How to send certified mail – How to Send Certified Mail Online

How to Send Certified Mail with the Post Office

When you drop something in the mailbox, you may wonder if it will ever
reach its destination. That’s where certified mail comes into play.
This service from the Unites States Postal Service allows you to
verify if the item you sent has been
delivered.Difficulty:EasyInstructions Go to your local post office
and ask for a certified mail Form 3800, a green sticker with a
barcode. Fill out the form with the name and address of the
Affix the sticker in the correct position on the item.
The label part goes above the delivery address, on the right side of
the return address. It can also be put to the left of the address on
Pay the postage fee for whatever method you cho

Culture & Society

Certified mail service from the U.S. Postal Service provides the
mailer with a dated receipt that includes a unique article number at
the time of mailing. Certified mail is accountable at the point of
delivery, which means the recipient must sign for the item.
ProcedureYou can send certified mail to a P.O. Box. When a recipient
is not available to sign for a certified item, the Postal Service
leaves a notification slip PS3849. This slip informs the customer that
his certified mail will be available for pick up at his local Post
Office for 15 days.
NotificationThe Postal Service sends out a
second notice to the addressee after five days. Unretrieved certified
mail is returned to the sen


The U.S. Postal Service provides an easy and convenient way to send
mail electronically. The program is called «Click-N-Ship,» and it
allows you to create electronic labels from the comfort of your home
or office. The labels are then attached to your mail and given to your
postal carrier or dropped off in a mail box.Difficulty:Moderately
EasyInstructions Things You’ll
Click-N-Ship labels
class=»error»>StepsVisit Create an account by clicking on
«Register Now» at the right side of the page. Sign in to your account,
and click «Print Shipping Labels.»
Enter the return address on the
left hand side of the page, and the recipient’s n


The U.S. Postal Service offers a certified mail service that allows
you to track your delivery items. When you request certified mail, you
receive a receipt with a unique article number. The article number
identifies and tracks your package, letter or envelope. In addition,
you can request Return Receipt service which provides you a copy of
the signature associated with the delivery of the
article.Difficulty:EasyInstructions Things You’ll Need

Retrieve your receipt and identify the
article number. Go to the Postal Services website at Click
«Track & Confirm» on the upper navigation menu.
Enter your article
number in the «Enter Label/


Sending a letter out via certified mail allows you to keep track of
where the letter is located and if the recipient received the letter.
Sending a letter out via certified mail is a good way to keep track of
business transactions or other important documentation. Keep the
receipt that you receive when you mail out the letter, as you can use
this information to track the letter.Difficulty:EasyInstructions
Retrieve your copy of your certified mail receipt. This is the green
and white piece of paper that you collected from the post office when
you sent out the certified letter at the post office.
Locate the
line of 20 numbers on the edge of the receipt. This is your tracking


Sending mail helps you keep in touch with friends as well as send
important documents, birthday gifts or items that you may have sold
online. For the holidays, you can send gifts to people all over the
world. It’s a fun way to stay in touch with family and
friends.Difficulty:EasyInstructions Things You’ll
Tissue paper or
bubble wrap

Place your letter in an envelope. If
you’re sending an item bigger than a letter, enclose it in a box. Wrap
the item with tissue paper or bubble wrap to keep it from moving
around too much. This also makes it more likely that the package will
arrive at its destination without damage.

Personal Finance

You may have a customer service complaint or some other issue you want
to bring to the attention of the general post office in Washington,
DC. The office can be reached by mail, telephone or email. The process
of sending mail to the general post office is straightforward; just
ensure that it is addressed correctly so that it can reach the right
department.Difficulty:Moderately EasyInstructions Write your letter
in a business-like manner, even if you are upset about a particular
circumstance or incident. The same goes if you are writing to praise a
postal employee; keep the letter clear, succinct and brief.
Put the
letter in an envelope and place the address of the general post office

Culture & Society

How to Track the Sender on Certified Mail

Certified mail can mean serious business, particularly if you are a business owner. Because letters or packages delivered by certified mail allow for signature confirmation of receipt, the service is favored by the Internal Revenue Service, creditors and consumers wanting to verify an item was received and who signed for it. If you receive a certified letter, consider signing for it immediately to address any potential problems your business may face as quickly as possible. When immediate pickup is not available, tracking the letter may help you determine who sent it.

Check the Peach-Colored Form

Certified mail requires a signature upon delivery, and based on the options selected by the sender, may mandate that only the addressee can sign for the letter. Should a letter arrive at your business when you are not available, the mail carrier will leave a copy of Form 3849, commonly referred to as the «peach-colored form,» in place of the letter. This form provides key information from the mailpiece and allows you to schedule a redelivery. If it is completely filled out, the sender’s name will be listed in the upper right-hand corner of older versions of the form. Newer versions of Form 3849 also feature the shipment information at the top.

Call the Post Office for Answers

Contact your local post office if Form 3849 is not filled out properly and inquire about the letter in question. Explain that Form 3849 was not completed in its entirety and ask who the sender is. If delivery restrictions were requested, the clerk may decline to provide additional details over the phone due to privacy concerns. Ask if an in-person inspection would be allowed for the verified recipient before accepting delivery. In some instances, a mailpiece may only feature the address of the sender and not a name.

Track the Letter

In instances where a sender name is not available through the USPS, Form 3849 should provide you with an article or barcode number for the certified mailing. This number represents the tracking information presented on the certified mail barcode on the letter or package. After you have the number, visit and click «Track and Manage.» Enter the tracking number and review the history. The log will allow you to see where the item was shipped, which could help you isolate potential shippers in a pinch. After the letter is signed for, the name of the recipient also appears on the shipping log.

Use Informed Delivery

A service launched by the USPS in 2017 – informed delivery – can help home-based businesses stay ahead of future deliveries. The service allows residential customers to sign up for a daily digest email featuring images of letters scheduled for delivery on a given day. As of January 2018, the service is limited to letters sorted on automated machinery. Any certified letters that do not require hand sorting would be scanned and featured in the images. If a return address is printed on the front of the envelope, you will be able to read it.

About the Author

Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.

Instructions for Sending Certified Mail

Certified Mail is a service available through the United States Postal Service (USPS) that provides you with a mailing receipt for important items sent domestically by First-Class or Priority Mail. All certified mail has a unique identification number attached and requires a signature from the recipient. When sending certified mail, you can request electronic verification of delivery or attempted delivery. You can also have a signed receipt returned to you for an additional fee. The USPS keeps a record of delivery for certified mail for two years.

Address the First-Class or Priority Mail piece that contains your important letter or document.

Go to the Post Office and get Form 3800, Certified Mail.

Fill in the complete delivery address information on the bottom of the Certified Mail Receipt attached to Form 3800.

Remove the backing from the left-hand side of the form to expose the adhesive on the numbered sticker. Align the dotted line on the sticker with the top edge of the envelope, to the right of the return address, and press the sticker into place on the front of the envelope. Fold the top of the sticker over to the back of the envelope and press it into place.

Give the Certified Mail piece to the postal clerk to calculate the postage. Pay for the postage and get your postmarked receipt.

Keep your receipt in a safe place.

  • On parcels, place the certified mail label to the left of the delivery address. You can give Certified Mail to your mail carrier or place it in any drop box if you attach adequate postage and do not need a postmark on your receipt.

About the Author

Crystal Marie launched her freelance writing career in July 2009 after working for nearly 20 years in public health. She writes for various websites and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and human resources management from Simpson University.

Photo Credits
  • Jupiterimages/ Images

How to Tell Who Sent You Certified Mail?

Certified mail is a «signed-for» mail service that requires you to physically sign for an item in order to receive it. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) assigns a unique tracking number to certified mail so the item is traceable at every stage of its journey. The tracking number doesn’t identify the sender, however, and it’s impossible to tell who sent the certified mail until you have the envelope in your hands.

  • USPS regulations require you to sign for certified mail before you receive and open it. You can’t tell who sent it until you physically accept it.

Types of Certified Mail

There are several types of certified mail. The basic service provides a unique tracking number that the sender can check online to confirm that the item arrived at its destination. USPS requires a signature before the carrier hands over the item. Anyone at a business address can sign for the mail piece unless the sender has restricted delivery to an individual addressee. In the case of a residential delivery, if no one is home at the time of delivery, USPS leaves a delivery reminder slip in the mailbox and the addressee or an authorized agent must go to the local post office to sign for the item and pick it up. Businesses and lawyers often use certified mail because it gives them a clear paper trail and a legally recognized proof of delivery.

Before You Accept the Package

The USPS tracking code indicates where the item came from and the type of mail service the sender used. It does not identify the sender. This is deliberate; otherwise, you could refuse to accept a court summons, legal papers, notice from the landlord, a letter from a collection agency and other undesirable pieces of mail. You cannot hold, view or open the mail piece until you sign for it. It’s impossible to know who sent you certified mail until you accept the letter.

Check the Return Address

Once the letter is in your hands, look at the return address. Certified mail requires the sender to write a return address on the mail piece, so you can see the sender’s address before making a decision about whether to open the envelope. By this point, however, you have signed for the delivery. Even if you choose not to open it, you are deemed to have received it by a court of law. USPS maintains official delivery records for two years.

If You Refuse to Accept the Certified Mail

It’s possible to refuse certified mail by not being present when the item is delivered, by refusing to sign for the letter, or by refusing to collect it from the local post office. If no one accepts the letter after three delivery attempts, USPS marks the letter «unclaimed» and returns it to the sender. Refusing certified mail still has consequences. If you’re facing a complaint in the small claims court, for example, the other party may send a summons by certified mail. Upon your refusal of the item, the other party is able to show that he tried to contact you and serve the summons but you rejected it. You won’t have notice of the court hearing, and the court may enter a judgment in your absence.

About the Author

Jayne Thompson earned an LLB in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LLM in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “big law” firms before launching a career as a business writer. Her articles have appeared on numerous business sites including Typefinder, Women in Business, Startwire and Find her at

Photo Credits
  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

How Does Certified Mail Work?

You’ve probably heard about certified mail and wondered what it’s all about. Is it used to send only a particular kind of mail, or is it used to send mail only to a particular kind of recipient? Certified mail is a very special kind of delivery service for mail that is offered by the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Certified mail allows senders to gain confirmation that the item they sent through the mail was delivered to and accepted by the intended recipient.

Certified Letters and Mail

Any letter that qualifies as a certified letter is delivered to the recipient along with the regular mail-delivery service. There are some stark differences in how a certified letter works, however, as opposed to a regular letter. The letter will come with a green card known as the confirmation of delivery card. It is usually simply referred to as the «green card.»

Certified Mail Delivery Time

The recipient should sign this green card upon receipt of the letter as a sign that he has received the letter and accepted delivery. This transaction is then recorded, and it is considered legally binding. As long as you signed the green card, you are legally considered to have received and accepted a given letter on a given date at a given time, known as the certified mail delivery time. The record is admissible in a court of law. The record of the transaction is maintained by the post office and includes a number of details, including the fact that the delivery occurred on a certain date at a certain time, the name and signature of the person who received delivery of the letter and whether or not the delivery was accepted. Note that if you refuse to sign the green card, then you are considered to have refused the delivery.

Why Do People Send Certified Mail?

Certified mail is especially sent by people who would like confirmation of receipt by their recipients. They don’t want to leave any loose ends for legal reasons. For example, legal documents and letters such as notices of divorce are commonly sent via certified mail. For a little extra fee, the sender gets to know for sure that the recipient received the mail and accepted it or rejected it, which makes it much easier to take further action.

What Is the Process for Sending Certified Mail?

It all starts with form 3800. That is the special form one has to complete in order to prepare mail for the certified mail service. The form itself is actually the green card that is eventually attached to the certified mail. It can be found at any U.S. post office. The certified mail’s cost is equivalent to the cost of sending a regular letter plus a small premium that covers the special certification and administration services. If the sender would like to receive a signed copy confirming that the green card was signed, then they will pay a small extra fee.

The sender can also request something known as restricted delivery, where it is ensured that the certified mail is received only by a certain individual. The letter carrier will be provided with instructions that only the person for whom the certified mail is intended can accept delivery.

Certified Mail Tracking

The sender of the certified mail will receive a receipt from the post office once she has paid for the service. Included on the receipt will be a numerical identifier that can be used for certified mail tracking to confirm delivery online. Certified mail is a way to legally confirm delivery and acceptance of a piece of mail on a given date at a given time. If the sender would like to receive the confirmation in physical form, she will be mailed a confirmation letter as well as a copy of the signed letter via regular mail.

About the Author

Nicole is a business writer with nearly two decades of hands-on and publishing experience. She’s been published in several business publications, including The Employment Times, Web Hosting Sun and WOW! Women on Writing. She also studied business in college.

How to Track the Sender on Certified Mail

For many business owners, certified mail notices can be anxiety-inducing, particularly if you know you’ll have to wait a day or two to get your mail. Fortunately, there are ways you can use that little peach-colored notice to determine the likely sender of the letter. Even if you suspect that the envelope contains bad news, knowing who sent it can help you prepare to deal with the situation.

Certified Mail Defined

Certified mail is an add-on service offered by the U.S. Postal Service. Senders receive proof that they mailed the correspondence, can track an item while in it’s transit and receive proof of delivery. For an additional fee, the sender can also request that the person who accepts the mail (not necessarily the addressee) signs for the item. The post office then provides proof of the signature to the sender.

The purpose of certified mail is twofold: It creates additional security for a package or letter while it is in transit, and it provides senders with proof that they mailed something. Reasons why a sender might want this kind of proof include:

  • The sender has a responsibility to send a contract, check or another document by a specific date. Certified mail provides proof that the sender did what was required.
  • The sender and recipient are in a legal dispute. In some states, certified mail can be used as a method of serving documents. Certified mail also provides a paper trail that may be needed to document communication during the conflict.
  • The sender is trying to connect with someone who has not responded to previous attempts at communicating. By sending a certified letter, the sender can document making a good-faith effort to get in touch. 

Notice-Left Forms

If the sender of certified mail only requests proof of delivery, the postal carrier will place the letter or package in the recipient’s mailbox after scanning the tracking code. In cases where the sender has asked for signature confirmation, the postal carrier will attempt to find an adult to sign for the delivery. If nobody is available to sign for it, the carrier will leave a slip letting the recipient know how to either retrieve the package from the post office or request another delivery attempt. Officially, this note is a PS Form 3849, also known as a «Notice Left.»

  • PS Form 3849 is used to notify recipients about all kinds of mail that can’t be delivered, so don’t assume that every peach-colored slip in your mailbox is for certified mail.

Identifying the Sender

In 2018, the USPS updated its notice-left forms to include a space where the postal carrier can write the sender’s name. This should be sufficient for identifying the sender. If, for some reason, the sender’s name is not on the notice, flip it over and you’ll find the item’s tracking code. Visit and submit the tracking number. The tracking system may only provide you with the city, state and zip code of the sender, but this may be all the information you need to determine the sender’s identity.

  • In some areas, USPS offers «Informed Delivery,» a service that notifies you of incoming mail and provides you with a photo of the outside of letter-size envelopes. If you have this service, you’ll automatically be notified of a certified letter that is on its way and, if the envelope conforms to USPS standards, you’ll be able to see the return address on the correspondence.

Misunderstandings About Certified Mail

Because certified mail is often used to send correspondence of a sensitive nature, it is understandable that you might be apprehensive about picking up your letter. However, avoiding a piece of certified mail, especially business mail, is seldom a good idea. Here’s why:

  • Certified mail is often important: While lawsuits, evictions and tax audits are unpleasant matters, they don’t go away just because you ignore them. In fact, the sooner you know about them, the more quickly you can take action. In some cases, addressing the problem early can minimize both cost and inconvenience.
  • Refusing mail won’t protect you: Senders use certified mail for their own protection. If you are trying to avoid dealing with a situation, such as a lawsuit or a huge tax bill, will eventually move forward with or without your cooperation. 
  • Something pleasant may be in that envelope: A lawyer who is handling the estate of a friend or family member may be trying to reach you with news of a bequest. One of your clients may have sent you a check. If you don’t pick up your mail, you might be missing out on good news or even some money.

How to Track Certified Mail

Trust is important in business, but smart business owners often live by the old Russian proverb, «Trust, but verify.» If your livelihood depends on a particular document you’re sending in the mail, wouldn’t you breathe easier if you knew for certain when the envelope reached its destination? The United States post office offers just such a service. With certified mail tracking, you can follow your letter or package online to see what stops it makes and when it’s in the hands of the right person.

What Is Certified Mail?

The USPS offers a special service for tracking letters and packages known as Certified Mail. It follows your mail to its ultimate destination and provides proof of delivery into the right hands. Using special codes and electronic tracking technology, the USPS will inform you exactly when your mailing was delivered or when a delivery was attempted but failed. You can also opt for additional services such as Return Receipt which requires the recipient to sign for the mailing and will provide you with a copy of the signed receipt.

Why Use Certified Mail?

For most cases of average business mail, certified mail is an unneeded expense. The post office will deliver your regular mail as promised, almost every time. When certain circumstances arise, though, it’s important that you get the extra protection that Certified Mail offers.

  • Dealing with billing disputes.
  • Writing about any legal matters.
  • Shipping expensive merchandise.
  • Delivering products to P.O. boxes.

Take Advantage of Certified Mail Tracking

If you want to send something via Certified Mail, you have two options. All packages and letters can go directly from any USPS office. Also, there are options for sending a certified letter online, using one of many different services.

If you’d like to go the traditional route, go to your local post office and get Certified Mail form 3800, which includes a sticker with a barcode and tracking number. This form allows you to track your mailing through the post office. Fill out the form completely, including the recipient’s name and address. Remove the backing from the sticker and place it on the top of the package or envelope. Take the mailing to the post office, pay the appropriate fee and hand over your mailing.

If you’re only sending a letter, you have the option of delivering it digitally. A quick Google search will show you a wide variety of Sign up for one of the many online businesses that offer Certified Mail delivery. Write your letter on your computer, print it out and sign it. Scan your letter and upload it to your mail service website. The service will send a printed copy to your recipient.

Using Certified Letter Tracking

No matter how you sent your Certified Mail, you’ll always have a receipt that contains a long tracking number. Each tracking number is unique and will only be used once.

When you want to find out where your letter or package is, you have many options. You can use the USPS website or one of a long list of other mail services, all of which allow you to track your Certified Mail items. Go to your website of choice and navigate to the Certified Mail tracking page. Enter the exact tracking number into the designated box, making sure to get all the digits. Cutting and pasting are a better way to copy the number than trying to type it out.

Once you have input the correct tracking number, click on the button for tracking. You’ll see a detailed listing of all the destinations your letter or package has visited. It’s likely that the mailing will stop at multiple post offices before its final destination, and may take some seemingly illogical side trips, but you’ll be able to track where it goes. When your letter or package has reached its destination, you’ll be able to see it on the site.

If you need a bit of additional peace of mind, sign up for Informed Delivery on the USPS website. With this free service, you’ll get an email or text message every time your package moves and a final message to verify that it’s arrived at its destination.

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