Registered mail is a mail service offered by postal services in many countries, which allows the sender proof of mailing via a mailing receipt and, upon request, electronic verification that an article was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made. Depending on the country, additional services may also be available, such as:
Generally, the item is pre-paid with the normal postage rate and an additional charge known as a registration fee. Upon payment of this fee the sender is given a receipt, and (usually) a unique numbered registration label is affixed to the letter. As the letter travels from post office to post office and through any sorting office, it has to be signed for on a ledger. This process is completed when the letter is delivered and the receiver signs for the item. With computerization and barcode technology, much of the logging once done manually has become simpler and leads to greater options for the sender and receiver alike to access the status of their shipment via the internet. Many postal authorities provide tracing information for registered items on their website.
Internationally, the use of registered mail requires labels with a 13-digit reference number and corresponding barcode (UPU S10). The first two letters indicate registration (usually "RR") while the last 2 letters usually represent the country where the registered item was posted. E.g., RR913282511SG indicating Singapore, RB5584847749CN indicating China or RR123456785KR indicating South Korea.
William Dockwra's 1680s London Penny Post also recorded all details on letters accepted for onward transmission, but unlike the General Post Office, gave compensation for losses.
The registration of letters as known today was introduced in 1841 in Great Britain. The letter had to be enclosed within a large sheet of green paper. The green sheet was addressed to the Post Office where the recipient lived. The green sheet was then used as a receipt and was returned to the office of origin after delivery. On 1 July 1858 the green sheet was replaced by a green silk ribbon and shortly afterwards by a green linen tape. In 1870 the tape was replaced by green string. On the introduction of postal stationery registration envelopes in 1878 the string was replaced by printed blue crossed lines. The blue crossed lines have survived on registered letters to the present day.
On 25 November 2015 a preliminary reading of an amendment to Postal Law that forces the sender to mention his name on an item sent via registered mail, was passed. According to the press, the major opposition to this bill is the Courts Administration that sends most of its mail via registered mail with a confirmation of delivery, and claims that knowing the identity of the sender, many of their addressees will choose not to accept the items, thus delaying the legal proceedings they are a party to.
There is an optional added service called Personal Delivery (Swedish language: Personlig utlämning) where only the recipient can collect the letter and denies all else, including couriers and power of attorney. Another optional added service is Advice of Delivery (Swedish language: Mottagningsbevis) where a form signed by the receiver is sent back to the sender.
Registered Mail will be delivered to one of PostNord's service points, often a grocery store, where the identity of the receiver, and any courier, can be verified and logged before handing over the letter.
Since autumn 2017 Postnord no longer require signature for delivering registered mail from China Post. Registered mail from China Post is only traceable in the sense that the mailman marks the item as delivered when and if it is delivered to the recipients mailbox. No proof that the recipient has received the mail is collected.
U.S. certified mail began in 1955 after the idea was originated by Assistant U.S. Postmaster General Joseph Cooper. Certified mail may be selected for many reasons, not just for important business mailings. It is used by anyone who needs or wishes to provide a tracking number to the receiver as proof of delivery. It can also substitute, essentially, a proof of mailing form when a Postmark and/or scanned receipt is obtained at a Post Office. Contrary to popular belief, Certified Mail tracking is not accepted as proof of mailing in nearly all legal situations. The service also allows the receiver to track their package/envelope through the online system at usps.com using the unique tracking number provided by the mailer.USPS FAQs
Certified Mail can be combined with (for an additional fee) or without "return receipt requested" service, often called "RRR." Standard return receipt requires use of PS Form 3811, which is a green postcard-sized paper: upon delivery, this paper is mailed back to the sender and serves as legal proof of delivery. USPS now offers Return Receipt Electronic (RRE) as an alternative to the traditional mailing back of the PS Form 3811 card. RRE provides electronic proof of delivery information. Many jurisdictions accept this as legal proof of delivery, but a minority do not. With RRE, when the letter reaches its final delivery destination, the letter carrier captures the signature, name and (portion of) address of the person that accepts the letter. The information is electronically stored, making it available to the sender in nearly real-time via an email with attached PDF. As indicated on the return receipt card, either the addressee or the addressee's "agent" may sign for the document. Because the process is automated and does not require postage, RRE is cheaper than traditional RRR.