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H-1B Cover Letter

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Every employment-based petition must be accompanied by a cover letter that describes the terms and conditions of employment, the nature of the job to be done by the employee, and the employee’s education and experience that make her/him qualified for the job.

The purpose of the cover letter is to demonstrate to USCIS that

  • the position requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge
  • the beneficiary has a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty or its equivalent as a minimum for the job.

The following information should be used as a guide to writing this letter:

  • Language within brackets [  ] is for guidance, not to be used verbatim.
  • Paragraphs two and six are intended for use verbatim.
  • Don't number the paragraphs in the final letter.
  • Please print the letter on the Department, Lab or PI’s letterhead, and include it with the documentation.
  • The letter should be no longer than 2 pages.
  • The highest degree earned by the beneficiary, as well as the field in which it was earned, must always be noted in the letter.

If you need any help developing the cover letter or have other questions, please send an email to

Regional Service Center
Citizenship and Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security

re: H-1B petition for (Please pick one of the following):

  • initial employment, consular processing
  • initial employment, change of status within the US
  • sequential employment (used for transfer of H)
  • extension of petition and employment within the US
  • extension of petition and employment, consular processing
  • amendment of existing petition

sub: [name of H-1B beneficiary]
employer: Stanford University


Dear Director:

  1. Enclosed please find Stanford University’s petition on behalf of (name of H-1B beneficiary) to fill the position of (job title). (Job title must match job title that appears on workflow form.)
    • For consular processing only, add: The beneficiary is currently outside the United States and will apply for a visa at the consulate identified in the petition. Upon approval of the attached petition, the beneficiary will obtain a visa and/or seek admission at a port of entry and promptly begin employment at Stanford according to the terms and conditions described in the petition.
    • If consular processing is not requested—if the change of status will occur in the US, the statement should be:
 Upon approval of the attached petition, the beneficiary will begin employment at Stanford according to the terms and conditions described in the petition.
    • For extensions, the word "begin" should be replaced by "continue."
    • For sequential employment  (transfer of H-1B sponsorship): The beneficiary is currently employed in H-1B status at (name of company) and the purpose of this petition is for Stanford to take over the visa sponsorship.
    • For amendment of existing petition: The purpose of this petition is to amend the current valid H-1B status of the beneficiary based on (note whatever change is triggering the amendment - change of job title, responsibilities, worksite location, etc)
  2. Stanford University is a private research and teaching institution located south of San Francisco, California. The university is organized into seven schools, in addition to numerous research centers, institutions and laboratories. Stanford enrolls approximately 8,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students annually. Stanford is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and managed $1.25 billion in research funding and $37.8 billion in endowment support.
  3. [Describe the department, lab or venue where the work will take place, giving general information about the kind of work performed, research carried out and the purpose, i.e., what is the objective of the work.]
  4. [Describe the specific job the employee will carry out. Be sure to use the same title that was submitted via the workflow Employment Visa Request form. Be sure to describe the job in terms of a body of specialized knowledge, explaining methodologies used to do the work, research or teaching, skills required, tools used and so on. State the term of appointment or hire and the salary; again, this information must be consistent with that provided earlier.]
  5. [Describe how the employee is qualified to fill the position, giving education level, field of study in which the degree was earned, where the education was gained, any training or skills the employee has that are used in performing the job, and other evidence that the employee is specifically qualified to do the work. This may include mention of publications or other professional accomplishments]
  6. Stanford affirms that it will comply with the terms of the labor condition application for the duration of the authorized period of stay. Stanford will be liable for the reasonable costs of return transportation of the beneficiary abroad, if the beneficiary is dismissed from employment before the end of the period of authorized stay.


[Name and title of supervisor]