Employment Verification Letter for Green Card
When applying for an extension of stay or lawful permanent residence from within the United States, you or your petitioning sponsor may need to provide evidence of current income or continued employment to satisfy US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you meet the requisite requirements for either nonimmigrant or immigrant status.
Equally, when applying from overseas, proof of financial means may be needed to satisfy your local Embassy or Consulate of your eligibility for a visitor visa, while proof of financial support may be needed for a spouse, fiancé(e) or family visa. You may also need proof of employment status to show that you meet certain job role requirements, for example, as an intracompany transferee, or as an employee of a principal visa-holder engaging in US trade or investing in a US business.
In this guide, we explain what an employment verification letter is and when they are needed for US immigration and nationality applications.
What is an employment verification letter?
An employment verification letter is a letter that can be used, or is required, to support an application for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. This letter could be from an existing US employer to show that you or your petitioning sponsor are currently in paid employment in the United States, as evidence of financial means, or from a prospective US employer to show that you will be working in a certain job role on the grant of a suitable work visa.
The letter is essentially designed to verify either that you have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to become a public charge in the States, or that you meet specific job role requirements for an employment-based visa. This type of letter will usually evidence the nature of the job role and salary, together with any other information that may be relevant to your immigration application. This could include, for example, whether the job is full-time or part-time, and whether it is permanent or temporary. It might also include, where relevant, the skills, experience and qualifications needed to fulfil that role.
When is an employment verification letter needed?
There are a number of scenarios in which an employment verification letter may be useful or needed in the context of an immigration application. If you are a petition-based applicant, this type of letter may need to be filed by your petitioning sponsor, along with other documents in support of the petition to USCIS. In other cases, the letter may need to be submitted with your visa application or produced to the consular officer at interview on request.
The following list is by no means exhaustive, but provides an overview of the circumstances in which an employment verification letter may be required:
Entry clearance applications
If you are looking to visit the United States, even if just for a holiday, there are strict requirements that must be met for a B-2 tourism visa, including having sufficient funds to cover your expenses and stay in the US, as well as strong ties to your country of residence to ensure your return abroad at the end of your stay. There are various ways in which these requirements can be met, although an employment verification letter can be an ideal way of showing both current income and ties to your home country. This type of letter can also be very useful evidence in the context of a B-1 business visitor visa, to provide a clear context for regular business trips to the States, such as attending meetings or closing a deal.
However, the employment verification letter can often be crucial when it comes to applications for an employment-based visa. If you are currently overseas, but looking to come to the US for the purposes of work, you will need to meet very specific employment requirements to be eligible for a work visa. This could be, for example, working for your overseas employer in a US branch or subsidiary as an intracompany transferee on an L1 nonimmigrant visa. It could also be where you will be working as the senior or essential employee of someone of the same nationality trading in the States or investing in a US business under E1 nonimmigrant classification. In either case, the employment verification letter can provide the necessary evidence of both previous and proposed employment.
In the context of the L-1A visa, you must show that you have been employed as an executive or manager for 1 continuous year in the last 3 years and be seeking to enter the US to work in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch/subsidiary of the same employer. In the context of the L-1B visa, you must again show that you have been working for a qualifying organisation abroad for 1 continuous year within the last 3 years, and will be providing services in a specialised knowledge capacity to a branch/subsidiary of the same employer.
Similarly, if you are applying for an E-1 visa as the employee of a treaty trader, or an E-2 visa as the employee of a treaty investor, you will need a detailed job description letter for the treaty trader/treaty investor business to show that you are either a senior or essential employee and will be undertaking a similar role in the States.
Extensions/change of status applications
If you are currently in the US on a nonimmigrant visa, as these are temporary in nature, your stay will be time-limited. Unless you want to leave the States and return home, you must either apply to extend your visa prior to expiry of your current authorised stay or apply to switch status. In most cases, whether applying to extend your stay or to change status, USCIS will want to see evidence that you have sufficient financial resources or financial support to pay for your ongoing expenses. You may also need to provide evidence of continued employment depending on the type of nonimmigrant visa or extension being sought.
As an L1 intracompany transferee, you will usually have permission to work in the US for 3 years, unless you have applied on the basis of establishing a new US office, in which case your initial stay will be limited to 1 year. However, L1 visa-holders can apply for extensions of stay in increments of 2 years, until you have reached the maximum limit of 7 years for L-1A executives or managers or 5 years for L-1B specialised knowledge employees. As an E-1 or E-2 senior or essential employee, your initial grant of stay will usually be limited to 2 years, but there is no limit to the number of extensions an E-1 or E-2 visa-holder may be granted, provided you maintain an intention to depart the States when your status expires. In all cases, an employment verification letter will be needed to evidence ongoing employment.
Green card applications
If you want to become a lawful permanent resident, you will need to apply for an immigrant visa or ‘green card’. There are different types of immigrant visas, but in all cases, your petitioning sponsor will be required to show that you have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to become a public charge by permanently settling in the States.
Applications for green cards can be made from both within the US or from overseas. These include a whole range of employment-sponsored visas, where evidence will be needed of either specific job offers or ongoing employment. There are also a number of family-sponsored visas, including the IR1 spouse visa, the IR2 dependent child visa or the IR5 parent visa, together with various family-preference immigrant visas. In these cases, evidence will be needed of adequate financial support in the long-term.
Other family-sponsored visas include the K-1 fiancé(e) or K-3 spouse visa, although these are strictly nonimmigrant visas but for immigration-related purposes. The K-1 visa will allow you to live with your new spouse in the States, pending the grant of permanent resident status, provided you marry within 90 days of your arrival. Similarly, the K-3 visa is designed to shorten the physical separation between you and an existing spouse, while awaiting approval of an immigrant petition to adjust your status to permanent residency. In all cases, however, the common denominator is that your petitioning sponsor must be able to provide evidence of adequate means of financial support and that you are not likely to become a public charge.
Should an employment verification letter be filed with Form I-134?
Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support (previously known as an Affidavit of Support), is a signed statement that can be used in support of — or may be specifically requested by USCIS or a consular officer when determining — a nonimmigrant application. This is a form specifically designed to show that the applicant or beneficiary of the petition has sufficient financial resources or financial support to cover their expenses during their temporary stay.
The instructions to Form I-134 state that you may file this form on behalf of yourself or on behalf of a B (visitor), F (academic student) or M (vocational student) nonimmigrant requesting an extension of stay or change of status. The form can therefore be completed by either you, as the applicant, or by a third party who is able to support you financially. Form I-134 may also be requested to support a K-1 fiancé(e) or K-3 spouse nonimmigrant visa application, where this will usually need to be completed by the US citizen fiancé(e) or spouse.
However this form alone, even when signed with a statement of truth, will not be sufficient proof of financial resources or financial support. This means that the individual who signs Form I-134 must establish that they have both sufficient financial resources and access to those funds. An employment verification letter can be used here as proof of continued income.
Should an employment verification letter be filed with Form I-834?
When it comes to immigrant visa applications, Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, will be needed. This affidavit is required for most family-based and some employment-based immigrants to show that they have sufficient means of financial support and are unlikely to become dependent on the government for financial assistance.
This affidavit must be completed by your petitioning sponsor. This is a legally enforceable contract between a sponsor and the US Government where, by signing Form I-864, the sponsor is agreeing to use their resources to support you, if it becomes necessary. This means that the sponsor must be able to show that they have enough income or assets to maintain you and the rest of their household, where an employment verification letter, along with federal tax returns, is an ideal way of showing current income and continued employment.
What should an employment verification letter include?
The contents of an employment verification letter will very much depend on the type of immigration application and what needs to be evidenced, for example, proof of a specific employment requirement, and/or proof of financial means or financial support.
Each letter will be unique based on the requirements to be met. However, in all cases, the letter should be produced on the company letterhead to make it look official. It should also contain sufficient detail to satisfy the necessary requirements which it is intended to evidence.
There is no set format that must be followed, but for a standard financial support or financial means letter, a USCIS or consular officer would expect the letter to contain, as a minimum:
- The date the letter was written
- The name of the employee
- The employee’s position and job title
- The date employment started
- The employee’s work status, for example, whether full-time or part-time
- The employee’s annual salary or hourly wage
- Whether the job is permanent or temporary.
For employment verification letters specifically required to evidence previous or proposed employment, the letter will need to be far more detailed and technical. For example, a job description letter for an L or E visa will not only need to explain the nature and duration of the applicant’s role within the business, but also the skills, experience and qualifications needed to fulfil that role, plus the responsibilities that they have and will be expected to take on.
To be valid, any employment verification letter must be signed by the employer, providing their full name and official title. In most cases, it should also be written no more than 3 months prior to the date of the immigration application which it is intended to support.
NNU Immigration are US visa and nationality specialists based in London. For specialist advice and guidance, contact our US attorneys.
Employment verification letter FAQs
What is H1B employment verification letter?
An employment verification letter is a key document needed to support an application for a H1B visa, providing evidence that the applicant has a job offer from a US employer for a role that requires specialised knowledge or qualifications.
Is employment verification letter necessary?
An employment verification letter may be necessary to support an application for both an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, especially where the offer of a specific job or continued employment is a strict requirement, or proof of financial means is needed.
This post does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.