Certified mail is the largest ancillary service provided by the USPS with around 200 million mail pieces sent annually. What makes this postal service so popular? First of all, it allows senders to obtain a delivery record that proves that the mail piece has reached the recipient. Secondly, they can check certified mail through the USPS tracking to get advanced control over the shipment process.

Such a combo makes certified mail a great way to meet the requirements of regulators and manage customer relationships. To learn more about the reasons to check certified mail and how to track a certified letter, read our article about:

  • Why use and check certified mail?
  • How can companies and individuals send USPS certified mail?
  • How to track a certified letter?
  • Benefits of mail automation for mail tracking and delivery

Why Use and Check Certified Mail?

Let’s start with stats. 65% of certified mail users state that proof of delivery is the main reason why they choose this postal service. Both individual and corporate mailers want to be sure their certified letter has reached the intended destination. Certified mail gives them peace of mind and brings several other benefits:

Transactional Direct Mailing

Certified mail is more noticeable than other communications

People treat certified mail as something more serious since it requires signature confirmation. Apart from that, this option is usually chosen to deliver official notifications, confidential documents, tax returns, and other critical communications. Therefore, a person that receives a dozen mail pieces is more likely to check certified mail first. This is especially important if the sender, be it an individual or an enterprise, needs to attract the attention of the recipient.

It’s perfect for record-keeping

The United States Postal Service stores certified mail in its database for 2 years, but you can also keep the receipts independently. Since everything that happens between you and the recipient is recorded, you can rely on this information to protect yourself in case of any disputes. Record-keeping is also mandatory to comply with the legal requirements in finances, utility services, and other regulated industries.

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TIP. You can pick between physical and electronic return receipts. Physical return receipts are signed by recipients in the presence of a mail carrier and then mailed to you as a signed postcard (PS Form 3811). With electronic return receipts, you won’t receive any print notices. The recipient signs for the delivery electronically and you can have a copy emailed to you through the USPS Track and Confirm page. Both types of receipts have legal force.

Certified mail includes a tracking number so you can check its location

If you have doubts about the trackability of a certified letter, we’ve got good news for you. This mail type goes with a USPS tracking number you can enter on the official USPS website to check certified mail and its location. It’s an additional benefit that enhances the control over mailing delivery. You can instantly see if the delivery attempt was successful and how many business days the delivery is taking.

Accuracy and Security

Compared to regular mail services, certified mail is more accurate and reliable. With the verification of delivery, the sender also gets a chance to follow the mail piece on its way to the destination. As a result, they can instantly notice when something goes wrong to resend the notification or take other steps to notify the recipient.

data protection

In addition to the listed benefits, certified mail is very versatile. You can use it to boost other mailing services, such as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express, with advanced tracking. This makes mailing more flexible and enables customers to combine several add-ons at once. More about the uses of certified mail and other tips in this article.

How to Send USPS Certified Mail? Corporate & Individual Senders

Now when you know about the superpowers of certified mail, it’s high time to get to practical guidelines. Sending a registered letter isn’t rocket science, so just to follow the next steps:

  1. Go to the closest post office and get a PS from 3800. You will use the barcode included on it to check the certified mail in the USPS system.
  2. Fill in the necessary details, including the address and name of the recipient. Locate the barcode at the top of the envelope near the return address.
  3. Pay a $3.55 fee for certified mail and $2.85 if you want to receive a return receipt.
  4. Send and check certified mail.

Note that certified mail can be combined with several extra services offered at an additional fee. Certificate of mailing ($1.50) includes the date when you submitted the mail piece to the United States Postal Service. Signature Confirmation ($3.15 at a post office or $2.65 if paid online) provides information on the date and time of shipment or delivery attempt. Premium Tracking (starts at $2.1) offers detailed tracking history that isn’t available in the free option.

How to Track a Certified Letter?

Certified mail is trackable by default though the barcode supplied with the mailing form you purchase at the post office. So once you know the number of the mail piece (e.g., 9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00), you can enter it on the USPS website (www.usps.com) to check certified mail.

Aside from that, the USPS supports alternative tracking options. Those who don’t have Internet access or only know how to track a certified letter via phone, can contact the postal service and share the tracking number to find out the details. Mailers that provide an electronic manifest can track certified mail by bulk electronic file transfer.


Whereas the tracking functionality supplied by USPS is mainly intended for senders, there is also an option for recipients. Informed Delivery by USPS enables users to manage the mail that is about to arrive from a dedicated online account. So if you are on the other side of the delivery, consider this option to get notified about every mail piece shipped to you.

Benefits of Mail Automation for Mail Tracking and Delivery

With back-office automation services like Inkit, you don’t need to puzzle out how to track a certified letter, check certified mail, or collect the proof of mailing. Any communication you send is documented in the system with comprehensive information about the timing and process of shipment.

Inkit allows users to view all the offline communications delivered to a specific recipient in a single customer profile. Thus, you can see whether the print notice reached the target, estimate the planned date of delivery, and check the sent mail pieces to make sure nothing is missing. In case you need to record mail for regulatory compliance, mail automation is also suitable. Inkit renders and stores PDF copies of communications, so you can anytime pull them from the system.

These capabilities fully substitute certified mail while enabling you to send highly trackable mail at regular prices. We’ll tell you more: Inkit has a bunch of other features for direct mail marketing, offline communications, and official correspondence. Advanced personalization of content, numerous integrations, trigger-based delivery, data validation and enrichment are just a basic package. To learn more about our automation offers, check out Inkit’s features.

In case you have any additional questions or inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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