Can You Send Certified Mail Without a Return Receipt?

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The U.S. Postal Service offers mailers both certified mail and return receipt service. Although mailers commonly use these two services in tandem, it is acceptable to send certified mail without a return receipt. Understanding what each service provides will help you select the right product for your needs.

Certified Mail

Certified mail service provides the sender with a numbered receipt at the time of mailing. Every certified mail article has a unique number that serves as proof of mailing.

Return Receipt

Return receipt is an add-on service that goes with certified, registered, insured or express mail. This additional service provides the sender with the signature of the addressee and date of delivery.


The U.S. Postal Service provides mailers with a choice of return receipt by mail or by email.


As of January 2010, certified mail is available for $2.80. Electronic return receipt service can be added for an additional $1.10, while a traditional return receipt is available by mail for $2.30.


If you send your certified mail without return receipt and then change your mind, you can still apply for return receipt service after mailing for an additional fee.

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