September 22, 2023


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 Delivery Confirmation?
•  What happened to the old fashioned Green Card?

•  How much postage do I need to put on my Certified Mail®Envelope?

$6.59 is the cost of a 1 oz. USPS Certified Mail® letter with old fashion green card Return Receipt Requested. Add $0.21 for each additional oz of postage (approximately 5 pages of paper per oz).  The $6.59 cost breaks out like this:  $3.35 for the Certified Mail fee +$2.75 for the green card Return Receipt + $0.49 for the First Class postage (1 OZ.)  If you purchase your Certified Mail postage online or through a Postage Meter the rates will be lower.  If you use Electronic Return Receipt Signature the cost is $1.45 this will replace the $2.75 green card return receipt cost.

•  How long does it take USPS to deliver a Certified Letter?
Plan on 3 to 5 business days for a USPS Certified Mail® letter mailed with First Class postage to be delivery.  You can expedite delivery by upgrading to USPS Certified Mail® with Priority Mail Delivery.  This provides 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 will 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 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 days prior to being returned to 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  If you are using the old fashioned green card USPS forms you will not receive email notification of your letters delivery.  If the green card is lost, you will need to provide a copy of your mail receipt to have the old fashioned green card replaced.

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.

Return Receipt Electronic™ provides USPS delivery confirmation for USPS Certified Mail® delivery by the United States Postal Service.  Many mailers are using the RRE -Return Receipt Electronic™ to replace the old fashioned green cards because they are electronic, and easily stored as an Adobe PDF file. Electronic PDF files are more convenient to manage for many mailers.  Unlike green cards, you can’t misplace an electronic record. Electronic Return Receipts also stored inside your Certified Mail® Labels account for 10 years.

 How Can I print Electronic Return Receipts?

Yes.  Online service keep a copy of your transaction and delivery records for 10 years.  You will have proof of mailing, in-route tracking and the final proof of delivery as evidence for each letter you mail.

1.  Log into your online account
2.  On the navigation bar, select Login, enter your name and password
3.  Click on Reports, then Summary Tracking.  Seach by using the date, name, your reference information etc.
4.  View the USPS letter tracking or print a copy by clicking either report link or the Detail record view.

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 U.S. Postal Service. This receipt is available by using our approved USPS Mail Manifest. You can also use the Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notification (SCAN) form we provide.  You can simply drop your letter into any mail box, or give to a Postal Carrier.  The date and time USPS accepts your mailing is electronically recorded in the database and is used on all the reports.  So, you and skip the trip to the Post Office and still have proof.  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.

Do I Need a Signature Showing Who Signed For The Certified Mail letter?
Signatures displaying who signed or accepted the Certified Mail letter are optional.  Check with the laws in your local jurisdiction.  Today many laws simply require proof that you mailed the Certified Mail letter and it was delivered. Certain states like the District of Columbia, Texas, Nevada, and others may require Return Receipt.  This is when you can use the electronic Return Receipt USPS PDF and save money.  Most people assume they need the optional Return Receipt Signature service with and waste a lot of money buying services they never use or need.

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 may not be 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.