3811). This form offers another layer of security when mailing important documents because it provides proof of delivery. 

With a Return Receipt, your recipient (or someone at their address) must sign for the letter before the postal carrier will release it.

This signature is stored in a USPS database for 2 years. In addition, you’ll receive a copy of the recipient’s signature either by mail or electronically depending on the option you selected.

To send a letter via Certified Mail, the first thing you’ll need to do is complete a Certified Mail Receipt (also referred to as Form 3800). Form 3800 asks for the recipient’s mailing address and the total cost of your letter. 

This form also allows you to select and pay for additional services such as a Return Receipt, Certified Mail Restricted Delivery or an Adult Signature. To send this form, use the following method:

  1. Address your envelope as you normally would, then peel off the adhesive sticker on the Certified Mail Receipt.
  2. Attach the receipt to the right of the return address, making sure to match the dotted line on the form to the top of the envelope. Fold the top of the form over the back of the envelope.
  3. In terms of postage, either affix enough stamps to cover the cost, or have the post office print a postage stamp for you.
  4. If you’re adding a Return Receipt to your letter, write your name and address on the back of the form. Next, write the name and address of the recipient on the front side of the form.
  5. In box 3, check the box for Certified Mail.
  6. Finally, make sure to detach the article number sticker from the Certified Mail Form and stick it to the space in box 2 on the Return Receipt.

How Much Does It Cost to Send Certified Mail?

Certified Mail currently costs $3.75, but keep in mind that this amount does not include postage. In other words, your final cost will include the Certified Mail fee plus the regular cost of mailing your item.

In addition to the standard Certified Mail service, USPS offers other add-on services for an additional fee.

For example, Certified Mail with a paper Return Receipt (Form 3811) costs an additional $3.05, and an electronic Return Receipt costs an additional $1.85. Restricted Delivery adds an additional $9.75 to the cost of mailing.

What Can Be Sent as Certified Mail at USPS?

What Can Be Sent as Certified Mail at USPS?

USPS allows customers to add the Certified Mail option to both first-class and priority mail.

Below is a list of mail types that cannot be sent as Certified Mail:

  • International mail
  • Priority Mail Express
  • Media Mail
  • Library Mail
  • Bound Printed Matter
  • USPS Retail Ground

How Long Does It Take to Deliver Certified Mail?

Delivery time for your item depends on the mail class you’re adding the Certified Mail service to.

For example, the delivery time for a First-Class letter is usually 1 to 5 business days, while Priority Mail usually takes 1 to 3 business days.

Do I Have to Go to the Post Office to Send Certified Mail?

As long as you have enough postage and the proper forms to send your Certified Mail letter, you do not need to go to the post office.

Simply fill out the Certified Mail form as described above, attach postage to your letter and either drop your letter in a mailbox or give it to a USPS mail carrier.

Can I Track My Certified Mail Letter?

Tracking a Certified Letter is much the same as tracking a package. When you purchase Certified Mail, you will receive a unique tracking number on your receipt.

To track your certified letter, simply type the tracking number in the tracking search box on the USPS website to find out where your item is.

Is USPS Certified Mail Insured?

USPS Certified Mail cannot be insured, which means that you won’t receive a reimbursement if the item you mailed is lost.

There is some good news, however, because if you purchased a Return Receipt and don’t receive it back after 30 days, USPS will refund you the service fee.

To know more, you can also see our posts on what is USPS Certified Mail, how fast is USPS Priority Mail, and USPS Priority Mail vs. First Class.


Sending important documents through the mail can seem daunting or even a bit stressful, but luckily USPS’ Certified Mail service makes it easy to show proof of mailing and delivery should you ever need it.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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