Link to contents

(Domestic Mail section continued)

Sample: computer-generated Return Receipt proof-of-delivery letter.

Return Receipt (Electronic) Fact Sheet


• Makes proof of delivery quick, easy, and convenient.

• Equivalent of traditional return receipt (green card), but arrives via e-mail.


• Signed evidence of delivery and actual delivery address.

• May be used with Certified MailTM items, Registered MailTM items, Insured Mail items valued over $50, and collect on delivery (COD) items.

• An e-mail attachment that opens using Adobe Acrobat software.

• Only $1.30 - 45 cents less than traditional return receipt.

• Convenient - Purchaser may print as many copies as needed, forward the return receipt to other interested parties, or archive the information digitally for future use.

• Bulk version available for large-volume mailers - Records are provided on CD-ROM or in a signature extract file for use with file transfer protocol (FTP). See Publication 80, Bulk Proof of Delivery Program, for more information.

• Not available to APO/FPO addresses or U.S. territories, possessions, and freely associated states, with the exception of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How It Works

• The customer purchases return receipt (electronic) at a participating Post OfficeTM at time of mailing.

• The customer visits to request the return receipt (electronic). The customer then does the following:

- Clicks on Track & Confirm.

- Enters the label number from the receipt.

- Clicks on Request Return Receipt (Electronic).

- Enters name and e-mail address.

• The recipient's signature is obtained at delivery, digitally copied from the PS Form 3849, Delivery Notice/Reminder/Receipt, and imbedded into the return receipt proof of delivery letter.

• The customer receives the e-mail with the return receipt (electronic) attachment, usually within 48 hours of delivery.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

External Issues

1. What is return receipt (electronic)?

Return receipt (electronic) is an electronic alternative to the existing return receipt (green card). It is purchased at the time of mailing with Certified MailTM, Registered MailTM, COD, or Insured Mail items valued over $50. It provides evidence of delivery (to whom the mail was delivered and date of delivery) along with information about the recipient's actual delivery address.

2. Where can I purchase a return receipt (electronic)?

Return receipt (electronic) is available at most Post OfficesTM. After the purchase, you must visit our Web site at; click on Track & Confirm; enter the label number from your receipt; click on Request Return Receipt (Electronic); enter your name and the e-mail address to which you want your return receipt (electronic) letter sent.

3. What is the difference between return receipt (electronic) and the traditional return receipt (green card)?

The difference between the return receipt (electronic) and traditional return receipt service is that you do not receive by mail a physical document (green card) signed by the recipient. Instead, you receive a proof of delivery letter via e-mail as a PDF attachment that includes the date and time of delivery and an image of the recipient's signature.

4. Can I purchase both a return receipt (electronic) and a return receipt (green card)?

Yes. The return receipt (electronic) and return receipt (green card) are two different options that can be purchased separately or together.

5. Is the return receipt (electronic) acceptable in court?

Return receipt (electronic) is an official Postal ServiceTM document designed to be equivalent to the hardcopy return receipt that has been in use for many years. However, its legal status is not determined by the Postal Service. That decision is made by the individual courts.

6. I mail about 25 Certified Mail items a day and want to use return receipt (electronic). If I were to purchase this service, would I receive 25 e-mails or is there a way to batch this information and send it to me in one e-mail?

Customers who purchase return receipt (electronic) from a Post Office will receive an e-mail for each return receipt (electronic) purchased. Customers who mail larger volumes, such as 25 items per day, can participate in our Bulk Proof of Delivery Program, which must be set up in advance. Refer to Publication 80, available at; click About USPS & News, then Forms and Publications, then Postal Periodicals and Publications, then Publications for more details.

7. What is the refund policy for return receipt (electronic) if the signature is missing?

You are eligible for a refund if the recipient's signature is not provided. Visit your local Post Office to apply.

8. How will the e-mail be titled? How will I be able to tell it is my return receipt (electronic) and not just spam?

Here is an example e-mail heading and address block:

From: USPS_Track_&_Confirm
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 2:11 PM
To: Doe, John - Washington, DC
Subject: USPS Proof of Delivery Info for [XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX] (denotes article number)

9. How long will it take to receive the return receipt (electronic)?

This depends on when the customer requests the return receipt on the Track & Confirm site at If the customer requests a record on an article that already has been delivered and is fully complete, we will process it immediately. Depending on the e-mail server, the customer should get the e-mail within hours. If the customer requests the record prior to delivery, then we must wait for delivery to happen and for the signature record to be completed. The return receipt letter is usually available to be sent by e-mail within 48 hours of delivery.

10. Must I wait for any particular length of time before requesting the return receipt (electronic) at

No. You do not need to wait to request a return receipt (electronic). You can make your request immediately after purchase. However, it is unlikely that delivery will have been accomplished. In these instances, we must wait for delivery to take place and for the signature record to be fully completed before we can e-mail it to you.

11. Can I get restricted delivery with return receipt (electronic)?

Yes. Restricted delivery is available with return receipt (electronic). The same additional services available with the traditional return receipt are also available with return receipt (electronic).

12. Can I purchase return receipt (electronic) when I am mailing online through

No. Return receipt (electronic) is not available through at this time. It is only available for purchase from the Post Office or by signing up for our Bulk Proof of Delivery Program.

13. Is return receipt (electronic) available to APO/FPO locations?

No. This service is not available for items mailed to APO/FPO locations or U.S. territories, possessions, and freely associated states, with the exception of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

14. Wouldn't it be easier to get my e-mail address for the return receipt (electronic) at purchase?

To ensure that we capture your e-mail address correctly, we ask customers to visit our Web site and enter the information. Some customers may choose not to get an e-mail for each return receipt purchased. Instead, they may want to get an e-mail only for ones that they have questions about. Allowing customers to enter their e-mail address as opposed to the Postal Service provides them that flexibility.

15. In the case of bulk purchases of return receipts (electronic), must I provide my e-mail address for each purchase individually?

Customers who purchase return receipt (electronic) from a Post Office are required to enter each request individually. Customers who purchase enough return receipts (electronic) may want to use the Bulk Proof of Delivery Program so that they do not need to provide an e-mail address each time.

16. What happens if I lose my mailing receipt?

You must have your article number in order to request your return receipt (electronic). This can be found on your purchase receipt or on your accountable mail label receipt. If you do not have either type of receipt showing the article number, you will not be able to obtain a return receipt (electronic).

17. If you can't make delivery, and my mailpiece is sent back to me, will I get an e-mail to that effect?


18. How long will the Postal Service keep the electronic information on file? Why are customers asked to request their return receipt (electronic) within 90 days?

Return receipt (electronic) records are kept for 2 years from the date of mailing. After 90 days, your record will take longer to retrieve.

Internal Issues

1. Are there additional forms to fill out or labels to scan when a return receipt (electronic) service is sold?

No. The customer no longer has to fill out PS Form 3811, Domestic Return Receipt (Green Card). But retail associates need to explain certain aspects of the service to new users, such as the following:

- The signature arrives as an e-mail attachment rather than on a postcard.

- After completing the mailing transaction, the customer must go to the Postal ServiceTM Web site,, and enter the label number(s) printed on the customer receipt (this is applicable to POS ONE sites) as well as an e-mail address to which the return receipt containing the signature image will be sent. IRT sites will hand the customer the instructions separately since they are not printed on the receipt.

- The customer must retain his or her receipt for use in entering the article number at to receive the service.

2. What happens if customers lose their mailing receipt prior to requesting the return receipt (electronic) at How do they make their electronic request?

If customers lose their receipt(s) prior to visiting, they will be unable to request a return receipt (electronic).

3. When a refund request is made, how do I verify that the service was not delivered?

Request a Proof of Delivery letter from the Postal Service Intranet (Blue) Web site at; under "Essential Links," click on Find it; enter article number to see if the signature image is available. If the piece has been delivered but the signature is not present, the customer is eligible for a refund. If the signature is available, the customer is not eligible for a refund.

4. Does the letter carrier do anything differently when a return receipt (electronic) is involved? Does the accountables clerk?

Existing procedures apply for both the letter carrier and retail associate. However, the retail associate must advise the customer to retain his or her receipt and follow the instructions to request return receipt (electronic) at

5. If there is no green card attached to the accountable mailpiece, where does the signature that is provided on the return receipt (electronic) come from?

As with all signature records, the signature is captured from PS Form 3849 at the time of delivery, optically scanned, and stored electronically in our electronic system of records. When a return receipt (electronic) is requested, the signature is retrieved from our system of records and placed on the return receipt proof of delivery letter.

6. Is return receipt (electronic) service available at manual offices?

Return receipt (electronic) is not available for purchase at manual offices.

7. If asked to do so, can we print out the return receipt (electronic) for customers in the office?

No. Postal Service employees should not print out the proof of delivery letter for customers. Customers should be directed to to make their requests.

8. Will return receipt (electronic) be included on new PS Forms 3849?

Return receipt (electronic) will not be listed on PS Form 3849. Only the primary service purchased with return receipt (electronic) (i.e., Certified Mail, Registered Mail, COD, or Insured Mail items) will continue to be listed on PS Form 3849.

9. Is the 90-day retention period in effect for return receipts (electronic)?

Return receipt (electronic) records are kept in the system for 2 years from the date of mailing. The 90-day retention period is applicable to only how long the records are available for viewing online. After 90 days, the records can be restored, if requested, within hours after making the restoration request. Customers are encouraged, however, to make their return receipt (electronic) requests at within 90 days from the date of mailing to avoid a delay in receiving their signature records.


Return Receipt Electronic Option Available poster. A D-Link is provided.