Posted on - Aug 08, 2017

By Faisal Al-Alamy

“Clearness is secured by using the words that are current and ordinary” – Aristotle

Faisal Al-Alamy

As a non-native English speaker, writing in English is a constant challenge. I often find myself struggling to find the perfect words to express myself on paper, especially when I know that those words are going to be analyzed and interpreted as part of an immigration application. From personal statements to letters of support, the quality of one’s writing can often make or break an application. While a well-written statement can clarify issues for an immigration officer, confusing, convoluted and contradictory writings can complicate the process and potentially result in an unfavorable outcome. Here are some tips to guide you as you prepare a written statement for the immigration process:

Step 1: Identify Who You Are

This is the most essential aspect of any written statement and, surprisingly, the one that is most often overlooked. Begin by identifying yourself and/or the subject of the application. If you are not writing about yourself be sure to identify the relationship of the person you are writing about. Many people assume that an immigration officer will see a name at the bottom of the page and understand it’s significance after having read an entire document. While this might be the case in some instances, remember that the goal is to help an immigration officer recognize who you are at the start of a letter rather than at its end. Here are some examples of initial and revised statements:

Initial:
I met Ms. Sotomayor when we were 8 years old and have remained friends ever since.

Revised:
My name is Samuel Alito. I am Ms. Sotomayor’s best friend and have known her since we were both 8 years old.

Initial:
I want to study Biology at UBC in Canada, which is why I am seeking a study permit.

Revised:
My name is Ruth Ginsberg. I am applying for a study permit to come to Canada to study Biology at UBC.

Step 2: Define Your Purpose

After identifying yourself or the person you are writing about, tell the officer the reason why you’re writing. Defining your purpose clearly and concisely helps the immigration officer understand the submission’s context. This in turn makes it more likely that the officer will fully consider the submission. Examples:

Initial:
My name is Marshall Rothstein. I have been working in my company, Big Screen, for over 15 years. I want to set up an office in Canada.

Revised:
My name is Marshall Rothstein. I am writing to provide you with more information about my company, Big Screen, which I hope to establish in Canada to promote the fil and television industry and create new jobs.

Initial:
My name is Stephen Breyer. I am Mr. Rothstein’s accountant. Mr. Rothstein’s company has an annual gross profit of $$$.

Revised:
My name is Stephen Breyer. I manage Big Screen’s accounting portfolio. I am writing to provide you with more information on Big Screen’s financial performance in support of Mr. Rothstein’s intra-company transferee work permit application.

Step 3: Tell Your Story

Whether it’s explaining why you want to come to Canada (i.e. to work, study or live) or how you met your spouse, providing this information adds not only credibility but also a crucial human element to your immigration application. Remember, your statement must be genuine and honest, and there is no better way to show this than by providing details. Examples:

Initial:
I met Laurie while I was studying. We are happily married and I would like to sponsor her to come to Canada as my spouse.

Revised:
I met Laurie during my time as an engineering student in Santa Monica. She was working at a coffee shop I frequently visited. I always asked to be seated in her section. One day, I asked her out on a date to the movies. This was the start of our relationship.

Always remember that, when writing a statement, clarity is key. Using simple words, uncomplicated sentences with clear and concise structure gets your point across effectively. You want to make it easy for the officer to understand your perspective and grant the application you are making.

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