Return Receipt for Certified Mail: FAQs

Certified Mail is a service that’s offered by the USPS to customers for an additional fee. The Certified Mail service ensures that your mail is delivered and is received by someone at the intended address. Whenever a person sends an envelope or package using the Certified Mail service, a signature of the recipient is required which is then shared with the sender. This informs the sender that their mail has been received at its intended address. The key factor that differentiates Certified Mail from regular mail is the return receipt, you can find out more info here.Return Receipt for Certified Mail

Q. What Is a Return Receipt?

  1. The Return Receipt service is an additional feature provided with the USPS Certified Mail service. It requires the signature of recipient at the mailing address as proof that the mail has been delivered and received. A copy of the recipient’s signature is then sent to the sender via email or a postcard as a proof of delivery.

Q. What Are the Return Receipt Options for Certified Mail?

  1. Customers who are using the Certified Mail service have the option of either choosing an electronic Return Receipt or a physical Return Receipt. This option is given to the customers at the time of sending the Certified Mail. Once either of the option has been purchased, the USPS will send either a physical or electronic Return Receipt that displays the signature of the recipient as proof that the mail has been sent and received at its intended address.

The Return Receipt option is especially useful in certain situations where the sender has to prove that they have indeed sent important documents to the recipient, which has either been received or rejected by the recipient. This service can be crucial for legal proceedings where the sender has to provide proof that a particular document(s) was sent to the recipient. Normally, the US Postal Service stores data on recipient signatures for up to two years, which can be retrieved at any time upon request.

Q. How Can I Use the Return Receipt Option?

  1. In order to use the Return Receipt feature in Certified Mail, the sender is required to fill out a 3800 form, which you can get from any Post Office or online. Customers are allowed to fill out the form by hand or there are also online services that offer Certified Mail labels which can also be used to fill the form via their software. These online services allow you to print address or postage labels along with Return Receipt forms on-the-fly when wanting to send Certified Mail within the United States. Furthermore, going online to fill out the Return Receipt form is more convenient than having to make the physical trip to the US Post Office.

Q. How Can I Obtain the Return Receipt?

  1. The sender of the Certified Mail can only receive a return receipt after the mail has been sent to the recipient’s address. In order for the sender to get a copy of the signature of the recipient, they will have to visit the USPS website and enter the serial number of their Certified Mail, which is given on the purchase receipt. Customers will also have to include their email address. The return receipt emails will be sent to the email address along with a link to the USPS tracking information you require. When opting for the online version, the Return Receipt will be shared with the sender of the Certified Mail via email attachment instead of the usual, green postcard.

Q. When Can I Expect to Receive the Return Receipt?

  1. Normally, the time it takes for the sender to receive the return receipt mainly depends on the request for the return receipt was made by the sender on the USPS Tracking website. That said, the request for the return receipt is processed immediately, if the return receipt of a mail has already been sent to the recipient and the information of the return receipt has been completed.

Depending on factors, such as, number of return receipts that are requested, the server and the time of year, the request for a return receipt is processed immediately. In case of the request for a return receipt being made prior to delivery, then the sender will have to wait for the mail to be delivered at its intended address in order to receive the return receipt. This means, approximately 48 hours after the delivery has been made.

Q. What if I Want to include My Email Address During Purchase for the Return Receipt?

  1. The main reason why customers are requested by the USPS to visit their website and enter their information is so that the sender’s information can be recorded correctly. By allowing the customer to enter their information on the website, USPS can ensure that the return receipt is going to be sent to the right person. Apart from that, there are some customers who might not need to get a return receipt for their certified mail.

Many times, customers only require an email response for the mails that they have requested a return receipt for. Allowing customers to visit the USPS Tracking website and include their email address along with other information to receive the return receipt ensures that they are not inundated with return receipts they did not request. In this way, the flexibility that the US Postal Service provides its customers ensures that only those who make a request for the return receipt are sent the proof of delivery.

Q. What if I Need Return Receipts for Multiple Mails?

A. The best part about using the US Postal Service is that it provides its customers with the flexibility they need to get the most out of the service. Once you have purchased the return receipt from a post office near you, simply enter each request for the return receipt individually to get the return receipts sent to your email address. The USPS offers a Bulk Proof of Delivery Program for those who require return receipts for 25 or more items per day. This allows you to receive receipt data in bulk via a signature extract file.