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How to write a character reference letter for US immigration

Updated February 21, 2017

Part of the application for immigration into the United States is a character reference letter for the person applying. If you want to immigrate to the US then you should ask a friend or family member living in the United States to supply you with a reference letter, the letter should show that the person applying would be an asset to the United States. The letter can be short and simple, comprising only one page.

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  1. Format the letter as a business letter. You'll need your address and the date in the upper right corner. In the upper left -- but below your address -- you should write the address for the embassy or state department where the immigration application will be sent.

  2. Address the letter "Dear Sir or Madam" followed by a colon.

  3. The person writing the letter should introduce themselves and explain their relationship with the applicant in the first paragraph. For example, they might say, "I am writing on behalf of my friend Makoto Tanaka, whom I have known for five years."

  4. Describe the character of the person using positive adjectives, like hardworking, honest and kind.

  5. Give a specific example that illustrates your point. For example, they might talk about the person's volunteer efforts or how she gave up a job to take care of a sick family member.

  6. Write a brief closing statement. Thank the reader for his time. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can leave a phone number or e-mail address where the reader can contact you for further questions.

  7. Sign the letter in the bottom right corner. Print or type your name below your signature.

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About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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