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December 16th 2019

Understanding the Employment Verification Letter

You can use the employment verification letter to substantiate your work history

Basic Definition

Certain visa applicants may need to submit what is known as an employment verification letter (EVL) to satisfy the evidentiary requirements of the application process. 

To be clear: the EVL is not a work permit – or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) – which some green card applicants need in order to work while waiting for their green card approval. To obtain an EAD, you can file Form I-765.

In the following article, we will provide a detailed explanation of the employment verification letter, as it pertains to the U.S. immigration system. Use the table of contents below to jump to the relevant section:

  1. Knowing When a Letter Is Required

  2. Requesting a Letter

  3. Writing a Letter

  4. The Takeaway

Knowing When A Letter Is Required

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may request an employment verification letter in any number of circumstances. In this section, we’ll go through several common scenarios where proof of employment may be required.

Marriage-based green card sponsors

As part of the spousal green card application process, the U.S. citizen (or permanent resident) spouse will, in most cases, need to file Form I-864 (also called an “Affidavit of Support”). As part of the filing process they’ll need:

  • Pay stubs

  • Federal income tax returns

  • W-2s or 1099s

  • Employment verification letter

The EVL is particularly useful when the sponsoring spouse has just changed jobs. Without W-2s to submit, self-employed sponsors will most likely need to provide additional documents such as the following:

  • Corporate income tax returns

  • Written contracts formalizing relationships with clients

  • Evidence showing they own a real business – such as any official state registrations or financial documents

  • Receipts showing proof of payment

The self-employed sponsor will also need to write their own employment verification letter, making sure to include the necessary information. To further legitimize the letter, they would do well to have it notarized.

Employment-based green card applicants

To obtain an employment-based green card, applicants must be able to provide evidence of their work experience. The applicant will likely need to submit an employment verification letter, which should be more in-depth than the average EVL. For an application to be successful, it’s very important that the letter contain all the necessary information. For starters, it should contain the responsibilities of the job in question, while including all the usual information, such as the dates of employment and job titles.

Work visa applicants

There are a number of work visas that require relevant work experience. To obtain the L-1A/L-1B intracompany transfer visa, for instance, applicants must be able to show that they have:

  • At least one year of related experience

  • The skill sets required to do the job in question

In this case, having employment verification letters from previous employers could help satisfy both these requirements.

Similarly, those applying for the H-1B visa may need to provide a history of employment, proof of which might include: 

  • CV (curriculum vitae)

  • Résumé

  • Employment verification letter  

B-1 business visa applicants

B-1 visa holders may temporarily visit the U.S. for reasons pertaining to their work, but they may not be paid by anyone in the United States. Employment verification letters attached to B-1 visa applications must contain the following information:

  • The length of stay 

  • The planned activities (see below for acceptable examples)

  • Employment status

  • A statement that the applicant will not partake of activities other than those described in the letter 

The applicant may pursue activities pertaining to their line of business, such as the following:

  • Negotiating the terms of relevant contracts

  • Buying property or other assets

  • Going to conferences

  • Attending classes or other events as a guest lecturer

  • Taking part in training sessions

B-2 tourist visa applicants

The employment verification letter can help show that the B-2 tourist visa applicant has a steady income and, for this reason, is more likely to have sufficient funds for their trip to the United States. The applicant can also demonstrate with this letter that they have a strong connection to their home country – since they are, after all, employed there. 

In brief, the letter can help show that the applicant satisfies these two B-2 visa criteria:

  • That they enough money to sustain themselves during their trip 

  • That they have a substantial connection to their home country and, consequently, an intention to return

Requesting a Letter

To request an employment verification letter, the applicant can, of course, ask their supervisor directly, informing them of the pertinent details to include. But, if that option isn’t available or if they have trouble getting in contact with the appropriate manager, they may also take other, less direct, routes. In this section, we’ll discuss 3 alternative methods for requesting an employment verification letter.

Third-Party Services

The applicant may avail themselves of services – like Experian Employer Services or CCC Verify – devoted entirely to the employment verification process. They may, however, need to confirm that their employer has already signed up for such a service.

Human Resources

The applicant may need to file their request with the human resources department at their place of employment. If the company has a human resources department, it might be a good idea to start there.

Templates

The applicant can also use a template, if one is available. Our partner Boundless has created 2 such templates – one for current employers and one for previous employers – freely available to anyone with an email address. 

Writing a Letter

As every visa application has slightly different requirements, it’s important to understand the visa eligibility criteria prior to finishing and submitting the employment verification letter. In general, however, the EVL should include the following:

  • Annual salary

  • A statement as to whether the applicant is full-time, part-time, temporary, or contract-based

  • The applicant’s duties, if necessary

  • The applicant’s job title

  • Start date and end date

All letters should be written on the employer’s letterhead, but of course, if the applicant is self-employed, they will need to use their own. It’s also important that the letter be written and dated within 3 months of filing the green card application. For this reason, the applicant may want to get the letter notarized – though it’s not a requirement. Finally, the letter will need to include the signature, job title, and full name of the person who drafted the letter.

The Takeaway

While you wait to hear back about your visa application,  it’s important to start thinking through other logistics, such as how you will find your first apartment and choose a U.S. bank

In the U.S., accessing these essential services like credit cards, apartment rentals, and even internet plans requires that you have a good U.S. credit score. Fortunately, you can use Nova Credit to use your foreign credit history from certain countries to apply for a variety of products and services from our partners. 

This means that you can apply for great credit cards, phone plans, and more from using your hard-earned credit history from back home—rather than needing to start from scratch. If you are approved for these products and manage them responsibly, you will start to quickly build a U.S. credit history.

Currently, Nova Credit serves individuals coming from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. 

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The ultimate guide to the J-1 visa

The ultimate guide to the L-1 visa

The ultimate guide to the O-1 visa

How to check your USCIS case status

How to read the Visa Bulletin

How to build credit after moving to the US

How to get a social security card

How to get an apartment with no credit history

No credit check cell phone plans

How to immigrate to the United States

New to the United States? Apply for a U.S. credit card using your foreign credit history. Explore cards