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USPS Certified Mail FAQ

June 11th, 2018

Certified Mail is a USPS service that gives mailers an official receipt providing poof the item was mailed. After the Certified Mail document is delivered, the mail carrier requires a signature from the recipient. Mailers using Certified Mail can also request a physical or electronic Return Receipt with the recipient’s signature. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the USPS service:

How long will it take for USPS to deliver my Certified Mail letter?

Delivery time depends on the mail class chosen to add the Certified Mail service to. If you are sending a First-Class Mail letter, delivery usually takes 2 to 5 business days. For Priority Mail, delivery is usually within 2-3 business days. However, USPS does not guarantee an exact delivery time for either First-Class Mail or Priority Mail.

Why would I use Certified Mail?

Mailers typically use certified mail when they need to provide proof that a mailpiece was sent and received. The most common uses of Certified Mail are to send tax returns, bank documents, and time-sensitive communications with debtors or creditors.

Do I have to be present at a Post Office to send Certified Mail?

No, as long as you affix the proper Certified Mail Forms and the correct amount of postage, you can have a USPS mail carrier pick up your Certified Mail mailpiece or drop it in a mailbox.

Can Certified Mail go to a P.O. Box?

Yes, when Certified Mail arrives at the delivery Post Office, the letter carrier will place a delivery notification inside the P.O. Box that instructs the person to present the delivery slip to the window clerk. Keep in mind that a recipient is under no legal obligation to sign the delivery slip regardless of where the mailpiece is delivered.

Can anyone at the mailing address sign for Certified Mail?

Yes, with standard Certified Mail anyone present at the mailing address can sign for the mailpiece. If you send a mailing with restricted Certified Mail, however, only the person who it is addressed to may sign for it.

Which name goes on the receipt, mine or the person I am mailing it to?

On the green and white “Certified Mail Receipt”, write the name of the person you are mailing the mailpiece to. Their address should be entered at the bottom.

If the Certified Mail is returned to sender as not deliverable, should the sender sign the green card?

No, the sender should not sign it. The fact that it was returned as undeliverable with the unsigned green card intact is proof that you tried to send it.

How can I use Certified Mail with Stamps.com?

  1. Connect to Stamps.com to print Certified Mail – Our software connects you to your Stamps.com account where you can print Certified Mail.
  2. Click on “Envelopes” from the left navigation bar.
  3. Select “Letters” as your Mailpiece type.
  4. Enter the weight of your mailpiece.
  5. Select your mail class – Keep in mind that only First-Class Mail and Priority Mail are options when you use a Certified Mail Form or Envelope.
  6. Choose additional services – At this point, you may select options such as Return Receipt and Restricted Delivery. Remember, depending on your chosen services, unused portions of the form may contain the word VOID when printed.
  7. Specify the required address information for your mailpiece.
  8. Select your printable choice – From the “Printing On” list, select Stamps.com’s pre-formatted Certified Mail Envelope or Form.
  9. Print – Load the form into your printer, then click “Print Postage.” We recommend you print a sample on a blank sheet of paper so you know the correct loading direction for the form. And remember, the method of affixing the Certified Mail Form to your mailpiece will depend on any additional services you selected in Step 8. Pay close attention to the directions printed on the form to ensure you affix it properly to your mailpiece.
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