Difference Between Certified and Registered Mail

Certified mail is one of the postal services given the customer in which the sender receives a certificate that the mail has been delivered to the specified person/authority with a signature proof.

It also allows the sender to track the safety of the item using the 20-digit tracking code that is provided upon the mailing of the item.

This code enables the sender to follow each movement of the parcel.

The proof of receipt is kept with the postal office for almost two years in case the sender loses the certificate issued to him/her in the first place.

Registered mail comes in play when the item mailed is of high value and requires additional protection.

It is a postal service whose purpose is to give the safety of the item being sent at the utmost priority.

For this purpose, these mail items are kept locked in safety boxes.These items can be tracked by the sender using the 13-digit tracking code provided on the time of mailing the item.

Registered mail provides additional services in comparison to the certified mail, such as a chain of custody that is sent to the sender of the mailed item.

Certified vs Registered Mail

The main difference between Certified and Registered Mail is that the purpose of both is different. Certified mail focuses on ensuring that the mail is delivered to the right person/authority, and the proof of the same is intact. In contrast, the registered mail focuses on the security of the item being mailed.

Certified vs Registered mail


Comparison Table Between Certified and Registered Mail (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonCertified MailRegistered Mail
MeaningIn this time of mail, a signature of the receiver becomes essential for the delivery man before the letter can be handed over.In this time of mail, it is ensured that the mail is transported and delivered with additional protection.
FocusIt is focused on delivering the mail to the right person with proof.It is focused on delivering the mail while maintaining safety.
CodeIt has a 20-digit tracking code.It has a 13-digit tracking code.
CostIt is an economical method of mailing itemsIt is costlier in comparison to certified mail.
Item handlingThe mail is treated generally like an ordinary mail.The mail item is kept safe in locked boxes.
SuitabilityIt is suitable when proof of delivery is essential.It is suitable when mailing high-value items.
ServiceIt only provides a return receipt and returns receipt after mailing.It provides insurance, restricted delivery, return receipt after mailing in addition to return receipts.


What is Certified Mail?

Certified mail came into existence in 1755.It was an addon to the Registered Mail system.It is focused on ensuring that the package is delivered to the person/authority, and the proof of the same is collected at the time of delivery.

Thus, certified mail gives more attention to the delivery of the letter.These are usually sent along with the regular mail.

Each certified mail is assigned a unique tracking number, which is around 20-digits long and enables the sender to get a view of the package status.

These mails are not insured.For the insurance of a certified mail, the sender has to pay an additional amount of money.

The same Is the case if the sender wants to have a return receipt.

These mails are resorted to for government and business mails.If the receiver refuses that he/she did not receive the mail, the proof of delivery makes him/her liable.

This domestic mail service has multiple delivery options such as certified mail, certified mail with return receipt, certified mail with electronic return receipt, certified mail with return receipt and restricted delivery, return receipt after mailing service.

This service is used to sent court documents, tax audit notifications, etc.

In short, it comes handy when the mail includes documents that need to be legally recognized.

certified mail

What is Registered Mail?

Registered mail is the postal service that is a costlier method of mail than the regular one.This is because it ensures the safety of the item being mailed.

This type of service provided by postal offices allows the sender to track the mail at every step, using the unique 13-digit code assigned to each mail.

This helps the person to ensure that the package was safely delivered to the recipient.It started in the mid-1500s in London.

These mails are not shipped with the regular mails.The items of these mails are kept secured in locked boxes, and they generally arrive later than the regular mails.

Usually, 10-14 days is the minimum delivery period.Registered mail provides the sender with a lot of benefits and facilities.

Some of them are proof of mailing, location tracking, proof of delivery, prioritized delivery, recordkeeping, protection against loss or theft, etc.

Like certified mail, registered mail can also provide proof of delivery upon request.It provides additional services such as a chain of custody, returns receipt, and restricted delivery.

The restricted delivery of a registered mail refers to the condition that the delivery will only take place when the addressee or the authority accepts the delivery. It prevents the misuse of the mail.

Registered mail opts for mailing valuables such as essential letters etc.

registered mail

Main Differences Between Certified and Registered Mail

  1. Certified mail is the type of postal service in which the delivery person needs to take the signature of the recipient. Registered mail, on the other hand, is the type of postal service that provides a complete chain of custody and additional security to the item being mailed.
  2. Certified mail has a unique tracking code of 20-digits, whereas Registered Mail’s tracking code is of only 13-digits.
  3. The focus of certified mail is to ensure delivery and proof of the same, whereas the focus of registered mail is to keep the item being mailed safely.
  4. Registered mail is costlier than certified mail.
  5. Certified mail is shipped along with the regular mail, whereas the registered mail is shipped differently.  
Difference Between Certified and Registered Mail



Both the services of certified Mail and registered Mail are essential.

The decision of which one to choose depends on a lot of factors such as cost, type of item being mailed, etc.

Thus, one delivery facility cannot be said to be better than the other.

In case there is a requirement for proof of delivery for the mail item such as tax audit notification so that the recipient doesn’t deny the delivery, then certified mail becomes a better option.

When the critical point is the safety of the item being delivered, then registered mail becomes a better option.

Some features of both can be mixed and matched to create the best choice for the sender, such as the certified mail can be insured with additional payment, and the proof of delivery can be made available in the registered mail upon request.


  1. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-registered-mail.html
  2. https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-Certified-Mail
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