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This glossary is designed to help you better understand the terms used in the immigration process. These terms do not replace the definitions of laws, regulations or other definitions established by law or by the official policies and interpretations of law of the Department of Homeland Security.

Award (adjudicate): when an immigration official decides to accept or reject an application.

Admission (admission): when a foreigner submits to the inspection of an immigration officer at a border post or at an airport.

Admission on parole: it is generally granted for humanitarian reasons to a foreigner who is outside the United States, or to a foreigner who is already in the country and who wishes to travel abroad but is pending approval for a change of status.

Humanitarian parole: It is assigned to people who for health reasons must enter the country or it is also used to avoid separating parents from their children when the number of visas has already been exhausted.

Deferred admission: formerly known as deferred inspection. It occurs when an immigrant or potential lawful permanent resident has difficulty re-entering the United States and must appear before the local Immigration office to clarify their immigration status.

Amnesty (AMNESTY): benefit for a limited time that is granted to the undocumented so that they can change their immigration status and can acquire a green card if they show that they have resided in the country before a certain date.

Late amnesty (late amnesty): This benefit was given to illegal aliens who did not file their amnesty application before the 1988 deadline and are part of several class action lawsuits against the Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Administrative appeal: an appeal filed with the local Immigration office, addressed to the Washington Administrative Appeals Unit, within thirty days of the date of denial of a petition.

Asylee (asylee): an alien in the United States or at a point of entry who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of origin, or seek protection in that country, due to persecution or a validly based fear of persecution. Persecution or fear of persecution must be based on race, religion, nationality, participation in a particular social group, or political opinion of the alien.

Asylum: evidence to demonstrate that one has the right to remain in the country due to justified fear of suffering persecution due to their political opinions, religion, gender, nationality or membership of a particular social group. A duly justified fear of persecution is considered to be a 10% chance of serious harm.

Individual hearing: type of hearing prior to immigration court in which the foreign national who appears presents his case during a period of one to three hours.

Self-petition: circumstances in which there is a foreigner with extraordinary professional knowledge; an abused spouse or the widow or widower of a United States citizen who has been married to that citizen for a minimum of two years.

Fingerprint clearance: Mandatory verification of fingerprints after comparing them with the records of the FBI computers, prior to the change of immigration status. Fingerprints must be taken within the fifteen months prior to the date of the change in immigration status. Otherwise, they will “expire” and will have to be taken again.

Beneficiary (beneficiary): the nonresident alien who will benefit from the petition filed on his behalf by a relative who is a US citizen or who has a green card, or by a company that makes him a job offer.

Indirect beneficiary (derivative beneficiary): person who obtains an immigration status through the request for a visa not based on their own requirements but on their relationship with the main beneficiary, as in the case of a child applying for a visa through their father, or a spouse through of your spouse.

Main beneficiary (main beneficiary): the primary beneficiary of a visa petition, as opposed to a derivative beneficiary.

Visa Bulletin (Visa Bulletin): information that the Department of State updates monthly indicating the visa preferential categories and the available priority dates.

Delete criminal record (expungement): criminal record in which the name of the person has been removed from the records of a certain state.

Curricular practical training: A program that allows students to accept paid alternative work or study, internships, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship offered by employers through cooperative agreements with the educational institution.

Change of office: petition of the applicant or motion presented by the accused, to change the jurisdiction of the office of the Immigration and Citizenship Service or the Immigration Court due to a change of address.

Cancellation of removal: procedure that can be used by a person who appears before the Immigration Court and can demonstrate that they have lived in the United States for ten years, that they are a person of good moral reputation and that in the event of being deported by one of their parents, spouse or US citizen children would suffer "unusually extreme hardship."

Letter of "suitcases and luggage" (bag and baggage letter or "run" letter): circular sent by the Office of Deportations indicating to a non-resident alien to appear before the office on a certain date, with their luggage, to be deported.

Case of "soon dispatch" (expedited case): cases of change of immigration status that need to be processed urgently, such as diversity visas, applications for children about to turn 21 years of age, petitions for health reasons or other urgent reasons.

Preferential visa category: non-direct relative, whose petition, therefore, requires a waiting period between the I-130 application and the application for change of immigration status.

CBP: Acronym for US Customs and Border Protection, an agency belonging to the Department of Homeland Security.

Labor certification: certification from the Department of Labor required of employers in the United States who wish to hire and immigrate to the United States because of their job skills, or who wish to hire temporary non-immigrant workers entering the country to provide services because there are no licensed workers qualified for such work in the United States. The labor certification is issued by the Secretary of Labor and includes testimonials from U.S. employers about the number of U.S. workers available to take the job requested and the effect hiring from abroad has on wages and conditions of employment. work of US workers with similar jobs. The determination of the availability of work in the United States is made at the time of the visa application and in the place where the applicant wishes to work.

Certificate of Eligibility for non-immigrant students (F-1), for academic or language institutions (Form I-20): a document controlled by the Department of Homeland Security that is required to support the application for a student visa (F-1 or M-1) prepared by the educational institution, which can only be obtained through the Student and Visitor Information System Exchange (SEVIS).

Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors (J-1) (Form DS-2019): A Department of State controlled document that is required to support the application for an exchange visitor visa (J-1) prepared by the program sponsor, which can only be obtained through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Labor certification: certification from the Department of Labor required of employers in the United States who wish to hire and immigrate to the United States because of their job skills, or who wish to hire temporary non-immigrant workers entering the country to provide services because there are no licensed workers qualified for such work in the United States. The labor certification is issued by the Secretary of Labor and includes testimonials from U.S. employers about the number of U.S. workers available to take the job requested and the effect hiring from abroad has on wages and conditions of employment. work of US workers with similar jobs. The determination of the availability of work in the United States is made at the time of the visa application and in the place where the applicant wishes to work.

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations.

Fingerprint Center (application support center [ASC]): office where applicants are fingerprinted.

Service Center: the centers in which petitions and applicants submitted by people living in the states under their jurisdiction are processed.

National Visa Center (NVC): State Department office located in New Hampshire, where approved visa petitions are kept until they are available according to their priority date.

Labor certification (labor cerfication): One of the requirements for some of the employment-based applications is the submission of an approved labor certification. It is an actual job offer for U.S. workers, under the supervision of a state employment agency, to establish that no U.S. worker is prepared, willing, trained, and qualified to fill the job position that it is being offered to a foreigner.

Certificate of citizenship: document that is issued in lieu of the naturalization certificate for foreign-born children of US parents, children adopted by US citizens, or children of parents who have acquired US citizenship. They are normally granted to those who have the right to obtain citizenship without having previously been permanent residents.

Naturalization certificate: document that is granted as proof of having become a citizen of the United States by naturalization.

Administrative closure: case that has not been rejected but is no longer pending.

Notice to appear: indictment document ordering a person to appear in immigration court.

Citizen (citizen): a person born in the United States, a person born outside the United States of American parents, or a person who has naturalized or obtained a certificate of citizenship.

Classification: short code that appears on the green card and approval notice. It is the basis on which permanent resident status is granted.

Clemency under article 212 (c) relief): case in which a lawful permanent resident who has committed crimes with nefarious conduct but has not committed aggravated felonies, can request the suspension of his expulsion by demonstrating the existence of certain positive factors in his favor.

Federal Code of Regulations: A codification of rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. See also “Regulations”.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Agency that enforces federal laws that prohibit discrimination against job applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 years or older), disability, or genetic information.

Hire: The actual start of the performance of an employee's duties for salaries or other remuneration.

Change of immigration status (change of status): application that is made by filing form I-539, in the United States, to request the change of non-immigrant status to another immigration status.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):detailed multivolume interpretation of federal law, including immigration law.

Respondent (respondent): The name given to an alien undergoing removal proceedings before the immigration court, similar to a defendant in a criminal trial.

Sentence (conviction): decision regarding a judicial case in which it is ruled that a person violated the law and the corresponding judgment was issued.

consulate (consult): office in charge of the Department of State of the United States that at the same time is a dependency of the main office of the American embassy in a great country. This office is responsible for issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas to foreign applicants applying to the United States. The consulate can also make decisions regarding US citizenship.

Aggravated felony: in the immigration context, any type of felony or crime listed in article 101 (a) (43) of the Immigration Act, which includes numerous non-violent crimes and misdemeanors.

Justice Department: Department that belongs to the Executive Branch of the United States government and that has the primary responsibilities of enforcing the laws and defending the interests of the United States in accordance with the law; guarantee public safety in the face of national and foreign threats; provide leadership at the federal level to control and prevent crime; seek just punishment for those found guilty of illegal behavior and ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Department of Homeland Security: Department that belongs to the Executive Branch of the United States government and that is in charge of the security of the country: it takes precautionary measures against terrorism and manages the risks of fundamental infrastructure; provides security and manages borders; administers and enforces immigration laws; provides protection and security to cyberspace, and ensures disaster recovery capacity.

Work Department: A department that belongs to the Executive Branch of the United States government, which fosters and promotes the well-being of those who seek work, those who earn a salary and those who retire in the United States by improving working conditions, promoting profitable employment opportunities , protect retirement and health care benefits, help employers find workers, strengthen the collective bargaining agreement, and track changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measures. To carry out this mission, this department administers a variety of federal labor laws, including those that guarantee workers' rights to safe and healthy working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; a job where there is no discrimination; unemployment insurance and other income support.

Deportable (deportable): It occurs when a person is arrested by a deportation officer and sent back to their home country, usually in compliance with an order of deportation or removal issued by an Immigration Court.

DHS: Acronym for Department of Homeland Security.

Disabilities (employees or disabled people): People with mental or physical disabilities who severely limit one or more of their major daily activities, who have a medical history of such disabilities, or who are considered to have these disabilities.

District Director (District Director [DD]): the chief officer of the Immigration offices in a certain district which may include several states. The DD has considerable discretion and power with respect to certain types of requests, such as admission for humanitarian reasons or postponement of the deadline for voluntary departure from the country.

Discrimination: Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), citizenship or immigration status, national origin, disability, age (40 or older) or genetic information in the workplace, or other characteristic or activity protected by law.

I-212 waiver (I-212 waiver): form necessary to avoid the consequences of an order of removal or deportation.

Employment authorization document (EAD): photo identification card issued by Immigration, through which it proves the authorization for the holder to work in the United States.

Arrival / departure document (I-94): see form I-94.

Refugee travel document (refugee travel document): blue passport that replaces the country's own passport and is intended only for refugees and asylees. It cannot be used as a re-entry permit. It serves as an early return permit for refugees and asylees.

Eligible under Article 245 (I) ELIGIBLE): case in which an eligible person can apply for the I-485 A Supplement visa, pay the fine of $ 1000 and change their immigration status.

Removal of conditions (remove conditions): process through which the foreigner presents the due form and the due records to a service center, proving that his marriage is legitimate or that he has fulfilled the stipulated investment requirements.

Temporary Trotected Status (TPS): Status granted to foreigners from certain countries affected by war, famine or natural disasters in order to be able to work and obtain a Social Security number.

E-Verify: an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9 with data from the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment authorization.

Medical examination: An exam performed by a doctor approved by Immigration or the Department of State and completes a special form that is required prior to changing immigration status or to obtain an immigrant visa at an embassy or consulate.

Exclusion (exclusion): It occurs when a lawful permanent resident with a criminal record attempts to re-enter the country and is not allowed entry.

Expellable (removable): illegal alien or lawful permanent resident who has violated immigration laws by committing certain criminal or fraudulent acts and is subject to expulsion or deportation.

Cap-gap extension: Allows foreign students who wish to change to H-1B status to extend their employment status and authorization until September 30 of the calendar year for which the H-1B petition is filed, but only if the employment start date under the H-1B condition it begins on October 1. The extension is automatically canceled if the request is rejected, denied, or revoked.

Extension of immigration status (extension of status [EOS [): cases in which an extension of the duration of the same type of non-immigrant visa is requested.

Undocumented alien (illegal alien): a person who lives in the United States without immigration status or who entered the country without inspection.

Resident alien (resident alien): permanent resident or person who has been granted an extension of their non-immigrant visa, but not a tourist one.

Direct or immediate family member (immediate relative): spouse, parent, or child (under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen. Adopted children must be adopted before their 16th birthday and stepchildren before their 18th birthday.

Deadline (cut-off date): the date in the monthly chart of the State Department Visa Bulletin. Applicants whose priority date is earlier than the deadline are eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Priority date: date used to determine when a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition can request a change of immigration status.

Prosecutor (trial attorney): Prosecutor representing Immigration as an accuser.

Asylum officer: Immigration clerk in charge of the initial administrative interview regarding an asylum application.

G-28: form for the appearance of a lawyer. Blue form that must accompany every immigration application so that a lawyer can be officially registered and copies of correspondence sent to him.

G-325A: detailed biographical data form that is required to be completed for requests for change of immigration status and other requests. One of the copies is sent to the embassy of the applicant's country of origin and the other is sent to the CIA for verification of the records. All applicants for change of immigration status fourteen years of age and older are required.

Guarantor (sponsor): person or company submitting an application on behalf of a family member or employee, or a joint guarantor submitting a maintenance guarantee.

Guarantee (affidavid): any type of document written by the applicant or by a third person, providing support to the applicant and signing in the presence of a notary public.

Maintenance guarantee (affidavid of support): A form that is required for cases of change of immigration status in which a United States citizen agrees to reimburse the government for expenses incurred if the person whose change of immigration status is approved obtains federal benefits within ten years after said change.

I-130: visa petition form based on a category based on immediate relatives or preferential categories.

I-I40: visa petition form based on a preferential category based on employment.

I-20: form issued by a school or educational institution when a foreign student has registered or paid his / her tuition.

I-485 Supplement A: form presented by those eligible for a “mini” amnesty. It can only be submitted during certain time periods and one must be eligible. It is required of those people who have entered the country without documentation or who lack immigration status and request a change of immigration status through a request for a preferential visa.

I-485: form to request change of immigration status.

I-551: another name for the green card.

I-765: Work permit application.

I-797: It is also known as a notice of receipt or notification of approval of a decision issued by a service center, regarding an application for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

I-864: see maintenance guarantee.

I-94: small white card that is attached to the passport upon admission to the United States through a non-immigrant visa. It contains the expiration date of the nonimmigrant visa.

Inadmissible: any of a certain group of causes - such as criminal or criminal acts or health problems - that cause an alien to be barred from entering the United States.

Entered without inspection: person who enters the United States by crossing the border with Mexico or Canada without undergoing inspection by an immigration official.

Immigrant: person who has been granted legal permanent resident status.

Inspection: a mini interview by an immigration officer at an airport, border, or on board a ship. The official will verify that all documents are in order. The Immigration official may admit, return the foreigner to his country of origin or decide that the provisions of deferred admission apply to him.

Immigration judge (IJ): An administrative law judge who is also an employee of the Department of Justice.

Board of Immigration appeals (BIA): the highest administrative court in charge of giving the last word on immigration matters. It is also in charge of certifying certain organizations to provide immigration services.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 [INA]: the starting point of current immigration law. All immigration laws passed since then are INA amendments.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): law that allows everyone to obtain a copy of their file held by a government agency, such as Immigration, for example.

Visa lottery: See pro diversity visa.

Mandamus (mandamus): Petition filed in federal court for a federal judge to order Immigration to take a certain action.

Motion: any type of written request, normally presented to the Immigration Court or also to an Immigration office or service center, requesting the corresponding body to make a certain formal decision.

Motion to reopen: a common motion destined to declare a previously denied benefit pending again, in order to obtain said benefit. Limitations may be placed on the number of motions, the date on which they can be filed, and the basis for reopening a case.

Modification of immigration status (adjustmment of status): process through which permanent resident status is acquired. Since the applicant has a prior immigration status, they are said to modify the applicant's immigration status, granting him permanent residence.

NACARA. (Acronym in English of the Law of Change of Immigration Status and Aid for Central Americans): law that allows certain people from Eastern Europe, the countries of the Soviet bloc, who had entered the country before 1991 and who at that time had applied for asylum to request a stay of deportation.

Nationality: in terms of immigration, it generally means the same thing as citizenship.

Naturalization: process by which a resident card holder becomes a United States citizen, applying for it using the N-400 form.

Approval notice: notification from a service center indicating that a request has been approved.

Notice of intent to deny: is issued for either an I-130 petition or an asylum application (in those cases where the applicant has valid nonimmigrant status), in order to give the applicant the opportunity to contest the rejection and submit additional documents such as constancy.

Number “A” (“A” number): it can be the alien number, file number, resident card number or case number (especially in immigration court). It refers to the file number that Immigration assigns in sequential order to a foreigner who has requested a change in immigration status or who has been detained. It is the permanent file number of the foreigner, the number that, if approved, appears on the work permit, the resident card or the naturalization certificate. This number should appear on all correspondence and applications filed with the INS.

Receipt number: the case number assigned by a service center to an application. The receipt number includes the first three letters from the service center and the year in which the request was submitted.

Final order of removal [deportation]: order to send a person outside the US issued by the immigration judge and for whom no appeals have been filed within thirty days.

Blue passport: See Refugee Travel Document.

Extreme hardship: legal criteria for the different types of waivers, to justify the illegal stay in the country or entry with a false passport. Extreme hardship must affect a family member of the United States.

Forgiveness (waiver): generally one of several forms, such as I-212, I-601, I-612, used to forgive the consequences of certain circumstances of inadmissibility, such as entering the country with a false passport or with a criminal record.

Visa waiver: the opportunity to enter the United States without a visa for travelers from a list of approximately 20 countries whose citizens have a reputation for respecting United States immigration laws.

Unlawful presence: period of time that an alien lives in the United States illegally or without immigration status, beginning on April 1, 1997.

Advance parole: It is issued by a local office or a service center, depending on where the application for change of immigration status was filed. It is an early return permit to the United States to continue the processing of an application for a change of immigration status.

Re-entry permit: It is usually called a white passport. Document that allows a foreigner to leave the country for more than one year and up to two years without losing their permanent resident status.

Work permit: see employment authorization document.

Petitioner: the United States citizen or lawful permanent resident or a United States corporation filing an application on behalf of a foreign beneficiary of an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

Deadline for submission of documents (call-up date): It is used in Immigration Court to indicate when the corresponding motions or documents should be filed with the court. Usually ten to fourteen days before the hearing.

Stowaway: person who has entered the country illegally traveling in a train, bus, boat or other commercial means of transport in which a ticket should have been paid.

Removal proceedings: a person who is subject to "procedure" is subject to the immigration court deciding whether to be expelled or deported.

Extension of the deportation date (stay of deportation): This request is made by completing the I-246 form and submitting it to the Deportation Office in order to request the postponement of the deportation date due to extenuating circumstances.

Reduction of the job offer term (reduction in recruitment [RIR]): Relatively new form of labor certification in which the company has already tried to hire a qualified worker and therefore does not need to make a search and hiring attempt supervised by the Department of Labor.

Record of proceedings (rop): The formal name given to the judicial file in an immigration court and the file under which the immigration judge makes a decision.

Regulations: see Code of Federal Regulations or Foreign Affairs Manual.

Conditional resident: person who has obtained conditional permanent residence by being married to a United States citizen (who has been married for less than two years on the date of the change in immigration status) or through a qualifying investment.

Legal permanent resident (LPR): the most correct term to refer to a person whose immigration status has changed through an immigrant visa.

Temporary resident alien: the correct term to refer to a person who has successfully passed the initial stage of the legalization process, subsequent to the 1986 amnesty.

Prevailing wage: term used in an H-1B or labor certification application, and means that the salary offered must be, at least, equivalent to 95% of the average salary of the people who hold such positions in the corresponding locality or state.

Voluntary departure from the country: granted by an immigration judge, in those cases in which the alien agrees to leave the United States at his own expense before a certain date, instead of being deported and suffering the consequences of a deportation order.

Exam section (examination sections or exams): characteristic name of the Immigration section that interviews those who have submitted requests to change their immigration status.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS): the agency of the Department of Justice responsible for enforcing immigration laws within the United States and for making decisions regarding the eligibility of applicants for immigration conditions and those who aspire to obtain US citizenship.

Without valid immigration status (out of status): for permanence after the period authorized by the I-94; or those cases in which the person has violated the conditions of the visa, for example, performing a job without authorization to do so.

Principal applicant: the applicant who submits an application for change of immigration status or asylum.

Request of evidence [RFE]: document issued by an office or immigration service center, requesting evidence or additional information to demonstrate the validity of the point of view of a foreigner.

Suspension of expulsion: It requires demonstrating that it is highly probable that the foreigner is a victim of persecution for his political opinions, religion, gender, nationality or belonging to a certain social group.

Immigrant visa (immigrant visa [IV]): It is used when applying for permanent residence in the United States at an embassy or consulate.

Nonimmigrant visa (NIV): any of the various types of visas that allow you to stay in the United States for a temporary period for a specific purpose.

H-1B visa (H-1B visa): the most requested temporary non-immigrant visa, issued for a maximum of six years. It is valid for most professional positions and a job offer is required before applying.

Diversity visa: Also known as visa lottery, visa lottery or simply lottery or sweepstakes. Raffle of 50,000 resident cards organized by the Department of State.

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