How to Handle Service Letter Requests

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services announced they will begin to accept requests for consideration of expanded DACA Wednesday, Feb 18. That means some of your employees may now be gathering evidence to support their DAPA or DACA applications. Those who will be applying for DAPA or DACA may request a service letter from you as their employer to prove continuous presence in the United States since January 1, 2010. However, you should know that employees may apply for Obama’s executive order without a service letter from their employer. There are many other ways to prove continuous presence.

Remember that a service letter may be used for a variety of reasons, not just for immigration purposes. An employee requesting a service letter may be applying for a personal loan, a mortgage, a car loan or to verify their employment for any other reason. You should not automatically assume that an employee requesting a service letter is in fact undocumented. Regardless, if you choose to provide a service letter or not, you need to have a policy regarding service letters.

If you do not want to issue service letters, a written policy against their issuance allows you to explain to employees that the company prohibits such letters in all cases. This will help the employees understand that it is not a decision against them personally.

The first step you need to take in creating a service letter policy is to determine if you will issue employment service letters to your employees. Having a policy in place regarding service letters provides a useful framework for handling employee’s requests. If you decide to provide service letters, you need to designate who will provide the letters. This will provide a standardized procedure and consistency in which service letter requests will be handled. It will also avoid the production of fraudulent letters.

If you choose to provide service letters to your employees, below you will find guidance for these letters, as well as a sample service letter.

  1. If an employee needs an Employment Service Letter, (s)he needs to submit a written request to a predesignated person in the company.
  • This written request should state that the employee needs an employment service letter
  • This written request should not state the reason for the request.
  • This written request must be signed by the employee authorizing the release of information by the company.
  1. The company should only provide a letter for the actual dates the individual has been employed at the company. You should never confirm inaccurate dates.
  • The letter will be addressed: "To Whom It May Concern."
  • An authorized officer of the company must sign the letter. The company will not ask the reason for the request.
  • Employers should not lie about dates - or any other information for that matter - in order to "help" an employee.

A sample service letter has been created for your convenience. Click here to access it. Feel free to use this sample letter for your employees and make any changes deemed necessary.

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