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Matthews Immigration Group | Raleigh Law Firm | Terms + Acronyms

IMMIGRATION

TERMS + ACRONYMS

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245(i)

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".

 

A-File

Administrative File; Alien File

A/S

Adjustment of Status

AAO

Administrative Appeals Office (formerly, Administrative Appeals Unit)

AAP

Application for Advance Parole

AAS

Application for Adjustment of Status

AAU

Administrative Appeals Unit (now, Administrative Appeals Office)

ABC

American Baptist Churches

ABTC

Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travelers Card

AC21

American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act

ACC

Active Citizenship Campaign

Acquired Citizenship

Citizenship conferred at birth on children born abroad to a United States citizen parent(s).

ACTS

Agency Check Tracking System

Actus Reus

Latin: Criminal Act.

ACWIA

American Competitiveness Workforce Improvement Act of 1998

ADDA

Assistant District Director for Adjudications

ADDE

Assistant District Director for Examinations

ADDI

Assistant District Director for Investigations

ADDM

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.

Adoption

See Orphan.

AEAD

Application for Employment Authorization Document

AEDPA

Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996

AEM

Alternative Examination Method

AFGE

American Federation of Government Employees

AG

United States Attorney General (also USAG)

Agricultural Worker

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.

AILA

American Immigration Lawyers Association

AIW

Applicant Information Worksheet

Alien

Any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

ALJ

Administrative Law Judge

 

Amerasian (Vietnam)

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.

 

Amerasian Act

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.

AN

Approval Notice

AOS

Adjustment of Status

AP

Advance Parole

APEC

Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation

APO

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.

 

Apprehension

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.

APT

Average Processing Time

ASC

Application Support Center

Asylee

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.

Asylum

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.

ATL

Atlanta, Georgia

AUSA

Assistant United States Attorney

AVLOS

Automated Visa Lookout System

B

 

 

BAL

Baltimore, Maryland

BALCA

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals

BAR

Board of Appellate Review

BCA

Bureau of Consular Affairs

BCBP

Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (now, United States Customs and Border Protection)

BCIS

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)

BEA

Bureau of Economic Analysis

Beneficiaries

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.

BHRHA

Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs

BIA

Board of Immigration Appeals

BICE

Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (now, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

BIT

Bilateral Investment Treaty

BLS

Bureau of Labor Statistics (of the United States Department of Labor)

BO

Branch Office (of a United States Embassy)

Border Crosser

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.

BP

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.

C

 

 

C/A

Change of Address (also COA)

 

C/MHC

Community/Migrant Health Centers

C/N

Change of Name (also CON)

C/S

Change of Status (also COS)

C/V

Change of Venue (also COV)

CAHO

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.

CAT

Convention Against Torture

CBO

Community-Based Organization

CDC/P

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).

CFR

Code of Federal Regulations

CFTA

United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement

CG

Consul General; Consulate General

Child

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.

CIA

United States Central Intelligence Agency (also USCIA)

CIMT

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (also CMT)

CIS

Central Index System

CIS

Citizenship and Immigration Services

CIS

Commonwealth of Independent States

 

Civil Surgeon

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.

 

CJIS

Criminal Justice Information Services (of Federal Bureau of Investigation)

 

CLAIMS

Computer Linked Automated Information Management System

 

CLN

Certificate of Loss of Nationality

 

CM

Certified Mail

CMT

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (also CIMT)

 

CO

Certifying Officer

 

COA

Change of Address (also C/A)

 

CON

Change of Name (also C/N)

Conditional Resident

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.

CONOFF

Consular Officer

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.

COS

Change of Status (also C/S)

COV

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.

CPS

Current Population Survey

CPST

Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology

 

Crewman

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.

CSC

California Service Center (Laguna Niguel, California)

CSE

Child Support Enforcement

CSPA

Child Status Protection Act

CSPA

Chinese Student Protection Act

CSSO

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.

CUSA

Citizenship USA Program

D

 

 

D/S

Duration of Status (also DOS)

DADDA

Deputy Assistant District Director for Adjudications

DADDE

Deputy Assistant District Director for Examinations

DADDN

Deputy Assistant District Director for Naturalization

DAG

Deputy United States Attorney General (also DUSAG)

DAO

District Adjudications Officer

DD

District Director

DDD

Deputy District Director

DED

Deferred Enforced Departure

Deferred Inspection

See Parolee.

 

Deportable Alien

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.

 

Deportation

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.

 

Derivative Citizenship

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.

DFS

Designated Fingerprinting Services

DHHS

United States Department of Health and Human Services

DHS

United States Department of Homeland Security (also USDHS)

DI

Deferred Inspection

 

District

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.

 

Diversity

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.

DMV

Department of Motor Vehicles; Division of Motor Vehicles

DO

District Office

Docket Control

The DHS mechanism for tracking the case status of potentially removable aliens.

DOJ

United States Department of Justice (also USDOJ)

DOL

United States Department of Labor (also USDOL)

DOS

United States Department of State (also USDOS)

DOS

Duration of Status (also D/S)

DOT

Dictionary of Occupational Titles

DPC

Domestic Policy Council

DSO

Designated School Official (also FSA)

DUSAG

Deputy United States Attorney General (also DAG)

 

DV

Diversity Visa

E

 

 

EAC

Executive Associate Commissioner

EAD

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.

EBIV

Employment-Based Immigrant Visa

EBP

Employment-Based Petition; Employment-Based Preference

EC

Enterprise Communities

EDS

Electronic Data Systems

EM

Express Mail

Employer Sanctions

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.

EOIR

Executive Office for Immigration Review (of the United States Department of Justice)

EPR

Employment-to-Population Ratio

ERO

Eastern Regional Office

ETA

Employment and Training Administration (of the United States Department of Labor)

 

EU

European Union

 

EWI

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.

Exclusion

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.

EZ

Empowerment Zone

F

 

 

FA

Fingerprint Appointment

FAM

Foreign Affairs Manual

FBI

United States Federal Bureau of Investigation

FCCC

Fingerprint Clearance Coordination Center

FCN

Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty

FCO

File Control Office

FEB

Federal Executive Board

FEWG

Fingerprint Enhancement Working Group

FGM

Female Genitalia Mutilation

FGO

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.

Field Offices

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.

 

Fiscal Year

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.

FLETC

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

FMG

Foreign Medical Graduate

FN

Fingerprint Notice

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

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.

FPL

Federal Poverty Level

FSA

Foreign Student Advisor (also DSO)

FSIV

Family-Sponsored Immigrant Visa

FSP

Family-Sponsored Petition; Family-Sponsored Preference

FTO

Free Trade Officer

FTR

File Transfer Request

FY

Fiscal Year

G

 

 

GA

General Assistance

GAL

General Administrative Letter

GAO

General Accounting Office

GDP

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.

GFA

Guidance for Applicants

GMA

General Medical Assistance

Green Card

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.

GSA

General Services Administration

H

 

 

HCFA

Health Care Financing Administration

HCH

Health Care for the Homeless

HD

Hansen's Disease

Hemispheric Ceilings

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.

HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HP

Humanitarian Parole

HRIFA

Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act

HRSA

Health Resources and Service Administration

HSHC

Health Schools, Healthy Communities

HSRI

Human Services Research Institute

HUD

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

I

 

 

IACP

International Association of Chiefs of Police

IAF

Industrial Areas Foundation

IAFIS

Integrated Automated Fingerprint Information System

ICF

Immigration Card Facility

ICH

Individual Calendar Hearing

ID

Interview Date

IIRIRA or IIRAIRA

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996

IJ

Immigration Judge

IMFA

Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986

IMMACT90

Immigration Act of 1990

Immediate Relatives

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.

Immigrant

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.

 

Immigration Judge

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.

IN

Interview Notice

INA

See Immigration and Nationality Act.

 

Inadmissible

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.

 

Industrial Trainee

See "Temporary Worker."

INS

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (Legacy) (also USINS)

Inspection

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.

International Representative

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.

 

Intracompany Trainee

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.

IOBTC

Immigration Officer Basic Training Course

IOE

Integrated Operating Environment

IQCS

Integrated Quality Control System

IRCA

See Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

IRM

Office of Information and Resource Management

IRP

Immediate Relative Petition

IRUEP

Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices

ITAA

Information Technology Association of America

IV

Immigrant Visa

J

 

 

---

K

 

 

KCC

Kentucky Consular Center

KD

Knowledge Development

KD&A

Knowledge Development and Application

L

 

 

Labor Certification

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.

LAPR

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."

LB

Legalization Beneficiary

LCA

Labor Condition Application

LEA

Local Educational Agency

 

Legalization Dependents

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.

 

Legalized Aliens

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.

 

Legitimated

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.

LEP

Limited English Proficiency

LIHEAP

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

LIRS

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

LON

London, Kentucky

LPR

Lawful Permanent Resident (also LAPR)

LPS2

Second Legalized Persons Survey

M

 

 

Malum In Se

Latin: Wrong in itself.  (Natural Law.)

Malum Prohibitum

Latin: Wrong because prohibited.  (Positive Law.)

MCH

Master Calendar Hearing

MCH

Maternal and Child Health

Medical Waiver

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

See Parolee.

MEM

Memphis, Tennessee

 

Mens Rea

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.

MHSH

Mental Health Services to the Homeless

 

Migrant

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.

MPI

Migration Policy Institute

MRD

Machine Readable Data

MRV

Machine Readable Visa

MSA

Metropolitan Statistical Area

MSC

Missouri Service Center (Lee's Summit, Missouri)

 

N

 

NAC

Naturalization Advisory Committee

NACARA

Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act

NACS

Naturalization Automated Casework System

NAFSA

National Association for Foreign Student Advisors

NAFTA

North American Free Trade Agreement

NALEO

National Association of Latino Elected Officials

NAS

Nashville, Tennessee

NAS

National Academy of Sciences

NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NATO Official

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.

 

National

A person owing permanent allegiance to a state.

 

Nationality

The country of a person’s citizenship or country in which the person is deemed a national.

 

Naturalization

The conferring, by any means, of citizenship upon a person after birth.

 

Naturalization Application

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.

NBC

National Benefits Center (Lee's Summit, Missouri)

NCSC

National Customer Service Center

NDEC

National Data Entry Center

NFTS

National File Tracking System

NHDP

National Hansen's Disease Program

NHIS

National Health Interview Survey

NIA

National Institute on Aging

NICHD

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

NIF

Notice of Intent to File (also NOIF)

 

NIS

New Immigrant Survey

NIV

Nonimmigrant Visa

NOF

Notice of Findings

NOID

Notice of Intent to Deny

NOIF

Notice of Intent to File (also NIF)

 

Nonimmigrant

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.

 

Non-Preference Category

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. 

NPR

National Performance Review

NPRM

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

NQP

Naturalization Quality Procedures

NSC

Nebraska Service Center (Lincoln, Nebraska)

NSCG

National Survey of College Graduates

 

NSLP

National School Lunch Program

 

NSF

National Science Foundation

NTA

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.

NVC

National Visa Center

O

 

 

OCAHO

Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer

Occupation

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.

OCIJ

Office of the Chief Immigration Judge

OCS

Office of Community Services

ODP

Orderly Departure Program

OIG

Office of the Inspector General

OI

Operations Instruction

OIA

Office of Internal Audit

OIC

Officer-in-Charge

OIG

Office of the Inspector General

OIL

Office of Immigration Litigation (of the United States Department of Justice)

OMB

Office of Management and Budget

OOH

Occupational Outlook Handbook

OPM

Office of Personnel Management

OPPM

Operating Policy and Procedures Memorandum

OPR

Office of Professional Responsibility

OPT

Optional Practical Training

Orphan

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.

ORR

Office of Refugee Resettlement

OSC

Order to Show Cause; Office of Special Counsel

OTA

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.

P

 

 

PA

Privacy Act

PAN

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.

 

Panel Physician

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.

 

Parolee

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.

PERM

Permanent Electronic Review Management (Permanent Labor Certification Program)

 

Permanent Resident

See Lawful Permanent Resident.

Permanent Resident Alien

See Lawful Permanent Resident.

PLC

Permanent Labor Certification

POE

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.

PR

Permanent Resident (also LAPR; LPR)

 

Pre-Inspection

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.

 

Principal Alien

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).

 

Priority Date

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.

PRUCOL

Permanently Residing in the United States Under Color of Law

Q

 

 

QA

Quality Assurance

QC

Quality Control

QDE

Qualified Designated Entity

R

 

 

RCA

Refugee Cash Assistance

Refugee

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.

 

Refugee Approvals

The number of refugees approved for admission to the United States during a fiscal year.

 

Refugee Arrivals

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.

 

Refugee-Parolee

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.

 

Regional Offices

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.

 

Registry Date

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.

RAC

Remote Adjudications Center

RAFACS

Receipt and Alien File Accountability Control System

RAW

Replenishment Agricultural Worker

RD

Receipt Date

 

Removal

The expulsion of an alien from the United States. This expulsion may be based on grounds of inadmissibility or deportability.

 

Required Departure

See "Voluntary Departure."

 

Resettlement

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.

 

Resident Alien

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.

 

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.

RFE

Request for Evidence

RFI

Request for Information

RMHP

Refugee Mental Health Program

RMA

Refugee Medical Assistance

RN

Receipt Notice

RNACS

Re-engineered Naturalization Automated Casework System

RPF

Regional Processing Facility

S

 

 

S&E

Science and Engineering

Safe Haven

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.

SAO

Security Advisory Opinion

SAVE

Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements

SAW

Seasonal Agricultural Worker; Special Agricultural Worker

SCOPS

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Service Center Operations

SDAO

Supervisory District Adjudications Officer

SDR

Survey of Doctorate Recipients

SED

Survey of Earned Doctorates

SEIU

Service Employees International Union

Service Centers

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.

SESA

State Employment Security Agency (now SWA)

SEVIS

Student Exchange and Visitor Information System

SI

Secondary Inspection

SOFTPAC

Software Professionals Political Action Committee

SOP

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.

 

Special Immigrants

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.

 

Sponsor

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.

SSA

Social Security Administration

Stare Decisis

Latin: To stand by things decided, i.e., precedent.

 

Stateless

Having no nationality.

STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

 

Stowaway

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.

 

Student

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.

SVP

Specific Vocational Preparation

SWA

State Workforce Agency

T

 

 

T-File

Temporary File

TAG

Technical Assistance Guide

TAL

Technology Alert List

TD

Trade Dependent

TDAO

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.

Temporary Resident

See "Nonimmigrant."

 

Temporary Worker

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.

TIVPC

Transitional Immigrant Visa Processing Center

TN

Trade NAFTA

TPS

Temporary Protected Status

Transit Alien

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.

TSA

United States Transportation Security Administration (also USTSA)

TSC

Texas Service Center (Mesquite, Texas)

TWOV

Transit Without Visa (also TWV)

TWV

Transit Without Visa (also TWOV)

U

 

 

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."

UNHCR

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).

USAG

United States Attorney General (also AG)

USC

United States Citizen; United States Consulate

USCBP

United States Customs and Border Protection (also CBP)

USCIA

United States Central Intelligence Agency (also CIA)

USCIS

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (also CIS)

USDA

United States Department of Agriculture

USDHHS

United States Department of Health and Human Services (also DHHS)

USDHS

United States Department of Homeland Security (also DHS)

USDOJ

United States Department of Justice (also DOJ)

USDOL

United States Department of Labor (also DOL)

USDOS

United States Department of State (also DOS)

USE

United States Embassy

USFBI

United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (also FBI)

USIA

United States Information Agency

USICE

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (also ICE)

USINS

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (Legacy) (also INS)

USTSA

United States Transportation and Security Administration (also TSA)

V

 

 

VAWA

Violence Against Women Act

Visa

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.

VO

Visa Office

VOLAG

Voluntary Legal Assistance Group

 

Voluntary Departure

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.

VRA

Veterans' Readjustment Act

VSC

Vermont Service Center (St. Albans, Vermont)

VWP

Visa Waiver Program

W

 

 

WAS

Washington, DC

WRO

Western Regional Office

X

 

 

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