Questions about Certified Mail

 Below is a list of our most popular USPS Certified Mail questions:

•   How long will it take for USPS to deliver my certified letter?
•   How do you track delivery of a certified letter?
•   Can I send a certified letter to Canada or Mexico?
•   Can you send a Certified Mail letter to a P.O. Box?
•   How do I get proof of mailing or acceptance for Certified Mail?
•   How do I get Electronic Return Receipt or proof of delivery for my Certified Mail?
•   Can I have the Delivery information sent to my email?
•   Who do I call if I have questions about USPS Certified Mail letter delivery?
•   What if I need to see the Signature from the person that signed for the letter?

 

  •   How long will it take for USPS to deliver my certified letter?

Plan on First-Class delivery standards of 3 to 5 business days unless you send with Priority Mail that is 2-3 day delivery.  USPS does not guarantee or specify an exact delivery time.  However USPS Certified Mail is First-Class Mail and considered Special Service mail that receives higher delivery service priority.

Remember someone must be available to sign for each USPS Certified letter if a Return Receipt Signature was purchased at the time of mailing. If you are mailing to a residential address and no one is home, a notice of delivery attempt is to be left in the mailbox by the letter carrier. This informs the resident that a USPS Certified Mail letter is being held at the local Post Office for pick-up.  The recipient can go to the Post Office to sign for the letter.  If no one picks up the letter within 15 business days, USPS will scan the letter ‘Unclaimed’ and the letter is returned to the sender.

  •   How can I track delivery of a certified letter?

In-route scans on each Certified Mail letter can be tracked with the patented Electronic Tracking Confirmation (ETC) service that is provided with each Certified Mail Label.  The electronic tracking process provides in-route tracking, plus the final proof of delivery recorded by the U.S. Postal Service.

  •   Can I send a certified letter to Canada or Mexico?

No. USPS Certified Mail is a product of the United States Postal Service and is only delivered within the Unites States. Registered Mail is used by many mailers outside the US in place of Certified Mail.

  •   Can you send a Certified Mail letter to a P.O. Box?

Yes. Certified Mail can be sent to a P.O. Box. When the 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.  After signing the delivery receipt, the letter is given to the recipient.

  •   How do I get proof of mailing or acceptance for Certified Mail?

Proof of mailing is very important to many mailers sending USPS Certified Mail. Firm books or paper manifests are now being replaced with a USPS proof of acceptance electronic SCAN Form (PS Form 5630).   The Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notice (SCAN) sheet was designed to better serve customer needs for providing proof of acceptance, letter tracking and overall mail stream visibility. Mailers that use USPS PC Postage and Certified Mail Labels can link labels information onto one piece of paper with one master bar code.

How it works:  The SCAN form can be scanned by the postal employee or letter carrier when a batch of Certified Mail letters is mailed.  The SCAN Form, activates an acceptance date and time scan for each letter.  This process saves significant time and allows USPS to scan one single barcode for up to 100 pieces Certified Mail letters.  It is easier and more convenient than scanning each letter individually. Once the form is scanned, the acceptance sheet is given back to the mailer for his or her records.

  •   How do I get Electronic Return Receipt or proof of delivery for my Certified Mail?

Return Receipt provides the mailer with proof of each letter’s delivery.  Since 1955 those old-fashioned green cards were the icon of Certified Mail. However, they were difficult and expensive for many mailers including the Postal Service to process. Today, USPS Certified Mail delivery confirmation and Return Receipt Signatures are available in electronic formats (PDF file).  The electronic PDF files are quickly replacing the old green cards because they are easy to administer, cost less to mail, easy to store and, unlike green cards, you can’t lose them. Delivery confirmation and Return Receipt Signatures are available in PDF format and can be easily emailed or shared. Large volume mailers can download and entire batch by FTP.

  •   Who do I call if I have questions about USPS Certified Mail letter delivery?

The USPS Help Line is 800-275-8777.  You can visit the USPS web site www.usps.com. With more than 400 million letters mailed annually, make sure you have your tracking number and mail date handy when you call.

  • What if I need to see the Signature from the person that signed for the letter?

Signatures that displayed who signed or accepted the Certified Mail letter are electronically collected and stored by USPS for two years.  Many times, compliance regulations do not require the mailer to provide proof of the actual Signature, only proof that a USPS Certified Mail letter was mailed and delivered.  Many people confuse Signature service with Restricted Delivery or Registered Mail and waste money buying services they don’t need.  If you do need the Return Receipt Signature, be sure to purchase this at the time you create your label.  You will not be able to purchase it after the mailing as USPS is discontinuing the Return Receipt After Mailing product in April of 2015.