FAQ’s about USPS Certified Mail Envelopes & USPS Certified Mail Tracking, Rates & Delivery
Frequently Asked Questions about USPS Certified Mail tracking, rates and delivery information.
Our Most Popular Certified Mail Questions:
• How much postage do I need to put on my Certified Mail Envelope?
• How long does it take for USPS to deliver a Certified Letter?
• How can I track my letter?
• Can I send a Certified Mail letter to Canada?
• Can you mail a Certified Mail letter to a PO Box?
• What is Electronic Return Receipt ERR?
• What happened to the old fashioned Green Card?
• How much postage do I need to put on my Certified Mail Envelope?
The 2012 January rate increase now will require $5.75 in postage to mail a 1 OZ Certified Mail letter with old fashion green card Return Receipt Requested. Add $0.20 for each additional OZ of postage (approximately 4 pages of paper per OZ). The $5.75 cost breaks out like this: $2.95 for the Certified Mail fee +$2.35 for the green card Return Receipt + $0.45 for the First Class postage (1 OZ.) If you use Electronic Return Receipt Signature the cost is only $1.15 instead of the $2.35 green card return receipt.
• How long does it take USPS to deliver a Certified Letter?
Plan on 3 to 5 business days for a USPS Certified Mail letter with First Class mail to be delivery. You can expedite delivery by upgrading to USPS Certified Mail with Priority Delivery. This provided 2 or 3 day delivery service. USPS Certified Mail provides the sender ‘proof of mailing’ and ‘proof of letter delivery’ it was not designed to be the fastest form of mail, but is used to provide ‘proof’ and meet compliance and regulatory requirements for important notifications. USPS Certified Mail is considered Special Service mail so it does receive high priority delivery service.
Remember someone must be available to sign for each USPS Certified letter. If you are mailing to a residential address and no one is home, a delivery reminder slip is to be left in the mailbox by the letter carrier. This reminder informs the person a USPS Certified Mail letter is being held at the local Post Office for pick-up. They must go to the Post Office to Sign for the letter and pick it up. If no one picks up the letter after 5 to 7 days, USPS will leave a second delivery notice. Again the delivery slip reminder is left by the letter carrier. Finally after 5 to 7 days the third and final delivery attempt is made to the delivery address. After the final notice reminder is left the letter is taken back to the Post Office and held for 5 to 7 additional days prior to being returned to the sender with USPS proof of the various attempts of delivery and notification.
This entire time frame can take 17 to 21 days if no one claims the letter.
Who do I call if I have questions about my USPS letter delivery?
The USPS Help Line is 800-275-8777 or you can visit the USPS web site www.usps.com. Remember USPS does not provide detailed ‘in-route’ letter tracking information. If you are using the old fashioned green card USPS forms you may not receive detailed ‘in-route’ delivery information. Updated delivery information may be updated by the USPS letter carrier after they attempt delivery of the letter and scan the letter as part of the delivery or attempted delivery.
If it has been more than 3 weeks and you see no attempted delivery information reported the best place to call is the local USPS Post Office that is responsible for the letters final letter delivery. In other words, the Post Office closest to the final delivery address Zip Code. To locate this information call USPS and request the name of the Post Office responsible for mail delivery at the final delivery address you may need to provide them the Zip Code.
What Happen To The ‘Green’ Return Receipt Cards?
The Green Card Return Receipt has been the icon of Certified Mail since 1955. This little Green Card has been difficult for both the sender and the U.S. Postal Service to manage and store. In July 2001, the U.S. Postal Service began providing Electronic delivery confirmation available in a PDF file that provides proof of letter delivery. This information is collected and authored by The United States Postal Service USPS and provides the sender ‘proof of letter delivery’ for USPS Certified Mail.
ERR-Electronic Return Receipt ™ provides USPS delivery confirmation for USPS Certified Mail delivery by the United States Postal Service. Many mailers are using the ERR-Electronic Return Receipt ™ to quickly replace the old fashioned green cards because it is electronic, produced in Adobe PDF format and the information is authored by the United States Postal Service. This is more convenient to manage for many mailers. Unlike green cards, you can’t lose an electronic record. Electronic Return Receipts also link to the Signature image record that is stored at USPS when the letter was delivered by the letter carrier.
How Can I print Electronic Return Receipts?
This service is available by Certified Mail Envelopes and Send-Certified Mail.
1. Log into your online account
2. On the navigation bar, select Login, enter your name and password
3. Click on ETC Tracking, then ETC Active Mail Pieces
Tip: Search by typing the person’s name in the search box
4. Click on ‘Print ETC Receipt’ that is located on the bottom of the screen
5. You will be ask if you wish to preview or send the report to the printer.
What receipts are provided using Certified Mail Envelopes service?
Two receipts are provided with Certified Mail Envelopes. The first receipt is the proof of mailing PS-3877 manifest or firm sheet. This provides you with a record that your letter was accepted by USPS. This receipt is available by using our approved USPS Mail Manifest. We suggest you have this sheet signed and dated when you turn your mail over to the Postal Service. If you drop your letter into any USPS mail pickup the Electronic Tracking scan will serve as your proof of mailing. Be careful to note the pickup schedule dates and times at local mail drops.
The second receipt is proof of delivery or the ERR-Electronic Return Receipt ™. This serves as your proof USPS successfully delivered the Certified letter to the delivery address specified or that the letter was returned to sender.
ERR is the Electronic Return Receipt (green card). This report is printed from our web software and is used to provide legal proof of letter delivery. This report shows Certified Mail delivery information. The information is authored by the United States Postal Service. This is a report that can be printed from the web software. The data may also be exported to your local computer or network and kept as a part of your company’s data warehouse.
What if we need a Signature from the person that signed for the letter?
Signatures displaying who signed or accepted the Certified Mail letter are electronically collected and stored by USPS. We are not aware of laws requiring mailers display the proof of the actual Signature, only proof that the USPS Certified Mail letter was mailed and proof the Certified letter was delivered. Most people assume they need the optional Signature service with Return Receipt service and waste a lot of money buying something they never use.
If you ever need the U.S. Postal Service to provide a copy of the actual image of the signature you can purchase this from USPS for up to two years after your mailing date. In summary anyone can sign for a USPS Certified Mail letter and if the mailer needs a copy of the Signature they can purchase it from USPS After the Mailing for up to two years.
What Happens if USPS Cannot Provide Me Proof Of Letter Delivery?
If you mailed a Certified Mail letter and your letter has not been delivered after 30 days you should request a refund since the Certified Mail Special service was not preformed. We understand the refund is not what’s important – but by requesting a ‘Refund for Postage’ it causes an internal review as to why the Certified Mail service was not performed. We know many local Postmasters don’t like reviews or headquarters asking questions so they will work extra hard to help you get your issue resolved. If needed, request PS-Form 3533 the Application and Voucher for Refund of Postage and Services.
If you continue to have problems, customers have found reporting the delivery problems directly to USPS Headquarters in Washington, DC. helpful. Ask for Special Services or the Postmaster General at Headquarters.
How Can I track my Certified Mail Envelope?
In-route each letter’s delivery can be tracked with the patented Electronic Tracking Confirmation (ETC) service that is provided inside each Certified Mail Envelope. The electronic tracking process provides in-route tracking, plus the final proof of delivery recorded by the U.S. Postal Service.