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How to write a support letter to immigration

Updated March 21, 2017

There are two situations in which a foreign national may need a support letter submitted to immigration officials; the individual may be applying for permission to enter the United States, such as a visa application, or attempting to avoid deportation. Support letters for a visa are used to identify the individual with whom the applicant will be staying and help attest to the applicant's character and purpose of the visit. Support letters for individuals awaiting a deportation hearing can help demonstrate the individual's importance to the letter writer, establish their good character and attest to the hardships that the individual or interested parties may endure because of the deportation.

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  1. Identify the proper venue for submitting the support letter. Visa support letters can often be sent to the consulate at which the applicant has submitted his application. Support letters for individuals fighting deportation can often be sent to the immigration officer or judge presiding over the case.

  2. Identify yourself, your citizenship status and your relationship to the applicant.

  3. Discuss the Individual's reasons for entering or staying in the United States and attest to his good character.

  4. If you are writing a letter of support to an applicant, indicate whether you plan to host the applicant and provide evidence of your financial ability to do so. Indicate the applicant's planned length of stay and evidence that the applicant will leave when the visa has expired. Be as detailed as possible. If you are the applicant's employer or prospective employer you can discuss his role in your organisation and any hardship that you may endure from the applicant's rejection.

  5. If the individual is being considered for deportation you can discuss how the deportation will affect you, such as a loss of rental income or child-support. If you were once a citizen of the country of origin discuss any hardships that the individual will face should he be deported. If he has a criminal record, discuss how his behaviour has changed and how his remaining in the country will be a benefit to his community.

  6. Consult with a qualified attorney or immigration specialist to help identify missing or erroneous information in the letter. There are many non-profit groups available to help individuals attempting to obtain or maintain residency in the United States. Contacting one of these organisations can be a great source of assistance.

  7. Submit the letter to the appropriate agency along with any required evidence of citizenship. Note that those supporting a visa applicant will likely be asked to complete a formal affidavit of sponsorship subsequent to the letter's submission.

  8. Tip

    If English is not your first language, write the letter in your native language and have a translator create and sign an English translation. Be sure to submit both the original letter and the translation. There are strict guidelines for the submission of support letters by federal employees. Before submitting a letter, consult with a qualified immigration official to ensure the letter will be acceptable. Letters should be personal but formal and succinct. Letters that are difficult to read or understand may be ignored by immigration officials.

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About the Author

A freelance writer since 2007, Jack Spencer focuses primarily on legal and scientific topics. He also runs a copyrighting firm specializing in small-business marketing and academic research. Spencer received his B.A. in political science from the University of California.

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