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Immigration Law Glossary

Trying to decipher an acronym? Attempting to understand legal jargon? The Immigration Law glossary gives you access to definitions for the Immigration legal terminology commonly used in documents and court proceedings. This Immigration Law glossary will help you understand the legal terms and phrases which are relevant to visas, citizenship, and other areas of Immigration law.

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  • Accompanying
    A type of visa in which family members travel with the principal applicant, (in immigrant visa cases, within six months of issuance of an immigrant visa to the principal applicant).
  • Acquired Citizenship
    Citizenship conferred at birth on children born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent(s).
  • Adjust Status
    1) To change from a nonimmigrant visa status or other status 2) To adjust the status of a permanent resident (green card holder).
  • 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 ...
  • Admission
    1 : the act or process of admitting [ into evidence] 2 a : a party's acknowledgment that a fact or statement is true NOTE: In civil cases admissions are often agreed to and offered in writing to the ...
  • Adopted Child
    An unmarried child under age 21, who was adopted while under the age of sixteen, and who has been in legal custody and lived with the adopting parent(s) for at least two years. These rules do not ...
  • Advance Parole
    Permission to return to the United States after travel abroad granted by DHS prior to leaving the U.S. The following categories of people may need advance parole
  • Advisory Opinion
    see opinion
  • Affidavit Of Support
    A document promising that the person who completes it will support an applicant financially in the United States. Family and certain employment immigration cases require the I-864 Affidavit of ...
  • Affiliated
    Associated or controlled by the same owner or authority.
  • Agent
    1 : someone or something that acts or exerts power : a moving force in achieving some result 2 : a person guided or instigated by another in some action [where the heads of departments are the ...
  • 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.
  • Alien
    [Latin alienus not one's own, foreign] : relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government
  • Amerasian (Vietnam)
    Immigrant visas are issued to Amerasians under a law 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 U.S. ...
  • Amerasian Act
    The law 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, ...
  • Aos
    Affidavit of Support, Form I-864. A document promising that the person who completes it will support an applicant financially in the United States. Family and certain employment immigration cases ...
  • Applicant (Visa)
    A foreign citizen who is applying for a nonimmigrant or immigrant U.S. visa. The visa applicant may also be referred as a beneficiary for petition based visas
  • Appointment Package
    The letter and documents that tell an applicant of the date of the immigrant visa interview. It includes forms that the applicant must complete before the interview and instructions for how to get ...
  • Apprehension
    : arrest
  • Approval Notice
    A U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration form, Notice of Action Form I-797, that says that USCIS has approved a petition, or request for extension of stay or change of status.
  • Arrival-Departure Card
    Also known as Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection official at the port-of-entry gives foreign visitors (all non-U.S. citizens) an Arrival-Departure Record, (a ...
  • Asylee
    A person who cannot return to his home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution. An application for asylum is made in the United States to the DHS. Go to the U. S. Citizenship and ...
  • Asylum
    : protection from arrest and extradition given esp. to political refugees by a nation or by an embassy or other agency that has diplomatic immunity
  • Beneficiaries
    Aliens on whose behalf a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, or employer have filed a petition for such aliens to receive immigration benefits from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. ...
  • Beneficiary
    pl: -ries : a person or entity (as a charity or estate) that receives a benefit from something: as a : the person or entity named or otherwise entitled to receive the principal or income or both ...
  • Biometrics
    Biologically unique information used to identify individuals. This information can be used to verify identity or check against other entries in the database. The best known biometric is the ...
  • 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 ...
  • Business Nonimmigrant
    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 ...
  • Cancellation Of Removal
    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 ...
  • Cancelled Without Prejudice
    A stamp an embassy or consulate puts on a visa when there is a mistake in the visa or the visa is a duplicate visa (two of the same kind). It does not affect the validity of other visas in the ...
  • Case Number
    The National Visa Center (NVC) gives each immigrant petition a case number. This number has three letters followed by ten digits (numbers). The three letters are an abbreviation for the overseas ...
  • Certificate Of Citizenship
    A document issued by the Department of Homeland Security as proof that the person is a U.S. citizen by birth (when born abroad) or derivation (not from naturalization). The Child Citizenship Act of ...
  • Certificate Of Naturalization
    A document issued by the Department of Homeland Security as proof that the person has become a U.S. citizen (naturalized) after immigration to the United States .
  • Change Status
    Changing from one nonimmigrant visa status to another nonimmigrant visa status while a person is in the U.S. is permitted for some types of visas, if approved by USCIS. Requests for change of status ...
  • Child
    pl: chil·dren 1 : a son or daughter of any age and usually including one formally adopted compare issue NOTE: The word child as used in a statute or will is often held to include a stepchild, an ...
  • Citizen
    [Anglo-French citezein, alteration of Old French citeien, from cité city] 1 : a native or naturalized individual who owes allegiance to a government (as of a state or nation) and is entitled to ...
  • Civil Surgeon
    A medically trained, licensed and experienced doctor practicing in the U.S. who is certified by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service). These medical professionals receive U.S. immigration
  • Cohabit
    : to live together as a married couple or in the manner of a married couple co·hab·i·ta·tion [kō-ha-bə-tā-shən] n
  • Common-Law Marriage
    : a marriage that is without a ceremony and is based on the parties' agreement to consider themselves married and usually also on their cohabitation for a period and their public recognition of the ...
  • Conditional Residence Visa
    If you have been married for less than two years when your husband or wife (spouse) gets lawful permanent resident status (gets a green card), then your spouse gets residence on a conditional basis. ...
  • Conditional Resident
    Any alien granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis (e.g., a spouse of a U.S. citizen; an immigrant investor), who is required to petition for the removal of the set conditions before ...
  • Country Of (Last) Residence
    The country in which an alien habitually resided prior to entering the United States.
  • 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 U.S. citizen or of a person who derived U.S. citizenship.
  • Country Of Nationality
    The country of a person's citizenship or country in which the person is deemed a national.
  • 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
  • Cut-Off Date
    The date that determines whether a preference immigrant visa applicant can be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview in any given month. The cut-off date is the priority date of the first applicant ...
  • Deferred Inspection
    See Parolee.
  • Department Of Homeland Security (Dhs)
    DHS is comprised of three main organizations responsible for immigration policies, procedures, implementation and enforcement of U.S. laws, and more. These DHS organizations include U. S. Citizenship ...
  • Department Of Labor
    A cabinet level unit/ministry of United States Government that has responsibility for labor issues. It has responsibility for deciding whether certain foreign workers can work in the United States.
  • Departure Under Safeguards
    The departure of an illegal alien from the United States which is physically observed by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official.
  • 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 ...
  • Deportation
    : an act or instance of deporting ;specif : the removal from a country of an alien whose presence is illegal or detrimental to the public welfare compare exclusion
  • Derivative Citizenship
    Citizenship conveyed to children through the naturalization of parents or, under certain circumstances, to foreign
  • Derivative Status
    Getting a status (visa) through another applicant, as provided under immigration law for certain visa categories. For example, the spouse and children of an exchange visitor (J Visa holder), would be ...
  • Diversity
    : diversity of citizenship
  • Diversity Visa Program
    The Department of State has an annual lottery for immigration to the United States. Up to 55,000 immigrants can enter the United States each year from countries with low rates of immigration to the ...
  • Documentarily Qualified
    Refers to an immigrant visa applicant who has: 1) returned Form DS 2001 (from the Instruction Package) to visa-issuing post (or in some cases, to the National Visa Center), OR 2) informed post in ...
  • Domicile
    [Latin domicilium dwelling place, home] 1 : the place where an individual has a fixed and permanent home for legal purposes called also legal residence 2 : the place where an organization (as a ...
  • Duration Of Status
    In certain visa categories such as diplomats, students and exchange visitors, the alien may be admitted into the U.S. for as long as the person is still doing the activity for which the visa was ...
  • Dv
    See Diversity Visa.
  • Exchange Visitor
    A foreign citizen coming to the United States to participate in a particular program in education, training, research, or other authorized exchange visitor program. See the Bureau of Educational and ...
  • Exclusion
    1 : the act of excluding or state of being excluded ;specif : refusal of entry into the U.S. by immigration officials [review of deportation and orders] compare deportation 2 : something that ...
  • Family First Preference
    A category of family immigration (F1) for unmarried sons and daughters of American citizens, and their children.
  • Family Fourth Preference
    A category of family immigration (F4) for brothers and sisters of American citizens and their spouses and children. The American citizen must be 21 years of age or older before he/she can file the ...
  • Family Second Preference
    A category of family immigration (F2) for spouses, children and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.
  • Family Third Preference
    A category of family immigration (F3) for married sons and daughters of American citizens and their spouses and children. Before 1992 this was known as Fourth Preference (P-4).
  • Federal Poverty Guidelines
    See Poverty Guidelines. The Department of Health and Human Services publishes a list every year giving the lowest income acceptable for a family of a particular size so that the family does not live ...
  • Fiance(E)
    A person who plans or is contracted to marry another person. The foreign fiance(e) of an American citizen may enter the United States on a K-1 visa to marry the American citizen. Visit the U.S. ...
  • Fiance(E)S Of U.S. Citizen
    A nonimmigrant alien coming to the United States to conclude a valid marriage with a U.S. citizen within ninety days after entry.
  • First Preference
    A category of family immigration (F1) for unmarried sons and daughters of American citizens and their children.
  • Following To Join
    A type of derivative visa status when the family member gets a visa after the principal applicant.
  • Foreign Affairs Manual (9 Fam)
    Foreign Affairs Manual 9, Chapter 41 relates to nonimmigrant visas. Chapter 42 covers immigrant visas. Chapter 40 relates to visa ineligibilities and waivers. Go to the U.S. Department of State site ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Fourth Preference
    A category of family immigration (F4) for brothers and sisters of American citizens and their spouses and children. The American citizen must be 21 years of age or older before he/she can file a ...
  • Full And Final Adoption
    A legal adoption in which the child receives all the rights of a natural born, legitimate child.
  • 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 ...
  • Green Card
    [from the fact that it was formerly colored green] : an identity card attesting the permanent resident status of an alien in the U.S.
  • Homeless
    Persons from countries that do not have an American Embassy or Consulate where they can apply for immigrant visas are "homeless." For example, the United States Government does not have an embassy in ...
  • Household Income
    The income used to determine whether a sponsor meets the minimum income requirements under Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for some immigrant visa cases.
  • I-551 (Green Card)
    Permanent residence card or alien registration receipt card or "green card." See Lawful Permanent Resident.
  • Immediate Relative
    Spouse, widow(er) and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an American citizen. A parent is an immediate relative if the American citizen is 21 years of age or older. There are no numerical ...
  • Immediate Relatives
    Certain immigrants who because of their close relationship to U.S. citizens are exempt from the numerical limitations imposed on immigration to the United States. Immediate relatives are: spouses of ...
  • Immigrant
    See Permanent Resident Alien.
  • Immigrant Visa
    A visa for a person who plans to live indefinitely and permanently in the United States.
  • 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 ...
  • Immigration And Nationality Act
    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.
  • Immigration And Nationality Act (Ina)
    American immigration law. The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was created in 1952, Public Law No. 82-414. The INA has been amended many times over the years, but is still the basic body of ...
  • Immigration And Naturalization Service (Ins)
    A branch of the Department of Justice that formerly existed and had responsibility for immigration and naturalization. INS was renamed and became part of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on March ...
  • 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, ...
  • 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 ...
  • Immigration Reform And Control Act (Irca) 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 ...
  • In Status
    It's important to understand the concept of immigration status and the consequences of violating that status. Being aware of the requirements and possible consequences will make it more likely that ...
  • Ina
    See Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • Inadmissible
    : not admissible [ evidence] [ testimony] in·ad·mis·si·bil·i·ty [-mi-sə-bi-lə-tē] n in·ad·mis·si·bly adv
  • Industrial Trainee
    See Temporary Worker.
  • 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 ...
  • Intracompany Transferee
    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 ...
  • Irca
    See Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
  • Iv
    Immigrant Visa
  • Joint Sponsor
    A person who accepts legal responsibility for supporting an immigrant with an I-864 Affidavit of Support along with the sponsor. The joint sponsor must be at least 18 years of age, an American citizen ...
  • Kentucky Consular Center (Kcc)
    A U.S. Department of State facility located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. It gives domestic (U.S.) support to the worldwide operations of the Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Office. It manages the ...
  • Labor Certification
    The initial stage of the process by which certain foreign workers get permission to work in the United States. The employer is responsible for getting the labor certification from the Department of ...
  • Labor Condition Application (Lca)
    A request to the Department of Labor for a foreign worker to work in the United States.
  • Lawful Permanent Resident (Lpr)
    A person who has immigrated legally but is not an American citizen. This person has been admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant and has a Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551 also known as green card. It ...
  • Lawful Permanent Resident Alien (Lpra)
    Lawful permanent resident.
  • Lay Worker
    A person who works in a religious organization but is not a member of the formal clergy.
  • Lea
    See Local Educational Agency.
  • 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 ...
  • Legitimation
    The legal process which a natural father can use to acknowledge legally his children who were born out of wedlock (outside of marriage). A legitimated child can be a "child" under immigration law ...
  • Life Act
    Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act and amendments. This act of Congress allows foreign spouses of American citizens, the children of those foreign spouses, and spouses and children of certain ...
  • Local Educational Agency
    School or school district. Also called LEA. This term is used for deciding tuition charges for secondary school students in F-1 visa status.
  • Lose Status
    To stay in the United States longer than the period of time which Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gave to a person when he/she entered the United States, or to fail to meet the requirements or ...
  • Lottery
    See Diversity Visa Program.
  • Lpr Or Lpra
    See Lawful Permanent Resident.
  • Machine Readable Passport (Mrp)
    A passport which has biographic information entered on the data page according to international specifications. A machine readable passport is required to travel with a visa on the Visa Waiver ...
  • Machine Readable Visa (Mrv)
    A visa that contains biometric information about the passport holder. A visa that immigration officers read with special machines when the applicants enter the United States. It gives biographic ...
  • Maintain Status
    To follow the requirements of the visa status and comply with any limitations on duration of stay.
  • 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 ...
  • Migrant
    A person who leaves his/her country of origin to seek residence in another country.
  • Missionary Work
    Work performed for a religious organization to spread the faith (religion) and advance the principles and doctrines of the religion. Such work may include religious instruction, help for the elderly ...
  • Mrv
    See Machine Readable Visa.
  • Nacara
    Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act.
  • Nafta
    North American Free-Trade Agreement.
  • National
    A person owing permanent allegiance to a state.
  • National Interest Waiver
    This is for physicians and doctors who work in an area without adequate health care workers or who work in Veterans Affairs' facilities. These physicians and doctors can file immigrant visa petitions ...
  • National Visa Center (Nvc)
    A Department of State facility located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It supports the worldwide operations of the Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Office. The NVC processes immigrant visa petitions from ...
  • Native
    A person born in a particular country is a native of that country.
  • 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 ...
  • Naturalization
    To grant citizenship to a foreign-born person under statutory authority.
  • Naturalization Application
    The form used by a lawful permanent resident to apply for U.S. citizenship. The application is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Service Center with jurisdiction over the ...
  • 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 ...
  • Nonimmigrant Visa (Niv)
    A U.S. visa allows the bearer, a foreign citizen, to apply to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. Examples of persons who may receive nonimmigrant visas are tourists, student, ...
  • Notice Of Action
    A Department of Homeland Security, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration form, Notice of Action, Form I-797 that says that USCIS has received a petition you submitted, taken ...
  • Numerical Limit, Exempt 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 ...
  • Nvc
    See National Visa Center.
  • 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 ...
  • Orphan
    : a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents ;broadly : a child without a parent or guardian
  • Orphan Petition
    Form I-600
  • Out Of Status
    A U.S. visa allows the bearer to apply for entry to the U.S. in a certain classification, for a specific purpose. For example, student (F), visitor (B), temporary worker (H). Every visa is issued for ...
  • Out Of Wedlock (Born Out Of Wedlock)
    A child born of parents who were not legally married to each other at that time.
  • Overstay
    An "Overstay" occurs when a visitor stays longer than permitted as shown on his/her Arrival/Departure (I-94) card. A violation of the CBP defined length of admission may make you ineligible for a visa ...
  • Panel Physician
    Embassies and consulates which issue immigrant visas have selected certain doctors to do the medical examinations for immigrant visa applicants.
  • Parolee
    : a prisoner released on parole
  • 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 ...
  • Permanent Resident
    Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as "Permanent Resident Alien," ...
  • Permanent Resident Alien
    an alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of ...
  • Physical Presence
    The place where a person is actually, physically located.
  • Polygamy
    : the offense of having several and specif. more than two spouses at one time compare bigamy po·lyg·a·mous [-məs] adj
  • Port Of Entry
    Place (often an airport) where a person requests admission to the U.S. by the Customs and Border Protection officer.
  • Post
    : to put up (as bond) [ bail]
  • Poverty Guidelines
    The Department of Health and Human Services publishes a list every year giving the lowest income acceptable for a family of a particular size so that the family does not live in poverty. Consular ...
  • 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 ...
  • Preference Immigration
    A system for determining which and when people can immigrate to the United States within the limits of immigration set by Congress. In family immigration preference is based on the status of the ...
  • Preference System
    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 ...
  • 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).
  • Principal Applicant
    The person named in the petition. For example, an American citizen may file a petition for his married daughter to immigrate to the United States. His daughter will be the principal applicant, and her ...
  • Priority Date
    The priority date decides a person's turn to apply for an immigrant visa. In family immigration the priority date is the date when the petition was filed at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ...
  • Public Charge
    Refers to becoming dependent upon the government for the expenses of living (food, shelter, clothing, etc.). Following U.S. immigration law, an applicant is ineligible for a visa if he/she will be a ...
  • Qualifying Date
    The date which the Visa Office of the Department of State uses the qualifying date to determine when to send the Instruction Package to an immigrant visa applicant. The Instruction Package tells the ...
  • Rank Order Number
    The number that Kentucky Consular Center gives to the entries of DV Program (lottery) as the computer selects them. The first entries chosen have the lowest numbers. The Visa Office of the Department ...
  • Re-Entry Permit
    A travel document that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who want to stay outside of the U.S. for more than one year and less than two years. LPRs ...
  • Receipt Notice
    A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) form, Notice of Action I-797, which says that the DHS has received a petition.
  • Refugee
    : an individual seeking refuge or asylum ;esp : an individual who has left his or her native country and is unwilling or unable to return to it because of persecution or fear of persecution (as ...
  • 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.
  • 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 ...
  • Removal
    : the act or process of removing : the fact of being removed
  • 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 ...
  • Resident Alien
    Applies to non-U.S. citizens currently residing in the United States. The term is applied in three different manners; please see Permanent Resident, Conditional Resident, and Returning Resident
  • Retrogression
    Sometimes a case that is current one month will not be current the next month. This occurs when the annual numerical limit has been reached. This usually happens near the end of a fiscal year (October ...
  • Returning Resident
    Any Lawful Permanent Resident who has been outside the United States and is returning to the U.S. Also defined as a "special immigrant." If outside of the U.S. for more than 180 days, must apply for ...
  • Returning Residents
    Lawful permanent residents who want to return to the United States after staying abroad more than one year or beyond the expiration of their re-entry permits.
  • Revalidation Or Renewal Of A Visa
    Nonimmigrant visa applicants who currently have a visa, and are seeking renewal or revalidation of their visa for future travel to the U.S. must apply abroad, generally in their country of residence. ...
  • Revocation Of A Visa
    Cancellation of a visa. The visa is no longer good (valid) for travel to the United States.
  • 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 ...
  • Saw
    See Special Agricultural Worker.
  • Schedule A Occupations
    The Department of Labor (DOL) has given the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services authority to approve labor certifications for these occupations. These occupations are physical therapists, ...
  • Second Preference
    A category of family immigration (F2) for spouses, children and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.
  • Section 213a
    A section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which establishes that sponsors have a legal duty to support immigrants they want to bring (sponsor) to the United States. They must complete ...
  • Sibling
    Brother or sister.
  • Special Agricultural Worker
    Farm workers in perishable products who worked for a specified period of time and were able to adjust status to lawful permanent resident according to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
  • Special Immigrant
    A special category of immigrant visas for persons who lost their citizenship by marriage; persons who lost citizenship by serving in foreign armed forces; certain foreign medical school graduates; ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Sponsor
    1 : a legislator who introduces and supports a legislative proposal (as a bill or amendment) 2 : a person who assumes responsibility for some other person (as an immigrant) or thing 3 a : one that ...
  • Sponsored Immigrant
    An immigrant who has had an affidavit of support filed for him/her.
  • Spouse
    Legally married husband or wife. A co-habiting partner does not qualify as a spouse for immigration purposes. A common-law husband or wife may or may not qualify as a spouse for immigration purposes, ...
  • State Workforce Agency
    The agency or bureau in each State that deals with employment and labor issues. For the address of workforce agency in each State go to the U.S. Department of Labor Foreign Labor Certification site.
  • Stateless
    Having no nationality.
  • Stepchild
    A spouse's child from a previous marriage or other relationship. In order for a stepchild to be able to immigrate as a "child," the marriage creating the stepchild/stepparent relationship must have ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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, ...
  • 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 ...
  • Surviving Parent
    A child's living parent when the child's other parent is dead, and the living parent has not remarried.
  • Swa
    See State Workforce Agency.
  • Tax-Exempt
    1 : exempted from taxation ;also : based on such exemption [ status] 2 : providing interest or income that is exempted from taxation [a municipal bond]
  • Temporary Protected Status (Tps)
    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 Attorney General may designate nationals of ...
  • Temporary Resident
    See Nonimmigrant.
  • Temporary Worker
    A foreign worker who will work in the United States for a limited period of time. Some visas classes for temporary workers are H, L, O, P, Q and R. If you are seeking to come to the U.S. for ...
  • Termination Of A Case
    If the applicant fails to reply to the inquiry correspondence sent by their embassy or consulate, termination of their visa application will begin. The embassy or consulate will first send a Follow-up ...
  • Third Country National
    Someone who is not an American and not a citizen of the country in which you are applying for a visa. Suppose you are a Kenyan visiting Mexico. If you apply for a visa to visit the United States while ...
  • Third Preference
    A category of family immigration (F3) for married sons and daughters of American citizens and their spouses and children. Before 1992 this was known as Fourth Preference (P-4).
  • 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 ...
  • Transit Without Visa (Twov)
    A transit alien traveling without a nonimmigrant visa. An alien admitted under agreements with a transportation line, which guarantees his immediate and continuous passage to a foreign destination. ...
  • 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, ...
  • Upgrade A Petition
    If you naturalize (become an American citizen) you may ask the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to change the petitions you filed for family members when you were a lawful permanent resident ...
  • Visa
    : an endorsement made on a passport by the proper authorities denoting that it has been examined and that the bearer may proceed
  • Visa Expiration Date
    The visa expiration date is shown on the visa. This means the visa is valid, or can be used from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel for the same purpose, when the visa is ...
  • Visa Numbers
    Congress establishes the amount of immigration each year. Immigration for immediate relatives is unlimited; however, preference categories are limited. To distribute the visas fairly among all ...
  • Visa Validity
    This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel for the same purpose for visas, when the visa is issued for multiple entries. ...
  • 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 ...
  • Visa Waiver Program (Vwp)
    Citizens of participating countries meeting the Visa Waiver Program requirements to may be allowed to enter the United States as visitors for pleasure or business without first getting a visa. ...
  • Visas
    Temporary permission to visit a country for a limited time and purpose.
  • 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 ...
  • Voluntary Service Program
    An organized project that a religious or nonprofit charitable organization does to provide help to the poor or needy or to further a religious or charitable cause. Participants may be eligible for B ...
  • Waiver Of Ineligibility
    In immigration law certain foreign nationals are ineligible for visas to enter the United States for medical, criminal, security or other conditions and activities. Some applicants for visas are able ...
  • Withdrawal
    1 : the act or fact of withdrawing [ from a conspiracy] 2 : removal of money from a place of deposit or investment [a penalty for early ]