Can You Send Certified Mail Without a Return Receipt?

by Stephen Byrne; Updated September 26, 2017
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The U.S. Postal Service offers mailers both certified mail and return receipt service. Although mailers commonly use these two services in tandem, it is acceptable to send certified mail without a return receipt. Understanding what each service provides will help you select the right product for your needs.

Certified Mail

Certified mail service provides the sender with a numbered receipt at the time of mailing. Every certified mail article has a unique number that serves as proof of mailing.

Return Receipt

Return receipt is an add-on service that goes with certified, registered, insured or express mail. This additional service provides the sender with the signature of the addressee and date of delivery.

Options

The U.S. Postal Service provides mailers with a choice of return receipt by mail or by email.

Cost

As of January 2010, certified mail is available for $2.80. Electronic return receipt service can be added for an additional $1.10, while a traditional return receipt is available by mail for $2.30.

Purchase

If you send your certified mail without return receipt and then change your mind, you can still apply for return receipt service after mailing for an additional fee.

About the Author

Stephen Byrne is a freelance writer with published articles in "Nor'East Saltwater," "Sportfishing" magazine, "Pacific Coast Sportfishing" and "Salt Water Sportsman." As a fishing charter captain, he was also interviewed for a feature in "Field and Stream." Byrne studied environmental science at the State University of New York at Delhi.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of zenobia_joy