Immigration Reference Letter


Immigrants are crucial to the development of the United States. Each year thousands of immigrants arrive in the United States, seeking a better life for themselves and their families. While it’s a fact that being a part of the United States helps immigrants, did you know that immigrants do much to better the foundation of the United States? Well, it’s true.

Immigrants are known for their solid work ethic. Once here, they do what they can to stay here, even taking jobs at lower wages than American citizens. Also, since they are desperate to stay in America, the crime rate among immigrants is relatively low. Next are taxes. The more immigrants who arrive, the more taxes are collected. For example, in 2017, immigrants earned a total of $1.5 trillion in wages, which in turn led to $405 billion in taxes.

What Is an Immigration Reference Letter?

In order to enter a country like America, the immigrant will need to provide character references in the form of a letter. These letters are called immigration reference letters. The immigration reference letter provides information on the character of the immigrant. Once the letter is written, it’s then forwarded to an immigration judge for consideration. Well-written immigration reference letters increase the probability of the immigrant entering the country.

Types of Immigration Letters

While we’re centering on the immigration letter of recommendation, know that there are other types of immigration letters as well. In fact, before you even sit down to write the letter, it’s crucial that you meet with the requestor to find out exactly what type of immigration letter is needed. So, before you start, go over the different types of immigration letters below, and make yourself familiar with each one.

Character Reference Letter for Immigration

Character reference letters for immigration are requested when it’s necessary to learn more about the personality, disposition, and constitution of an immigrant. Begin the letter by stating who you are and your relationship with the immigrant. After which, the main thrust of the letter is to describe positive traits and back them up with real-world stories.

Employer Reference Letter for Immigration

Employer reference letters for immigration are a great help when it comes to stating how valuable the immigrant is to this country. As they are written by the employer, they give a first-hand look into the value the immigrant will give this country. One final thing, all employers who write these letters must use company letterhead.

Relationship Support Letter

Relationship support letters involve family. These letters involve relatives that write glowing support letters on the immigrant’s behalf.

Essential Elements of an Immigration Reference Letter

Once you talk over the letter with the requestor, it’s time to make sure that you’ve got all the essential information you need. This essential information will involve your personal relationship with the immigrant. Use selective positive words to highlight the requestor’s best traits and how they’ll benefit the country.

Your Personal Relationship with the Immigrant

Describe your relationship with the immigrant. For instance, you may be a family member or college professor. Explain your personal history with the immigrant, including how long you’ve known them.

Include Positive Character Traits

After you’ve introduced yourself and your relationship to the immigrant, it’s time to describe what exactly makes them a good candidate for immigration. You do this by mentioning a positive character trait, then backing it up with real-life examples.

What Benefits the Immigrant Will Bring to the New Country

Immigrants bring much to this country in the form of labor and businesses. Indeed, it’s a known fact that many immigrants are likely to start their own businesses, which equals tax dollars for the government as well as hiring workers. In 2016 alone, immigrants contributed $2 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product.

How to Write an Immigration Reference Letter

The first thing to do before you write the letter is to have a good heart to heart with the individual requesting the letter. The purpose is to gather all the information you can. Find out what information they actually need for the letter, and discuss how you plan to present that information.

As for the presentation, the letter must be typed. Under no circumstances send a hand-written immigration reference letter. Make sure the letter is readable. This means an easy-to-read font, such as New Times Roman, at a font size of 11. Sentences should be simple and brief. The more readable a letter, the easier it is to understand. All letters should be typed in business block format. This means all sections of the letter begin at the left-hand margin. No indentations. All sections are to be single-spaced with double-spacing between sections. Instead of “To Whom It May Concern”, write “Honorable Immigration Judge”.

Introduce Yourself

The first section of the letter is where you introduce yourself and your relationship to the immigrant. You’ll need to be precise here, as it increases your credibility, so include the following in the opening paragraph:

  • Your profession
  • Your relationship with the immigrant
  • How long you’ve known the immigrant
  • Remember to include facts to back up all statements.

Describe the Immigrants Personality

This section is where you highlight the best of the immigrant’s personality. For instance, if they have a good heart, you can mention where they volunteered their time, backing it up with anecdotes, facts, or stories. In case you’re at a loss as to just what a positive character trait is, we’ve added a list below to help get you started:

  • Leadership qualities
  • Work ethic
  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Dependability
  • Conscientious
  • Resilient
  • Centered
  • Forgiving
  • Resourceful

Now that we’re familiar with a few of these action words, let’s try to put them into a statement that benefits the immigrant:

I’ve known the individual in question, Mr. David Samuelson, for 5 years. Over that time, I’ve found him to be dependable, responsible, and empathetic. Our friendship began in December of 2016 in New York City. Let me just say that he is one of the most loyal, kindest, and compassionate people in my acquaintance.

To illustrate this point, in January of 2017, we were walking to our favorite coffee house. We came upon a lost, stray kitten. Without any prompting whatsoever, Mr. Samuelson scooped the kitten up in his arms and devoted his free time healing the kitten, who was then presented to a neighbors child as a gift.

In the above statement, we’ve used the action words: Dependable, responsible, empathetic, loyal, kindest, compassionate. That’s the idea when you write these immigration reference letters to present the requestor in the best possible light.

Include the Testimonies of Others

Finally, when it comes to searching for evidence to back up any claims regarding the immigrant’s morality and ethics, it can’t hurt to find others in their life who can add their testimonies to the letter. For instance, perhaps the requestor did weekend duty at a local charity shop. There’s no reason you can’t include the testimonies of those who worked with the requestor at the shop:

The following is an example presented by an associate of the requestor, Mr. Samuelson, who witnessed his behavior at the charity shop in Queens:

“Mr. Samuelson was always available to assist those less fortunate. One day, he found a wallet during closing. He notified the owner, who gave Mr. Samuelson a finder’s reward. Mr. Samuelson took the money and helped a customer of the charity shop purchase a much-needed coat for the winter.” — Talia Bronson, Charity Shop Manager

There is also no reason why you cannot include the written testimonies of others as attachments to your immigration reference letter.

Conclusion and Contact Information

Wrap up your letter with a powerful statement showing the immigrant in a positive light. You want this to be persuasive, so make a strong argument. Here are some examples:

  • “I hereby recommend that Mr. Simpson be naturalized as a United States Citizen.”
  • “My close association with Ms. Davenport shows her as a dedicated and reliable individual who be a definite asset to this great country.”
  • “My personal experiences with Mr. Sanders are evidence that his devotion and duty to his family and responsibilities make him an excellent candidate for citizenship in this amazing country of ours.”

Thank the Immigration Judge for taking the time to read the letter. Finally, remember to make yourself available by leaving your contact information in the letter. Mention that you are always available to answer any questions or concerns they may have. Once completed, sign and date the letter. Finish up by writing the following statement:

“I swear that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and recollection.”

There you go, you’ve written your first immigration reference letter! All that’s needed now is for you to add your signature, print your name, and write the date the letter was signed.

Proofread and Edit

Now that you’re done, there’s only one final step: Proofing the letter. This means that you are to have the letter checked for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Also, carefully read the letter to ensure that it is easy to read. Remember, the last thing you want is confusion, so make certain that continuity and organization are perfect. Sit down with the requestor of the letter and have them read it. Ask if there are any further items they wish to include.

Once the letter has received a thorough proofreading session, you can take it to be notarized if so desired. Before it’s presented to the immigration judge, make several copies. Make a copy for your own records, as well as a copy for the immigrant’s records. While having the letter notarized isn’t necessary, it is suggested that you do so.

If you are still not sure of the quality of the letter or where you should send it to, know that you can contact an immigration lawyer to go over your letter. You may even have the immigration lawyer send it from their office. By having an immigration lawyer go over your letter, you’re not only getting peace of mind but also showing the immigration judge that you are very serious about your situation.

Immigration Reference Letter Format

Below we’ve included a basic immigration reference letter format. The first letter provides you with an outline to follow. Notice that all sections begin at the left margin, with the sections single-spaced, double-spacing between sections. Sentences are short and concise, with plenty of descriptive words to enhance the immigrant’s positive personality attributes. Keep it neat, brief and readable. Finally, remember to present a type-written letter. Never send a hand-written letter.

(Name of the Sender)

(Mailing Address of the Sender)

(Contact Information of Sender)

(Date the Letter was Written)

(Name of the Recipient)

(Mailing Address of the Recipient)

(Re: Immigration Reference Letter)

Honorable Immigration Judge,

This immigration reference letter is in regards to one (Name of Immigrant) presently residing in New York City. My name is (Your Name). I have known (Name of Immigrant) for a total of (Length of Relationship) and have found him to be a resourceful, compassionate, and dependable man who is always there to assist those he knows, as well as those he does not. A man of great generosity and charity, whose acts of kindness are well known among those who know him.

His respect for this great country knows no bounds, and he gives back by promoting various charities. Case in point, (Name of Immigrant) often spends his time helping out the local parish with their various charities and charity drives. He is a big believer in giving back and considers it his duty to do so. In fact, the local clergy have written their own glowing statement regarding their relationship with (Name of Immigrant). I have attached their recommendation that he be allowed to become a citizen of this great country to this letter.

Thank you for taking the time to read this immigration letter of reference for (Name of Immigrant). Personal experience with (Name of Immigrant) has proven beyond a doubt the drive and devotion this individual has for creating a prosperous future for himself in this great nation. His fierce loyalty to our grassroots values is some of the strongest I’ve seen. I heartily recommend him for citizenship, as he will continue to be an amazing asset to his community and country, as he’s already shown. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 555-555-5555. Thank you.

I swear that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and recollection.

Sincerely,

(Your Signature)

(Your Printed Name)

(Date Signed)

Sample Immigration Reference Letter

Now that you have an idea of the basic letter format, it’s time to put it all together. Please consider using this letter as a baseline for your letter. While your letter will be different, this gives you a starting point. If you are still not sure, then know that seeking the services of an immigration lawyer to help you with the letter is perfectly acceptable.

John Bickerson

321 South Cherry Orchard Drive

New York City, NY 55555

[email protected]

555-555-5555

July 19, 2021

The Honorable Peter Jenkins

New York City Courthouse

New York City, NY, 55555

Re: Immigration Reference Letter

The Honorable Peter Jenkins,

This immigration reference letter is in regards to a Mr. David Samuelson of New York City. My name is John Bickerson, 38 years of age and a lifelong resident of New York City. I’ve known Mr. Samuelson for a total of 5 years, starting in June of 2016. I’ve found him to be an honorable man, devoted to his family, friends, and those in need. During this time, he’s proved to be a kind, compassionate and dependable man who lives up to his values and has a great love for this country.

I’ve gone to great lengths to collect anecdotes from others who have known Mr. Samuelson and have seen his generosity and charity towards both humans and animals. The following is an example presented by an associate of the requestor, Mr. Samuelson, who witnessed his behavior at the charity shop in Queens:

“Mr. Samuelson was always available to assist those less fortunate. One day, he found a wallet during closing. He notified the owner, who gave Mr. Samuelson a finder’s reward. Mr. Samuelson took the money and helped a customer of the charity shop purchase a much-needed coat for the winter.” — Talia Bronson, Charity Shop Manager

To further illustrate the positive personal qualities of Mr. Samuelson, I’ve included four personal anecdotes. The following individuals have written and signed their own letters of reference for Mr. Samuelson, which are attached to this letter:

  • Carmine L. of the Westside Church
  • Ms. Beaker of the All Angels Charity Shop
  • Delbert Wilson, resident of Westside Apartments
  • Mark B. of the Westside Animal Shelter

Dear Judge Jenkins, thank you for taking the time to read this immigration reference letter on behalf of Mr. David Samuelson. I consider it an honor to be asked to write this letter regarding such a decent and hard-working man whom I believe will be an asset to our economy and community. Personal experience with (Name of Immigrant) has proven beyond a doubt the drive and devotion this individual has for creating a prosperous future for himself in this great nation. His fierce loyalty to our grassroots values is some of the strongest I’ve seen. I heartily recommend him for citizenship, as he will continue to be an amazing asset to his community and country, as he’s already shown. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 555-555-5555. Thank you.

I swear that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and recollection.

Sincerely,

John Bickerson (Signature)

John Bickerson (Printed Name)

July 19, 2021

Immigration Reference Letter Templates and Examples

Final Thoughts

Immigration is a very detailed subject. It’s to the benefit of the immigrant to ensure that they follow every step to the letter. That being said, every immigrant’s situation will be different. While this article serves as a guide, it should by no means be followed for every situation. In other words, each immigration reference letter must be molded to the personal situation of the immigrant. Remember, it’s a good idea to seek the services of an immigration lawyer to make certain that the letter is as perfect as it can be. Make sure it’s properly proofed for errors as well.