Glossary of Terms

Here find explanation to the immigration jargon

Admission: Lawful entry of a foreign national into U.S. after inspection and authorization by the Immigration officer. A parolee is not admitted

Adjustment of status (AOS): changing the status of a foreign national who was inspected and admitted or paroled into U.S. to a lawful permanent resident. (This is necessary to gain the green card while in U.S. in some other status)

Advance Parole: Government permission to come into U.S. without seeking admission.

Age-out protection: a child attaining 21 yrs. of age during the pendency of the immigration matter would continue to retain his status as a child under certain circumstances.

Alien: One who is not a citizen or a national of United States.

Annual Cap: total number of visa admissions available under a category during any Fiscal Year (most frequently used for H-1B visas).

Approval Notice: A letter from the Immigration Agency stating the petition or the application is approved.

Application: The official form to be used by the foreign national beneficiary requesting immigration benefits.

Arrival departure card/ I-94: A white card that contains the length of the authorized stay determined by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It must be kept in the passport and turned in while departing U.S. Form (I-94) & (I-94 W for Nationals of Visa Vaiwer Program countries)

Benching: placing an H-1B nonimmigrant worker, in non productive status without pay "due to a decision by the employer (eg. because of lack of assigned work or of permit or license). Benching is impermissible.

Bonafides: In good faith.

Battered spouse: Alien spouse of a U.S. citizen/ Lawful permanent resident/ a non immigrant alien, who was sujected to extreme cruelty

Cap exempt: certain petitions that are not counted towards the total number of visa available in a particular category (usually h-1b. These petitions may be filed without regard to whether a cap is reached for that category (several H-1B petitions are cap exempt).

Case Number: A number given to every immigration case. Generally, it is on the receipt notice except in case of J-1 waiver where it is on the online application.

Certificate of Citizenship: Documentary proof of citizenship. Many children are born citizens of United States and are eligible to this document.

Certificate of Naturalization: Documetary proof of citizenship acquired through naturalization.

Child: unmarried person under 21 yrs. of age who is a natural born child of a lawful marriage and includes a step child, a child that is legitimated, adopted, born out of wedlock if certain conditions are met. This is a complex issue to be dealt with. Talk to an attorney if you think this needs clarification.

Child is a term of art. According to a 2009 Board of Immigration Appeals decision, a step child is not a child to derive automatic citizenship through a U.S. citizen step parent.

Common Law Marriage: Partners living together as man and wife without the lawful marriage so as to avoid the legal obligations attached to the married couple. Recognized in some U.S. States.

Conditional Resident Status: Immigrant visa issued to the foreign national spouse of a U.S. citizen if the couple remain married for less than two years.

Current: The wait is over and the petition/ application is about to be processed by the government.

Cut-off date: The date upto which all petitions/applications received by the government would be considered for the particular visa category.

Child Status Protection Act (CPSA): New rules enacted in 2002 to protect family unity where children could claim the same immigration benefits even if they turn 21 awaiting processing of immigration papers and could immigrate into U.S. with their family.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA):

Effective 8/15/2012 government announced benefit toEWI entrants or visa overstayers who came into U.S. during childhood i.e. prior to attaining age 16 and have not turned 31 yrs. of age. Conditional benefit extends for two years and postpones deportation and grants employment authorization. Benefit is renewable.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD): A document evidencing U.S. government's permission to engage in employment.

E-verify: Also known as electronic verification of employment eligibility. This is an internet based voluntary program where employers can check the employment authorization of the prospective employee.

Fiscal Year: A period from October 1 to September 30 in any given year.

Final receipt date: Date determined by USCIS that sufficient number of applications have been received to exhaust the cap (available visa numbers in a particular category) in a fiscal year.

Graduate of Medical School: a foreign national who has graduated from a medical school or one who has qualified to practice medicine in a foreign state other than some one who is nationally or internationally reknown in the field of medicine.

H-ing out: Foreign nationals awaiting processing of their employment based immigration papers exhaust their authorized period of stay under h-1B status.

I-20: Certificate of eligibility provided by the U.S. School and must be presented when applying for the student or exchange visitor visa.

Immigrant Visa: Visas issued at the U.S. Consulates to those who qualify to come to U.S. to live permanently.

INS: Immigration & Naturalization Service

INA: Immigration & Nationality Act

Maintain status: This is a term of art and could be confusing at times. Technically, it means, visa holder following the requirements of the visa. Every visa is issued for a specific purpose and for a specific class of visitor. In addition, each visa classification has a set of requirements that the visa holder must follow. Those who follow the requirements maintain their status. This is an important condition for many foreign nationals to retain their eligibility to remain in U.S. Those who do not maintain status; are considered out of status.

Naturalization: Conferring the nationality of the State after Birth.

Nonimmigrant visa: Visas issued to foreign nationals on temporary basis for a specific purpose.

Out of Status: Visa holder violating the requirerments of the visa. Every visa is issued for a specific purpose and for a specific class of visitor. In addition, each visa classification has a set of requirements that the visa holder must follow and maintain. Those who follow the requirements maintain their status and and ensure their ability to remain in U.S. Those who do not, violate their status and are considered out of status.

Portability: Ability to use the same status while changing employers. Generally this term is used in relation to H-1B and employment based immigration petition I-140.

Premium processing: This is an additional fee charged by the U.S. government for those wishing fast processing of their petitions. A petitioner may pay $ 1,000 for expedited processing of their case. Available for only a few types of petitions which are processed within 15 days.

Recapture: All the days spent outside U.S. that may be used to extend the H-1B holder's valid period of maximum stay in U.S.

Returning Resident Immigrant: A legal permanent resident returning to U.S. after a temporary visit abroad.

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Program): An internet based system that maintains current information about the student (F & M) and J Exchange visitors' and their dependents. The mandatory information is provided by the educational institutions to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State throughout the duration of students' stay.

SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program): A system to monitor the schools, exchange program and the F, M and J visa visitors.

TPS: Temporary Protected Status. Foreign Nationals of certain qualifying nations can enter and stay in U.S. in this status.

Unauthorized Alien: A foreign national who (with reference to employment) is not authorized to work or is not lawfully admitted to permanent residence.

Work: usually involves services performed and also compensation paid for the services.

**Please visit again as I update this page from time to time.**

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