3 Basic Tips for Support Letters from Friends and Family
If you need support letters from family or friends to complete an immigration application, make sure they follow these three basic tips to assure their letters are credible sources of proof for your application.
Identify YourselfThe person writing the support letter should provide his or her full legal name, date of birth, place of birth, and current address in the first paragraph of the letter. If your friend or family member is a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, this should be mentioned in the first paragraph as well.
Also, make sure the letter explains how you are related or know each other, such as "Jose is my son-in-law" or "Maria has been my neighbor and friend for the past ten years." This basic information will help establish the authenticity of the letter, which may make the letter a stronger piece of evidence as a whole.
Provide a Copy of IDFor certain types of applications, documenting the citizenship status of the applicant's family and friends is essential to preparing a strong case. Make sure that friends or family members writing support letters provide you with copies of identification documents that reflect their citizenship status.
For example, U.S. Citizens should provide you with a copy of their birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or the biographic page of their U.S. passport. Legal Permanent Residents should provide you with a copy of their permanent resident card, commonly called a "green card." These pieces of identification should help corroborate the identity of the person writing the letter and may help the strength of your application overall.
Notarized SignatureAsk your friends and family members to have their signatures on the letters witnessed by a Notary Public. Many banks and businesses like the UPS Store or Currency Exchange have a Notary Public on staff who can notarize a signature free of charge or for a very small fee. A Notary must actually witness the signature being made so they can attest to the authenticity of the signature, so the letter should not be signed until the author is in the physical presence of the Notary. The Notary will need to verify the identity of the person signing the letter against some form of Identification, typically a driver's license. Again, a notarized signature helps establish the authenticity of the letter itself and may give more weight to the letter's contents.