Contents Index
S900 Special Postal Services
S910 Security and Accountability

S916 Restricted Delivery


S916 describes restricted delivery and what services must be used with restricted delivery. It also covers the procedures for obtaining restricted delivery and the delivery of restricted mail.

1.0 Basic Information


Restricted delivery service permits a mailer to direct delivery only to the addressee or addressee’s authorized agent. The addressee must be an individual (or natural person) specified by name.

1.2Eligible Matter

Restricted delivery service is available for First-Class Mail (including Priority Mail) and Package Services that is sent COD, insured for more than $50, registered, or certified.

1.3Fee and Postage

The applicable fee for restricted delivery service must be paid in addition to postage and other fees.

1.4Return Receipt

The mailer may also obtain a return receipt by checking the appropriate block on Form 3811 and paying the applicable fees.


Mail for which restricted delivery service is requested must be endorsed “Restricted Delivery.” The endorsement must be placed above the address and to the right of the return address.


Restricted delivery fees are refunded only when the USPS fails to give restricted delivery service.

1.7Additional Services

In addition to the prerequisites listed in 1.2, the following services may be combined with restricted delivery if the applicable standards for the services are met and the additional service fees are paid:

a. Delivery Confirmation.

b. Parcel airlift service (PAL).

c. Signature Confirmation.

d. Special handling.

2.0 Obtaining Service

2.1At Time of Mailing

The mailer may request restricted delivery at the time of mailing by advising the USPS clerk or by marking the mail “Restricted Delivery.” A firm mailer must enter the proper fee in the correct column of the firm sheet and place the required endorsement on the mail. If a return receipt is requested, the correct block on Form 3811 must be checked to show that restricted delivery is also required.

2.2After Mailing

The mailer may request restricted delivery after mailing by notifying the mailing post office in writing. The mailer must identify the article, including item number and addressee, and pay the service fee and communication costs required to effect restricted delivery. USPS failure to provide the service because delivery was made before the delivery office received the request is not grounds for a refund of the fee or communication costs.

3.0 Delivery


Mail marked “Restricted Delivery” is delivered only to the addressee or to the person authorized in writing as the addressee’s agent to receive the mail, subject to D042 and these exceptions:

a. Mail for famous personalities and executives of large organizations is normally delivered to an agent authorized to sign for such mail.

b. Mail for officials of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government of the United States or of the states and possessions and their political subdivisions, or to members of the diplomatic corps, may be delivered to a person authorized by the addressee or by regulations or procedures of the agency or organization to receive the addressee’s mail.

c. Mail for the commander, staff sections, or other officials of military organizations by name and title, is delivered to the unit mail clerk, mail orderly, postal clerk, assistant postal clerk, or postal finance clerk, when such individuals are designated on DD (Department of Defense) Form 285 to receipt for all mail addressed to the units for which they are designated. If the person accepting mail is designated on DD Form 285 to receipt for ordinary mail only, then restricted delivery mail addressed to the commander, or other official by name and title, is delivered to the mail clerk only if the addressee authorizes under 3.2.

d. Mail for an inmate of a city, state, or federal penal institution, in cases where a personal signature cannot be obtained, is delivered to the warden or designee.

e. Mail for minors or persons under guardianship may be delivered to their parents or guardians.


The USPS may require proof of identification from the addressee (or agent).

3.3Agent Authorization

An addressee who regularly receives restricted delivery mail may authorize an agent on Form 3801 or by letter to the postmaster. The addressee must make the notation “this authorization is extended to include restricted delivery mail” on Form 3801 (in the area for signatures of authorized agents) or in the letter to the postmaster. Form 3849 may be left for the authorization if the post office has no standing delivery order or letter on file. The addressee may enter the name of the agent on the back of Form 3849 in the space provided and sign the form. The agent must sign for receipt of the article on the back of the form.

3.4Joint Addressees

When mail is addressed to two or more persons jointly (as shown by the word “and” or symbol “&” connecting their names), all addressees or their agents are notified to be present to accept delivery together. The delivery receipt obtained and the return receipt, if any, must be signed by all joint addressees or their agents. The mail may then be delivered to any of the addressees or their agents unless one or more addressees or their agents object, in which case delivery is not made until all the addressees or their agents sign a statement designating who is to receive the mail.

In Care Of

Either person may sign for mail addressed to one person in care of another.

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)