If you are wondering how to write a letter for immigration, it’s probably because you are trying to help someone immigrate to the United States. If you’ve been asked to help someone with immigration by writing a letter of recommendation, you might be wondering how to write it and where to start. Here’s a look at everything you need to know to write a compelling letter of recommendation.
Why is a letter of recommendation critical for immigration purposes?
According to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), the number of legal and illegal immigrants in the United States will reach 47.9 million in September 2022. You want the person you’re helping to enter the country legally, and you also want to do everything you can to persuade authorities to let this person stay.
Your recommendation letter must persuade U.S. Authorities that the person you recommend is of good character and reputation. The weight of your letter is not the only determining factor, but it is one of the most important in determining whether or not a judge will grant their request. If your letter fails to persuade the immigration judge that the applicant deserves to be a part of American society, their application will be denied.
What is the purpose of an immigrant support letter?
A recommendation letter or an immigrant support letter is a letter or document used in the legal immigration process. It elaborates on the applicant’s character to support their immigration case or application. People involved in immigration-related proceedings are frequently required to provide an immigrant support letter or a reference letter from coworkers, family members, or community members.
A judge or other government official has the authority to decide the outcome of a person’s case. As a result, it would be beneficial if the letter demonstrated the applicant’s qualities. However, if the applicant’s personality does not match the description in the letter, problems may arise. It is best to work with an immigration lawyer. They will be able to assist you in properly drafting the letter – using the appropriate language and words to make the letter work in favor of the applicant.
How to write a letter for immigration
If you have been asked to write an immigration letter, you must take the time to ensure it contains all the necessary information. Here’s a look at how to go about writing it:
Step 1: know what kind of immigration proceeding you are dealing with.
- An immigration letter can be used for various reasons, such as:
- Immigration deportation/removal proceedings
- Application for naturalization
- To demonstrate a person’s character during a bond hearing
- Demonstrate a relationship (for example, a bona fide marriage)
- As proof of employment for an application for an employment-based visa
- As evidence of residency
- To support an application for entry into the United States
- To demonstrate the applicant’s character in other types of immigrant/non-immigrant visa cases (for example, to confirm a credible fear of persecution held by someone seeking asylum).
The first step is to understand what kind of proceeding the applicant is involved in.
Step 2: Gather information from the applicant
If the applicant has specific requests for the letter, ask them to make a list of those requests. For example, the applicant may wish to emphasize their enthusiasm for their job or interest in U.S. history. Also, talk to the applicant about their background information to help you guide your writing.
Step 3: Find examples
If you’re wondering how to write a letter for immigration, you’re in luck because the internet is rife with examples. Before blindly copying information, it is critical to find information relevant to the applicant’s purpose. Also, rewrite information so that it appears credible and genuine.
Essential elements of an immigration letter
Every immigration letter must contain certain elements, including:
Date: Always include the date at the top of the letter.
Salutation: If you are unsure about who you are addressing, you can say, “To whom it may concern.”
An introduction: Begin your letter by introducing yourself: your name, profession, citizenship status, and relationship to the applicant. Keep it as straightforward as possible. For example, you could say, “My name is Joe Smith. I am a U.S. citizen and a doctor at the United Methodist Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. I have worked there for the past three years, from April 19, 2020, to the present, and supervised (applicant’s name).”
Your relationship with the applicant: It’s important to mention how long you have known the applicant and your relationship with them.
A brief history of your relationship with the applicant: Keep it short and crisp. While this is essential information, you don’t want to get carried away with irrelevant details.
The applicant’s character traits (who you understand the applicant to be): This section will constitute the majority of your letter. An immigration letter is a letter of proof to immigration officials. For example, the letter may need to demonstrate that the applicant is of good character and can contribute to American society and the country’s economy. Alternatively, if you are attempting to bring a spouse to the United States, you may need to demonstrate that your romantic relationship is genuine and not a sham. If officials believe a particular marriage is fabricated to help one party obtain a green card, you may be asked to write a letter about the couple’s relationship. Whatever the reason for your letter, try to make it as concise as possible by including positive characteristics and evidence to prove/support those characteristics to be true.
A conclusion: Your letter should conclude with a strong recommendation that the applicant be granted the relief requested.
Contact information: Finally, include your contact information in the letter, including your work phone number, mobile phone number, and email address. That way, if necessary, the letter’s addressee can contact you.
Signature: Remember to sign the letter. Although notarizing a letter for immigration purposes is not required, you may want to do so. An immigration lawyer will be able to help you with this.
How to write a letter for immigration for a family member’s deportation case
ICE deported 72,000 immigrants in the 2022 fiscal year ending September. If a family member has been accused of criminal offenses and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a character letter is not of much use. Instead, you might need to write an immigration reference letter for bond release, specifying why the judge should consider releasing the applicant. In this case, the immigration reference letter must convince the judge why releasing the applicant is a good idea.
An immigration judge will agree to release someone on bond only after thoroughly examining the following:
- The person’s connection with the community
- The dangers of releasing them
- Any other factors.
The judge considers all the evidence before them – including an immigration reference letter for bond release from a family member or someone closely associated with the person.
Tips for writing an immigration reference letter for bond release
- Address your letter to the Honorable Immigration Judge.
- Mention your relationship with the applicant and how long you’ve known them.
- Indicate if they are a danger. You can discuss their traits and contribution to the family and community and even talk about their professional accomplishments.
- If the applicant suffers from any medical conditions, you must mention this as well.
- If their family solely depends on them financially, explain the impact retaining them would have on their family.
- An immigration lawyer can help you draft a letter stressing the hardship and consequences of deportation, such as separation from the family, financial challenges, and difficulty getting employment outside the United States.
- Always sign and notarize the letter.
- Impress upon the judge that what you’ve mentioned in the letter is true to your knowledge.
How to write a letter of invitation
When a relative or friend applies for a B-1 or B-2 travel visa to the United States, they can include a letter of invitation. The letter can be from a relative or friend who invites and hosts them during their visit. While a letter of invitation is not required, it will undoubtedly strengthen their application by demonstrating that the applicant will have a place to stay during their visit.
Tips for writing a letter of invitation
- Include your name and contact details, as well as your immigration status (for example, U.S. Citizen).
- Mention the relationship between you and the visa applicant
- Include the applicant’s full name and address
- Include the purpose of their trip
- Include the exact dates of the trip
- Don’t forget to add your signature at the end.
Here is an example of a letter of invitation:
March 10th, 2023
This is to invite you to visit me in Oregon to celebrate your 50th birthday on August 15, 2023. During your ten-day trip, from August 10-20, you will stay with me at my apartment in Portland. As your brother, I can’t wait to take you around this beautiful area, meet my dogs, and accompany you on hikes — I know how much you love hiking and long walks. This visit is my birthday gift to you – I will pay for your round-trip airfare to the United States and all of your expenses during your stay.
I can’t wait to celebrate with you!
Loads of love,
[Host’s mobile number]
[Host’s U.S. Passport Number]
FAQs regarding immigration reference letters
Who can write an immigration reference letter?
The person who writes your immigration reference letter must be in good standing with the U.S. Government. A letter from a U.S. Citizen or an LPR (lawful permanent resident) holds more weight. The author of the letter could be:
- A current/past employer who holds a high position (for example, a manager)
- Experts in the field of study/employment
- Long-term friends
- A church member
- A qualifying relative
Can a parent write a character reference letter?
Yes, a sibling or parent can write a character reference letter, but it’s best not to have someone close to you write it because a family can be biased. The person who writes it must know you, but not be closely related to you. They should also be able to provide specific examples of how your character supports your immigration case.
Is an immigration support letter necessary?
Yes, an immigration support letter is essential; it is one of several documents considered by the immigration judge when reviewing your case and deciding its outcome. In many cases, an immigration letter has tipped the scales in favor of the applicant.
Should I hire an immigration lawyer to help write an immigration reference letter?
There are several benefits to hiring an immigration lawyer, including assisting you in drafting an excellent immigration letter. Immigration lawyers:
- Have experience in all matters concerning immigration
- Are not expensive
- Can help fill important forms.
- Can ensure the immigration reference letter is worded right, using persuasive language.
The immigration laws and procedures in the United States are incredibly complex and sometimes lengthy. There is a lot of paperwork and forms that must be filled out. Every piece of information you provide or do not provide and how information is presented can make or break your case. It is best to work with an experienced immigration lawyer regarding immigration matters in the United States. Whatever your goals are, a dependable and experienced immigration lawyer can assist you.
Yemi Getachew Immigration Law Office P.C. comprises a compassionate and knowledgeable team of immigration attorneys who have assisted thousands of individuals and families in California to overcome various immigration problems and obstacles.
Seeking asylum, pursuing a student or employment visa, working toward naturalization, fighting to remain within the United States, or wondering how to write a letter for immigration? We can help you. Please leave your contact information here, so we can get in touch with you at the earliest and begin the process of your immigration.