How to Send Certified Mail (USA)

Two Methods:Send Certified Mail from Your Post OfficeSend Certified Mail Online

Have you got something important and secure that you need to send, and that requires confirmation of receipt? Sending USPS Certified mail will ensure that your important pieces of mail, including legal and confidential documents, arrive at their intended destination. Follow this guide to either send Certified Mail from your local post office or to send Certified Mail online.

Method 1
Send Certified Mail from Your Post Office

  1. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 1
    Visit a local post office and obtain a Certified Mail Form 3800.
    • This form contains a green and white sticker that includes a barcode, which will allow you to track your mail through the USPS.
    • The form also contains a perforated receipt, which serves as proof that you mailed the item.
    • Write all of the required information on the form, including the recipient’s name and address.
  2. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 2
    Remove the backing and place the sticker along the top edge of the envelope you are mailing, directly to the right of the return address area.
    • Make sure to leave room on the top right portion of the envelope to apply correct postage.
    • On a package, the sticker can be placed to the left of the address area.
  3. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 3
    Pay the appropriate postage for the specified type of mail delivery. Then pay for additional services, including a fee for USPS Certified Mail ($3.30USD as of 8/18/2014 and Return receipt (PS Form 3811) cost $2.70).
    • Both first-class and priority mail can be sent via certified mail.
    • First-class mail includes envelopes and packages that weigh 13 ounces or less.
    • Priority mail service offers delivery in a timely and expedited fashion, generally within two to three days.
  4. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 4
    Decide if you want to purchase restricted delivery service.
    • Restricted delivery service guarantees that a specified person receives and signs for the certified mail.
    • If you select this option, you need to endorse, or initial, the column on the certified mail form that is marked for this service.
  5. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 5
    Determine receipt service. Choose whether or not you want to pay for return receipt service, which provides you with a receipt that gives you the certified mail recipient’s signature.
    • You can choose to obtain this receipt via e-mail, with a PDF image of the signature included, or as a physical receipt via snail mail.
    • As with the restricted delivery service, you need to initial the column on the certified mail form marked for this service.
  6. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 6
    Keep records. Collect and keep your receipt that has been stamped with the mailing date. A number that is unique to your mailing allows you to confirm the mail delivery online.
    • Keep all documentation for the mailing in a safe place.
  7. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 7
    View the delivery information. Check online at the postal service’s Web site to see when and to whom the certified mail was delivered. The recipient must sign for the mail upon delivery, and the post office keeps a record of this signature.

Method 2
Send Certified Mail Online

  1. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 8
    Sign up for a free account. There are several web businesses that offer USPS Certified Mail delivery. You shouldn't have to pay any monthly fees for an account.
    • Look at the price for sending Certified Mail. Decide if the price is worth what you will pay for the service.
    • Make sure that the service offers next-day USPS tracking for your letter.
    • Check to see that the service provides proof of mailing and USPS proof of delivery.
  2. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 9
    Prepare your letter for mailing.
    • Write a letter in your word processing program. Print and sign it if needed.
    • Alternatively, use a form provided by the recipient. Again, print the form and sign it as needed.
  3. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 10
    Scan the document using a scanner. Save the scanned document on your hard drive. Make sure that the document is legible and easy to read.
  4. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 11
    Upload your document file onto the website of your mailing service. The service will then address, print and mail the letter on the same business day.
  5. Image titled Send Certified Mail (USA) Step 12
    Keep a copy of your proof of mailing as well as the USPS proof of delivery.


  • You cannot send Certified Mail to foreign addresses. Certified Mail can only be sent to addresses in the United States and its territories, in addition to FPOs and APOs.


  • If you need evidence of delivery, be sure to check the delivery status as soon as possible. The post office will only keep the delivery and signature information for a limited amount of time.

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