H-1B Support Letter

The H-1B support letter is a critical piece of the H-1B petition, tying together all of the supporting documents and filling in the gaps that the other paperwork cannot clearly explain. The information in the letter must be consistent with the information presented in the Form A, H Supplement and the appointment letter and  should describe the nature of the position, including the minimum degree and area of study requirements. In addition, it needs to explain how the employee in question has the education and/or experience to qualify for the position.

Adjudicators at USCIS are paying closer attention to these letters than they have in the past, making it more crucial than ever to insure that the letter accurately describes the position minimums and job duties as well as how the BU employee meets those requirements. While the template below is rather basic, it will give us a good place to start. However, please note that it is likely that you will need to add more details prior to submission of the final petition to USCIS. Please send the draft support letter so that the ISSO can review and make recommendations for updates considering current USCIS practices in reviewing H petitions.

Overview of what to include:

General Formatting: All H-1B petitions should be on BU letterhead, dated and signed by the appropriate department representative (usually the Department Chair), whose name and title should appear with the signature. The letter should be 1-2 pages in length and should always be addressed as follows:

Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
24000 Avila Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

Establish purpose

The opening sentence should mirror this one: I am writing this letter in support of Boston University’s H-1B petition for [Scholar Name] to serve as a [BU Appointment Title] in the [Department, Lab Center Name].

Provide background about Boston University and the hiring department or center

  • Start with these two sentences as indicated: Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and one of the largest independent universities in the United States. Founded in 1869, Boston University is considered to be one of the nation’s premier research institutions and teaching hospitals, with nearly 10,000 faculty, researchers and staff across seventeen schools and colleges.
  • Then add 2-3 sentences about your school/department or center and what they do.

Description of the position offered and it’s requirements

  • Outline the minimum job requirements (degree level and acceptable field or fields of study) as well as the nature of the position, including specific job duties in simple layman terms. Please refer to BU institutional minimums as per Academic Research Job Family Matrix (for research positions), the BU faculty handbook or Human Resources (for graded staff positions).

Outline the applicant’s qualifications

  • State the highest related degree earned and the specific field of study
  • Name the specific skills, training/prior professional experience or licensure the employee has and how they meet the position requirements
  • It is important to find the right balance here – the letter is not meant to address the outstanding nature of the applicant, but only to explain how the person meets the minimum job requirements. Thus, while you want to include relevant details about the job, you don’t want to ‘over sell’ the employee.

Closing statement

  • The closing statement can closely mirror this one: Based on [scholar name] credentials, we wish to employ [him/her] as a [BU Appointment Title]. We fully intend to comply with the terms and conditions of the Labor Condition Application for the duration of the authorized period of stay and understand that the department is liable for the reasonable cost of the employee’s return ticket home should the employee be dismissed prior to the expiration of the authorized period of stay. Thank you for your consideration.

Here are some examples for some more common appointments: