Writing an Immigration Letter of Recommendation for a Family Member


When an individual is facing deportation, they often will submit a letter to the immigration officer or judge overseeing their case. This letter helps the individual facing deportation to prove things such a hardship or residency, as well as it can also contain information regarding their overall character. All of these things help to prove that the individual is of great worth to their family and more importantly the United States.

How Do I Write a Letter of Recommendation for Immigration?

When writing a letter of recommendation on behalf of an individual facing deportation it is best that the person writing the letter be close with the individual. It is not appropriate for individuals who do not personally know the individual to write a letter of recommendation.

Possible references that can be used in a reference letter are individuals such as family members, co-workers and religious affiliates. These individuals can prove to be terrific witnesses due to their personal relationship with the individual which allows for them to know intimate details and stories that often can be used to provide beneficial support.

Beneficial topics to be included by a reference are:

  • The history of the personal or professional relationship with the individual facing deportation
  • Positive and beneficial qualities the individual has
  • Expected future contributions that the individual will make to the better the community

The letter of recommendation is not a required document in the immigration process, therefore there is not a lot of required materials and the content is ultimately up to the discretion of the individual writing it.

What is a Hardship Letter?

Hardship letters, or application for cancellation of removal, is filed through immigration courts and should contain any documentation supporting claims being made about an individual. These claims should focus on criteria which indicate the following:

  • The individual has been physically present in the United States for ten years prior to the deportation proceedings
  • They are a person of good moral character
  • They have not been convicted of criminal offenses (Even though the Judge will know, it is best to not mention if the individual has been convicted of criminal offenses)
  • The removal of the individual from the U.S. would cause exceptional and unusual hardship on a spouse, parent and children

Hardship That Effect on a Direct Relative

One of the legal arguments used to help an individual qualify for the cancellation of removal stems from the undue hardship that may overcome a family due to the removal of their loved one from the U.S.. To qualify for a cancellation of removal, individuals must show that their circumstance of hardship effects direct relatives and falls under that which is required by law.

Removal of the Individual from the U.S. may be prevented if the undue hardship effects:

  • The individual’s spouse (If they are either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident)
  • An individual’s parents (If they are either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident)
  • Children (If they are either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident)

What is Considered to be a Personal Hardship? 

Hardships vary from case to case and therefore there is not a concrete list of what a hardship must entail to be considered by an immigration official. However, lack of a concrete list does not mean that any and every hardship will be considered by an immigration judge.

Economic and personal hardship can only be applied if the family members are U.S. citizens or if they are legal permanent residents. If the family members of the individual being deported are not citizens or permanent residents, the hardship will not be considered if it involves them.

In addition to residency requirements, only direct family members will be considered. This means that family members such as siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles do not count as individuals who can be affected.

Only an individual’s spouse, children and parents will be considered when determining a hardship, and they will be required to prove their relationship to the individual. To do this, qualifying documents proving the relationship will need to be submitted to the immigration official.

Examples of qualifying documents to prove familial relationships are:

  • Copies of Passports
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificate

What is Considered to be a Financial Hardship?

The Board of Immigration Appeals has recently agreed with cases involving the following hardships:

  1. An applicant with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident child who has a serious health or medical issue (this is by far the most common scenario under which cancellation of removal is granted);
  2. An applicant with aging U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident parents who depend on the applicant for financial, physical, and emotional support and care;
  3. An applicant with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident child who has a learning disability or special educational requirements; and
  4. An applicant with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse who is suffering from extreme psychological issues.

Commonly, the Board of Immigration Appeals has decided that these common hardships that are caused due to deportation include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Family separation
  • Economic detriment
  • Difficulties of readjusting to life in the new country
  • The quality and availability of educational opportunities abroad
  • Inferior quality of medical services and facilities
  • Ability to pursue a chosen employment abroad

If you are unsure if your hardship is sufficient enough to qualify, an immigration attorney can answer any questions you may have as well as they can assist you in determining how to remain in the U.S.

How Do I Prove Financial Hardship?

To prove financial hardship, the individual facing deportation does not need to be the sole provider for the family. Rather, an individual needs only to be an essential financially contributing member of a family.

Financial hardship can be proven through the submission of important financial documents such as:

  • Tax Returns
  • Mortgage/Rent invoices
  • Medical Bills/Health Expenses
  • Child Care Receipts

Need Help Becoming a U.S. Citizen?

The process of applying to become a U.S. citizen or becoming a legal permanent resident is often daunting and stressful due to language and understanding barriers. Thankfully, immigrants do not have to go through these processes alone.

If you are worried about your path to citizenship, call a compassionate attorney to walk you through this life changing endeavor.

Call our Immigration team at(480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.

Schedule Your Consultation / Programe su Consulta

Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 or fill out the contact form to discuss your case today.

Llame a nuestro equipo de leyes de inmigración al (480) 626-2388 para hablar sobre su caso hoy.