TERMS + ACRONYMS
Section of the Immigration and Nationality Act enabling qualifying individuals to file for adjustment of status despite certain problems in their immigration history. The section expired on April 30, 2001, but qualifying individuals may continue to seek 245(i) relief under the law's "grandfather clause".
Administrative File; Alien File
Adjustment of Status
Administrative Appeals Office (formerly, Administrative Appeals Unit)
Application for Advance Parole
Application for Adjustment of Status
Administrative Appeals Unit (now, Administrative Appeals Office)
American Baptist Churches
Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travelers Card
American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act
Active Citizenship Campaign
Citizenship conferred at birth on children born abroad to a United States citizen parent(s).
Agency Check Tracking System
Latin: Criminal Act.
American Competitiveness Workforce Improvement Act of 1998
Assistant District Director for Adjudications
Assistant District Director for Examinations
Assistant District Director for Investigations
Assistant District Director for Management
Adjustment of Status (Adjustment to Immigrant Status)
Procedure allowing certain aliens already in the United States to apply for immigrant status. Aliens admitted to the United States in a nonimmigrant, refugee, or parolee category may have their status changed to that of lawful permanent resident if they are eligible to receive an immigrant visa and one is immediately available. In such cases, the alien is counted as an immigrant as of the date of adjustment, even though the alien may have been in the United States for an extended period of time.
Beginning in October 1994, section 245(i) of the INA allowed undocumented residents who were eligible for immigrant status to remain in the United States and adjust to permanent resident status by applying at a USCIS office and paying an additional penalty fee. Section 245(i) is no longer available unless the alien is the beneficiary of a petition under section 204 of the Act or of an application for a labor certification under section 212(a)(5)(A), filed on or before April 30, 2001. And, if filed after January 1, 1998, the alien must have been present in the United States on December 21, 2000. Prior to October 1994, most illegal residents were required to leave the United States and acquire a visa abroad from the Department of State as they are again now.
Admission (Lawful Admission)
Official permission to enter the United States on a temporary or permanent basis granted by a USCBP officer at a port of entry.
Application for Employment Authorization Document
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
Alternative Examination Method
American Federation of Government Employees
United States Attorney General (also USAG)
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States to perform agricultural labor or services, as defined by the Secretary of Labor. This nonimmigrant category was established as a separate class of admission by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Applicant Information Worksheet
Any person not a citizen or national of the United States.
Administrative Law Judge
Immigrant visas are issued to Amerasians under Public Law 100-202 (Act of 12/22/87), which provides for the admission of aliens born in Vietnam after January 1, 1962, and before January 1, 1976, if the alien was fathered by a United States citizen. Spouses, children, and parents or guardians may accompany the alien.
Public Law 97-359 (Act of 10/22/82) provides for the immigration to the United States of certain Amerasian children. In order to qualify for benefits under this law, an alien must have been born in Cambodia, Korea, Laos, Thailand, or Vietnam after December 31, 1950, and before October 22, 1982, and have been fathered by a United States citizen.
Adjustment of Status
Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Army Post Office
Application Support Centers
USCIS Offices fingerprint applicants for immigration benefits. Some USCIS applications, such as the Application for Naturalization or the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, require the USCIS to conduct a FBI fingerprint background check on the applicant. Most applicants that require a background check will be scheduled to appear at a specific Application Support Center.
The arrest of a removable alien by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Each apprehension of the same alien in a fiscal year is counted separately.
Average Processing Time
Application Support Center
An alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. For persons with no nationality, the country of nationality is considered to be the country in which the alien last habitually resided. Asylees are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States. These immigrants are limited to 10,000 adjustments per fiscal year.
A form of humanitarian relief granted to a foreign national in the United States who cannot return to his or her home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. Recipients of asylum are called "asylees." "Refugees" are foreign nationals located outside the United States who are eligible for asylum.
Assistant United States Attorney
Automated Visa Lookout System
Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals
Board of Appellate Review
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (now, United States Customs and Border Protection)
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)
Bureau of Economic Analysis
Aliens on whose behalf a United States citizen, legal permanent resident, or employer have filed a petition for such aliens to receive immigration benefits from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Beneficiaries generally receive a lawful status as a result of their relationship to a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or United States employer.
Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Board of Immigration Appeals
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (now, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
Bilateral Investment Treaty
Bureau of Labor Statistics (of the United States Department of Labor)
Branch Office (of a United States Embassy)
An alien resident of the United States reentering the country after an absence of less than six months in Canada or Mexico, or a nonresident alien entering the United States across the Canadian border for stays of no more than six months or across the Mexican border for stays of no more than 72 hours.
Boite Postale (Post Office Box in countries with French influence)
Business Nonimmigrant (Business Visitor)
An alien coming temporarily to the United States to engage in commercial transactions which do not involve gainful employment in the United States, i.e., engaged in international commerce on behalf of a foreign firm, not employed in the United States labor market, and receives no salary from United States sources.
Elsewhere Defined: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States to engage in commercial transactions that do not involve gainful employment in the United States. The foreign national may be engaged in international commerce on behalf of a foreign firm, may not be employed in the U.S. labor market, and may not receive a salary from U.S. sources. The foreign national would typically enter in B-1 or visa waiver (for business) status.
Change of Address (also COA)
Community/Migrant Health Centers
Change of Name (also CON)
Change of Status (also COS)
Change of Venue (also COV)
Chief Administrative Hearing Officer
Cancellation of Removal
Formerly, Suspension of Deportation. A discretionary benefit adjusting an alien’s status from that of deportable alien to one lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Application for cancellation of removal is made during the course of a hearing before an immigration judge.
Convention Against Torture
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Certificate of Citizenship
Identity document proving United States citizenship. Certificates of citizenship are issued to derivative citizens and to persons who acquired United States citizenship (see definitions for Acquired and Derivative Citizenship).
Code of Federal Regulations
United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement
Consul General; Consulate General
Generally, an unmarried person under 21 years of age who is: a child born in wedlock; a stepchild, provided that the child was under 18 years of age at the time that the marriage creating the stepchild relationship occurred; a legitimated child, provided that the child was legitimated while in the legal custody of the legitimating parent; a child born out of wedlock, when a benefit is sought on the basis of its relationship with its mother, or to its father if the father has or had a bona fide relationship with the child; a child adopted while under 16 years of age who has resided since adoption in the legal custody of the adopting parents for at least 2 years; or an orphan, under 16 years of age, who has been adopted abroad by a United States citizen or has an immediate-relative visa petition submitted in his/her behalf and is coming to the United States for adoption by a United States citizen.
United States Central Intelligence Agency (also USCIA)
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (also CMT)
Central Index System
Citizenship and Immigration Services
Commonwealth of Independent States
A medically trained, licensed and experienced doctor practicing in the United States who is certified by CIS. These medical professionals receive United States immigration-focused training in order to provide examinations as required by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and CIS. For medical examinations given overseas, please see Panel Physician.
Criminal Justice Information Services (of Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Computer Linked Automated Information Management System
Certificate of Loss of Nationality
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (also CIMT)
Change of Address (also C/A)
Change of Name (also C/N)
Any alien granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis (e.g., a spouse of a United States citizen; an immigrant investor), who is required to petition for the removal of the set conditions before the second anniversary of the approval of his or her conditional status.
Consular Post (Consulate)
A representative diplomatic office of the United States government abroad, staffed by State Department and other officials. Consular posts include embassies (the main representative diplomatic office of the United States in a foreign country) and consulates (smaller representative offices). Consular posts generally offer U.S. visa services to nationals of the foreign country where they are situated, as well as services to U.S. citizens traveling abroad.
Change of Status (also C/S)
Change of Venue (also C/V)
Country of Birth
The country in which a person is born.
Country of Chargeability
The independent country to which an immigrant entering under the preference system is accredited for purposes of numerical limitations.
Country of Citizenship
The country in which a person is born (and has not renounced or lost citizenship) or naturalized and to which that person owes allegiance and by which he or she is entitled to be protected.
Country of Former Allegiance
The previous country of citizenship of a naturalized United States citizen or of a person who derived United States citizenship.
Country of Last Residence
The country in which an alien habitually resided prior to entering the United States.
Current Population Survey
Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology
A foreign national serving in a capacity required for normal operations and service on board a vessel or aircraft. Crewmen are admitted for twenty-nine days, with no extensions. Two categories of crewmen are defined in the INA: D1, departing from the United States with the vessel or aircraft on which he arrived or some other vessel or aircraft; and D2, departing from Guam with the vessel on which he arrived.
California Service Center (Laguna Niguel, California)
Child Support Enforcement
Child Status Protection Act
Chinese Student Protection Act
Case Status Service Online
Cuban / Haitian Entrant
Status accorded 1) Cubans who entered illegally or were paroled into the United States between April 15, 1980, and October 10, 1980, and 2) Haitians who entered illegally or were paroled into the country before January 1, 1981. Cubans and Haitians meeting these criteria who have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 1982, and who were known to Immigration before that date, may adjust to permanent residence under a provision of the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986.
Citizenship USA Program
Duration of Status (also DOS)
Deputy Assistant District Director for Adjudications
Deputy Assistant District Director for Examinations
Deputy Assistant District Director for Naturalization
Deputy United States Attorney General (also DUSAG)
District Adjudications Officer
Deputy District Director
Deferred Enforced Departure
An alien in and admitted to the United States subject to any grounds of removal specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. This includes any alien illegally in the United States, regardless of whether the alien entered the country by fraud or misrepresentation or entered legally but subsequently violated the terms of his or her nonimmigrant classification or status.
The formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws. Deportation is ordered by an immigration judge without any punishment being imposed or contemplated. Prior to April 1997 deportation and exclusion were separate removal procedures. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 consolidated these procedures. After April 1, 1997, aliens in and admitted to the United States may be subject to removal based on deportability. Now called Removal, this function is managed by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Citizenship conveyed to children through the naturalization of parents or, under certain circumstances, to foreign-born children adopted by United States citizen parents, provided certain conditions are met.
Designated Fingerprinting Services
United States Department of Health and Human Services
United States Department of Homeland Security (also USDHS)
Geographic areas into which the United States and its territories are divided for the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s field operations or one of three overseas offices located in Rome, Bangkok, and Mexico City. Each District Office, headed by a District Director, has a specified service area that may include part of a state, an entire state, or many states. District Offices are where most USCIS field staff are located. District Offices are responsible for providing certain immigration services and benefits to people resident in their service area, and for enforcing immigration laws in that jurisdiction. Certain applications are filed directly with District Offices, many kinds of interviews are conducted at these Offices, and USCIS staff is available to answer questions, provide forms, etc.
A category of immigrants replacing the earlier categories for nationals of underrepresented countries and countries adversely "affected" by the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (P.L. 89-236). The annual limit on diversity immigration was 40,000 during fiscal years 1992-94, under a transitional diversity program, and 55,000 beginning in fiscal year 1995, under a permanent diversity program.
Department of Motor Vehicles; Division of Motor Vehicles
The DHS mechanism for tracking the case status of potentially removable aliens.
United States Department of Justice (also USDOJ)
United States Department of Labor (also USDOL)
United States Department of State (also USDOS)
Duration of Status (also D/S)
Dictionary of Occupational Titles
Domestic Policy Council
Designated School Official (also FSA)
Deputy United States Attorney General (also DAG)
Executive Associate Commissioner
Employment Authorization Document
EADs typically permit work for any employer, and are valid for one year at a time. Certain classes of applicants for immigration benefits are entitled to EADs, including: (a) foreign nationals in the United States pursuing the final stage of permanent residence; (b) certain applicants for political asylum and refugees; (c) certain students with post graduation optional practical training; (d) the spouses of E, J-1, and L-1 nonimmigrants; and (e) nationals of certain countries who qualify for Temporary Protected Status ("TPS") as a result of a determination by the U.S. government based on serious adverse conditions in their home countries.
"Work Permit": There is no single document in U.S. immigration law that is a "work permit." Citizens, nationals, and permanent residents of the United States are automatically authorized to work in the United States. Foreign nationals may be authorized to work incident to status or may be eligible to apply for an EAD.
Employment-Based Immigrant Visa
Employment-Based Petition; Employment-Based Preference
Electronic Data Systems
The employer sanctions provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits employers from hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee aliens known to be unauthorized to work in the United States. Violators of the law are subject to a series of civil fines for violations or criminal penalties when there is a pattern or practice of violations.
Executive Office for Immigration Review (of the United States Department of Justice)
Eastern Regional Office
Employment and Training Administration (of the United States Department of Labor)
Entry Without Inspection
Exchange Visitor (J-1)
An alien coming temporarily to the United States as a participant in a program approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, or receiving training.
Prior to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, exclusion was the formal term for denial of an alien’s entry into the United States. The decision to exclude an alien was made by an immigration judge after an exclusion hearing. Since April 1, 1997, the process of adjudicating inadmissibility may take place in either an expedited removal process or in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.
Foreign Affairs Manual
United States Federal Bureau of Investigation
Fingerprint Clearance Coordination Center
Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty
File Control Office
Federal Executive Board
Fingerprint Enhancement Working Group
Female Genitalia Mutilation
Foreign Government Official
Fiancé(e) of United States Citizen
A nonimmigrant alien coming to the United States to conclude a valid marriage with a United States citizen within ninety days after entry.
Offices found in some Districts that serve a portion of the District’s jurisdiction. A Field Office, headed by an Officer-in-Charge, provides many services and enforcement functions. Their locations are determined, in part, to increase convenience to USCIS’ customers.
Files Control Office
An USCIS field office - either a district (including USCIS overseas offices) or a suboffice of that district - where alien case files are maintained and controlled.
Currently, the twelve-month period beginning October 1 and ending September 30. Historically, until 1831 and from 1843-49, the twelve-month period ending September 30 of the respective year; from 1832-42 and 1850-67, ending December 31 of the respective year; from 1868-1976, ending June 30 of the respective year. The transition quarter (TQ) for 1976 covers the three-month period, July-September 1976.
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
Foreign Medical Graduate
Foreign Government Official
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States who has been accredited by a foreign government to function as an ambassador, public minister, career diplomatic or consular officer, other accredited official, or an attendant, servant or personal employee of an accredited official, and all above aliens’ spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children.
Foreign Information Media Representative
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States as a bona fide representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media and the alien’s spouse and unmarried minor (or dependent) children.
Foreign State of Chargeability
The independent country to which an immigrant entering under the preference system is accredited. No more than 7 percent of the family-sponsored and employment-based visas may be issued to natives of any one independent country in a fiscal year. No one dependency of any independent country may receive more than 2 percent of the family-sponsored and employment-based visas issued. Since these limits are based on visa issuance rather than entries into the United States, and immigrant visas are valid for 6 months, there is not total correspondence between these two occurrences. Chargeability is usually determined by country of birth. Exceptions are made to prevent the separation of family members when the limitation for the country of birth has been met.
Form I-94 is the arrival-departure record issued by the USCBP to an arriving nonimmigrant foreign national at the port of entry. The I-94 is usually a white card bearing the foreign national's name, nationality, date of birth, and admission record number. I-94s that are issued when a foreign national extends or changes nonimmigrant status while in the United States are printed on a tear-off portion on the bottom of the official I-797 approval notice sent to the foreign national by the USCIS. It is important to remember that it is the I-94 and not the visa which determines the expiration of the foreign national's status.
Federal Poverty Level
Foreign Student Advisor (also DSO)
Family-Sponsored Immigrant Visa
Family-Sponsored Petition; Family-Sponsored Preference
Free Trade Officer
File Transfer Request
General Administrative Letter
General Accounting Office
Gross Domestic Product
General Naturalization Provisions
The basic requirements for naturalization that every applicant must meet, unless a member of a special class. General provisions require an applicant to be at least 18 years of age and a lawful permanent resident with five years of continuous residence in the United States, have been physically present in the country for half that period, and establish good moral character for at least that period.
Geographic Area of Chargeability
Any one of five regions--Africa, East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East and South Asia, and the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe--into which the world is divided for the initial admission of refugees to the United States. Annual consultations between the Executive Branch and the Congress determine the ceiling on the number of refugees who can be admitted to the United States from each area. Beginning in fiscal year 1987, an unallocated reserve was incorporated into the admission ceilings.
Guidance for Applicants
General Medical Assistance
The term "green card" refers to a document issued by immigration officials that serves as evidence of a person's status as a lawful permanent resident. Many years ago, the cards were printed on green-hued paper. Now they are technologically sophisticated cards that incorporate a number of anti-counterfeiting devices.
General Services Administration
Health Care Financing Administration
Health Care for the Homeless
Statutory limits on immigration to the United States in effect from 1968 to October 1978. Mandated by the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965, the ceiling on immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere was set at 170,000, with a per-country limit of 20,000. Immigration from the Western Hemisphere was held to 120,000, without a per-country limit until January 1, 1977. The Western Hemisphere was then made subject to a 20,000 per country limit. Effective October 1978, the separate hemisphere limits were abolished in favor of a worldwide limit.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act
Health Resources and Service Administration
Health Schools, Healthy Communities
Human Services Research Institute
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
International Association of Chiefs of Police
Industrial Areas Foundation
Integrated Automated Fingerprint Information System
Immigration Card Facility
Individual Calendar Hearing
IIRIRA or IIRAIRA
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996
Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986
Immigration Act of 1990
Certain immigrants who because of their close relationship to United States citizens are exempt from the numerical limitations imposed on immigration to the United States. Immediate relatives are: spouses of citizens, children (under 21 years of age and unmarried) of citizens, and parents of citizens 21 years of age or older.
See "Permanent Resident Alien."
Immigration Act of 1990
Public Law 101-649 (Act of November 29, 1990), which increased the limits on legal immigration to the United States, revised all grounds for exclusion and deportation, authorized temporary protected status to aliens of designated countries, revised and established new nonimmigrant admission categories, revised and extended the Visa Waiver Pilot Program, and revised naturalization authority and requirements.
An attorney appointed by the Attorney General to act as an administrative judge within the Executive Office for Immigration Review. They are qualified to conduct specified classes of proceedings, including removal proceedings.
Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986
Public Law 99-639 (Act of 11/10/86), which was passed in order to deter immigration-related marriage fraud. Its major provision stipulates that aliens deriving their immigrant status based on a marriage of less than two years are conditional immigrants. To remove their conditional status the immigrants must apply at an United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office during the 90-day period before their second-year anniversary of receiving conditional status. If the aliens cannot show that the marriage through which the status was obtained was and is a valid one, their conditional immigrant status may be terminated and they may become deportable.
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
Public Law 99-603 (Act of 11/6/86), which was passed in order to control and deter illegal immigration to the United States. Its major provisions stipulate legalization of undocumented aliens who had been continuously unlawfully present since 1982, legalization of certain agricultural workers, sanctions for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers, and increased enforcement at United States borders.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
The Act (INA), which, along with other immigration laws, treaties, and conventions of the United States, relates to the immigration, temporary admission, naturalization, and removal of aliens. There are specific grounds of inadmissibility listed in the INA.
See Immigration and Nationality Act.
An alien seeking admission at a port of entry who does not meet the criteria in the INA for admission. The alien may be placed in removal proceedings or, under certain circumstances, allowed to withdraw his or her application for admission.
See "Temporary Worker."
United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (Legacy) (also USINS)
The process by which an officer at a U.S. port of entry ensures that a foreign national seeking to enter the United States possesses the documentation appropriate to the intent and nature of the trip and that the foreign national will likely comply with the terms of his or her visa classification. A successful inspection ends with an endorsement of Form I-94.
Intent (Nonimmigrant Intent)
Immigration laws provide that every foreign national applying for a temporary or nonimmigrant visa (other than H-1B or L) is presumed to be an intending immigrant unless he or she can establish otherwise. Consequently, applicants for nonimmigrant visas are typically required to show, at the time of application for the visa, that they will return to their home country after a temporary stay in the United States. Applicants generally demonstrate this by showing ties to the home country, including close family members, property, a job offer, etc. Applicants for H-1B or L status are permitted to have "dual intent," that is, the intention to come to the United States temporarily to carry on their H or L activities as well as the long-term intention to become a permanent resident.
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States as a principal or other accredited representative of a foreign government (whether officially recognized or not recognized by the United States) to an international organization, an international organization officer or employee, and all above aliens’ spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children.
An alien, employed for at least one continuous year out of the last three by an international firm or corporation, who seeks to enter the United States temporarily in order to continue to work for the same employer, or a subsidiary or affiliate, in a capacity that is primarily managerial, executive, or involves specialized knowledge, and the alien’s spouse and minor unmarried children.
Intracompany Transferee (L-1A / L-1B)
A foreign national, employed for at least one continuous year out of the last three by an international firm or corporation, who seeks to enter the United States temporarily in order to continue to work for the same employer, or a subsidiary or affiliate, in a capacity that is primarily managerial or executive or involves specialized knowledge. The foreign national's spouse and minor unmarried children may also enter on an L-2 visa.
Immigration Officer Basic Training Course
Integrated Operating Environment
Integrated Quality Control System
See Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
Office of Information and Resource Management
Immediate Relative Petition
Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices
Information Technology Association of America
Kentucky Consular Center
Knowledge Development and Application
Requirement for United States employers seeking to employ certain persons whose immigration to the United States is based on job skills or nonimmigrant temporary workers coming to perform services for which qualified authorized workers are unavailable in the United States. Labor certification is issued by the Secretary of Labor and contains attestations by United States employers as to the numbers of United States workers available to undertake the employment sought by an applicant, and the effect of the alien’s employment on the wages and working conditions of United States workers similarly employed. Determination of labor availability in the United States is made at the time of a visa application and at the location where the applicant wishes to work.
Elsewhere Defined: A labor market test that is a requirement for U.S. employers seeking to employ certain foreign nationals whose immigration to the United States is based on job skills. This is often the first step in an employment-based green card case. Labor certification is issued by the USDOL and evidences the USDOL's determination that there are an insufficient number of U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available at the place of proposed employment, and that the alien's employment will not have an adverse effect on the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. Under the PERM regulations, the employer conducts a test of the labor market prior to filing with the USDOL.
Labor Condition Application (LCA)
Form ETA-9035, which contains employer attestations that the hiring of a foreign national worker will not disadvantage U.S. workers, must be certified by the USDOL and filed with H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 petitions.
Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident (also LPR)
Lawful Permanent Resident
Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing the in the United States under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as "Permanent Resident Alien," "Resident Alien Permit Holder," and "Green Card Holder."
Labor Condition Application
Local Educational Agency
A maximum of 55,000 visas were issued to spouses and children of aliens legalized under the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 in each of fiscal years 1992-94.
Certain illegal aliens who were eligible to apply for temporary resident status under the legalization provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. To be eligible, aliens must have continuously resided in the United States in an unlawful status since January 1, 1982, not be excludable, and have entered the United States either (1) illegally before January 1, 1982, or (2) as temporary visitors before January 1, 1982, with their authorized stay expiring before that date or with the Government’s knowledge of their unlawful status before that date. Legalization consists of two stages--temporary and then permanent residency. In order to adjust to permanent status aliens must have had continuous residence in the United States, be admissible as an immigrant, and demonstrate at least a minimal understanding and knowledge of the English language and United States history and government.
Most countries have legal procedures for natural fathers of children born out of wedlock to acknowledge their children. A legitimated child from any country has two legal parents and cannot qualify as an orphan unless: (1) only one of the parents is living, or (2) both of the parents have abandoned the child.
Limited English Proficiency
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Lawful Permanent Resident (also LAPR)
Second Legalized Persons Survey
Malum In Se
Latin: Wrong in itself. (Natural Law.)
Latin: Wrong because prohibited. (Positive Law.)
Master Calendar Hearing
Maternal and Child Health
A medical waiver permits an immigration applicant to be allowed into, or remain in the United States despite having a health condition identified as grounds of inadmissibility. Terms and conditions can be applied to a medical waiver on a case by case basis.
Medical and Legal Parolee
Latin: Criminal Mind. The MPC limits the mens rea element of an offense to one or more of only four states of mental culpability: purposeful or knowing (the "intentional" states), and reckless or negligent (the "unintentional" states). Each state of mind is a testable phenomenon, thereby ridding the inherited common law strucutre in the United States of its normative implications.
Mental Health Services to the Homeless
A person who leaves his/her country of origin to seek residence in another country.
Mixed Legal Systems
Legal systems combining elements of common and civil law systems, e.g., those of Scotland, South Africa, and the U.S. State of Louisiana.
Migration Policy Institute
Machine Readable Data
Machine Readable Visa
Metropolitan Statistical Area
Missouri Service Center (Lee's Summit, Missouri)
Naturalization Advisory Committee
Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act
Naturalization Automated Casework System
National Association for Foreign Student Advisors
North American Free Trade Agreement
National Association of Latino Elected Officials
National Academy of Sciences
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States as a member of the armed forces or as a civilian employed by the armed forces on assignment with a foreign government signatory to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and the alien’s spouse and unmarried minor (or dependent) children.
A person owing permanent allegiance to a state.
The country of a person’s citizenship or country in which the person is deemed a national.
The conferring, by any means, of citizenship upon a person after birth.
The form used by a lawful permanent resident to apply for United States citizenship. The application is filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Service Center with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence.
National Benefits Center (Lee's Summit, Missouri)
National Customer Service Center
National Data Entry Center
National File Tracking System
National Hansen's Disease Program
National Health Interview Survey
National Institute on Aging
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Notice of Intent to File (also NOIF)
New Immigrant Survey
Notice of Findings
Notice of Intent to Deny
Notice of Intent to File (also NIF)
An alien who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. The alien must have a permanent residence abroad (for most classes of admission) and qualify for the nonimmigrant classification sought. The nonimmigrant classifications include: foreign government officials, visitors for business and for pleasure, aliens in transit through the United States, treaty traders and investors, students, international representatives, temporary workers and trainees, representatives of foreign information media, exchange visitors, fiance(e)s of United States citizens, intracompany transferees, NATO officials, religious workers, and some others. Most nonimmigrants can be accompanied or joined by spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children.
Nonpreference visas were available to qualified applicants not entitled to a visa under the preferences until the category was eliminated by the Immigration Act of 1990. Nonpreference visas for persons not entitled to the other preferences had not been available since September 1978 because of high demand in the preference categories. An additional 5,000 nonpreference visas were available in each of fiscal years 1987 and 1988 under a provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This program was extended into 1989, 1990, and 1991 with 15,000 visas issued each year. Aliens born in countries from which immigration was adversely affected by the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (Public Law 89-236) were eligible for the special nonpreference visas.
North American Free Trade Agreement
Public Law 103-182 (Act of 12/8/93), superseded the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement as of 1/1/94. It continues the special, reciprocal trading relationship between the United States and Canada (see United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement), and establishes a similar relationship with Mexico.
Elsewhere Defined: A special reciprocal trade agreement among the United States, Canada, and Mexico that allows for TN status for nationals of Canada and Mexico coming to the United States in certain occupations to work for U.S. employers.
National Performance Review
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Naturalization Quality Procedures
Nebraska Service Center (Lincoln, Nebraska)
National Survey of College Graduates
National School Lunch Program
National Science Foundation
Notice to Appear
Numerical Limitation, Exclusion from
Those aliens accorded lawful permanent residence who are exempt from the provisions of the flexible numerical limit of 675,000 set by the Immigration Act of 1990. Exempt categories include immediate relatives of United States citizens, refugees, asylees (limited to 10,000 per year by section 209(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), Amerasians, aliens adjusted under the legalization provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and certain parolees from the former Soviet Union and Indochina.
Nursing Relief Act of 1989
Public Law 101-238 (Act of 12/18/89), provides for the adjustment to permanent resident status of certain nonimmigrants who as of September 1, 1989, had H-1 nonimmigrant status as registered nurses; who had been employed in that capacity for at least 3 years; and whose continued nursing employment meets certain labor certification requirements.
National Visa Center
Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer
For an alien entering the United States or adjusting without a labor certification, occupation refers to the employment held in the country of last legal residence or in the United States. For an alien with a labor certification, occupation is the employment for which certification has been issued.
Office of the Chief Immigration Judge
Office of Community Services
Orderly Departure Program
Office of the Inspector General
Office of Internal Audit
Office of the Inspector General
Office of Immigration Litigation (of the United States Department of Justice)
Office of Management and Budget
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Office of Personnel Management
Operating Policy and Procedures Memorandum
Office of Professional Responsibility
Optional Practical Training
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a definition of an orphan for the purposes of immigration to the United States. A child may be considered an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents. The child of an unwed mother or surviving parent may be considered an orphan if that parent is unable to care for the child properly and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption. The child of an unwed mother may be considered an orphan, as long as the mother does not marry (which would result in the child’s having a stepfather) and as long as the child’s biological father has not legitimated the child. If the father legitimates the child or the mother marries, the mother is no longer considered a sole parent. The child of a surviving parent may also be an orphan if the surviving parent has not married since the death of the other parent (which would result in the child’s having a stepfather or stepmother). Note: Prospective adoptive parents should be sure that a child fits the definition of ”orphan” before adopting a child from another country, because not all children adopted abroad meet the definition of “orphan,” and therefore may not be eligible to immigrate to the United States.
Office of Refugee Resettlement
Order to Show Cause; Office of Special Counsel
Order to Appear
Out of Wedlock
A child born of parents who were not legally married to each other at that time. Note: Adoptive and prospective adoptive parents of a child who was born out of wedlock in any country should find out whether or not the child has been legitimated.
Personal Appearance Notification
Panama Canal Act Immigrants
Three categories of special immigrants established by Public Law 96-70 (Act of 9/27/79): 1) certain former employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government, their spouses and accompanying children; 2) certain former employees of the United States Government in the Panama Canal Zone who are Panamanian nationals, their spouses and children; and 3) certain former employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government on April 1, 1979, their spouses and children. The Act provides for admission of a maximum of 15,000 immigrants, at a rate of no more than 5,000 each year.
A medically trained, licensed and experienced doctor practicing overseas who is appointed by the local United States Embassy or Consulate. These medical professionals receive United States immigration-focused training in order to provide examinations as required by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). For medical examinations given in the United States, please see "Civil Surgeon." IMPORTANT: medical examinations given overseas will not be recognized if they are given by a doctor who is not appointed by the local United States Consulate or Embassy; please be sure that your medical exam is being given by a Panel Physician or your results and documents will be invalid.
A parolee is an alien, appearing to be inadmissible to the inspecting officer, allowed into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or when that alien’s entry is determined to be for significant public benefit. Parole does not constitute a formal admission to the United States and confers temporary status only, requiring parolees to leave when the conditions supporting their parole cease to exist. Types of parolees include:
Advance Parole: authorized at an USCIS District office in advance of alien’s arrival; may be issued to aliens residing in the United States in other than lawful permanent resident status who have an unexpected need to travel and return, and whose conditions of stay do not otherwise allow for readmission to the United States if they depart.
Deferred Inspection: authorized at the port upon alien’s arrival; may be conferred by an immigration inspector when aliens appear at a port of entry with documentation, but after preliminary examination, some question remains about their admissibility which can best be answered at their point of destination.
Humanitarian Parole: authorized at USCIS headquarters or overseas District Offices for "urgent humanitarian reasons" specified in the law. It is used in cases of medical emergency and comparable situations.
Overseas Parole: authorized at an USCIS District or suboffice while the alien is still overseas; designed to constitute long-term admission to the United States. In recent years, most of the aliens USCIS has processed through overseas parole have arrived under special legislation or international migration agreements.
Port-of-Entry Parole: authorized at the port upon alien’s arrival; applies to a wide variety of situations and is used at the discretion of the supervisory immigration inspector, usually to allow short periods of entry. Examples include allowing aliens who could not be issued the necessary documentation within the required time period, or who were otherwise inadmissible, to attend a funeral and permitting the entry of emergency workers, such as fire fighters, to assist with an emergency.
Significant Public Benefit Parole: authorized at USCIS headquarters Office of International Affairs for "significant public benefit" specified in the law. It is generally used for aliens who enter to take part in legal proceedings when there is a benefit to the government. These requests must be submitted by a law enforcement agency.
Per Country Limit
The maximum number of family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas that can be issued to citizens of any country in a fiscal year. The limits are calculated each fiscal year depending on the total number of family-sponsored and employment-based visas available. No more than 7 percent of the visas may be issued to natives of any one independent country in a fiscal year; no more than 2 percent may issued to any one dependency of any independent country. The per-country limit does not indicate, however, that a country is entitled to the maximum number of visas each year, just that it cannot receive more than that number. Because of the combined workings of the preference system and per-country limits, most countries do not reach this level of visa issuance.
Permanent Electronic Review Management (Permanent Labor Certification Program)
See Lawful Permanent Resident.
Permanent Resident Alien
See Lawful Permanent Resident.
Permanent Labor Certification
See Port of Entry.
Port of Entry (POE)
Any location in the United States or its territories that is designated as a point of entry for aliens and United States citizens. All district and files control offices are also considered ports, since they become locations of entry for aliens adjusting to immigrant status.
Permanent Resident (also LAPR; LPR)
Complete immigration inspection of airport passengers before departure from a foreign country. No further immigration inspection is required upon arrival in the United States other than submission of Form I-94 for nonimmigrant aliens.
Preference System (Immigration Act of 1990)
The nine categories since fiscal year 1992 among which the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference visas are distributed. The family-sponsored preferences are: 1) unmarried sons and daughters of United States citizens; 2) spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent resident aliens; 3) married sons and daughters of United States citizens; 4) brothers and sisters of United States citizens. The employment-based preferences are: 1) priority workers (persons of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers); 2) professionals with advanced degrees or aliens with exceptional ability; 3) skilled workers, professionals (without advanced degrees), and needed unskilled workers; 4) special immigrants; and 5) employment creation immigrants (investors).
Preference System (Prior to Fiscal Year 1992)
The six categories among which 270,000 immigrant visa numbers were distributed each year during the period 1981-91. This preference system was amended by the Immigration Act of 1990, effective fiscal year 1992. (see Preference System - Immigration Act of 1990). The six categories were: 1) unmarried sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of United States citizens (20 percent); 2) spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence (26 percent); 3) members of the professions or persons of exceptional ability in the sciences and arts (10 percent); 4) married sons and daughters of United States citizens (10 percent); 5) brothers and sisters of United States citizens over 21 years of age (24 percent); and 6) needed skilled or unskilled workers (10 percent). A nonpreference category, historically open to immigrants not entitled to a visa number under one of the six preferences just listed, had no numbers available beginning in September 1978.
The alien who applies for immigrant status and from whom another alien may derive lawful status under immigration law or regulations (usually spouses and minor unmarried children).
In the USCIS Immigrant visa petition application process, the priority date is the date the petition was filed. If the alien relative has a priority date on or before the date listed in the visa bulletin, then he or she is currently eligible for a visa.
Permanently Residing in the United States Under Color of Law
Qualified Designated Entity
Refugee Cash Assistance
Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States.
The number of refugees approved for admission to the United States during a fiscal year.
The number of refugees admitted to the United States through ports of entry during a fiscal year.
Refugee Authorized Admissions
The maximum number of refugees allowed to enter the United States in a given fiscal year. As set forth in the Refugee Act of 1980 (Public Law 96-212) the President determines the annual figure after consultations with Congress.
A qualified applicant for conditional entry, between February 1970 and April 1980, whose application for admission to the United States could not be approved because of inadequate numbers of seventh preference visas. As a result, the applicant was paroled into the United States under the parole authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The three USCIS Regional Offices that supervise the work of USCIS Districts. The Regional Directors report to the Associate Director for Domestic Operations in USCIS Headquarters, Washington, DC. The three Regional Offices are located in (Eastern Region) Burlington, VT, (Central Region) Dallas, TX, and (Western Region) Laguna Nigel, CA. A fourth Regional Office (Southeastern Region) is planned for Orlando, FL.
Aliens who have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 1972, are of good moral character, and are not inadmissible, are eligible to adjust to legal permanent resident status under the registry provision. Before the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 amended the date, aliens had to have been in the country continuously since June 30, 1948, to qualify.
Remote Adjudications Center
Receipt and Alien File Accountability Control System
Replenishment Agricultural Worker
The expulsion of an alien from the United States. This expulsion may be based on grounds of inadmissibility or deportability.
See "Voluntary Departure."
Permanent relocation of refugees in a place outside their country of origin to allow them to establish residence and become productive members of society there. Refugee resettlement is accomplished with the direct assistance of private voluntary agencies working with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Applies to non-United States citizens currently residing in the United States. The term is applied in three different manners; please see Permanent Resident, Conditional Resident, and Returning Resident.
Any Lawful Permanent Resident who has been outside the United States and is returning to the United States Also defined as a "special immigrant." If outside of the United States for more than 180 days, must apply for readmission to the United States If outside of the United States for more than one year and is returning to his or her permanent residence in the United States, usually must have a re-entry documentation from USCIS or an immigrant visa from the Department of State.
Request for Evidence
Request for Information
Refugee Mental Health Program
Refugee Medical Assistance
Re-engineered Naturalization Automated Casework System
Regional Processing Facility
Science and Engineering
Temporary refuge given to migrants who have fled their countries of origin to seek protection or relief from persecution or other hardships, until they can return to their countries safely or, if necessary until they can obtain permanent relief from the conditions they fled.
Security Advisory Opinion
Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements
Seasonal Agricultural Worker; Special Agricultural Worker
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Service Center Operations
Supervisory District Adjudications Officer
Survey of Doctorate Recipients
Survey of Earned Doctorates
Service Employees International Union
Four offices established to handle the filing, data entry, and adjudication of certain applications for immigration services and benefits. The applications are mailed to USCIS Service Centers -- Service Centers are not staffed to receive walk-in applications or questions.
State Employment Security Agency (now SWA)
Student Exchange and Visitor Information System
Software Professionals Political Action Committee
Standard Operating Procedure
Special Agricultural Workers
Aliens who performed labor in perishable agricultural commodities for a specified period of time and were admitted for temporary and then permanent residence under a provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Up to 350,000 aliens who worked at least 90 days in each of the 3 years preceding May 1, 1986 were eligible for Group I temporary resident status. Eligible aliens who qualified under this requirement but applied after the 350,000 limit was met and aliens who performed labor in perishable agricultural commodities for at least 90 days during the year ending May 1, 1986 were eligible for Group II temporary resident status. Adjustment to permanent resident status is essentially automatic for both groups; however, aliens in Group I were eligible on December 1, 1989 and those in Group II were eligible one year later on December 1, 1990.
Certain categories of immigrants who were exempt from numerical limitation before fiscal year 1992 and subject to limitation under the employment-based fourth preference beginning in 1992; persons who lost citizenship by marriage; persons who lost citizenship by serving in foreign armed forces; ministers of religion and other religious workers, their spouses and children; certain employees and former employees of the United States Government abroad, their spouses and children; Panama Canal Act immigrants; certain foreign medical school graduates, their spouses and children; certain retired employees of international organizations, their spouses and children; juvenile court dependents; and certain aliens serving in the United States Armed Forces, their spouses and children.
Special Naturalization Provisions
Provisions covering special classes of persons whom may be naturalized even though they do not meet all the general requirements for naturalization. Such special provisions allow: 1) wives or husbands of United States citizens to file for naturalization after three years of lawful permanent residence instead of the prescribed five years; 2) a surviving spouse of a United States citizen who served in the armed forces to file his or her naturalization application in any district instead of where he/she resides; and 3) children of United States citizen parents to be naturalized without meeting certain requirements or taking the oath, if too young to understand the meaning. Other classes of persons who may qualify for special consideration are former United States citizens, servicemen, seamen, and employees of organizations promoting United States interests abroad.
There are many ways to sponsor an alien. The term "sponsor" in the immigration sense, often means to bring to the United States or "petition for". Another meaning of the term "sponsor" is a person who completes Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act. This type of sponsorship is not, however, the first step in any immigration process. In order to be a sponsor and file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act, the following conditions must already be met: (1) You have already petitioned for your relative; (2) you have been notified that USCIS has approved the petition; (3) the visa for that relative is currently available; (4) the relative has been scheduled to appear to submit his or her application for an immigrant visa overseas to a Consular Officer (DOS Form OF-230) or is preparing to file for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident (on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) in the United States. In the case of the overseas relative, you, the petitioner will be informed as to where and when to submit Form I-864. In the case where the relative is in the United States, you, the petitioner will complete Form I-864 and give it to your relative to file along with his or her application for permanent residency. If you are a United States citizen and are sponsoring, or petitioning for, your spouse, parents or minor children who are currently in the United States, the above conditions do not need to be met in that exact order. Your relative may file his or her application for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident at the same time you file the relative petition. If this is your situation, you, the petitioner, must complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and the petition for your relative and give them to your relative to submit with the application for adjustment of status.
Social Security Administration
Latin: To stand by things decided, i.e., precedent.
Having no nationality.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
An alien coming to the United States surreptitiously on an airplane or vessel without legal status of admission. Such an alien is subject to denial of formal admission and return to the point of embarkation by the transportation carrier.
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States to pursue a full course of study in an approved program in either an academic (college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, other institution, or language training program) or a vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution.
Subject to the Numerical Limit
Categories of legal immigrants subject to annual limits under the provisions of the flexible numerical limit of 675,000 set by the Immigration Act of 1990. The largest categories are: family-sponsored preferences; employment-based preferences; and diversity immigrants.
Specific Vocational Preparation
State Workforce Agency
Technical Assistance Guide
Technology Alert List
Temporary District Adjudications Officer
Technology Alert List
Some visa applicants may be subject to another type of security check related to their nationality and background. Before issuing a nonimmigrant visa to applicants from China, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, India, Iran, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, or Iraq, and other states at their discretion, U.S. Consulates are required to request a security advisory opinion ("SAO") from State Department headquarters if a visa applicant is engaged in or has a background in a high-technology field related to the Department of State's Technology Alert list ("TAL"). The TAL includes a long list of technologies that the State Department believes requires protection from foreign competitors and adversaries. In total, there are 16 categories on the TAL. As visa applicants from the specified countries are subject to a SAO if their education of work involves a "related field" to one of the 16 fields listed in the TAL, a high number of visa applicants may face substantial delays. Indeed, consular officers interpret these fields to encompass a wide range of activities, and they tend to err on the side of caution if it is unclear whether an individual is conducting research or working in a TAL-designated or related field. It is quite common for SAOs to require several weeks to be processed. Pleas for expeditious consideration are usually unsuccessful.
Temporary Protected Status
Establishes a legislative basis for allowing a group of persons temporary refuge in the United States. Under a provision of the Immigration Act of 1990, the Secretary of Homeland Security may designate nationals of a foreign state to be eligible for Temporary Protected Status with a finding that conditions in that country pose a danger to personal safety due to ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster. Grants of Temporary Protected Status are initially made for periods of 6 to 18 months and may be extended depending on the situation. Removal proceedings are suspended against aliens while they are in Temporary Protected Status.
An alien coming to the United States to work for a temporary period of time. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the Immigration Act of 1990, as well as other legislation, revised existing classes and created new classes of nonimmigrant admission. Nonimmigrant temporary worker classes of admission are as follows: (1) H-1A - registered nurses (valid from 10/1/1990 through 9/30/1995); (2) H-1B - workers with "specialty occupations" admitted on the basis of professional education, skills, and/or equivalent experience; (3) H-1C - registered nurses to work in areas with a shortage of health professionals under the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999; (4) H-2A - temporary agricultural workers coming to the United States to perform agricultural services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature when authorized workers are unavailable in the United States; (5) H-2B - temporary non-agricultural workers coming to the United States to perform temporary services or labor if unemployed persons capable of performing the service or labor cannot be found in the United States; (6) H-3 - aliens coming temporarily to the United States as trainees, other than to receive graduate medical education or training; (7) O-1, O-2, O-3 - temporary workers with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; those entering solely for the purpose of accompanying and assisting such workers; and their spouses and children; (8) P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4 - athletes and entertainers at an internationally recognized level of performance; artists and entertainers under a reciprocal exchange program; artists and entertainers under a program that is "culturally unique"; and their spouses and children; (9) Q-1, Q-2, Q-3 - participants in international cultural exchange programs; participants in the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program; and spouses and children of Irish Peace Process participants; (10) R-1, R-2 - temporary workers to perform work in religious occupations and their spouses and children.
Transitional Immigrant Visa Processing Center
Temporary Protected Status
An alien in immediate and continuous transit through the United States, with or without a visa, including, 1) aliens who qualify as persons entitled to pass in transit to and from the United Nations Headquarters District and foreign countries and 2) foreign government officials and their spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children in transit.
Transit Without Visa
A transit alien traveling without a nonimmigrant visa under section 233 of the INA. An alien admitted under agreements with a transportation line, which guarantees his immediate and continuous passage to a foreign destination. See also "Transit Alien."
Treaty Trader or Investor
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming to the United States, under the provisions of a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the foreign state of such alien, to carry on substantial trade or to direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested a substantial amount of capital, and the alien’s spouse and unmarried minor children.
United States Transportation Security Administration (also USTSA)
Texas Service Center (Mesquite, Texas)
Transit Without Visa (also TWV)
Transit Without Visa (also TWOV)
Underrepresented Countries, Natives of
The Immigration Amendments of 1988, Public Law 101-658 (Act of 11/5/88) allowed for 10,000 visas to be issued to natives of underrepresented countries in each of fiscal years 1990 and 1991. Under-represented countries are defined as countries that received less than 25 percent of the maximum allowed under the country limitations (20,000 for independent countries and 5,000 for dependencies) in fiscal year 1988. See also "Diversity."
United Nations High Commission on Refugees
United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement
Public Law 100-449 (Act of 9/28/88) established a special, reciprocal trading relationship between the United States and Canada. It provided two new classes of nonimmigrant admission for temporary visitors to the United States-Canadian citizen business persons and their spouses and unmarried minor children. Entry is facilitated for visitors seeking classification as visitors for business, treaty traders or investors, intracompany transferees, or other business people engaging in activities at a professional level. Such visitors are not required to obtain nonimmigrant visas, prior petitions, labor certifications, or prior approval but must satisfy the inspecting officer they are seeking entry to engage in activities at a professional level and that they are so qualified. The United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement was superseded by the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as of 1/1/94.
Urban Gateways - Tier 1
(>1M Foreign-Born Residents)
Chicago, Illinois (United States); Dallas, Texas (United States); Hong Kong (Special Administrative Unit of the People's Republic of China); Houston, Texas (United States); Jiddah (Saudi Arabia); Los Angeles, California (United States); Dubai (United Arab Emirates); London (England); Miami, Florida (United States); Melbourne (Australia); Moscow (Russia); New York City, New York (United States); Paris (France); Riyadh (Saudi Arabia); San Francisco, California (United States); Singapore (Singapore [city-state]); Sydney (Australia); Toronto, Ontario (Canada); Washington, DC (United States).
United States Attorney General (also AG)
United States Citizen; United States Consulate
United States Customs and Border Protection (also CBP)
United States Central Intelligence Agency (also CIA)
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (also CIS)
United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Health and Human Services (also DHHS)
United States Department of Homeland Security (also DHS)
United States Department of Justice (also DOJ)
United States Department of Labor (also DOL)
United States Department of State (also DOS)
United States Embassy
United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (also FBI)
United States Information Agency
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (also ICE)
United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (Legacy) (also INS)
United States Transportation and Security Administration (also TSA)
Violence Against Women Act
A United States visa allows the bearer to apply for entry to the United States in a certain classification (e.g. student (F), visitor (B), temporary worker (H)). A visa does not grant the bearer the right to enter the United States. The Department of State ("USDOS") is responsible for visa adjudication at United States Embassies and Consulates outside of the United States The Department of Homeland Security ("USDHS"), Customs and Border Protection ("USCBP") immigration inspectors determine admission into, length of stay and conditions of stay in, the United States at a port of entry. The information on a nonimmigrant visa only relates to when an individual may apply for entry into the United States USDHS immigration inspectors will record the terms of your admission on your Arrival/Departure Record (I-94 white or I-94W green) and in your passport.
Elsewhere Defined: A visa is a travel document, issued by the USDOS, which permits a foreign national to appear at a port of entry and request entry in a particular visa category. The visa looks like a sticker or decal, is affixed to a foreign national’s passport by a U.S. consular official, and should not be confused with the Form I-94. Having a visa does not guarantee that the foreign national will be admitted to the United States, but having a valid visa stamped in the passport is often a requirement to seeking admission.
Visa Waiver Program
Allows citizens of certain selected countries, traveling temporarily to the United States under the nonimmigrant admission classes of visitors for pleasure and visitors for business, to enter the United States without obtaining nonimmigrant visas. Admission is for no more than 90 days. The program was instituted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (entries began July 1, 1988). Under the Guam Visa Waiver Program, certain visitors from designated countries may visit Guam only for up to 15 days without first having to obtain nonimmigrant visitor visas.
Elsewhere Defined: The visa waiver program (VWP) allows foreign nationals from certain countries to be admitted to the United States as visitors for business or for pleasure for up to 90 days without first obtaining a visa stamp. At present, the countries in the VWP include Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Foreign nationals who enter the United States under the VWP may not apply to extend or change their status in the United States and their acceptable activities are limited.
Voluntary Legal Assistance Group
The departure of an alien from the United States without an order of removal. The departure may or may not have been preceded by a hearing before an immigration judge. An alien allowed to voluntarily depart concedes removability but does not have a bar to seeking admission at a port-of-entry at any time. Failure to depart within the time granted results in a fine and a ten-year bar to several forms of relief from deportation.
Veterans' Readjustment Act
Vermont Service Center (St. Albans, Vermont)
Visa Waiver Program
Western Regional Office