How To Write A Cover Letter To USCIS
Is A Cover Letter Required With My Submission to USCIS?
USCIS does not require you to submit a cover letter for any immigration benefit or visa application. They are commonly used though for any formal submission and filings with USCIS are no exception. Law firms will always provide a cover letter with a filing as it has many benefits and is also just standard practice.
What Is a USCIS Cover Letter?
A cover letter is just a printed letter that helps USCIS officers navigate your application materials. You can place a cover letter at the top of your application, petition, or any other package of documents being submitted. You let the person opening the package know who it is intended for, what is inside, and who sent it making it less likely that it goes to the wrong place or there are other clerical errors. Further, by outlining your reasons for applying and the contents of your application in a cover letter, you give your USCIS officer a useful overview of your case. You can also use your cover letter like a checklist to make sure you’ve included all necessary documents in your package.
In some cases, you may want to use a cover letter to explain any special circumstances you want the USCIS officer to be aware of before they start reviewing your application. If you have a unique or complicated background, it is especially helpful to supplement your application with a cover letter. It will ensure that USCIS becomes aware of any special circumstances and can consider your application with this in mind.
What Should My USCIS Cover Letter Include?
When submitting a cover letter with your application, be sure to include the following:
- The USCIS filing location or lockbox address to which you’re sending your application
- The date of filing
- An appropriate subject (re:) line
- A greeting
- A short introductory paragraph to describe the contents of your letter and package
- If applying for a marriage-related benefit, information about the marriage date and location for yourself (the beneficiary) and your spouse (the petitioner)
- An ordered list of the content in your application package, including all supporting documents and filing or biometrics fees included
- A closing paragraph including your contact information
- Your signature and full printed name
What Supporting Evidence?
Your supporting documents for an application will depend on which forms you’re filing. You can determine which documents are necessary by reviewing USCIS’ webpage for your specific form. For example, USCIS lists the required supporting evidence on its webpage for Form N-400 applicants.
You’ll also need to identify the right mailing address for your application. To do so, you should consult the USCIS website. For example, naturalization applicants can review USCIS’s webpage for Form N-400 direct filing addresses.
Your filing fees will depend on your specific application type. You can use the USCIS Fee Calculator to determine your costs. For example, suppose you are filing for naturalization with Form N-400. You should select Form N-400 on the Fee Calculator and enter your age. USCIS may ask for additional information, such as your specific application category.
Keep your cover letter brief. Do not provide any explanation or extra information unless absolutely necessary.
The cover letter and any supporting evidence must be in English (any supporting evidence that is not in English should be accompanied by a certified English translation).