With increasing ease of travel, more people are beginning to immigrate from one country to the other. However, this international movement is subject to immigration laws and policies. The implication of this is that immigrants who want to move to the United States will have to meet all the eligibility criteria stated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

These conditions that must be satisfied vary depending on the type of visa the applicant is applying for. Usually, the submission of supporting documents for an application is requested. This can include a letter of recommendation. Such letters are used to assess whether you are of good moral character, as will be attested to by the referee.

Also, depending on the document that needs the letter as support, the letter may be to prove a relationship or confirm residence or employment. In a sanctuary state like California where immigration policies and expectations slightly vary from other places, it is best to consult an immigration attorney in Pasadena to advise you on what kind of recommendation letter you should write. 

Here are a few guidelines to follow when writing a letter of recommendation.

Determine the purpose of the letter of recommendation

When you want to have a letter of recommendation written, it would be beneficial to clearly define to your referee what the purpose of the letter is before you have it written. Remember that a letter of recommendation is presented to a judge who scrutinizes its content to assess your integrity, good moral character, and work ethic.

Stating in unequivocal terms the purpose of the letter of recommendation will help you and your referee know what strengths should be highlighted in your letter. This letter should be considered an official document like all other immigration documents you submit. It should prove that you have qualities that will benefit the country you want to immigrate into.

Ensure your relationship with the referee is suitable

Equally as important as the content of your letter of recommendation is your relationship with the referee who writes the letter. It is a good choice to ask for a letter of recommendation from a referee who is reputable in society. Most judges presume that such individuals have a name to protect and would not be readily willing to stake it for false attestation.

However, going for only prominent or reputable members of society alone is not sufficient to get you a positive outcome from a judge. A judge also wants to ascertain that you have a personal relationship with the referee, as this will ascertain the suitability of that referee to give a true and unadulterated account of your character and/or work ethic.

Your letter of recommendation should have an emotive value or personal touch without leaning towards emotional manipulation. Your employer or colleagues are good candidates for a letter of recommendation.

Decide on what to include and exclude from the letter

There is a general structure for writing letters of recommendation, but there is no rule to adhere to it. However, it is best to, as it makes it easy to read through and access basic information. 

But due to personal preference, your referee may like to adopt their style in writing your letter. It is therefore pertinent that specific details are not left out in their letter.

These necessary data include:

  • Your name; this is important to include, as it lets the judge know who the letter of recommendation is for.
  • The name of your referee; the name of your referee makes an impression on the judge, and it also stands as a point of referee throughout the content of the letter.
  • Personal details of your referee; details such as work address, job title, and contact information are necessary should there be any need to reach out to your referee.
  • The nature of the relationship with your referee; state the nature of the relationship with the referee, as this can help establish your capacity to relate with others with positive outcomes.
  • Provisions for signatures and signing dates; these are essential parts to add at the beginning of the letter. This format is acceptable for official documents such as your letter of recommendation.
  • Your strengths as the applicant; this works hand-in-hand with the purpose of the letter. Supplying quality personal stories on how your positive qualities apply in different areas will go a long way to convince a judge of the legitimacy of your application.

Follow the basic structure of letter writing

As mentioned earlier, your letter of recommendation should follow standard letter format even though there is no rule on how it must be formatted. However, it will be in your best interest to write it in a way that most judges are familiar with.

Have an introduction

The introductory part of your letter should bear the date of writing the letter, as well as the names and details of all parties—that is, both the applicant and the referee. 

This part aims to give the judge a fair idea of those whose application is under review. A little background on the referee will also be a great addition to the introductory part of your letter of recommendation. 

Include a body

The body of the letter is where your strength should be emphasized. What qualities make you stand out? How reliable and efficient are you? The body of your letter should have stories or anecdotes that harp on these qualities.

Also, these stories are appreciated better when they are personal rather than just statements or listing of positive qualities.


To conclude your letter of recommendation, you should have your referee buttress your recommendation with a statement on why your application should be granted. An additional statement on how you will benefit the country you want to gain immigration status from will go a long way to make your case a solid one.

Wrapping up

The effect your letter of recommendation has on a judge reviewing your case is completely subjective. However, it is better to stick to formal, standard letter formatting but let the anecdotes shared be personal with emotive value. Such stories tend to leave a lasting impression on the judge.