How to Send Certified Mail®: A Step-by-Step Guide

May 3, 2019
Author: Caroline McManus
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Sending Certified Mail is an important mail service all businesses should have in their back pocket, although it can be a notoriously complicated process. Read below to find out:

  • When should you use Certified Mail?
  • What types of businesses use Certified Mail?
  • How to send Certified Mail?  

When Should You Use Certified Mail®?

Certified Mail is the ideal service when you need proof that your document or package has reached its destination. This “record of receipt” is something businesses of all sizes and industries need for important mail pieces or packages. If you are thinking about sending Certified Mail it can be added to the following USPS® services:

  • First-Class Mail®
  • First-Class Package Service®
  • Priority Mail®

How to Send Certified Mail?

Step 1: Gather all the materials we’ve listed below and choose what Certified Mail type you want. There are two options, Certified Mail and Certified Mail with Return Receipt. With Certified Mail you get electronic verification that the mail piece was delivered and the USPS gets a record of delivery that it keeps on file. However, if you need a physical or electronic record of delivery that it was received, get Certified Mail with Return Receipt.

What you will need:

  • letter or package
  • money for postage and fees
  • USPS postage form 3800

*Please note Certified Mail or Certified Mail with Return Receipt can only be sent within the United States.

Step 2: Complete the Form 3800, aka, the green cards at the Post Office. This includes entering the recipient name and address.

Step 3: Take off the top part of the form with the barcode and apply it to the top, middle part of your mail piece or the top, middle part of your parcel where it is visible.  

Step 4: Finally, pay at the Post Office counter. Certified Mail is an extra service, so you still will pay for the postage to mail your letter or package. Then on top of that, the cost of Certified Mail is $3.50, to add on Return Receipt is $2.80 for hard copy mail receipt or $1.60 for an electronic receipt.

Step 5: Track the delivery of your package or mail piece. Whatever you are sending will arrive in normal delivery time. For example, if you are sending Priority Mail®, it will arrive in 1, 2 or 3 days. There might be some delay when sending Certified Mail if the recipient does not immediately come to the Post Office to pick up the Certified Mail piece.

In Conclusion

Hopefully we've made the confusing process of sending Certified Mail® a bit clearer! If you are still looking for ways to make these tedious process simpler, check out e-Certify electronic Certified Mail solution that allows you to fill out and print Certified Mail labels right online from your desk! 

  • No more filling out green cards
  • No more trips to the Post Office
  • No more difficult archiving  
  • Save with electronic Return Receipt


October 31, 2019 at 8:06 am
Edris Tracy
How much is a Certificate of Mailing going to change to with the new rates? Currently it is $1.45 for them.
October 31, 2019 at 8:56 am
Hi Edris, great question, a Certificate of Mailing is going up from $1.45 per piece to $1.50. Thank you
January 23, 2020 at 12:41 pm
If you use a firm book the cost is only .43 each
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