I was applying for US Permanent Residency (Green Card) for which I needed recommendation letters from my previous employers. One of my ex-managers (with whom I left on excellent terms and did great work with) expressed interest in writing me a recommendation letter and wrote a really good one. However, as required by the USCIS, when I requested that it be printed on an official letterhead, my manager delivered some bad news: She said that the HR has a new policy that no past-employees can be given recommendation letters. If necessary, they can corroborate employment history (limited to roles and duration) but nothing else. No exceptions.

This seems a bit absurd but the HR did seriously state this as their policy. My manager, obviously, didn't want to do anything without the HR's permission. Thus, I am left without a crucial recommendation letter.

Is there something I can do?

  • 2
    If you haven't looked there already, expatriates.stackexchange.com might also have some useful information. Apr 7, 2015 at 4:09
  • 4
    Does immigration actually require an official letter of recommendation from your employer? Have you been reading their regulations correctly? It's a bit strange that Immigration regulations would require both (1) your employer confirms your dates of employment and (2) that you left your employer on excellent terms no matter how badly the employer behaves. If immigration requires letters of recommendation with the company letterhead from your employers, ask immigration how to deal with the pretty common situation that emplyers no longer give letters of recommendation. Apr 7, 2015 at 7:35

1 Answer 1


Try having the manager explain to HR that it is an immigration thing and not a job reference.

Most US employers are afraid of being sued and so managers are no longer allowed to write references or recommendations. Instead HR issue a strictly factual "X worked from A to B, their title was Y and their pay was Z"

The company can't prevent the manager writing a reference but they can stop it being an officially sanctioned, ie. on letterhead, communication.

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