An immigration letter of support is simply a letter written to aid the case of a prospective immigrant in his immigration proceeding, help plead his case for naturalization, help prove the authenticity of a marriage to a citizen or help an illegal immigrant remain in a country.
For the purpose of this article, the subject of this letter (the person in need of this letter/the person whose immigration status is being determined) would be referred to as ‘Immigrant’.
An immigration letter of support is not a basis of deciding the immigration status of the immigrant, rather it is used to support the testimony already admitted to the immigration court. In the United States and some other countries, this letter is in the form of an affidavit. This letter does not touch on issues as to the legality of the immigrant’s stay/entry but on three major issues (depending on the nature of the desired citizenship status e.g. by marriage or naturalization);
- His moral and ethical standing and value as a member of the community; Character Reference.
- The emotional and financial turmoil that the denial of the immigration application may cause; Responsibility.
- The authenticity of the marriage between the immigrant and the spouse who is a citizen.
These three issues can be addressed in the same letter or in three different letters when they are written by different people. It is in fact preferable that the issues should be addressed in different letters written by different people. The letter addressing the issue of Emotional and Financial turmoil a denial of the immigration application may cause is usually written by family members or friends of the Immigrant, preferably those living with the immigrant, on the other hand, Character Reference and Marital Authenticity is usually written by an Employer, Work colleague, Spiritual head or Neighbor of the Immigrant because they are in a position to be more objective than the family members of the Immigrant and so their claims would carry more weight.
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THE WRITERS AND INTENDED RECEIVERS OF AN IMMIGRATION LETTER OF SUPPORT
An immigration letter of support is generally written by anyone in a close relationship with the immigrant. It could be a family member or any other person in a position to possess knowledge of and endorse the character and reputation of the immigrant. Examples of people in the latter category are;
- Neighbors of the Immigrant
- Friend of the Immigrant
- Employer of the Immigrant
- Work colleague of the Immigrant
- Church member of the Immigrant/Fellow worshippers at the mosque of the Immigrant
An immigration letter of support should be addressed to the petitioner’s attorney not to immigration or the Court, but it can be addressed to the Court in some situations where you don’t know who the petitioner is, and in cases where you are not sure how to address the Court, you may simply address it to ‘To whom it may concern’.
CONTENT OF AN IMMIGRATION LETTER OF SUPPORT
An immigration letter of support is a simple but formal letter and should be written as such. the basic format is; Address, Introduction, Body of the letter, Conclusion and Complimentary Close.
- Address and Date: If the writer of the letter is the employer or spiritual head, he should write the letter on a letter headed paper hence removing the need for writing his address, this is more persuasive to the court because it has an appearance of authenticity. However, if the writer does not work or have a letter headed paper, he can simply write his residential address.
- Introduction: This part of the letter ought to contain particulars of the writer (name, age, occupation and citizenship status) relationship with the Immigrant (type and length of relationship) and the object/purpose of the letter.
- Body: After the purpose of the letter has been mentioned in the Introduction, the Body of the letter will go on to give reasons why the immigration application should be granted which are; his proximity to and responsibilities in his family, the work ethic of the immigrant, his moral standard and often times contributions he has made to his community. The body of the letter usually has more than one reason which should be addressed in separate paragraphs, this means that the body of an immigration letter of support is divided into paragraphs. The number of these paragraphs depend on the number of reasons/issues raised. These reasons should be backed by dates and exemplary events that prove the writer’s claim for character reference, his/her marital life or his/her responsibilities. For example, ‘Monica has organized a bi-annual charity for the disabled from 2014 till date in her community’ or ‘Monica and Martins have lived quietly for 2 years and have invited us over for their anniversary parties for the two years they’ve been married’.
- Conclusion: The conclusion of a formal letter ought to be brief but it must also contain a number of things so it requires skill and precision. The elements of a standard conclusion are;
- It must highlight the major reasons supporting the immigration, retention or naturalization of the immigrant.
- It contains a final plea of the writer for the receiver to grant the immigration application.
- Contact information of the writer.
- Complementary Close: This is the portion of the letter that contains words or phrases followed by the name and/or signature of the sender at the tail end of the letter. Examples of complementary close words/phrases are; ‘Yours faithfully’, ‘Sincerely’, ‘Best wishes’ ‘Yours’ etc. In the case of an Immigration letter of Support it is advisable to use ‘Yours Sincerely’ or ‘Sincerely’ because of its formal nature.
When following the format, the important elements that should be considered are;
- The language of the letter should be formal.
- It should be straight to the point.
- The length of the letter should not exceed 2 pages, whether handwritten or printed.
- Facts should be favored over sentiment; but when the reasons in the letter are purely emotional then such sentiments should be written in a persuasive manner.
- The letter should be notarized for the sake of authenticity of the Writer’s Identity and signature especially in cases of deportation of illegal immigrants or authenticity of marital relationships.
SAMPLES OF IMMIGRATION LETTER OF SUPPORT
Immigration letters of Support vary according to the type of letter, relationship between the writer and the immigrant and the reasons to be contained in the letter, but for the sake of this article the samples would be grouped first according t the types and then the relationship between the writer and the immigrant. The two major types are; Letter of Naturalization and Letter to avoid Deportation.
- Letter of Naturalization
- Letter Written by The Employer, Work Colleague, Spiritual Head Or Neighbor Of The Immigrant
March 3, 2018.
To Whom it may concern,
I am Jonathan Dennis, I am 33 years old, an American citizen by birth, a respected Reverend of the Methodist Church in Manhattan and I have lived near the Patterson family for 5 years now.
I have met few people with as much compassion as Monica Patterson. She has worshipped at my church for 10 years, she started attending while she was still in college and still remains a faithful member even now. I request that you accept her application for naturalization because she has been a very big help to her community and church. She was only a member for 3 months when she started taking care of the disabled in the church. She started to cater specially for them and helped teach a little girl who had just recently become deaf how to communicate with sign language, a skill she had acquired when growing up with a deaf Aunty.
I request that you allow Monica Patterson to remain in the country as her stay will have an immense positive emotional and administrative impact on the members of the group she now teaches how to use sign language. She is a loving woman with a kind heart and would be a great addition to the USA.
For further inquiry, you may reach me at 555 087-1865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Letter Written By Family Members Or Friends Of The Immigrant
I am Raymond Smith an American citizen and I support the application of naturalization made by my dear friend Monica Patterson. I have known Monica for 7 years, after meeting at a conference on The Preservation of Ancient History of the Americas where I discovered that she was a student of American History at NYC. I have co-authored several books with her and can confidently say that she is an intelligent and well informed historian who seeks to preserve culture in whatever community she finds herself in.
I have met few people with as much compassion as Monica Patterson and have experienced first-hand how she has helped preserve valuable American Artifacts such as Old civil war photographs. She currently works at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York as an Assistant Museum Curator.
I request that you accept her application for naturalization because she has been a very big help to the American Art community.
I request that you allow Monica Patterson to remain in the country as her stay will have an immense positive impact on the members of the art industry. In her spare time, she teaches art history to high school students online and volunteers at the soup kitchen. She is a passionate woman, a model citizen with a fiercely patriotic heart for America heart and would be a great addition to the USA. Feel free to contact me on the cell phone number or email address below if you have any further questions.
JOHN BRICKHURST AND ASSOCIATES PLLC
March 3, 2018.
To Whom it may concern,
I am Alexander John, I am 38 years old, an American citizen by birth, a renowned lawyer in Manhattan and I have lived near the Patterson family for 5 years now. I request that you allow Monica Patterson to remain in the country as her removal will occasion a major injustice as her marriage to Dr. Martins Patterson is completely legal and was not done merely for the purpose of acquiring a citizenship. Her removal will also have a severe emotional and financial impact on the children at the shelter that she and her husband run together for disabled children here in Manhattan.
Marta and Martins have no children together, not because of a fault in their marriage but purely due to the fact that they have not been able to conceive for 8 years now. Since they have no children of their own she and her husband established a shelter for disabled children who do not have family to take care of them. Monica is also an architect and is a partner at her firm, I have had cause to work with her and I can say with all confidence that she has a very good work ethic and never takes short cuts. There was a time she could not finish a project within the time given and instead of rushing it and getting paid, she risked losing the job by applying for an extension of time which was very unlikely given that another architecture firm had already offered to do it half of the given time.
I and my wife have attended a number of events with the Patterson’s and we can say with all confidence that they are a loving couple who hardly left each other’s side. They have been together for eight years back when she was an international student at NYC studying architecture and were together for 3 years before they got married.
I implore you to allow her to stay in the country as her marriage is completely authentic and there are too many people at her Shelter and work place that rely on her leadership and guidance. For further inquiry you may reach me at 555 087-1865 or email@example.com.
- Letter Written by Family Members or Friends of The Immigrant
March 3, 2018
To whom it may concern
I am Michelle Patterson, I am 28 years old, a US citizen by naturalization, I am a tailor and I make uniforms for staff of Walmart, I have known Monica for 7 years, when she and my brother started dating 2 years before they got married. I have lived with them for 3 years now and I can confidently say that a deportation would be highly damaging to their marriage especially as they have been battling with childlessness, this will add another sorrow to their lives. I request that you allow Monica to remain in the country as her removal will have a severe emotional and financial impact on our family.
Monica is practically a sister to me and we were friends before she married my brother so I personally know that she had no ulterior motives getting married to my brother. Another reason I know she didn’t marry my brother for a citizenship is because at the time my brother asked her to marry him, she had very good job offers back in her home country, Ghana. So she could have left to a comfortable life if she wanted.
The five years she has been married to my brother have been the happiest of my brother’s life and I would hate to see him miserable due to a mere misunderstanding that she married him merely for a green card.
In addition to the letter, the writer should attach a copy of a proof his citizenship. He should be persuasive enough to gain sympathy and truthful so as not to cause future problems for the immigrant. The writer should not forget to draft the language of the letter in a formal way. It should be straightforward and should not exceed 2 pages, preferably one page. The reasons the receiver should indulge your request should be written as facts with a balance of emotions to make it persuasive. The letter should also be signed and if possible notarized for the sake of authenticity especially in serious cases like deportation of illegal immigrants or authenticity of marital relationships.
In conclusion, this letter focuses on the ethical standards and reputation of the immigrant, the authenticity of his/her marriage and the negative effect a denial of the application will cause. The issues of legality will be dealt with in the formal testimony and evidence submitted to the immigration court so it does not need to be discussed in the letter; this means that the letter should be treated as an affidavit and not sworn testimony/evidence, that is why it is not advisable to address it to the court.