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How Government Agencies Use Certified Mail®

Government Agencies

Certified Mail® is a mail service from the United States Postal Service (USPS) that provides proof of mailing as well as proof of delivery. The service is used by individuals, businesses, and government entities at the local, state, and federal levels. In this blog post, we will discuss some key reasons why federal, state and local governments use Certified Mail.

Legal and regulatory requirements

Government entities are often required by law to send important documents through Certified Mail. For example, notices related to taxes, property liens, and court summonses often must be sent via Certified Mail with Return Receipt to ensure that they are delivered and received by the intended recipient. This requirement helps to protect the legal rights of both the government and the recipient.


Government entities are accountable to the public for their actions and decisions. Certified Mail® provides a clear record of the acceptance, delivery, and receipt of important documents, which helps to ensure transparency and accountability. This is particularly important for documents related to public services, such as permits, licenses, and zoning changes. It’s also important for time-sensitive documents such as court summonses and election materials.

Security and confidentiality

Some government documents contain sensitive information that must be protected. Certified Mail® provides an added layer of security and confidentiality by requiring a signature from the recipient upon delivery.

Certified Mail software makes the entire process more efficient

Preparing Certified Mail with the manual forms provided by the Post Office – and storing those forms afterward – is labor-intensive and prone to error. As a result, many government agencies, and Mail Service Providers who work for government agencies, are switching to online software from to save time and money throughout the process.

More Efficient Preparation enables mailers to prepare Certified Mail envelopes and packages far faster than using manual forms and postage meters. Certified Mail cover sheets are printed with electronic postage and USPS® tracking barcodes from any standard printer, then folded with the government correspondence into Certified Mail window envelopes. Labels used for Certified Mail® sent in Priority Mail® boxes.

A finished Certified Mail #10 envelope, with cover sheet and letter inside. 6” x 9” and 9”x12” envelopes are also available. Certified Mail labels are also available for Priority Mail boxes.

Proof of Acceptance and Signed Return Receipts within hours, not days

An Electronic Proof of Acceptance (PDF file) is posted to the agency’s account soon after the Certified Mail receives its first scan at any outbound facility. This Proof of Acceptance Electronic is accepted by state and federal courts as prima facia evidence that the Post Office took possession of the mail piece at a specific date and time.

Instead of waiting a week or more for Green Cards to return to the agency’s office, the USPS Return Receipt Electronic® is posted to the mailer’s account within 24 hours of delivery. The Return Receipt Electronic carries the same legal status as the Green Card. And since mailers are sometimes unable to recognize the recipient from their signature or USPS item number, adds a box in the lower center of the form with the recipient’s name, address, and any text the mailer has added to the “Reference” field in the software before mailing. 

Certified Mail not requiring a signature confirmation receives a Proof of Delivery Electronic (PDF file), also within 24 hours. For mailers that rely most on the Proof of Acceptance for compliance with state statutes, having the Proof of Delivery Electronic completes the mailing record.

Sample PDFs for Electronic Proof of Acceptance, Proof of Delivery, and Return Receipt

A 10-Year Online Archive

All three PDF files, along with the USPS tracking information for each mail piece, is retained in the mailer’s account for 10 years. These files and data can be accessed by authorized users at any time. In addition, mailers can download production reports to track their mailing costs, making it easy to allocate those costs to specific projects.

APIs Enable Even More Automation

REST APIs enable automated requests for Certified Mail cover sheets and labels. In addition, the Electronic Proof of Acceptance, Proof of Delivery, and USPS Return Receipt Electronic PDF files can all be requested from the platform, then combined by the mailer with the initial correspondence into a single PDF file that is automatically pushed to the government agency’s server, or to their Mail Service Provider

In conclusion, government entities at the local, state, and federal levels use Certified Mail for a variety of reasons. It provides a reliable, cost-effective, and secure method for the delivery of important documents, while also ensuring legal compliance and accountability. Certified Mail software makes the process faster and more efficient.

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