Immigration to a new country can be a long and difficult process. While immigration applicants must provide extensive paperwork and documentation, a well-written letter of support from a friend or family member can go a long way in helping their application succeed. Letters of support show that the applicant has relationships and roots in the new country that will help them integrate and adjust to their new home. If you've been asked to write a letter in support of an immigration applicant, read on for tips on what to include and how to write an effective letter.
Why Write a Letter of Support?
There are a few key reasons why submitting a letter of support is worth your time and effort:
Show You Have a Relationship
A letter of support demonstrates that the applicant has close relationships in the country they wish to immigrate to. Having local ties aids the applicant in establishing that they will have a network of support to help them adjust to their new home. This makes it more likely that immigration officials will view them favorably.
Highlight Positive Qualities
Your letter gives you the chance to rave about the applicant's work ethic, integrity, contributions to the community, and other stellar qualities. This provides extra evidence of their value as a future citizen and resident.
You can use specific anecdotes and examples to humanize the applicant and provide context about their life story. This extra detail and background gives officials a well-rounded view of the applicant.
Who Should Write the Letter?
When considering who to ask to write your letter of support, good options include:
Letters from close family showcase that the applicant has local family ties. Letters from parents, siblings, adult children, or other relatives may carry significant weight.
Close friends can describe positive personal qualities in sincere and loving ways. Long-term friendships illustrate dedication and community ties.
A current or former supervisor, manager, or coworkers offer an insider's view of the applicant's work ethic, skills, and professional conduct.
Respected community figures like teachers, coaches, religious leaders, or organizers show the applicant's contributions and solid local roots.
What to Include in the Letter
A strong letter should include:
Briefly introduce yourself and describe your relationship to the applicant. Explain that you are writing in support of their immigration application.
Nature of Your Relationship
Provide background details about how you met the applicant and how long you have known them. Share heartwarming anecdotes from your friendship or family bond.
Positive Personal Qualities
Give specific examples that demonstrate the applicant's strengths like work ethic, determination, intelligence, integrity, generosity, or family values.
Note ways the applicant will enrich the cultural fabric as a new resident. Mention talents or skills they can contribute through work or community roles.
Letter Format and Tips
To create a professional and sincere letter:
Use Business Letter Format
Use standard business letter format with your contact information, the date, addresses, a proper salutation/closing, etc.
Be Positive and Personal
Share details that create a nuanced portrait of the applicant as an individual. Avoid overly formal language in favor of a warm, sincere tone.
Focus on the Individual
Avoid general platitudes. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate the applicant's personal merits.
Back up claims about the applicant with stories and detail. Specificity is key.
Check for Errors
Proofread closely so grammar, spelling, and formatting are impeccable.
Writing a heartfelt and compelling letter of support is a chance to make a real difference in the life of an immigrant you care about. By following proper format and providing sincere detail about your relationship, you can help their application succeed. Focus your letter on illustrating the applicant's assets and admirable qualities that will allow them to positively contribute to their new home country.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long should the letter be?
A: Aim for 1-2 pages single spaced or 2-3 pages double spaced. Avoid more than 3 pages.
Q: Can I send separate letters for a married couple?
A: Yes, send a customized letter for each person focused on your relationship with them.
Q: What tone should the letter take?
A: Remain positive and sincere. Avoid over-the-top language. Professional but warm is ideal.
Q: Can I mention negative experiences?
A: Only briefly if they highlight the applicant's perseverance. Keep discussion focused on the positives.
Q: Should I mention specific visa types?
A: No, avoid discussion of legal specifics. Focus on the person rather than technicalities.