How to Fill Out Certified Mail Slip


May 14, 2023

Are you seeking a way to record all mail and packages you’ve shipped? Do you need to gather proof that deliveries for each item were received at the intended destination? If so, then Certified Mail is the service you can use. 

When you’re planning to use Certified Mail, you’ll need to know how to send mail, how much this service costs, and how return receipts work. 

This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to send letters and packages through Certified Mail. 

Also, you’ll get information on added services provided by Certified Mail, like the issuance of return receipts. Finally, you’ll learn more about Certified Mail, including its cost, uses, and delivery speed.

Certified Mail is a mail service intended for people who need proof of delivery for delivered packages. If you’re one such person, you’ll want to coordinate closely with the post office nearest the intended destination, especially when the recipient is unavailable to receive the package. 

A database of local post offices in the country can help as you monitor your Certified Mail letters and packages. 

Check out and use its directory of 31,330 post offices to get the contact information of the post office nearest your intended recipient. 

How to Fill Out Certified Mail Forms

Certified Mail is a service that provides you with proof of mailing and delivery of a package. You can use this mail service by filling out a Postal Service Form or PS Form, which you can get at your local post office or buy online at the USPS (United States Postal Service) store. 

You start by filling out the PS 3800 form. Simply follow these instructions:

Step 1

Ensure that you address your mail correctly. USPS uses automation in most of its daily package processes. Your writing must be legible for it to be read by ocular character readers. 

Writing in print is preferred, as the computer can read each character legibly. Also, make sure that you use ink that has a contrasting color from the envelope. Remember to leave room on your envelope for the Certified Mail label

Step 2

Fill out PS Form 3800 or the Certified Mail receipt, which provides proof of the mailing date, time, and location through a postmark. You can combine other add-on services like Restricted Delivery if you want a particular individual to receive the mail. Also, you can request a return receipt by checking off the appropriate boxes in PS Form 3800. 

Step 3

Fill out PS Form 3811 or the domestic return receipt, which provides proof of delivery or attempted delivery. On this form, you’ll write the recipient’s name and delivery address in print and then check off the box of the type of mail service you’ve chosen.

Remember that the signature section on this form is intended for the recipient’s signature, not yours, so leave it blank. You can get this form at or your local post office.

Step 4

After filling out PS Forms 3800 and 3811, you’ll need to attach them to your envelope. For PS Form 3800, you should tear off the certified sticker at the perforated line. At the leftmost part of the sticker, you’ll see a strip with another copy of your tracking number. You’ll also need to tear the strip off at its perforated line. 

Ensure that you’ve torn off the certified sticker with the package’s tracking number and barcode. You’ll then peel off its backing and place it on the front of your envelope, to the immediate right of the sender’s address.

For PS 3811, you need to attach this form to the back of your envelope. Stick the small strip you’ve torn off from PS 3800 (with the USPS tracking number) and place it on section 2 of PS 3811. 

Step 5

Double-check your labels and the addresses you’ve written, and ensure to check every appropriate box. Any typos or missing numbers can result in a delivery delay, which can be a problem. So, before you send your mail to the post office, review everything first. 

How to Send Certified Mail

After going through the abovementioned steps, you’re ready to send your certified mail for pick-up and delivery. Here are some instructions you’ll need to follow for sending this kind of mail. 

Instructions for Sending Certified Mail

The instructions listed below help ensure that your mail gets processed by USPS and reduce the risk of mail getting lost or undelivered. 

Step 1

Make sure that you have done the following:

  • You have written your return address on the envelope
  • You have placed the certified sticker in front of your envelope, to the immediate right of the sender’s address
  • You have written the recipient’s address on PS 3811 legibly
  • You have placed the tracking number slip from PS Form 3800 in section 2 of PS Form 3811
  • You have checked the boxes indicating the appropriate service type in section 3 of PS Form 3811

Step 2

Make sure that you don’t do the following:

  • Use a small envelope
  • Place the certified sticker upside down
  • Affix the certified sticker on the area where the stamp or postage meter is (for metered mail), which is at the upper right corner of the envelope
  • Choose “Restricted Delivery” when the addressee is a business
  • Check off services that you don’t need in section 3 (service types) of PS Form 3811 (price differences are significant, so only choose what you need)

Step 3

Determine the postage cost for your mail. USPS Certified Mail costs $4.15, but you’ll need to add extra for a return receipt. 

Rates are higher as a price hike took effect on Jan. 22, 2023. 

Step 4

Determine if you need a physical return receipt or not. If you’re not inclined to use electronic devices, like computers, or prefer to have physical proof of delivery, have a hard copy of the return receipt delivered to you. 

Suppose you’re saving time and space and have access to electronic devices. In that case, an electronic return receipt can be a sound option. 

If you want a hard copy return receipt delivered, it’ll cost an additional $3.35 on top of the Certified Mail cost. If you want an electronic return receipt instead, you’ll only pay $2.10. 

Step 5

Go through everything once more and see if there are any errors in your entries. Check if the PS 3800 sticker is attached to the envelope and if the sender’s and recipient’s addresses are written legibly. 

Also, check if the filled-out PS Form 3811 is appropriately placed at the back.

Review the stickers once you’ve checked the boxes of the appropriate service type you need.

Step 6

You can now place the corresponding postage stamps for your mail. You can get stamps from your local post office, the USPS Store, and websites like 

After this step, you can bring your mail to the post office or have your package picked up by USPS at your place. 

Once your package has been mailed, head to the website and use their tracking system to monitor the delivery progress. 

Return Receipt – The Basics

The Return Receipt service is one of the features you’ll get with USPS’ Certified Mail service. Other mail services where you can request a return receipt include Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, First Class Package Service, and Media Mail. 

Proof of Acceptance (Mailing)

One of the primary purposes of Certified Mail is to get proof of the time of mailing. For various reasons, you may need physical or electronic evidence that you’ve sent a mail or package via USPS. 

Certified Mail is also suitable for record-keeping. USPS usually stores its record of Certified Mail deliveries for two years. 

The following are extra services that Certified Mail provides:


Certified Mail has a tracking service to help you monitor your mail delivery. When you fill out PS Form 3800, you see your article tracking number printed on the leftmost side of the form.

You can type this number into the USPS tracking system and monitor your delivery. 

Proof of Delivery With Signature

You must fill out PS Form 3811 when you request proof of delivery. When you scan this form, you’ll notice a section where the recipient can print their signature as proof of receipt. PS Form 3811 is also known as the “green card” because of its green color. 

Proof of Acceptance (Mailing)

Whenever you need proof that you’ve mailed something to someone, like for legal reasons, you can get a certificate of mailing via Certified Mail.

However, you can also request proof of mailing for other mail service types. Just fill out PS Form 3817 for mail or packages with one or two items. You can head to your local post office to get this form and pay the appropriate cost for this service. 

Tracking Your Certified Mail Letters

There is more than one way of tracking your Certified Mail letter. You can monitor it through your phone, online tracking system, or bulk electronic file transfer. 

However, you’ll need the article tracking number to see where your mailpiece is. You’ll get this number when you fill out your PS Form 3800.

Proof of Delivery With Signature

Certified Mail is one of the preferred methods for proof of delivery. You can choose this service when you fill out the PS 3811 or the “green card.” When you choose this service, the recipient must provide their signature on the green card as proof of delivery. 

If you choose the green card or hard copy receipt, it’ll be sent back to you via mail. However, if you choose an electronic return receipt, you’ll get it via email within 48 hours after delivery. 

Significant Cost Savings

Choosing electronic delivery for your return receipts is a significant cost-effective decision that can save you money, especially for bulk deliveries. However, your choices should still depend on your needs and how you keep your records for all the certified mail you’ve sent. 

As you can see in this comparison, an electronic return receipt is much cheaper:

  • Return Receipt Retail: $3.35 (as of Feb. 2, 2023)
  • Return Receipt Electronic: $2.10 (as of Feb. 2, 2023)

Preparing Certified Mail

Using Certified Mail is relatively easy, and preparing your letter for this mail service is relatively easy. Remember the steps indicated under the subheading “How to Fill Out Certified Mail Forms”, and you’re well on your way. 

Certified Mail Information

This section will give you more information about Certified Mail, its common uses, and how much it costs. However, prices in this article depend on the current USPS prices at the time of the writing.

What Is Certified Mail?

The Certified Mail service provides the sender proof of mailing and proof of delivery or attempted delivery. This mail service provides return receipts with the recipient’s signature for further confirmation that your mail was delivered to the intended recipient. 

Common Uses of Certified Mail

Here are the common types of items sent through Certified Mail:

  • Tax returns
  • Health care records
  • Legal proceedings
  • Time-sensitive communications with debtors and creditors
  • Important government communications 
  • Foreclosure notices
  • Compliance documents

How Long Does It Take USPS to Deliver Certified Mail?

Usually, USPS takes to two to five days to deliver certified mail. This mail service is available in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How Much Does Certified Mail Cost?

Here are the current costs for Certified Mail, including extra services:

  • Certified Mail: $4.15
  • Return Receipt Retail: $3.35
  • Return Receipt Electronic $2.10

Note that USPS announced an increase in its prices starting Jan. 22, 2023. 


  1. How do I fill out a certified mail envelope?

You write your mailing address on the face of the envelope in its upper left-hand corner. At the center of the envelope, write the receiver’s address. On the upper right-hand corner, place the postage stamps

You can affix the certified sticker at the immediate right of the sender’s address. Afterward, place the return receipt at the back of the envelope. 

  1. How much does a return receipt cost?

A Return Receipt service costs $3.35 if you want a hardcopy or “green card” delivered to your home. Meanwhile, you need to pay $2.10 for an electronic version of the receipt emailed to you. These prices have changed as USPS announced a price hike by Jan. 22, 2023. 

  1. After mailing an item, can I request a return receipt?

Unfortunately, you can’t. You can only request a return receipt when mailing your item and not after. 

  1. How do I fill out a USPS Certified Mail receipt?

The mail receipt has sections that you should accomplish accordingly. You need to write the sender’s name and address. If you need extra services or add-ons, remember to indicate them.

Place the cost of Certified Mail, which is currently at $4.15. Here are the rates for the other services:

  • Return receipt (hardcopy) $3.35
  • Return receipt (electronic) $2.10
  • Certified Mail Restricted Delivery $10.80 per mailpiece
  • Adult Signature Required $10.80
  • Adult Signature Restricted Delivery $10.80

Add the price of postage, which you can compute using an online calculator or by visiting your local post office. 

  1. Where does the Certified mail sticker go on an envelope?

The Certified Mail sticker goes at the immediate right of the sender’s address at the top of the envelope, directly above the recipient’s name and address. Remember to place the sticker right-side-up and peel off the thin strip at the leftmost corner of the sticker, which has your tracking number. 


Certified Mail and Return Receipt
Properly addressing the “Certified Return Receipt”
Price List
USPS Return Receipt
USPS Tracking® – The Basics
Getting Evidence You Sent
What is Certified Mail?
What is Electronic Return Receipt?
After Mailing an Item, Can I Request a Return Receipt?