EB-1 Reference Letter

Posted on October 23, 2007 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Q&A: How to Prepare Reference Letter

Ms. Su asked:

I got a doctorate degree in biology in the US.  While I was in the university, I took part in big projects and had a lot of professional articles published.  Now I am thinking about applying for a greencard through an EB-1-A.  Some of my friends told me that I must prepare a reference letter to support my application.  I want to know whether it is mandatory to provide a reference letter.  If yes, who would be better to write a reference letter for me?  Is there any special requirement for this reference letter?


For your questions on the reference letter, I would like to tell you that according to the INA, there are no rigid requirements on the reference letter.  However, according to our experience handling EB-1 cases in previous years, it is very important to file a reference letter with your application.  Generally speaking, except for those extraordinary aliens who are Nobel Prize winners or World Champions, most EB-1-A applicants need to prove that they fulfill the requirements with a reference letter.

As supporting documents to prove the qualification of applicants, a series of well prepared reference letters would be very helpful for the approval of the application.  Normally, reference letters will be given by specialists or researchers, which include professors, well known experts in corporations, and experts in the government.  As you try to get good reference letters, please bear the following points in mind:

  1. Since you come from the academic field, it is helpful for you to get some reference letters from experts in the corporate world or government;
  2. In addition to the applicant’s achievements, the reference letter should address the relationship between the person writing the letter and the applicant to show that the person who prepared the reference letter knows the applicant well.

For the content and format of a reference letter, there are no strict requirements.  Generally speaking, the reference letter will include the qualification of the person writing the letter, achievements of the applicant and their significance in the related areas, awards received by the applicant, articles published, etc.  Moreover, since it is very unlikely that the immigration officer in charge of your case is an expert in your field, your application will be more persuasive if peers in your area of expertise, especially any authorities in that field, can write recommendations for you.  As to the numbers of reference letters you need, 5 to 7 letters is reasonable.

In a word, even though it is not mandatory for applicants to file reference letters in support of the EB-1 application, it is very important to get reference letters from third parties proving your excellent ability and achievements in your area of study.  In many cases, good reference letters can play a very important role in getting the application approved.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.