Guide to Immigration Letters of Support for Family Members
If you have been asked to write an immigration letter for a member of your family to provide them with a reference, you may be wondering where to begin. An immigration reference letter is a character reference that you provide to support another party’s immigration application. Many judges have leeway in deciding how an immigration case is resolved, so it can benefit your family member to show the court their best qualities and how society positively benefits from them living in the United States.
Writing an Immigration Support Letter
You might write a letter of support for several reasons when someone is seeking citizenship or immigrating to the United States. Some of these might include the following:
- Family reunification: To support a family member who is trying to join their relatives, a support letter from a family member already residing in the United States can be genuinely helpful.
- Employment-based immigration: When a family member is seeking employment in the U.S., a support letter can and should outline their qualifications, special skills, and experience. It is especially helpful if the letter comes from an already employed family member within the country.
- Seeking medical treatment: When a member of your family needs to come to the United States for medical treatment, family members already living here can provide letters supporting their family member. It can be helpful to explain that their financial and emotional needs during their medical treatment will be taken care of, and the person will not cause an added strain on the American healthcare system.
- Humanitarian concerns: When family members need refuge from another country, seeking asylum in the United States may be their best option. A family member who is a current American citizen can write a support letter explaining that the refugee has a place to live and will receive financial support.
Letters of support for employment-based immigration can be even more effective if written by someone who can provide the applicant with gainful employment.
What to Include in an Immigration Reference Letter
When writing a reference letter for a family member, remember these essential items to include:
- History of your relationship: When writing an immigration letter, always outline how you know the person. Describe your relationship and how long you have known each other.
- Describe positive qualities: Not only is it critical to explain how you know the person, but it is important to outline their best qualities. Describe things that will convince a judge of their favorable traits.
- Future contributions: Another thing you should be sure to mention when writing an immigration letter of recommendation is how the person will contribute in the future. Describing their potential for future contributions and your expectations of them gives the court insight into what a person can bring to the U.S.
These letters are most significant if U.S. citizens or permanent residents submit them.
How to Write an Immigration Letter to Support a Family Member
There is often a lot of required paperwork when trying to immigrate to the U.S. Writing an immigration letter to support your family member can be extremely helpful.
This type of letter can be challenging to write if you do not know where to begin. Since it can be a critical part of the immigration process, you want to do the best job on it that you can. When crafting an immigration letter, here are a few tips you will want to follow:
Greeting and Date
When writing a letter, you will want to address the judge with a greeting and a date. This could read, “Dear Honorable Immigration Judge” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” After addressing the court, you will move on to the introduction.
The introduction is where you catch the judge’s attention. Take a second to introduce yourself and describe your relationship with the person you are writing the letter of reference for. In the introductory paragraph, detail your own legal status.
Add a few details about yourself so that you are seen as a person in the know about the candidate and that your letter should be considered because you have meaningful insight to offer. You should include information about how long you have known the candidate.
The Main Contents of the Letter
The body of the letter is where you pack in the information about why you are recommending this family member. The judge will refer to this letter when determining whether the individual has good moral character. Give as many details as possible so that you paint a full picture.
Below are some details you should describe about the individual for whom the letter is being drafted:
- Positive qualities: Be specific. Saying someone is a “nice person” does not inform the judge about the person. “She has volunteered her time to a local school by helping with their reading program for the last five years” is much more specific and paints a more clear picture of the individual.
- Emotional stability: It can be challenging to paint a picture of someone’s emotional state. Do this by describing how they have coped with something difficult. This could be as simple as “After losing his brother, he began running and took up a meditation practice to cope with the grief.”
- Financial stability: Describe how your relative will be financially secure if allowed to immigrate. You may say something like, “I have spoken with my employer, and he has agreed to hire my cousin if he comes to live here.” You may also point to your family member’s savings or assets.
- Describe hardships: If your family member not being allowed to remain in or to enter the United States will face hardships, include the difficulties they will face to paint a clear picture. For instance, “If not allowed to immigrate to the U.S., she is at risk of violence if returned to her original home.”
The more specifics you can provide, the better. This is an opportunity to connect with the reader and to illuminate your family member so that they stand out. When sifting through myriad applications, it is important to make your family member memorable by connecting with the reader on a personal level.
Write a Compelling Conclusion
When writing your conclusion, you have a last opportunity to communicate with the judge and to present your relative on a personal level. Use your words to restate why you are writing the letter and how exceptional the person is. Describe how the United States would be a better place if they were contributing to society here.
Immigration Letters and Further Support
To aid you further in supporting your relatives who are working towards immigrating to the United States, contact Lovell, Lovell, Isern & Farabough. Our Texas immigration lawyers will offer you guidance on writing an effective immigration letter and beyond as your family member tries to secure legal immigration status.