How to Track First Class Mail

by Anthony Brandt; Updated September 26, 2017

First-Class Mail is the ordinary method used by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to deliver standard letters. First-Class Mail can be used to send letters and small packages weighing 13 ounces or less. While its time to delivery is not guaranteed, the USPS estimates one to three days, though durations of up to a week or so are possible. A form of First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, is likewise not guaranteed but is almost always delivered within two to three days. While tracking First-Class Mail in a step-by-step manner like UPS or FedEx is not possible, a variety of additional services allow the sender to find out when and to whom his or her mail was delivered.

How to Track First-Class Mail

Step 1

Delivery Confirmation allows you to track your letter or package's delivery status. If the item has been delivered, or delivery was unsuccessfully attempted by the mailman, the USPS will provide you with the date, time and ZIP Code of the delivery or attempt.

Step 2

Signature Confirmation provides the exact same service as Delivery Confirmation, but requires a signature at delivery. While the signature is not automatically forwarded to you, you can request one and it will be mailed or faxed to you.

Step 3

Registered Mail is the most secure way to send anything through the United States Postal Service. Every facet of the letter or package's travel is very secure, and the Postal Service is very serious about the integrity of the handling of Registered Mail. This service provides the sender with the date and time of delivery or delivery attempts.

Step 4

Certified Mail allows you to verify that an item was delivered, and requires a signature from the recipient. However, you do not receive a copy of the signature, which is simply kept on file by the Postal Service.

Step 5

Return Receipt is a service that can be used in conjunction with Certified, Registered, or Priority Mail that automatically provides the sender with a copy of the recipient's signature. The signature can be mailed to the sender on a postcard, or emailed as a PDF attachment.

About the Author

Anthony Brandt began writing professionally in 2003. He has been published in the prestigious yearly journal "Ceramics in America," the national magazine "Antiques and Fine Art" and is currently working on several ceramics-related works for publication. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing seminars from Johns Hopkins University, where he received the Jacob Hollander Prize for writing.