How to Write a Good Immigration Reference Letter for a Friend

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When applying for U.S. citizenship, one primary requirement that an immigrant needs to possess is good moral character and ethics. This is basically defined by how they measure up to the standards of the average U.S. citizen according to the community by which the applicant intends to live and work.

Because good moral character is primarily determined according to each case, submitting a number of character references can support an applicant’s odds for gaining citizenship. Also, character references can be used for an immigrant who may be dealing with removal proceedings as well.

Here are some tips and guidelines on how to properly write an immigration reference letter:

1. Use Appropriate Introductions

It’s simply not enough to just write a quick, haphazard letter in this case. The reference letter needs to be strong and include key details in order to be effective. 

First of all, in needs to have basic information about yourself and explain the relationship between you and the applicant. Begin the salutation with, “To Whom It May Concern”. Next, introduce yourself in the beginning of the letter by providing your own immigration status and name. 

Explain how you came to know the said applicant. If you hold a respected position in the community, business, or military, be sure you include this important information in the letter.

2. Talk About The Applicant’s Character

In most cases, the heart of any letter is considered the most important. Provide key examples of the applicant’s integrity and good character. Clearly point out the different character traits the applicant has, such as a desire to help other people in need. 

Next, include details that support that claim with specific details of certain events whether they’re past or present, like volunteering their time to feed hungry kids. Also, it’s advisable to convey stories of how eager the applicant is to help out a friend or neighbor who could use a hand or how much they care about their family. 

If the applicant’s petition is denied and may therefore potentially lead to substantial hardship, such as both financial and emotional turmoil, include that information in the letter as well.

3. Include Other Aspects If Applicable

Depending on the applicant’s personal situation, it may be a good idea to discuss the applicant’s family. In the U.S., family ties are especially important and perhaps it’s a strong reason why they’re seeking citizenship. 

If the applicant has a particularly strong bond with their spouse and/or children, go ahead and describe it in the letter. Again, provide specific examples if possible. In order to further provide credibility, make sure that you describe your longtime or frequent contact with the applicant. 

If you’re a former or current employer of the applicant, offer some background on them in terms of your working relationship, such as where and when they worked for you along with their duties and job title at the time. Include examples that illustrate and positively reflect their work ethic, skills, and integrity.

4. End the letter by complimenting the applicant

Finish your immigration reference letter with a sincere compliment and also let the reader know that it’s okay to contact you if they need more information. Therefore, be sure to list all your contact information including your phone number, email, and mailing address. 

Even though it’s not absolutely necessary, it’s always best to get the letter notarized as this will verify your identity as well as your signature.

Sample Immigration Reference Letter for a friend

Josh Beck
Marketing Solutions, Inc.
123 North Road
Dixon, AR 76349
(635) 674-8211

May 02, 2019

Department of Immigration
City, State, Zip Code

Re: Character reference letter for immigration of Bon Keomany

To Whom It May Concern:

I am pleased to write this letter on behalf of my longtime friend Bon Keomany, who just recently applied to immigrate to our country.

My name is Josh Beck and it’s been a real privilege to know Bon for the last 4 years. I consider him a respectable businessman and great friend. I met him just over 4 years ago while working with him in Thailand. Through his generosity and kindness, he willing accommodated me while staying in the country and treated me like family.

After spending a good amount of time with Bon, I came to realize how caring, hardworking, and thoughtful he is overall. Bon’s family, on the other hand, has lived and worked in the U.S. for quite some time. 

However, due to other contractual commitments, Bon could not join them here in the U.S. But, now that he has completed all his obligations successfully, Bon is now free to join his family here in the states. He has been patiently waiting a very long time to unite with his lovely wife and three beautiful children.

I am happy to let you know how honest, dependable, peaceful, and conscientious Bon is with everyone he meets. It is a great honor for me to know him and consider it a privilege to be his friend.

Please contact me if you need further information.


Josh Beck

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