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When is an Employment Verification Letter Needed for a U.S. Spouse Green Card Application?

Falling in love with an American and moving to the world’s richest and most powerful nation is an incredibly exciting (not to mention, romantic) prospect. However, under the Trump presidency, which is notoriously hostile to immigrants, the process of applying for a marriage-based Green Card can be anything but dreamy. One essential document your application must include is an Employment Verification Letter relating to the sponsoring spouse. This will prove to the authorities that they a) have a job (whether through employment or self-employment) and b) have a regular income and will, therefore, not be reliant on the public purse.

Before we discuss the Employment Verification Letter, let’s briefly look at the requirements of obtaining a Green Card as an immediate family member.

Green Card Requirements for an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen

A Green Card means that you have permanent residence in the United States of America. Holding a Green Card does not make you a U.S. citizen; spouses of U.S. citizens must wait three years before they can apply for naturalisation. However, a Green Card does allow you many benefits, including receiving social security, being able to travel freely, being able to work for a company without the need for sponsorship, and being able to sponsor immediate family members yourself.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration website, if you are currently in the United States, in order to be eligible for a Green Card as an immediate relative, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • You were inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the United States;
  • You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
  • You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa;
  • An immigrant visa is immediately available to you at the time you file your Form I-485 and at the time USCIS makes a final decision on your application;
    • Note: A visa is always available for immediate relatives.
  • The relationship to the family member who filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you still exists;
  • None of the applicable bars to adjustment apply to you;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of relief; and
  • You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion.

It can take between 10 and 38 months to obtain a Green Card as a spouse, depending on whether you are married to a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder (the latter taking longer than the former).

The Employment Verification Letter

The Employment Verification Letter should not be confused with the Employment Authorization Document (commonly referred to as a Work Permit). The former provides evidence of your current income and can also be requested by banks when you are applying for a loan or mortgage. The latter is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and authorises you to work in the U.S. for a period of time, usually one year.

Most countries, including the U.K., have strict income requirements relating to spouse immigration. This is because it is highly undesirable to have citizens marrying foreigners and bringing them into the country to be supported by public funds.

The Employment Verification Letter is not an essential document. USCIS officers evaluate forms such as Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, to determine if the sponsoring spouse has sufficient income to support their loved one and any children that may be accompanying them. However, whilst tax returns can show past income, an Employment Verification Letter is invaluable for showing how much you earn at the present time.

An Employment Verification Letter is provided by your employer and will include:

  • The date you started working for your organisation.
  • Whether you are full time or part-time.
  • Your job title/position.
  • Your annual salary or an hourly wage.

The Employment Verification Letter should be included with the other documents supporting your application. It should be short and to the point (no more than a paragraph or two).

Should you get your Employment Verification Letter Notarised?

It is not necessary to have an Employment Verification Letter notarised. However, notarising does give weight to the document as there can be no doubt of its authenticity.

A notarised document is a document that has been certified by a Notary Public. This is a person appointed by the State Government. Their primary role is to serve as an independent witness when certain documents are signed.

Notarisation is particularly important if you are self-employed as more attention is likely to be paid to the claims you make regarding your income. Notarisation will provide the USCIS with confidence that the statements you have made are completely truthful.

Where can I get an Employment Verification Letter?

If you work for a large organisation, it is likely that they will have a template for an Employment Verification Letter. If not, a template can be obtained online; however, care must be taken to adapt it to your company’s specification (for example, by adding the company letterhead).

There are specialised Employment Verification Letter services that will contact your employer to discover the details about your employment needed in the letter and create it for you.

Final words

Applying for a Green Card as a spouse is a complex process and investing in expert legal advice can save you and your husband/wife much frustration, stress, and, should the application be rejected, heartbreak. It is estimated that almost 50% of Green Card family-based denials are made up of spouse applications. Often, a rejected application can be remedied with a new application which is properly prepared or requesting the USCIS to review the application and rectify any administrative errors. Instructing an immigration lawyer to assist you with your marriage-based Green Card application can save you time and money in the long run, and ensure you and your spouse can begin your new life together in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’.

Related Article: ‘Top Tips on How to Find a US Work Visa Sponsor Employer

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