Skip to main content

Background Image for Header:

Immigration Terms

  • Admission Number: Non-immigrant student’s identification number with the Department of Homeland Security on form I-94.
  • Authorized Period of Stay: Length of time during which a visitor is allowed to stay in the U.S., determined by the Dept. of Homeland Security and indicated on your I-94.
  • Country of Birth: Country in which a visitor was born. The country of birth, in most cases, determines the visitor’s citizenship
  • Country of Residence: Country in which a visitor established his/her legal permanent residence. It may be different from the visitor’s country of birth.
  • Employment Authorization: Permission to work while in the U.S. USCIS grants this authorization. The type of authorization depends on the visa status, and the visitor’s individual needs.
  • Form DS-2019: Certificate of eligibility for international visitors (J-1 visa holders) pursuing educational exchange programs. This certificate is also issued for visitors pursuing an academic degree, and who are government sponsored.
  • Form I-20: Certificate of eligibility for international visitors (F-1 visa holders) pursuing an academic degree, and who are usually not government sponsored.
  • Form I-94: Arrival/Departure Record, which states a visitor’s authorized period of stay. This form is obtained at the port of entry into the U.S.
  • IRS: Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is in charge of all tax related issues.
  • SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System which is an international student/scholar data bank. SEVIS is an internet-based system that allows schools and the Dept. of Homeland Security and other relevant government agencies to exchange data on the visa status of international students and scholars. Once you receive your I-20 or DS-2019, you must submit a SEVIS fee before you can apply for your visa in the following situations: a) Initial attendance at a school in the USA; b) After having been outside the US for more than 5 months; c) Inside the US with a Change of Status application to F-1 or J-1 status using Form I-539. Please access this link for additional details on the SEVIS fee.
  • US Visa: Tamper-resistant document on a visitor’s passport, given by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy
  • USCBP: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a bureau of DHS, serves at the US ports of entry to secure the US from contraband weapons, drugs, agricultural materials and so on. Personnel from this bureau checks you into this country when you arrive.
  • USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The USCIS is a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which is responsible for the administration of immigration and naturalization adjudication functions and establishing immigration services policies and priorities. These functions include: adjudication of immigrant visa petitions; adjudication of naturalization petitions, adjudication of asylum and refugee applications, adjudications performed at the service centers, and all other adjudications.
  • USICE: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the (DHS) which is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nation’s border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security.
  • Visa Document: School issued government documents, which visitors must present at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, and which verify a visitor’s status: Form I-20, Form DS-2019
  • Visa Status: Legal designation a visitor holds while being present in the U.S. This is indicated on the Form I-94. Examples are F-1, F-2, J-1 etc.