What Is the Purpose of a Reference Letter for Immigration?

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The common purpose of a character reference letter for immigration is to provide supporting evidence of a person?s good character. It includes such information as participation in volunteer activities, notable actions to help family members or others, or stories that display dependability of the person applying for the immigration benefit.

Character reference letters are crucial when applying for naturalization, battling deportation, proving a relationship, making waiver requests, or confirming residence or employment. They can also serve as evidence of emotional or physical abuse for domestic violence victims who want to obtain an immigration benefit. People applying for humanitarian aid or seeking asylum or refugee status may also need character reference letters.

A well-written character reference letter can prompt the immigration officer, consular or judge to make a favorable decision regarding the immigration benefit an individual seeks. Recommended authors of reference letters include relatives who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, present and previous employers, close friends, neighbors and elected officers of organizations in which the immigration benefit applicant is a member.

A character reference letter must include information about the author?s immigration status, the nature of the relationship with the applicant, how long the author and the applicant have known each other and the author?s complete contact details. The author should sign the letter with blue or black ink.