Letters in Support of Marriage

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Should we send in letters of support for our marriage-based green card case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St Louis, Missouri. I was speaking with a potential client the other day on the phone last Saturday and he was asking me about evidence that he wanted to submit in support of his marriage-based green card. This topic comes up from time to time. People think it’s really important to get letters from friends and family who know the couple, who can attest to the couple. In this video we’re going to talk about whether that makes sense and how you can make those letters even stronger. Generally, when you apply for a green card case based on marriage, you have to convince the immigration officer that the marriage is valid, that the couple is real, that they’re really together, that it’s a real relationship and that it wasn’t entered into for the purposes of immigration.

A lot of people think, “Well, if I get letters from my dad and my mom and from family members that say to the officer, hey, this is a real marriage,” they think that’s going to help carry the day. Now I’ve had more than one immigration officer tell me that they don’t put much stock in those letters and I can sort of see why. I mean you could get anyone to write anything that they want and they don’t have the person there in front of them to inquire. Officers seem to spend a lot more time on the actual hard evidence, things like whether you commingled your money or whether you’ve taken trips together or made big purchases together, had children together, those kinds of things. I think these letters can be helpful, but I don’t think you can rely solely on them. I wouldn’t send in more than three or four.

As far as formatting the letters, the way that I always tell people is, number one, the letter needs to explain who the person is. You know, who am I? What is my immigration status? Am I a US citizen or a green card holder? Probably wouldn’t send in a letter from someone who wasn’t a citizen or a green card holder. Then the next thing is how do I know the couple? Do I know one of the members of the couple? Do I know both members? How do I know them? How long have I known them? Then what opportunities have I had to see them interact together? Do I see them acting together as a couple? Do I see them doing things that couples do? If I am a neighbor, do I see them coming and going at regular hours or different hours? Do I see them out socially? Do we do things that are fun? You know, tell some stories about actual interactions where you’ve had with a couple. Those are the kinds of things that you want to put in there.

Then the other thing you want to make sure to put in your contact information for that person writing the letter. The last thing is I really believe you have to have that letter notarized because if you don’t have that letter notarized, the officers can just decide to completely disregard it and it’s not under oath and so therefore, they don’t find it compelling at all. Those are the things you need to do. You need to establish the relationship. How do we know these people? How long have we known them? What do we do with them? Then you need to get it notarized and you want to make it short and sweet. You don’t have a big long rambling letter. You just want them to explain how they know you, how long they’ve known you, and what they’ve seen you guys doing together.

So we hope you found this video helpful. I again, I don’t find these letters very compelling, we don’t do them in most cases. If clients want to do them, we usually don’t object, but we don’t spend much time here at the office working on these kinds of letters. If you have questions about that, give us a call, (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and subscribed to our YouTube channel or whatever channel you’re viewing this video on so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.