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International Student Services


Helpful Immigration Terms

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Immigration law can be quite complicated and confusing! If there is a term you don't understand, see if it is listed below.  If you still have questions, we're happy to help. Just contact us!

  • 212(e): requirement for some J-1 visa holders to leave the US for a minimum of two years
  • CBP: Customs and Border Protection controls the US land, sea and air points of entry and answers frequently asked questions
  • CFR: Code of Federal Regulations publishes government regulations and includes immigration regulations for student visas
  • CPT: Curricular Practical Training for F-1 students is a work authorization for employment that is an integral part of the curriculum, such as an internship
  • D/S (duration of status):  This should be stamped on the I-20 or DS-2019 and the I-94 card when entering the country. It allows a student to stay in the US for the duration of time that they are in valid F or J status.  It means that if the date on the visa itself expires, a student can still remain in the country to complete his or her studies.
  • Dependent: term used for a spouse or child whose visa status is dependent on a primary visa holder
  • DHS: the Department of Homeland Security oversees many federal agencies including USCIS, ICE and CBP
  • DOL: the Department of Labor is part of the H-1B process
  • DOS: the Department of State oversees most of the J-1 exchange visitor program
  • DS-2019: form issued by the university and given to the J-1 exchange visitor to obtain a J-1 visa
  • DS-3036: agreement with the government that allows the university to have a J-1 program
  • DSO: Designated School Official represents the university in F-1 program compliance
  • EAD: Employment Authorization Document shows an individual is approved for employment.  To undertake work on OPT (see below), an F-1 visa student requires the EAD.
  • Exchange Visitor: refers to a J-1 visa holder
  • F-1: a student visa category
  • Grace Period: the amount of time a visa type allows an individual to stay in the US after their program end date (F-1 allows 60 days, J-1 allows 30 days)
  • Green Card Holder: term commonly used for legal permanent residents to the US
  • I-17: agreement with the government that allows the university to have a F-1 program
  • I-20: form issued by the university and given to the F-1 student to obtain an F-1 visa.
  • I-515A: a deferred inspection entry to the US.  If you receive this document at the border, you MUST produce the document(s) requested to SEVP within 30 days
  • I-94: Arrival/Departure Record lists the port of entry, date of entry, visa type and admission number
  • ICE: the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement controls SEVIS
  • INS: the Immigration and Naturalization Service no longer exists by this name. It was replaced by USCIS, CBP and ICE.
  • J-1: an exchange visitor visa type that Ambrose is approved for in these categories
    • degree seeking student (3 weeks minimum)
    • non-degree student (3 weeks minimum to 2 years maximum)
    • Professor (3 weeks minimum to 5 years maximum) for teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting
    • Short-term Scholar (maximum 6 months) for lecturing, observing, consulting, or training
    • Specialist (3 weeks minimum to 1 year maximum) for an expert coming for observing, consulting, or demonstration of special skills
  • OPT: Optional Practical Training
  • Port of Entry: point of entry in the US via land, sea, or air
  • RO (ARO): Responsible Officer represents the university in J-1 program compliance
  • SEVIS: the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System generates F and J visa request documents (I-20 and DS-2019) as well as communicates federally mandated information from the university to the government
  • SEVP: the Student and Exchange Visitor Program is the government body responsible for administering the F visa program, and they are responsible for operating SEVIS.
  • Travel Signature: required preferably every six months on the I-20 and DS-2019 if the visa holder is traveling outside of the US and wants to reenter the US
  • USCIS: Citizenship and Immigration Services is a federal government agency that adjudicates work authorizations and changes of status in the US
  • Visa: an information page placed in the passport that informs the border official that the US Consulate approved you to enter the US in a specific visa category (visa glossary)
  • Visa Status: the visa in your passport can expire but your status is still legal if the I-94 is stamped "D/S" or duration of status and you have maintained your status