Did you know that it’s illegal for anyone other than the resident of a location and the Postal worker who delivers mail to open a given mailbox? That’s because mailpieces sent through the United States Postal Service are protected by federal law.
USPS takes the security of communication very seriously. What about Registered Mail? How does it fit into the USPS mission to ensure safe delivery? Here is what you need to know!
What Is Registered Mail USPS In 2024?
The United States Postal Service offers the Registered Mail service as the most secure method for shipping valuable or important items, such as legal documents or fine jewelry, as of 2024. Registered Mail is protected throughout its journey, kept in safes and cages and under lock and key when not in transit, and requires a signature for delivery.
Let’s look more in-depth at how USPS Registered Mail works, what it can be used for, and who might send it. Keep reading for all you need to know!
How Does USPS Registered Mail Work?
USPS Registered Mail, the most secure way of sending items or documents through the United States Postal Service, can be added to four different mail classes:
- First-Class Mail (what we think of as “regular” mail)
- First-Class Package Service (Commercial)
- First-Class Package Service (Retail)
- Priority Mail
That said, you can head to the Post Office to complete the process (there are a few forms to fill out and create the label).
Or, you can create and print the label at home, but you will still need to make a trip to the Post Office to turn in the forms so that your Registered Mail is registered.
Moreover, that includes declaring a value of your item, for insurance purposes, up to $50,000.
Also, USPS.com has a helpful chart for determining the value, especially for things like documents.
Further, the value of your mailing is important because that determines the price, which starts at $13.75 for items of zero value.
Then, from the moment your parcel or mailpiece is turned over to USPS hands, the organization begins a chain of custody.
Essentially, this means that at every stop to its destination, your items will be manually handled (no machines), and the handlers are logged.
Then, instead of waiting on belts or in trucks, the Registered Mail is kept under lock and key until the next transport stage begins.
However, one downside to Registered Mail is the lack of USPS Tracking, even for services that normally have it.
Instead, you’ll simply have to trust that USPS securely handles the parcel or mailpiece. Because of the security level, Registered Mail’s shipping service is slower.
Of course, this can be rather nerve-wracking when combined with the lack of tracking. You can, however, receive delivery confirmation in the form of Proof of Delivery.
Additionally, you can know that the parcel or mailpiece will not be left on a doorstep; part of the service is that it’s delivered into capable-looking human hands with a signature.
Finally, you can purchase Registered Mail Restricted Delivery, which requires the signature of the addressee and the addressee only.
How Much Is USPS Registered Mail?
USPS Registered Mail prices are based on the reported value of the item(s) being mailed.
With that, it starts at just $13.75 for items of zero value. As you can see from the chart on this page, items valued between $5,000 and $15,000,000 can be registered for $25.75.
Also, the Registered Mail fee is in addition to regular postage, so if you’re sending something Priority Mail, you’ll pay that postage, plus the Registered Mail fee.
Moreover, if you want Registered Mail Restricted Delivery, that’s an extra $5.85 (pretty reasonable for the additional security).
What Is USPS Registered Mail Used For?
Any item that you would normally ship First-Class, First-Class Package, or Priority Mail, if it is of significant value to you, can be sent Registered Mail.
That said, this might include family jewels/heirlooms or legal documents like wills, deeds or bonds, cash, checks, or other currency.
Also, it’s not up to the USPS to determine if something is “worthy” of Registered Mail; that’s the customer’s call. So, you can choose how you want to send something.
Who Sends USPS Registered Mail?
Some examples of people who might use USPS Registered Mail include attorneys or medical professionals sending sensitive documents.
Or, it could be family members sending invaluable items to each other and wanting to make sure the packages or envelopes have a minuscule chance of getting lost.
How Fast Is USPS Registered Mail?
USPS Registered Mail is almost always going to be slower than the postage you paid.
So, for example, say you add the service to Priority Mail, which has a delivery window of one to three days.
In this case, you should absolutely not count on the Registered Mail reaching its destination in that timeframe.
Instead, it’s much more likely it will take a few extra days, at the very least, because of the manual passing of the item from physical hand to physical hand.
Additionally, USPS.com notes that this is not the service if you are in a hurry to get something into someone’s hands (the next best option would be Priority Mail Express with POD).
What Is The Difference Between USPS Registered And Certified Mail?
USPS Registered Mail and Certified Mail both provide a certain security level for the sender, but they do so in different ways.
For example, Certified Mail is not as hands-on as Registered Mail, and nor is it priced according to the value of the item being sent.
Instead, it comes with a signed receipt that the recipient sends back, and the sender receives as proof that the mailpiece made it into the addressee’s hands.
Further, this signature proof can come in the form of a physical return receipt or an electronic version.
Obviously, Registered Mail comes with a much more involved mailing process, as the parcel or mailpiece is manually handled and kept secure between transports.
Registered Mail ensures that the item sent has the smallest possible chance of getting lost for all of your most sensitive, valuable mailings.
Also, Registered Mail promises that mailpieces remain secure throughout their journey to the destination, and it is given into human hands upon delivery, with a signature required.