While applying for certain immigration benefits, the chances are high that you will need to submit an employment verification letter to the U.S. government. The employment verification letter goes by other names, including proof of employment letter and verification of employment, but it is simply a request for proof that you are gainfully employed. This article will explain the different immigration processes where you’ll have to submit an employment verification letter, what the letter should say, how you can request the letter from your employer, and how to write it if you’re self-employed.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Updated December 7, 2022
Which Immigration Processes Require an Employment Verification Letter?
Employment verification letters prove that you or your sponsor can receive certain immigration benefits. Family-based green cards, employment-based green cards, work visas, B-1 temporary business visas, and B-2 tourist visas often require these letters.
Family-Based Green Cards
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsoring a relative for their green card, you must complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a government agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). USCIS uses this form to assess whether you have the financial means to support your relative applying for a green card. If their case includes joint sponsors, each sponsor must complete the form.
With the Affidavit of Support, you’ll need to submit verification documents for your financial status. These documents may include federal income tax returns, Forms W-2 or 1099, pay stubs, and an employment verification letter. USCIS will pay close attention to your employment verification letter. This is the case especially if you switched jobs recently or if you combine your income with your spouse.
Employment-Based Green Card
Most employment-based green card applicants will need to submit an employment verification letter. You are eligible for this category if you have the appropriate work experience. This letter will be crucial if your prospective employer or new employer states that they require relevant past work experience, and most employers do.
Employment verification forms and letters for employment-based green cards should be very detailed. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers them with your application. This letter should describe your previous employment’s work responsibilities. You should include your formal titles and dates of employment.
H-1B visas and L-1A/L-1B intracompany transfer visas allow foreign nationals to work legally in the United States. The employment verification letter serves a different purpose for each visa type. But any letters for the work visa category should focus on your past work experience.
Not all H-1B visas require previous work experience, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will still need to review your complete employment history. So, they ask to review evidence, including previous résumés and an employment verification letter.
For the L-1A/L-1B visas, your eligibility depends on your fitness for the role. You must have a minimum of one year of work experience before applying.
B-1 Temporary Business Visa
The B-1 visa is for temporary business visitors to the United States. But those applying for B-1 visas must not complete labor or receive payment from U.S. sources during their time here. Most applicants include business visitors who travel to attend meetings and seminars. Other reasons include negotiating contracts with associates, serving as guest speakers, or purchasing goods and property.
A B-1 visa application requires an employment verification letter to confirm you work for a foreign employer. Your letter should describe activities you intend to take part in during your visit to the United States. The letter should state that you are traveling to the United States for a short visit. You should also indicate that you won’t be working for, or receiving payment from, U.S. sources during your visit.
B-2 Tourist visa
B-2 tourist visas permit foreign travelers to enter the United States as tourists. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers your ties to your home country and financial situation when you apply for this visa. They want to make sure you intend to return to your home country after your visit. They also want to ensure that you will be able to support yourself during your trip.
For these visas, you’ll need to complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application on the Consular Electronic Application Center website. The form will ask you about your employment history. Employment verification letters prove that you’re employed in your home country and have a job waiting for you back home. Letters also confirm that you are financially able to support your travel to the United States.
What Is Included in an Employment Verification Letter?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not provide an official employment verification letter sample or template. But your employer should include all necessary information in their letter. All information in the letter must be accurate. Inaccurate statements may cause delays when USCIS processes your application. Some employers may use a standard employment verification letter template for all requests they receive from employees. If this is the case for you, make sure to provide any context about your specific situation to your employer.
Your employer should write the letter on their company letterhead and include the following:
An appropriate salutation, such as “To whom it may concern:” or “Dear [Agency Name]”
The date the employer (or self-employed applicant) wrote the letter. Note that your employer must write the letter within three months before you file your application. USCIS prefers that the date of writing the letter is closest to your filing date. This will make their job easier when evaluating your application.
The start date and end date of your employment
Your job title(s)
Your annual salary information
Your employment classifications (full-time, part-time, temporary, contract, or another type of work frequency)
A description of the responsibilities you held during your employment
A signature line that includes the letter writer’s signature, their full name (in print letters), the company name, employee’s name, and the writer’s official title
What if My Employment Was Affected by COVID-19?
If you lost your job or your employer furloughed you because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you still need to provide the official leave notice from your employer to USCIS. The letter should list the date the employer issued your leave notice, your former employer’s name, and the date you expect to return to your job (if this is the case).
How Do I Get an Employment Verification Letter?
You may request an employment verification letter through one of the following ways:
You may ask your manager or supervisor for a letter. Be sure to provide them with context. You should let them know the type of immigration benefit you are applying for and any additional information they must include in their letter.
You may contact your employer’s Human Resources department. Many companies have formal company policies for current employee requestors of employment verification letters.
You may find an employment verification request service. This service sends your employer your request for a letter. A service can help if you’re having a hard time getting the letter from your employer. Some companies rely on services to streamline their formal letter request processes. You should ask your employer if your company uses services like InVerify or The Work Number.
Can I Write My Own Employment Verification Letter?
USCIS looks closely at sponsoring relative’s documents who are self-employed to assess their eligibility as sponsors. If you are a business owner or independent contractor, you likely won’t be able to provide USCIS with a Form W-2 to prove your financial stability. Instead, USCIS asks that you submit a verification of employment letter.
This letter should describe your current employment status and your existing business. You will have to write and sign the letter yourself. The letter should include all of the exact details that other employment verification business letters include. You should have the letter notarized to legitimize it, as you will be the one writing it.
Self-employed green card sponsors must often submit supporting evidence to prove their financial stability. This evidence includes proof of the company’s existence. Sponsors may provide state business registration documents or business account documents from their bank and other financial institutions. They may also provide copies of contracts, payment receipts, and corporate income tax return records.