USPS Certified Mail Guide: What is Certified Mail?

examples of certified mail.

Any company that has even mail a single letter has probably heard of certified mail. But there is a lot more that goes into Certified Mail than it appears on the surface. We put together a quick guide to help you get the most out of Certified Mail. USPS Certified Mail is one of the USPS’s useful tools. We are going to define certified mail, explain who uses certified mail, explain the difference between Certified Mail and Registered Mail, and the benefits of certified mail.

what is certified mail?

certified mail is exclusive to the united states postal service. refers to important, time-sensitive documents and materials that require tracking and secure delivery. certified mail provides proof of postage and a delivery record. only first class mail or priority mail can be sent as certified mail. Additionally, the service is only available for delivery within the United States. There are many benefits of certified mail. But let’s start with who uses this USPS service.

who uses certified mail?

Anyone can send certified mail. however, for commercial and regulatory reasons, companies mainly send certified mail. certified mail offers businesses proof of shipment, secure delivery, as well as proof of delivery on file.

benefits of certified mail

  • create a sense of urgency
  • follow-up on correspondence
  • p.o boxes
  • records to file
  • proof of sending
  • acknowledgment of receipt

create a sense of urgency

When the recipient has to physically sign the certified mail, it creates a sense of urgency to open and read the documents. Another benefit of certified mail is that it also makes documents look more official and less likely to be found in the junk pile.

correspondence tracking

tracking capabilities keep the sender more informed. usps enroute delivery scans a record of the acceptance date and time certified mail was sent. the mail then receives another scan en route, to record when it enters and leaves each post office and sorting facility. The USPS updates this tracking information every hour.

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p.o. boxes

usps certified mail is sent to a p.o. cash register. after that, the delivery notification is inside the PO box. cash register. This prompts the recipient to present proof of delivery to the USPS teller clerk. after signing the delivery receipt, certified mail is delivered to the recipient.

records to archive

While many people can benefit from certified mail’s archival capabilities, it is particularly beneficial for most businesses. many companies use certified mail services for important communications. each certified label creates a record of when the sender generates a mailing label. This information is especially useful for companies that need a record of sending important documents on time. return receipts and proof of delivery provide businesses with proof of file of the delivery statuses of important documents. in some cases, legal requirements specify the use of certified mail.

sending test

When sending certified mail, the sender must complete a certified mail form. the form has a perforated receipt, which acts as legally recognized proof of mailing receipt. USPS assigns a unique tracking number to each piece of certified mail and provides a signed delivery record. The USPS collects and stores signatures electronically for two years. this is one of the main benefits of certified mail.


In many cases, senders can purchase a return receipt for an additional fee. An acknowledgment receipt, also known as a mailing certificate, is a printed copy that shows the recipient’s signature as well as the date and time each piece of mail was delivered. If the shipper does not initially purchase the return receipt service, they may request a duplicate return receipt for up to two years.

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Return receipt signatures are now also available in electronic format. electronic pdf files are rapidly replacing hard copies. This is because electronic PDF files are easier to manage, cost less to mail, and are easier to store. ultimately, this makes them that much harder to miss. pdf format can also be easily emailed or shared. Copies of each certified mail transaction, including electronic delivery confirmations and electronic return receipt pdf files, are stored for 10 years at no additional charge.

Is it worth the additional cost of certified mail?

Certified mail offers additional guarantee and security for confidential documents. it is also an excellent postal solution for urgent documents that require proof of postage and delivery. certified mail can be expensive, but it’s worth it for important documents where mistakes can cost even more. We put together this guide to show you how USPS Certified Mail works so you don’t make costly postage mistakes.

glossary of usps mail terms

We put together a massive glossary of terms used in the mail industry. We define USPS postal terms and acronyms; we explain postal service levels and more. See the USPS Glossary of Mail Terms here.

certify – fssi certified email solution

take advantage of the benefits of certified mail. we have simplified the process with certify. this certified mail tool is an electronic method developed by fssi for current and potential clients. A challenge associated with the traditional method for certified mail is receiving paper copies of important documents. this includes the proof of shipment and acknowledgments of receipt.

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Hard copies can be difficult to manage and often hard to find. fssi simplifies the mailing process by creating and printing the required labels from customer print files in line with the document to be mailed. We insert the document and labels into specially marked certified envelopes. then they go to usps delivery. we post electronic delivery confirmation and signature receipt online within hours of receiving a document signature. We may also transmit this same information for upload to clients’ internal file systems.

benefits of the certify certified mail solution

  • increased efficiency and productivity: upon receipt of usps certified mail, a proof of acceptance document and tracking of correspondence throughout the usps system are available in reports certify from fssi. Conveniently, certify replaces the cumbersome process of manually creating, managing, and filing physical return receipts and acceptance test forms
  • single-vendor simplicity: fssi handles all mail. this provides greater accountability and integrated reporting.
  • business process support: certify electronically posts and archives acknowledgment information within hours of delivery of the mail.
  • Substantial Savings Potential: The certify service reduces costs associated with postage fees, label preparation, and physical storage and retrieval of return receipts.

integrated responsibility reports

Through Workstreamone™, fssi’s online job tracking and reporting tool, authorized users can access proof of delivery information online and track and generate usps correspondence reports, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Full certify reports detail the name and address of each recipient. Reports also include USPS tracking information and tracking number, and final delivery date.

Contact us to learn how fssi can help automate and simplify your company’s certified mail processes. take advantage of the benefits of certified mail. Contact a certified mail specialist today at 714.436.3300.

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