UCR students at Orbach Science library

International Students & Scholars Glossary


Below you'll find a list of commonly used acronyms and immigration related terminology. Additional glossary terms can be found at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at https://www.uscis.gov/tools/glossary.

  • 240-day Rule

    USCIS regulations which provides for an extension of an employee's H1B employment authorization for a period for 240 days beyond the date of expiration of the underlying authorized period of employment, following a timely filed extension application.

    The H-1B holder may continue to work for the sponsoring employer for an additional 240 days after the expiration date of the previous approved H-1B, if an extension is timely filed with USCIS.

  • Adjudication

    The USCIS procedure of considering and processing applications and petitions.

  • Adjustment of Status

    Describes he process by which a non-immigrant already in the United States becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident. Not to be confused with a "Change of Status", this refers only to non-immigrants changing to another non-immigrant classification.

  • Alien

    Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States, i.e. non-citizen.

  • Alternative Responsible Officer(s) (ARO)

    Alternative Responsible Officers (ARO) are individuals appointed by the issuing organization/university to assist the Responsible Officer (RO) in administering the J-1 Exchange Visitor program.

  • Approval Notice

    A Notice of Action generated by the USCIS approving a submitted application or petition.

  • Change of Status

    The action of changing a non-immigrant's classification to another non-immigrant classification, e.g. from B-2 visitor to F-1 Student.

  • Citizen

    A person born in a country or who has become a naturalized citizen of that country.

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

    The agency responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the admission of non-citizens to the United States and for administrating various immigration benefits, including the naturalization of resident's aliens (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service).

  • Department of Labor (DOL)

    The Executive Branch Department with jurisdiction over working conditions. For our purposes, generates the Labor Condition Application (LCA) for H1-B and PERM applications.

  • Dependent

    The spouse or child(ren) of a primary visa holder.

  • DS 2019 

    A State Department Certificate issued by sponsoring institution such UCR under DOS approval. Used to obtain the J-1 visa status under the Exchange Visitor Program.

  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Card

    Document card issued by USCIS to certain applicants who are authorized to work temporarily in the United States.

  • Green Card

    The document issued by USCIS to permanent residents as evidence of their status.

  • H-1B

    Temporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation. Individuals in the United States to perform professional services for a sponsoring employer in a specific position for a fixed period of time. Employment authorization is granted for an initial period of up to three years. Extensions for an additional three years are possible, for a maximum stay of six years.

  • H-4

    Spouses and Children of H-1B Visa Holders. The dependent spouse and/or children under the age of 21 of the H-1B visa holder may be admitted into the United States as H-4 dependents. H-4 dependents are not permitted to engage in employment.

  • I-20

    A form for F and M visa holders that, along with the I-94, demonstrates you can enter and stay in the U.S. legally until the document expires. All F and M visa holders, including dependents, must have their own I-20. You will need a valid I-20 to come into the U.S. the first time and any time you return after international travel. 

  • I-94

    Also known as I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. The I-94 is your proof of legal entry into the U.S. When you enter the U.S. as a non-immigrant, the Customs Border Protection (CBP) officer examines your passport and visa and then issues either a passport admission stamp. The passport admission indicates how long you are allowed to stay in the U.S. and proves you arrived in the country legally. If you have received a passport admission stamp, you will also have an electronic I-94 record. To access this record, visit: www.cbp.gov/I94

    The Admission Number: Every I-94 record has an eleven-digit admission number. You may need to use this number for Department of Motor Vehicles and employment purposes, but it is not a number you need to memorize. In fact, you will receive a new I-94 number each time you re-enter the U.S.

    More Information: For more information on the new I-94 automation process and passport admission stamps, please review the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Fact Sheet.

  • I-129

    Form submitted to the USCIS by the employer, with the appropriate filing fees, to apply for the H-1B status.

  • I-130

    USCIS form on which individuals petition to allow their relatives to become permanent residents

  • I-140

    USCIS form on which employment-based petitions are filed. Filed with USCIS by the employer on the beneficiary's behalf to request permanent residency for a beneficiary. 

  • I-485

    I-485 form is used to apply for lawful permanent resident status if you are in the United States.

  • I-539

    An I-539 form is a USCIS form on which an applicant can request an extension of their non-immigrant stay. Used for dependents who need to change in the U.S. This form is completed by the applicant. 

  • I-765

    I-765 is an application for employment authorization. Used for all applications for employment that require an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.

  • I-797

    The form number USCIS assigned to its "Notice of Action."

  • Immigrant Status or Lawful Permanent Resident

    Someone who can live and work in the U.S. indefinitely but who is not a citizen is in the U.S. under immigrant status. This term is used interchangeably with Lawful Permanent Resident and green card holder.

  • J-2 Dependent

    Spouse or unmarried child under age 21 of a J-1 exchange visitor.

  • Labor Condition Application (LCA)

    A document submitted to the Department of Labor by UCR presenting the salary offered in the stated position, the prevailing wage, length of employment offered, and work location. UCR also makes attestations that it will provide working conditions for nonimmigrants that will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed. It must be posted in two (2) conspicuous locations for a period of 10 consecutive business days. Proof of posting must be returned to International Students and Scholars at the end of the posting period.

  • Non-Immigrant Status

    A person such as a student, researcher, or faculty member who enters the U.S. on a temporary basis to visit, study, or work will enter the U.S. under non-immigrant status. Your visa will define how long you may stay in the U.S., whether or not you may work or study while you are in the U.S., and if you can change your status or visa type.

  • Notice of Action

    Essentially a formal document recording a transaction with or a decision by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This may be a receipt for a fee.

  • O-1 Visa

    Person of Extraordinary Ability. Individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics who are in the United States to work for a sponsoring employer or organization.

  • Passport

    Any travel document issued by competent authority showing the bearer's origin, identity, and nationality.

  • Premium Processing

    Employers may use the I-907 form with appropriate filing fees to request premium processing with USCIS  to expedite  an application within fifteen (15) days of receipt form I-129pertaining to H-1B, O-1, P-1 or TN visas.

  • Prevailing Wage

    A Department of Labor determination of the average wage earned by employees with comparable jobs working in the area of intended employment for a specific geographic area.

  • Receipt Notice

    A Notice of Action evidencing USCIS receipt of application and fees tendered.

  • Responsible Officer

    The primary person appointed as being responsible and thoroughly familiar with the Exchange Visitor Program (J-1) Status, is the document required to support an application for an exchange visitor visa.

  • Status

    Immigration classification given by the immigration officer at the port of entry or upon approval of a change of status through USCIS.

  • Sponsor
  • Status

    Immigrant classification given by the immigration officer at the port of entry or upon a change of status through USCIS.

  • TD Visa

    Dependent of TN Visa Holder. Individuals in the United States as dependents of a TN principal.

  • Temporary Worker

    Non-citizen Workers coming to the United States temporarily to perform services.

  • TN Visa

    Trade NAFTA (for citizens of Canada and Mexico). Individuals in the United States to perform professional services for a sponsoring employer in a specific position for a fixed period of time.

  • Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

    A U.S. regulation that requires J-1 visa holders to spend a cumulative 24 months outside the U.S. before they can change their visa type or status in the U.S. This rule may not apply to all J-1 visa holders or may be waived. Learn more here.

  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is part of the US Department of Homeland Security. This agency reviews and approves visa petitions and other immigration-related matters.

  • US Embassies/Consulates

    Under the US Department of State, the consular visa section issues immigrants and non-immigrant visas to qualified nationals of foreign countries.

    Locate an Embassy or Consulate office.

  • Visa Stamp

    A visa stamp or sticker is an entry stamped inside the passport page; more like an entry ticket into the US. It has an expiration date. However, immigration status is dependent upon a valid passport, valid I-797A or B and valid I-94 Arrival/Departure card. Even if the visa stamp expires while in the U.S., Scholars remain in legal status. The visa alone does not confer any immigration status or employment authorization.

    There are different types of visas that have different rules for your stay. Learn more here.