A certificate of Mailing is a dated receipt that you receive from USPS as evidence that you have mailed a document or a package with them.
It might happen that the person, or company, that you are sending mail to needs some proof that you have shipped an item to them. This is usually when an item is late being delivered or has not shown up at all. It could just as easily be that you are in the same position and are waiting for something to be delivered.
The Certificate of Mailing is also a great way for you to keep track of sent items—the number of items mailed and the mailing date of each item. The receipt has limitations in that it records a delivery or specifies a particular delivery date nor does it provide any insurance against lost items. But still, it’s an excellent service, especially for those of us that need to ship numerous items regularly or for documents that have a submission deadline.
There are a few things that that it’s worth knowing regarding this service a customer needs to know to avail of this service and take complete advantage of it. Not least of which is that its not free. So, here we are with every bit of detail of the USPS Certificate of Mailing.
Let’s just jump straight into it!
Table of Contents
A Brief Overview of USPS Certificate of Mailing
So what is the USPS Certificate of Mailing?
- It is physical evidence of mailing only and not legal proof.
- It does specify that an item has been shipped and the date it was sent on.
- It does not serve as proof of delivery.
- It does not provide the shipped items with any insurance against loss or damage.
- It is available both for domestic as well as for international shipping.
- It can only be purchased at the time of mailing a shipment.
- The Postal Service does not retain any duplicate copies of the Certificate of Mailing once it’s handed over to the customer. It is therefore the responsibility of the customer to keep it safe with them in case it is needed at a later date.
- In an insurance claim, the Certificate of Mailing can be used as evidence of shipment.
- The recipient doesn’t need to provide any signature while receiving the parcels shipped using the Certificate of Mailing.
- Shipments that make use of the service of the Certificate of Mailing cannot use a return receipt.
- Customers must go to a retail Post Office to purchase and validate the Certificate of Mailing.
- The payment of the Certificate of Mailing can be made by affixing postage stamps, meter stamps, or permit imprints.
Which of the USPS Services apply to the Certificate of Mailing?
It is crucial to note that not every service of the USPS provides the advantage of the Certificate of Mailing. So, one needs to be careful with the choice of service to ensure that it can be used. Only the following services offer the USPS Certificate of Mailing:
- Priority Mail
- Priority Mail International (only if the shipment is uninsured)
- Media Mail
- First-class Mail
- First-class Mail International
- Package Services
- Parcel Select
The Certificate of Mailing can be combined with Special Handling, but it cannot be combined with registered mail or insured Parcel Select.
Certificate of Mailing Cost
It does cost extra to purchase the USPS Certificate of Mailing. However, the exact amount varies, depending on the destination—domestic or international and whether it’s purchased with an Individual Article or with an Individual Article plus Firm Mailing Book.
The average Certificate of Mailing Price is around $1.50 in addition to regular postage.
Certificate of Mailing Forms
To use the Certificate of Mailing service, you need to fill out a PS Form at the Post Office. The types of forms are used:
- PS Form 3817: This form is used for one or two items of mail. It can be used for both domestic and international shipping. You need to fill out this form, attach the fees and get the permit imprint.
- PS Form 3877: This form is used for three or more items of mail. It cannot be used for international shipping. This is USPS-approved as well as a customer-generated form of an itemized list. It must contain all the information in the USPS form.
- PS Form 3665: This form is used for three or more items of mail. It can be used for both domestic and international shipping. This form can be used to ship internationally, which couldn’t be done by the above form.
- PS Form 3606: This form is used for bulk mailings. It can be used for international mailing only. This is used to verify the number of identical weighted items of shipment. Note that all of the packages must be of the exact shape, size, and weight. You won’t receive the certificate until they are all identical.
- PS Form 3606-D: This form is used for bulk mailings. It can be used for domestic mailing only. The rule regarding the uniform size of the packages (shape, size, and weight) applies to this as well.
How to Get a Certificate of Mailing?
It is very easy to use this service. You just need to purchase it from the Post Office at the time of shipping your parcels.
While using the USPS mailing service, simply request the representative at the office for a Certificate of Mailing and pay the extra fees as required. You will receive your certificate as soon as you hand over your shipment.
When to Use the USPS Certificate of Mailing?
This can be a particularly useful service. I can think of a few specific situations when using this service would prove to be a lifesaver for you. Here are a few such cases:
If you don’t submit your tax forms before a specific deadline, the chances of you getting penalized are high. To avoid risking that if something goes wrong during the delivery process, you can have your Certificate of Mailing as proof of your innocence.
If the form, payment, or document you need to send to a Government department doesn’t reach them due to some shipment issues, having the Certificate of Mailing would help you prove that you did your part in shipping them.
It is crucial to get the Certificate of Mailing while sending a check to retain the proof of the payment if the check is never received.
Time Critical Documents:
It can be important for all those documents that come with a submission deadline. It guards you against delayed or lost mail as you can simply provide the certificate to prove that you had shipped it in time.
The USPS Certificate of Mailing is a remarkable service to protect your reputation and prove your innocence in case of delayed or lost mail. Although it’s still something of a disaster to encounter shipment loss or delay, the Certificate of Mailing can help to avoid some of the consequences of the loss. So, make sure that you purchase the USPS Certificate of Mailing in essential cases where it might come to your rescue.