In this tough immigration environment, we’re seeing an increase in the number of RFEs (requests for additional evidence) from USCIS, and USCIS is increasingly strict in their adjudications of immigration petitions and applications. As with any filing, the key to reducing the chance of an RFE is to make sure your petition is well-documented and well-organized. A key piece of evidence for the I-140 petition is the letter(s) of experience confirming your previous work history. The letters of experience presented with the I-140 petition must document that you have the amount of experience that is required in the PERM labor certification, along with any specific skills listed in the PERM labor certification.
Here’s what you need to include for a great, detailed experience letter:
● The letter must be on company letter head listing company name and address.
● The letter must include the name and title of the person from the company writing the letter. This usually comes from someone in the HR department or your previous supervisor/manager. Either one is usually accepted.
● The letter must specify your job title or job titles that you held while working at the company.
● The letter must list the exact dates you worked at the company.
● It must include a detailed description of your experience at the company, which may include a list of job duties, and any special skills as required by your PERM labor certification.
If your experience letters do not meet every criteria listed above, it could cause serious delays or other issues with your I-140 filing. It’s best to save yourself the headache and have the experience letters done right to have as smooth a process as possible. USCIS may verify the information in the experience letters and it’s important for the letters to be detailed and accurate.
I’m not on good terms with my previous employer(s) so I can just use an affidavit from my coworker friend or myself right?
An affidavit from your previous coworker(s) or a an affidavit from you, the I-140 beneficiary, will not suffice. As long as the company still exists and is doing business, you must obtain an experience letter on company letterhead from a previous supervisor or the HR department, as listed above. Affidavits from friends, notarized or not, are not reliable or sufficient pieces of evidence to prove you have the required experience and/or skills necessary to complete your I-140 application. Please note that USCIS has sometimes accepted this in the past, but they are not currently accepting such letters or affidavits.
What If the Company Closed or No Longer Exists?
If the company has closed and/or no longer exists, you can use a letter/affidavit from a previous coworker, with any additional documentation you have of your employment there, such as pay stubs, W-2s, etc. Along with these, you should submit evidence proving the company no longer exists and that you could not obtain an experience letter from them.
Presenting the I-140 petition is like presenting a completed puzzle, which forms a complete picture of how the petitioner (company sponsoring the green card) and the beneficiary (employee being sponsored) meet each regulatory requirement for the filing. In our practice, we work hard to make sure that we have all the correct puzzle pieces during the PERM labor certification stage, so all we have to do at the I-140 preparation stage is “snap” the pieces together. The letters of experience are key pieces of the puzzle, and we really encourage clients to have these letters in place during the labor certification process to avoid a delay or RFE later.