Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

This glossary will help you better understand the terms on this website. The terms do not replace statutory, regulatory, or other definitions provided by law or Department of Homeland Security's official policies and interpretations of law.



Admission Number or I-94 Number Expand

An 11-digit number found on the Form I-94 or Form I-94A Arrival-Departure Record.

Alien Expand

Any person not a citizen or national of the U.S. “Foreign national” is a synonym and used outside of statutes when referring to noncitizens of the U.S.

Alien Registration Number or Alien Number(A Number or A#) Expand

A unique seven-, eight- or nine-digit number assigned to a noncitizen by the Department of Homeland Security. Also see "USCIS Number."

Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94/I-94A) Expand

A small white card or computer generated printout a foreign national is provided when they are admitted or paroled to the U.S. This form is also issued to foreign nationals in connection with the approval of an immigration benefit granted from within the U.S. The form indicates parole or the immigration status under which the foreign national was admitted or the status to which he or she changed, and, if applicable, how long the foreign national is authorized to stay in the U.S. Authorization of stay is marked with either a specific date or with a notation such as D/S (Duration of Status). See also Duration of Status.

Asylee Expand

A foreign national in the U.S. or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Such persecution or fear must be based on religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Au Pair Program Expand

A Department of State J-1 cultural exchange program that provides exchange visitors between 18 and 26 years old the chance to participate in the home life of a U.S. host family. All au pair participants provide child care services to the host family and attend a U.S. post-secondary educational institution.



CBP Expand

An abbreviation for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.

Cap-gap Extension Expand

Allows foreign students seeking to change to H-1B status to extend their status and employment authorization through Sept. 30 of the calendar year for which the H-1B petition is being filed, but only if the employment start date in H-1B status will begin on Oct. 1. The extension is automatically terminated if the petition is rejected, denied or revoked.

Casual domestic employment Expand

Sporadic, irregular or intermittent domestic service provided by an individual in a private home.

Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019) Expand

A Department of State-controlled document required to support an application for an exchange visitor visa (J-1) prepared by the program sponsor which can only be produced through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status For Academic and Language School (Form I-20) Expand

A Department of Homeland Security-controlled document required to support an application for a student visa (F-1 or M-1) prepared by the sponsoring school which can only be produced through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

CFR Expand

An abbreviation for the Code of Federal Regulations.

Curricular practical training Expand

A program that allows students to accept paid alternative work/study employment internships, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum that employers offer though cooperative agreements with the school.

Code of Federal Regulations Expand

The general provisions of laws enacted by Congress are interpreted and implemented by regulations issued by various agencies. These regulations apply the law to daily situations. After regulations are published in the Federal Register, they are collected and published in the Code of Federal Regulations, commonly referred to as the CFR. The CFR is arranged by subject title and generally parallels the structure of the United States Code.

Conditional residentExpand

Any foreign national granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis (for example, a spouse of a U.S. citizen or an immigrant investor) who must petition to remove the conditions of his or her status before the second anniversary of the approval date of his or her conditional status.

(U.S.) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Expand

An agency of the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for securing the homeland by preventing the illegal entry of people and goods while facilitating legitimate travel and trade.


DHS Expand

An abbreviation for the Department of Homeland Security.

DOJ Expand

An abbreviation for the U.S. Department of Justice.

DOL Expand

An abbreviation for the U.S. Department of Labor.


DS-2019 Expand

See Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.

Department of Homeland SecurityExpand

Department of the executive branch of the U.S. government charged with homeland security: preventing terrorism and managing risks to critical infrastructure; securing and managing the border; enforcing and administering immigration laws; safeguarding and securing cyberspace; and ensuring resilience to disasters.

Department of Justice Expand

Department of the executive branch of the U.S. government with the primary responsibilities to enforce the law and defend the interests of the U.S. according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Department of Labor Expand

Department of the executive branch of the U.S. government that fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the U.S. by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the department administers a variety of federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.

Designated school official (DSO) Expand

The person designated by the head of a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school to support the principal designated school official and maintain SEVIS records.

Disabilities, employees/individuals with Expand

Individuals with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more of their major life activities, have a record of such impairments, or are regarded as having such impairments.


Unfair treatment because of your 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 protected characteristic or activity.

Domestic worker Expand

Individuals who perform child care, household tasks, or upkeep of a home or surrounding in return for wages or other benefits, and who are not independent contractors or providing services on a sporadic basis or for independent contractors or separate businesses.

Duration of Status (D/S) Expand

Notation on certain nonimmigrant Form I-94 indicating that the individual, such as an F-1 nonimmigrant student, is authorized to remain in the U.S. as long as he or she maintains a valid status.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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