Certified Mail is commonly used in the United States. It is a great option for those who need to make sure their important documents safely reach the intended recipient. While nowadays, scanning and sending documents is commonplace, there are many who still prefer to use certified mail. Surprisingly, the most commonly asked question when it comes to Certified Mail is, what is it? and how does it work? In the following lines, we are going to take a closer look at Certified Mail and find out what it is.

Certified Mail – Explained

For those of you who are unaware, Certified Mail is a mailing option that’s offered by the United States Postal Service. This particular mailing service allows the sender to know if the mail has been sent by giving them a receipt for the mailed piece. To ensure the delivery of the mail, the mailman or mail carrier gets a signature from the recipient. This signature ensures that the mail has reached its intended address.

The signature is then stored in the USPS database where it is kept for up to two years. Apart from that, customers also have the option of including a Return Receipt services to the Certified Mail that they send. This sends a copy of the signature of the recipient back to the sender via email, which is used as proof that the mail was delivered to its intended address.

Why Do People Use Certified Mail?

Certified Mail is more commonly used by those who require or would like to have a confirmation that the sent mail has been received by the recipient, or that, at least an attempt of sending the mail was made by the postal service. Certified Mail is more commonly used for sending out legal documentation to ensure that there are no loose ends that could get them into legal issues.

This is also one of the reasons why divorce notices are mostly sent through Certified Mail. In this way, by paying an extra fee for the Certified Mail, the sender of the documents gets to be certain that the mail has been received by the recipient. Whether the recipient ends up accepting or rejecting the mail, knowing that the mail was sent to the recipient gives the sender room to take further action if necessary.

What’s the Process?

Those who are using Certified Mail for the first time will find the process incredibly easy. It begins with the 3800 form that the sender has to fill out to get the Certified Mail service. Form 3800 is the green card that you can easily get at any post office in the US and is attached to the Certified Mail being sent. Under USPS regulations concerning Certified Mail, the addressee of the mail is required to provide a signature to the mail carrier as proof of delivery. That signature is then shared with the sender of the Certified Mail.

Types of Certified Mail

The US Post Office offers the Certified Mail option to those who need a proof of delivery for the items being sent via Certified Mail. This information can then be accessed online by the sender. The following are some of the different categories of Certified Mail that can be sent all over the United States. It is important to note that the Certified Mail service that the United States Postal Service offers is only allowed within the US. Here are the two types of Certified Mail services offered to consumers in the US.

First-Class Mail

The first option for consumers who require a receipt of the mail they have sent is called Certified First-Class Mail. This type of mailing service allows the sender to send business correspondence, legal documents, bills, letters and so on in an envelope or a small package. It is important to note that while using the Certified First-Class Mail service, the envelope or package should exceed 13 ounces.

While many business owners prefer to send their business correspondence via first-class mail, using the Certified First-Class mailing option for an additional fee will make sure the mail is received by the recipient. Through the Certified First-Class Mail service, the mail is delivered within three business days to most places in the US.

Priority Mail

Those who need to send important documents urgently can also opt for the Priority Mail service. This will ensure that the mail they are sending reaches its intended location within two to three days. For obvious reasons, opting for the Priority Mail option is going to cost you more as compared to the Certified First-Class Mail service. That being said, it is considered to be a more expedited mailing service that is recommended for those who are sending Certified Mail during Christmas or other high-volume seasons.

Additional Services

The US Postal Service offers consumers with multiple options, services and features to ensure they have peace of mind when sending mail in the US. For this, the US Post Office offers many additional services to the consumers for an additional fee, which ensures that their mail gets delivered on time and to the intended address. Some of the additional services that’s offered by USPS is the option of getting a return receipt and a ‘restricted delivery’ option which can also be included to your Certified Mail, for an additional fee of course. So, what are these two ‘additional’ services offered by the US Post Office?
Return Receipt –Many of you may have probably guessed it by now. The return receipt service basically means that the sender of the Certified Mail is provided with a return receipt which is proof that the mail has been received. The return receipt is sent to the sender by either a postcard that contains the recipient’s signature, or via the USPS website.
Restricted Delivery – The Restricted Delivery service is a pretty straight-forward feature provided by the USPS. While the return receipt can contain the signature of any recipient, the Restricted Delivery service ensures that the signature is of a specific person to make sure the envelope of package has been delivered to the intended recipient.