An Immigration reference letter is different than a reference letter for a job. The person requesting immigration must be seen as an asset to the country, not simply to a company.
The letter will be used along with any other documentation or application forms that the candidate is submitting for immigration. The aim is to influence the judge or other officials in favor of the applicant. This is why morality, work ethic and trustworthiness are emphasized.
There are several reasons during the immigration process when an immigration reference letter would be used, including deportation and naturalization. A reference letter may be needed to prove a marriage, confirmation of employment or residency or by an asylum seeker escaping persecution.
You should make sure you have enough information about your friend to include in the letter. Personal anecdotes will help to demonstrate the applicant’s character such as they have a love of American history or they have worked temporarily in the U.S.
If the letter is about abuse or persecution that the candidate has faced, you may need to site medical records or legally documented abuse. If the letter is to prove that a marriage is not a sham just for immigration purposes, you may need to cite examples of their personal relationship that you have witnessed that prove they are a genuine couple.
If the candidate has family ties in the U.S., it should be mentioned in the letter because family ties are a strong recommendation for immigration consideration. For example, if they have children or a spouse already living in the U.S., it is a good reason for the authorities to grant immigration status.
Formatting the letter
The first paragraph should introduce yourself and explain your relationship to the person requesting immigration. You should mention your own citizenship status and place of work. You may mention where and in what circumstances you met the candidate, how long you have known the candidate and the circumstances that contributed to your friendship.
According to the purpose of the letter, you need to mention the character traits that recommend the candidate for immigration. For example, you have worked with the person and seen a professional work ethic, a good team player and an asset to the company.
In some cases, the candidate may have done voluntary work in a homeless shelter, delivering meals to the infirm and housebound or take care of young children. Whatever the case, you can mention the friendliness, compassion, kindness and other good qualities that support your recommendation.
Any good qualities you mention need to be backed up with facts and anecdotal examples. It’s not enough to say a person is trustworthy, you need to give an example of trustworthiness such as returning found items to the owner or a position of trust in their job.
The end of the letter should contain a strong recommendation that the candidate is allowed to immigrate to the U.S. or not be deported.
The immigration reference letter need not be notarized, but it may be a good idea because it verifies who you are and that your signature is valid. If you plan to have it notarized, don’t sign it until you are in front of the notary public. You will need a photo ID such as a valid driver’s license or a passport.
Here is a sample immigration reference letter for a friend. The letter should be written as a formal business letter and not as a casual friendly letter. It should be sent by registered mail with a return reply to be sure it is received.
Sample Immigration reference for a friend
City, State, Zip Code
Department of Immigration
City, State, Zip Code
Re: Character reference letter for immigration of NAME OF CANDIDATE
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is NAME and I work as an elementary school teacher at NAME OF SCHOOL in CITY, STATE. This letter is a character reference for NAME OF CANDIDATE to immigrate to the United States.
I have known NAME OF CANDIDATE for more than three years when I was an exchange teacher in India. We taught at the same school and worked side by side as teachers, on special projects for the school such as festival days and saw each other socially as I was invited to her home several times.
Her husband works for NAME OF TECH COMPANY in the U.S. and has been with the company for six years. She would like to immigrate to the U.S. to be with her husband. They have been married for three months and have no children.
I witnessed NAME OF CANDIDATE’S kindness, motivation and dedication to her students when we worked together at NAME OF SCHOOL in India. She is a biology teacher for nine to 12-year olds. She gives her own free time to coach the students who have difficulty in the subject.
She is a gentle person in all areas of her life and maintains friendly relations with her siblings who constantly fight with each other. Over the years, we became good friends. She is able to attain a visitor’s visa but naturally would like to join her new husband permanently. She is a reliable, hardworking person who would be an asset to our country if she were given a chance to become a citizen.
I have no hesitation in recommending that NAME OF CANDIDATE be granted immigration status in the U.S. Thank you for taking the time to consider my friend and I would be happy to answer any questions you have. My phone number is PHONE NUMBER and my email address is EMAIL ADDRESS
Sender’s signature in black or blue ink
Sender’s name printed