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:
Knowing When a Letter Is Required
Requesting a Letter
Writing a Letter
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:
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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