Immigration Law Dictionary Online

Main terms explained to make your orientation easier.


All terms A B C D E G I L N P Q R S T V U W

Adjustment of Status

It is a process which allows an alien to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States without having…
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Admission

It is a permit for someone to stay legally in the United States. Admission also attaches a number of legal…
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Affidavit of Support

It is a financial support given by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to an alien who is attempting…
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Aggravated Felony

“Aggravated felony” is a term of art used to describe a category of offenses carrying particularly harsh immigration consequences for…
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Alien

Foreign-born persons who have not been naturalized to become U.S. citizens under federal law and the Constitution. Only “aliens” are…
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Asylum

A status given by the US government to a person who applies and shows that it is likely that he/she…
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Border Crossing Card (BCC)

It is an identity card issued by a consular officer to an alien who is resident in a foreign contiguous…
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Cancellation of Removal

It is a form of relief for a lawful permanent resident who has been lawfully admitted as a permanent residence…
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Consular Processing

It is a process by which a beneficiary of an immigration petition who is outside the U.S. applies for an…
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Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT or CMT)

It is a criminal offense that shocks the consciousness of the court; CIMT is not defined in the INA or…
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Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The federal department that rules all matters relating to homeland security. The immigration functions of the department are administered by…
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Deportability

Grounds or Acts that make a person subject to deportation. Deportation. It means the expulsion of a person or group…
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Derivative Citizenship

It is a citizenship conveyed to children through the naturalization of parents or, under certain circumstances, to foreign-born children adopted…
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Diversity Lottery

It is an annual immigration visa lottery through which nationals of countries which the U.S. considers to be under-represented through…
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Dual Nationality

It is the status of a person who is a legal citizen of two or more countries. Dual Nationality results…
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Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

It is Form I-688B issued by the USCIS proving the rights of foreign aliens to accept an employment in the…
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Exchange Visitor

It is nonimmigrant visa category for persons to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States with the purpose…
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Exclusion

It is a process of ejecting the person seeking admission to the United States even when he or she arrives…
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Expedited Removal

It is a process authorizing the ICE to quickly remove certain inadmissible aliens from the United States.
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Green Card

It is a document that allows an alien to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and to work…
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Immigrant

It is a person who is a legal resident of the United States.
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Immigrant Visa

It is a document issued by a U.S. consular officer abroad that allows you to travel to the United States…
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Immigration Judge

An attorney appointed by the Attorney General to act as an administrative judge within the Executive Office for Immigration Review.…
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Inadmissibility

It is a number of grounds that make a person ineligible for lawful admission into the United States.
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Inspection

It is obligatory process that all persons who arrive in the country must go through at the border. A person…
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Labor Certification

To qualify for the green card in the EB-2 or EB-3 green card categories, the immigrant worker must obtain approval…
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Labor Condition Application (LCA)

Labor condition application (LCA), Form ETA 9035/9035E is a document that a prospective H-1B employer files with ETA when it seeks to employ…
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Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)

It is a person who is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country despite not having citizenship.
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Legalization

 It is a program that allows to receive temporary residence status to certain aliens. Synonyms are also “temporary resident status”…
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National Interest Waiver

USCIS can make an exception (or "waiver") from the requirement that applicants in the EB-2 category must obtain approval of…
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Naturalization

The process by which a foreign person becomes a U.S. citizen.
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Nonimmigrant

It is a person who does not have immigration intentions and can establish that he or she has a residence…
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Nonimmigrant Visa

It is a document that allows an individual to come to the United States temporarily and for a limited purpose.…
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Parole

It is a permission allowing a person to physically enter the U.S. for a limited purpose, such as applying for…
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PERM

PERM is the U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent program for permanent labor certification program. It was officially promulgated on…
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Pre-inspection

It is a process of inspection of all airport passengers before they leave a foreign country during which they fill…
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Preference Categories

There are two separate preference categories established for permanent U.S. immigration: family-based and employment-based. The family-based categories require an immediate…
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Priority Date

For some family-based and some employment-based applications for legal permanent residence it is the date on which the initial part…
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Quotas

There are some restrictions on many immigration forms, they are called quotas.
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Reduction in Recruitment (RIR)

An alternative method of processing an application for labor certification, where the employer demonstrates sustained and unsuccessful attempts to recruit…
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Refugee

Any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no…
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Removal

It is a legal proceeding through which immigration officials seek to remove a foreign national from the United States for…
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Schedule A, Group II of the EB-2 Category

Exemption from the labor certification requirement can be obtained by aliens with exceptional ability in the sciences or the arts (not business…
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Service Centers

There are 5 offices which handle the filing, data entry, and adjudication of certain applications for immigration services and benefits.
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SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)

It is a networked computer system set up in the United States to track and monitor information on non-immigrant students…
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Special Immigrant

Special immigrant visas (which lead to lawful permanent resident status and green cards upon arrival in the U.S.) are available…
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Targeted Employment Area (TEA)

Getting an EB-5 project a targeted employment area (TEA) designation can be incredibly important for EB-5 investors. The required EB-5…
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Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

It is temporary status that the U.S. government occasionally gives to nationals of particular countries which have undergone extraordinary physical…
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The Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without…
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Unlawful Presence

It is time accumulated in the U.S. after a foreign national’s authorized stay expires. This can lead to problems with…
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US-VISIT

U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program. It is a program that allows to collect information about the entry and…
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Visa

A stamp placed in a passport that allows their holders to enter the United States according to the conditions for…
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Voluntary Departure

It means that you agree to leave the United States, without attempting to assert any rights to stay.
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Waivers

There is number of grounds of admissibility which can be waived under certain circumstances. At the same time the waivers…
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Withholding of Removal

Withholding of removal is similar to asylum in that an individual must prove that there is some type of threat…
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Work Permit

Provisional status given by the government to aliens, allowing them to work legally in this country. It certifies that they…
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