An immigration reference letter can be a powerful tool to help bolster your case for a visa. It’s important, however, that it contains the relevant components that USCIS is looking for to make a decision on your case.  Since judges have discretion in deciding a case’s outcome, it can be beneficial to demonstrate that your relative has positive qualities that would benefit society. Our initial immigration consultations can help you or a loved one see the path to naturalization clearer, and provide actionable steps to take, like writing a support letter for immigration.

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What is an Immigration Reference Letter

An immigration reference letter essentially serves as a character reference and demonstrates the applicant’s good moral character, work experience, skills, or other relevant attributes. The letter should be clear, concise, and sincere. It should also stick to the rough format that we outline below.

How to Write A Reference Letter For Family Immigration 

What details should you include? The exact content will depend on what the goal is. Is the person facing deportation? Are they trying to get approved for a tourist visa?

Letter for Deportation Defense

1. For example, if a family member asked you’ve to write one to obtain a release on bond or green card deportation, you should highlight that intention. To give you some background, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detain someone, the detainee may request a bond hearing. Note: not everyone may be eligible for this, for instance, if they have criminal convictions. Learn about the ICE Detainee Locator.

Family and Employment Immigration Support

2. In all immigration reference letters for a family member, it is essential to give a brief history of your relationship to the person, emphasize positive qualities, and what future contributions could be expected by them.

3. If the letter is for an employment-based immigration case, it’s better to have an employer or friend who is credible write the letter of recommendation instead. Furthermore, it carries greater weight if the person is already a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Sample Immigration Letter of Recommendation

Here is a sample letter of support for immigration, written by our specialists at VisaNation. It highlights some of the main points of emphasis judges look for in an immigration support letter. While it can help to use this as a reference point for your own letter, it’s important to make your letter feel personal and authentic. Let’s break down this example into the most important aspects of an immigration letter of support.

a mock letter of reference letter of immigration


Section 1: Greeting and Date

While this is a very personal letter, having a sense of professionalism and respect is important to appeal to the powers that be. Starting formally, with proper letterheadings and salutations, can set the tone for your immigration letter of recommendation early on. If you are not aware of the specific details, including the Judge’s name or the address of the court, write out your letter first, then inquire about those details afterward.


January 5, 2023
Judge Rebecca Klein
Miami Immigration Court

One Riverview Square
333 S. Miami Avenue, Suite 700
Miami, FL 33130

Honorable Immigration Judge,

Section 2: Introduction 

In the letter’s introduction, include the following:

  • Your name (the person writing the letter)
  • Relationship to the immigration recipient
  • Your legal status
  • Other brief background information on yourself you want to include (e.g., duration of the relationship with the candidate).

Below is a sample immigration letter of recommendation for a family member introduction:

My name is Vincent Castillo. I am an accountant living in West Virginia in the United States of America. It is my sincerest pleasure to provide this immigration reference letter on behalf of my cousin, Henry Valdez, who has recently applied for immigration to the United States from Venezuela. Having known Henry since I was a child, they have always proven themselves a kind, motivated, and respectful person, and would be a wonderful citizen in this country.

Again, the introduction should include who you are in reference to the immigrant (relationship) and some describing character traits.

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Section 3: Main Body Paragraphs

This is the meat of the letter of recommendation and should be full of information the judge can use to determine the person’s moral character. Use specific examples when possible and comment on the immigrants:

  • Positive attributes
  • Emotional and financial stability
  • Hardships they may encounter if not allowed to remain in the U.S. and/or granted citizenship


“Henry constantly puts the well-being of their family and friends before themselves. They are honest, compassionate, and hardworking, and would become a cornerstone of any community they are a part of. They have no criminal record and have been a shining example of a citizen in Venezuela. Henry is an active member in his church community at home and a little league baseball coach. He always preaches the importance of teamwork and determination, as well as leadership.”

Section 4: Final Conclusion Paragraph

This is your last chance to connect with the judge reading the letter, so try to communicate with them on a human level through your words. Again, reiterate why the person you’re writing the letter for is an outstanding person whose presence in the U.S. will contribute to the community and society because of their good moral character.

Include your contact information and signature to conclude the letter.


I believe Henry Valdez should be considered for naturalization as soon as possible. Our country will always need people like Henry. If you have any additional questions regarding their character or merit, please feel free to contact me at [email protected], or give me a call at (123)456-7890, and I would be happy to further my recommendation.”

The immigration process can be quite difficult, the stakes can be especially high if you want to bring your family members to the U.S. Mistakes, application incompleteness, missing documents, or submission of wrong forms can significantly impact your application. Ensure that your application is submitted right for the first time with VisaNation’s innovative software. Start your application today!

What to Include in an Immigration Reference Letter for Bond Release

Before an immigration judge agrees to release someone on bond, they will first examine the following:

  • The person’s connections to the community
  • Any potential danger in releasing them
  • Any other factors

They need to sift through evidence in the person’s case. One of these is an immigration reference letter from a relative or someone close to the person. So in your immigration letter of recommendation for a family member, explain why it’s a good decision to release them from detention. In addition, explain why the judge should trust them to return to immigration court for their hearing.

Tips for Writing a Support Letter for Bond

  • Use the letter to introduce yourself, your address, and your immigration status. If you are writing this letter from a professional context, you can use your business letterhead.
  • Address the letter with “Honorable Immigration Judge.”
  • Indicate your relationship with the person and the time you’ve known them.
  • Explain what type of person they are, including positive traits that have contributed to the community, your family, or in a professional capacity.
  • Indicate whether you think they are a danger to society.
  • Explain what sort of hardship would be caused by keeping the person detained. This hardship can be either to the community or to family members who depend on them.
  • Describe traits that would indicate they would return to their future court hearings. For example, are they honest, responsible, or ethical?
  • Always sign, date, and notarize the letter.
  • Indicate that what you’ve written is accurate and to the best of your knowledge.
  • If the letter is not in English and you use a translator, request a Certificate of Translation from the court. Certain states will have a form available to download on their website, and the translator will fill out a form to swear that what they translated was accurate.

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What is Considered a Hardship?

Certain factors demonstrate hardship for qualifying relatives. These could include:

  • Financial consequences
  • Ties (familial or community) in the United States
  • Health or age-pertaining issues
  • Unsafe conditions in the home country or inferior medical services
  • Communication hardship/language barrier in the home country
  • Employment consequences

Everyday hardships caused by deportation include family separation, economic or financial challenges, difficulties pursuing employment outside of the U.S., access to medical services/facilities, and challenges adjusting to life outside the U.S.

How to Prove Financial Hardship

There are a few ways to prove financial hardship when an immigrant faces deportation. You can prove it with documents like mortgage or rent invoices, tax returns, child care receipts, medical bills, and health expenses.

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Other Types of Reference Letters: Showing Support

There are instances unrelated to bond hearings that may necessitate an immigration reference letter for a family member or relative. A waiver support letter is one example. For these types of letters, you also want to describe the types of hardship resulting from the qualifying relatives (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) if the judge or officer does not grant relief. The type of qualifying relatives differs depending on what sort of relief your relative is seeking.

  • Cancellation of Removal of Non-Permanent Residents (Deportation Proceedings): For this case, the qualifying relatives would be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent, spouse, or child. The child is considered someone unmarried and under 21 for immigration purposes.
  • Family Unity Waiver: The qualifying relatives for this case would be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is the spouse or parent (children are not considered qualifying relatives in this case).

Documents to Prove Familial Relationship

When a judge considers the hardship, they are looking specifically at these qualifying relatives. However, they may consider the hardship to non-qualifying relatives, including adult children, siblings, and grandparents, among others. Therefore, it’s essential to focus on the hardship directly to the qualifying relatives.

It is difficult to know exactly what types of documents apply to your situation. VisaNation takes the guesswork out of the equation and ensures that your application has all of the necessary documents that apply to your situation. Start your application today!

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Immigration Letter of Recommendation Frequently Asked Questions

Just as character witnesses can shift a jury’s perspective in a trial, the immigration letter of support can play an imperative role in the process of immigration. VisaNation is a leading figure in the realm of immigration consulting and wants to make sure you always put your best foot forward in the eyes of the court. Here, we address common queries and concerns to help you navigate the intricacies of providing genuine support and highlighting the applicant’s merits to immigration authorities. Let us assist you in making a positive impact and contributing to the success of your loved one’s immigration journey.

How can I find someone to write my immigration letter of recommendation?

The immigration judge will judge not only the words on the page about you but also the writer’s credibility. It is beneficial to have someone reputable write it for you. Good candidates include:

  • A current or past employer is a good option
  • Friends that have been in your life long-term
  • Neighbors
  • Fellow church member
  • Relatives (if you cannot find anyone outside of your immediate circle willing to write it)

Can a sibling write a character reference letter?

Yes, they can, but if possible, it is advised to have someone not in your immediate family write it since relatives are often biased. The person who writes the letter on your behalf should be able to provide specific examples supporting your character and exemplifying the immigration case you’re trying to make.

What is the point of an immigration support letter?

An immigration support letter is one form of supporting documentation that an immigration judge will look at carefully when deciding on the outcome of your immigration case. In some scenarios, it can significantly tip the scale for the outcome of your case if the letter is compelling.

What is a good moral character letter for immigration?

Good moral character points to reliability, honesty, trustworthiness, respect for the law, etc.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

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In order to ensure the highest approval rate, it’s imperative to have a qualified immigration professional review all of your documents prior to submission. If you have additional questions about writing or receiving an immigration reference letter for a family member, then we can help with that as well. To get in touch with VisaNation Law Group, you can fill out this contact form and schedule a consultation with today.