Certified Mail is a service offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It provides a mailer with proof that a letter or package was mailed, and also allows the sender to check that the item was delivered.
Only certain types of mail can be sent via Certified Mail. First Class mail, items that weigh less than thirteen ounces, can be sent as Certified Mail. Priority Mail items can also be sent using Certified Mail. Priority Mail is a special expedited service for large envelopes and parcels up to seventy pounds.
Certified Mail items must be affixed with a special green-and-white sticker provided by the United States Post Office. This sticker contains a barcode with a unique 20-digit number and a receipt area. The receipt section will be torn off after the postal employee stamps the postmark. The stub is where the postal clerk or the patron will clearly write the name and address of the recipient. The clerk will verify that the address on the receipt matches the one printed on the item to be mailed.
Unless a USPS patron is shipping online using a special approved program, the letter or package must be presented to an employee at the post office counter. Certified Mail items cannot be mailed by just putting them into a drop box with extra stamps.
In addition to the cost of regular postage, the postal employee will assess the sender with a charge of $2.80 for the Certified Mail service. That means a First Class letter with a 44-cent stamp will cost a total of $3.24 to mail. When the fee is paid, the postal clerk will scan the barcode into the USPS computer system to show that the package has been accepted. The mailer will not get the package back and will be given the receipt stub to use as proof of mailing.
After normal mailing time has elapsed, the person who mailed the certified item can go to USPS.com to enter the twenty-digit Certified Mail number into the system. This is how the USPS tracks the delivery. The system will provide the mailer with the date and time the delivery was made. If a mailer wants to restrict the delivery to one specific person at the address or to have a copy of the signature of the acceptor delivered back to him, hey can pay extra fees for those services. If these services are not requested at the time of mailing, the information is stored in the postal service’s electronic files and can be requested for a fee at a future date.