Common Immigration Terms
Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO/RO) - International student advisor authorized to advise and assist J-1 exchange visitors.
Change of Status (COS) - Process to change immigration status inside the U.S. Application is submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - Authorization to work off-campus on an authorized internship or Co-op program. Authorization is granted by International Student Advisor.
Designated School Official (DSO) - an international student advisor authorized to advise students and provide information about F-1 immigration requirements.
Dependents - Legally married husband, wife, and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age.
Duration of Status (D/S) - F-1 and J-1 students are admitted to the U.S. for the period needed to complete their course of study.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) - EAD is issued for those authorized for optional practical training, severe economic hardship, or temporary employment of spouses with J-2 status and other visa categories.
Form DS-2019 - The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" identifies the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange, and an estimate of the cost of the exchange program.
Form I-20 - Certificate of eligibility for F or M student status identifies the student and provides a brief description of the student’s program, including the start and end date, program of study, and an estimate of the cost of the academic program.
Form I-94 – Also known as the Arrival and Departure Record is the electronic (less common paper) record of entry into the U.S. issued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. The record shows date and place of entry, visa status, and the limitation of stay. J-1 and F-1 status is usually stamped “D/S” meaning that you can remain in the US for the duration of your status. After you have arrived to the United States, you may obtain a copy of your I-94 here.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) - A bureau of the Department of Homeland Security who investigates and enforces immigration and border security. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also oversees the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Immigrant, green card holder, resident alien, permanent resident - an alien who has been lawfully admitted to or transitioned to permanent residence in the U.S. Essentially has the same rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen with the exceptions of voting, holding certain public offices, and employment by federal agencies in civil service positions.
Non-immigrant - An alien admitted to the United States for a specific purpose for a temporary stay that will end when its purpose has been accomplished.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) - A benefit of legal F-1 status, optional practical training is granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services based on documents submitted by applicant and school's recommendation. Work has to be within the student's area of study and usually takes place after graduation.
Passport - An official document issued by a government, certifying the holder's identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries.
Port of Entry (POE) - airport or border where individuals are legally admitted to the United States.
Reinstatement - A F-1 or J-1 student who has violated his/her student status may be reinstated to lawful F-1/J-1 status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Application is made on form I-539 accompanied by supporting documents. Contact the designated school official for details.
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) - SEVIS is a web-based system for maintaining information on nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors in the United States.
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) - the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It ensures that government agencies have essential data related to nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors to preserve national security. SEVP provides approval and oversight to schools authorized to enroll F and M nonimmigrant students and gives guidance to both schools and students about the requirements for maintaining their status.
Transfer student - For immigration purposes a student who is pursuing a full course of study within the United States and transfers to another Student and Exchange Visitor Program approved school.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - Department of Homeland Security unit responsible for adjudicating changes in immigration status and requests for employment within the U.S.
Visa - A document placed into the passport of a foreign national by a U.S. Consulate which authorizes the individual to present him/herself at a USCIS Port of entry (POE) and request admission into the United States with a specific type of immigration status (e.g. F-1, J-1, M-1). If your visa is expired and you are traveling outside the US, you will need to receive a new visa before returning to the US.
Visa Overstay - Persons who lawfully entered the United States but who overstayed their period of authorized stay or otherwise violated the terms of their temporary status.
Visa Status - A status granted by Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry (I-94 card) or later granted through an approval notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, accompanied by a new I-94 card.