Preparing Experience Letters and Affidavits for the I-140 Stage
For a U.S. employer to sponsor a foreign beneficiary for employment-based Green Card process, the beneficiary will need to meet the minimum requirements of a sponsored position. The minimum requirements for a sponsored position may include education, experience, special skills, license, and/or certification requirements. These minimum requirements are stated in the PERM ETA Form 9089.
Upon the submission of the PERM ETA Form 9089 to the Department of Labor (DOL), supportive documentation is not included. Supportive documentation includes education documents, such as diplomas and transcripts and experience documents, such as experience letters and affidavits that demonstrate the beneficiary qualifies for the sponsored position. This supportive documentation is, however, submitted during the I-140 stage of the Green Card process, when the I-140 petition is filed with USCIS.
When the minimum requirements on the PERM ETA Form 9089 include an experience requirement, experience letter(s) are required at the I-140 stage. The experience letter should reflect the information on the beneficiary’s ETA Form 9089 and should include the following:
- Letter is placed on company letterhead (includes company address, dated and signed by a company representative, and includes the signatory’s job title);
- States whether the work was full-time or part-time and number of hours worked per week;
- Lists the job title held while at the company;
- Lists the dates of employment in [mm/dd/yyyy] format;
- Provides a job duties; and
- Includes any special skills required for the position, if applicable.
Below is a sample experience letter template:
Another option for supportive documentation of the experience requirement at the I-140 Stage is to submit secondary evidence. It is important to note that secondary evidence is not guaranteed to be accepted by USCIS. However, this is an alternative when the beneficiary is unable to obtain an experience letter from a prior employer whose experience is being used to qualify for the sponsored position. Secondary evidence includes the following:
- Two Affidavits (includes the beneficiary’s job title, dates of employment and job duties performed);
- Offer letter;
- Relieving letter;
- W-2’s (or foreign equivalent); and
- Pay statements.
During the processing of the PERM, it is important to prepare for the documentation required at the I-140 stage. It is recommended to share drafts of the experience letters or affidavits with your attorney for review prior to requesting the documents to be signed on letterhead or notarized to ensure all required information is included. This preparation will not only result in smoother processing of your case but will also result a higher rate of success in obtaining an approval.
By Ruth Garbanzo, Associate
Ruth Garbanzo assists clients in the beginning stages of their green card process in the Perm Labor Certification Department at Reddy & Neumann, P.C., Houston’s largest immigration law firm focused solely on U.S. employment-based immigration. She also advises clients on the final stages of their green card process in the Adjustment of Status Department. Throughout our client’s green card journey, Ruth strives to provide diligent service to each client from start to finish.