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.

Step 1.

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

Step 2.

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

Step 3.

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

Step 4.

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.

Step 5.

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

Step 6.

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.