The employment verification letter, explained

How to request proof of employment for visa or green card applications

What is an employment verification letter? 

An employment verification letter (EVL) is generally requested by an organization, such as a bank or landlord, to verify your current (or previous) job status and other details about your employment. The letter can also serve as supporting evidence for immigration purposes, such as when you’re applying for a green card or other visa.

Known by other terms — for example, “experience letter,” “proof of employment letter,” or “verification of employment” (VOE) — this letter should not be confused with the Employment Authorization Document, or EAD, commonly known as the “work permit.”

In this guide, we’ll discuss the various uses of the employment verification letter (in an immigration context), how to request one, what information it should contain, and how it’s typically formatted. We’ve also prepared free printable employment verification letter templates you can customize.

If you need help navigating the process, our partner immigration firm Boundless will give you the confidence of an independent immigration attorney who will review all of your materials and answer any questions you have — for no additional fee. Learn more about how Boundless can help you, or start your application today.

When it’s needed

An employment verification letter is often required as evidence in immigration applications. Common situations include:

Applying for a marriage-based green card

If you’re the sponsoring spouse (the U.S. citizen or green card holder) on a marriage green card application, you’ll need to submit a financial support form (Form I-864, officially called the “Affidavit of Support”) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form proves that you have sufficient financial resources to support the spouse seeking a green card.

With this form, it’s important to provide supporting financial documents, such as an individual federal income-tax return, forms W-2 or 1099 (whichever is applicable), pay stubs (if employed), and an employment verification letter. The letter is especially important if you’ve recently switched jobs or if you’re combining your income with your spouse.

Self-employed Green Card sponsors

Immigration officers primarily rely on a sponsoring spouse’s individual federal income-tax return for evaluating a marriage-based green card application, but some situations call for additional evidence to prove your eligibility to sponsor. This is especially true if you’re self-employed.

If you can’t provide a Form W-2 as financial evidence because you’re a business owner or an independent contractor, USCIS will still require an employment verification letter. You, however, must draft and sign the letter yourself. It generally should include the same information that would appear in a standard employment verification letter from an employer (see below for more details). It’s also a good idea to have the letter notarized, considering that the letter would be coming from you personally.

Keep in mind that self-employed sponsors are often required to submit significantly more supporting evidence than would otherwise be necessary with a letter from a traditional employer. This additional evidence can include proof of your business’ existence (such as a state business registration or business bank account documents), contracts with clients, payment receipts from clients, and a corporate income-tax return.

Applying for a tourist visa

A B-2 visitor visa allows a traveler from another country to enter the United States temporarily as a tourist. When applying for this visa, USCIS will want to make sure that you:

  • Have solid ties and will return to your home country after visiting the United States.

  • Have the ability to financially support yourself during your trip to the United States.

An employment verification letter can prove that you’re employed in your home country and therefore have a job waiting for you upon your return. It can also prove that you earn an income through your employment, which will allow you to financially support yourself while you’re touring the United States. (Boundless has more details on proving strong connections with your home country and sufficient resources.)

Applying for a work visa

There are multiple types of visas that allow people from other countries to work in the United States. Among these are the H-1B visa and the L-1A/L-1B intracompany transfer visa. For each of these visa categories, the purpose of the employment verification letter will be slightly different, but the focus of both letters should be your job experience.

Although not all H-1B visa applications require prior experience, USCIS will want to see your employment history. Evidence of this commonly includes your résumé or CV (curriculum vitae) but also an employment verification letter. In the L category, on the other hand, your eligibility for the visa not only depends on your ability to perform the duties of the position you seek, but also a minimum of one year’s experience prior to applying.

Applying for an employment-based Green Card

An employment-based green card generally requires an employment verification letter. Your eligibility for this type of green card strongly depends on your work experience, especially if the prospective employer indicates that past experience for the job is required.

Often more detailed and technical than an employment verification letter for a B-1 or B-2 visa, for example, the letter for an employment-based green card must describe your previous responsibilities in your previous jobs, in addition to your titles and dates of employment. The information in the letter is critical and can often mean the difference between approval and denial of your green card.

Applying for a temporary business visa

B-1 visas are intended for “Temporary Business Visitors” to the United States with (as you can guess) business-related purposes. Those purposes, however, may not involve doing actual work or receiving a salary from a U.S. source. Business visitors often come to attend meetings and seminars, negotiate contracts with business associates, appear as a guest speaker or lecturer, participate in training, or to purchase goods or property.

With a B-1 visa, you will need an employment verification letter to confirm your job status with your employer abroad and to describe the activities you’ll be participating in while in the United States. The letter should clearly state that you’re entering the United States only for a short visit, solely to engage in the activities described in the letter, and that you will not be working for or receiving payment from a U.S. source.

What it should say

Although there’s no specific format required for the employment verification letter, it’s important to include the required details that the government needs to see. Some letters will require more detail than others, depending on the situation. But much of the information will generally be the same. It’s also important to ensure the accuracy of the letter — especially when submitting it as proof on a green card or visa application — to avoid delays or denial.

The letter should be written on your employer’s letterhead (or your own, if you’re self-employed), and the body should include the following key information:

  • Dates of your employment

  • Your job title

  • Your annual salary

  • A description of your responsibilities

The signature line should include the drafter’s signature, full printed name, and official title.

IMPORTANT: Notarization is not required but is generally recommended.

Our partner immigration firm Boundless helps you understand what documents you need, and keep them all together securely online. Find out more about what Boundless does.

How to request the letter

There are different ways to request an employment verification letter from a current or former employer:

  • Ask your supervisor or manager.

    This is often the easiest way to request the letter. Just make sure to provide full details and context.

  • Contact Human Resources.

    Some companies have formal processes that require going through the human resources department.

  • Get a template from the company or organization requesting the letter.

    Sometimes, the people requesting the letter will provide their own template because it contains specific information they want. (USCIS does not provide a template for immigration applications.)

  • Use an employment verification service.

    If it’s particularly difficult to get the letter from your employer, it may be easier to use a service that sends them your request. Some companies also use these services to streamline these types of processes. Ask your employer if the company is registered with a service like

    (provides a specific employment verification letter for immigration purposes) or

The takeaway

While you wait to hear back about your visa application, you can prepare for your new life in the U.S. There are many more important documents and steps to take before you’ll be ready to move to the country however. For example, did you know that your credit history doesn’t automatically transfer with you when you immigrate? That means that companies and financial institutions will have no record of your previous financial history. In turn, that can make it very difficult to secure loans, secure an apartment lease, mobile phone companies, and other service providers.  

Nova Credit's Credit Passport® technology helps people bring their credit history with them when they move to the U.S. While your credit history won’t be transferred to national bureau databases, Nova Credit partners with companies to include information from your Credit Passport® in applications to make it easier for newcomers to get approved for credit cards, loans and other products. Once you establish a U.S. credit account using the credit you’ve earned, you can start building a local credit history. Nova Credit currently connects to international credit bureaus in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Nigeria, South Korea and the UK.

Use your international credit history to start your U.S credit history

New to the U.S.? Check if you can use your country's credit history in the U.S. to apply for credit cards and start your U.S credit history using Nova Credit. No SSN is needed to start your U.S credit history.

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The ultimate guide to the O-1 visa

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How to read the Visa Bulletin

How to build credit after moving to the US

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