GLOSSARY OF IMMIGRATION TERMS
Affidavit of Support: Document filed by a petitioner and/or financial sponsor on behalf of individuals and families who plan to immigrate to the United States
Alien: Term used to describe an individual who is neither a citizen nor national of the United States.
Alien Registration Number: Unique eight or nine-digit number assigned to a noncitizen by the USCIS.
Arrival Departure Record: Document issued to a foreign national upon entry to the United States that indicates that individual’s visa status upon entry, as well as his/her allowed duration of stay in the United States.
Citizenship: Country in which a person is born or naturalized and to which that person owes allegiance.
Concurrent Filing: Filing of an immigrant petition and adjustment of status (green card) application at the same time at the same filing location.
Conditional Permanent Resident: Individual granted two-year conditional residency (usually the spouse of a U.S. citizen or an immigrant investor). Conditional Permanent Residents must petition to remove the conditions on their green cards prior to expiration.
DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - temporary relief from deportation or from being placed into removal proceedings granted to undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and meet certain eligibility requirements.
Employment Authorization Document: Commonly known as a work permit, this document, issued by the USCIS, allows foreign nationals to work in the United States.
Fiancé(e) Visa: Nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign national fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to travel to the United States with the purpose of marrying the U.S. citizen.
Green Card: Also known as a Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Card, this document is issued by USCIS as evidence of lawful permanent residence in the United States. Generally, it is valid for 10 years and should be renewed prior to expiration.
Illegal Alien: Term used to describe an individual who is undocumented and/or who entered the United States illegally and is removable.
Immigrant: Individual who migrates to another country, usually to stay.
Immigrant Visa: Type of visa issued to an intending immigrant, usually at a consulate abroad, following that individual’s meeting of particular eligibility requirements.
Immigration: The act of leaving one’s country and moving to another of which an individual is not native.
InfoPass: USCIS online appointment scheduling service used by individuals who need information about a pending case.
INS: Legacy organization preceding USCIS.
National Visa Center: Section of the Department of State responsible for processing approved immigrant visa petitions and preparing for adjudication by a consulate abroad.
Naturalization: The process of becoming a citizen of the United States.
Naturalization Certificate: Document obtained by individuals who naturalize and become citizens of the United States.
Nonimmigrant Alien: Individual currently in the United States as a temporary visitor for work, tourism, or other short-term reason.
Nonimmigrant Visa: Entry document given to foreign nationals who meet certain requirements and plan to visit the United States as tourists, workers, or for another short-term reason.
Parole: Permission granted by DHS to a foreign national to enter the United States.
Passport: Travel document, issued by a country’s government, certifying the holder’s identity and nationality for the purpose of international travel.
Permanent Resident: Non-citizen of the United States living in the U.S. permanently.
Permanent Resident Alien: Document issued by USCIS as evidence of lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Permanent Resident Card: Document issued by USCIS as evidence of lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Refugee: Individual who has been forced to flee his/her country of nationality and who is unable or unwilling to return for fear of persecution.
Temporary Protected Status: Status granted by DHS to citizens of a foreign country due to unsafe circumstances or conditions preventing those citizens to return.
Travel Document: Permission given to non-citizens of the United States to legally leave and return. Generally referred to as Advance Parole, Refugee Travel Document or Re-entry Permit.
U.S. Citizen: Individual who was born in the United States or who naturalized by way of the U.S. immigration system.
U.S. National: Individual born in the U.S. territories of American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
USCIS Medical Exam: This is required by USCIS as part of the green card or immigrant visa process, performed by authorized Civil Surgeons in the U.S. or panel physicians abroad.
USCIS Number: Unique eight or nine-digit number assigned to a noncitizen by the USCIS.
Visa: Document issued by a U.S. consulate abroad, which allows its holder to travel to the United States, either temporarily or permanently.
Visa Waiver Program: Program which allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa.
Work Permit: This document, issued by the USCIS, allows foreign nationals to work in the United States.