is a type of Special Service mail offered by the United States Postal Service
and other postal services which allows the sender proof of mailing, as well as proof of delivery. Certified Mail also provides the sender with a copy of the recipient's signature, which is obtained at the time of delivery, by the Postal Service. Certified Mail is only available for Priority Mail
and First Class Mail
letters mailed within the United States
and its territories
(including APOs and FPOs
). Each piece of certified mail is assigned a unique tracking number. This number serves as both an official record of mailing and receipt of the item by the Postal Service.
Today, Certified Mail is primarily used for important business mailings . It is also acceptable to send U.S. Government classified information
that is labeled "Level 1: Confidential"
or lower, using the Certified Mail service.
Since Certified Mail provides both proof of mailing and proof of delivery, a copy of each Certified Mail transaction is kept on file by the United States Postal Service. Certified Mail is recognized by a green Return Receipt card that is returned to the sender as proof of delivery. Today the USPS new Return Receipt Electronic (RRE) provides electronic proof of delivery information. When the letter reaches its final delivery destination the letter carrier captures the signature of the person that accepts the letter and the information is electronically stored. Any person can sign for the item