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Immigration Glossary

Adjustment of Status (AOS) – Eligible applicants can petition to become a legal permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States through this process.

Armed Forces – Current members or veterans of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Select Reserve of the Ready Reserve.

Asylee – A person seeking asylum from his or her country because he or she can demonstrate they are unwilling to return to their country on account of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership in a particular social group.

Child – An unmarried person under the age of 21 who is the child born in wedlock, child born out of wedlock, adopted child, step-child, legitimated son/daughter or certain orphans.

Conditional Residence – Type of residence granted when the U.S. citizen or permanent resident marries a non-citizen (alien) less than two years before being granted immigrant status. The two-year period is measured from the time residency is granted.

Consular Processing – A person who is eligible to immigrate to the United States after a successful petition has been made, by a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen, may complete their green card application at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – A policy created in June of 2012 by President Obama states that Children who entered prior to their 16th birthday and before 2007 are allowed to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from removal proceedings if they meet program criteria.

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) – DAPA is awarded on a case-by-case basis for individuals who have a son or daughter as of November 20, 2014 who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Additionally you must have been in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2010 and are not a priority for deportation.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – A department of the United States government responsible for protecting the United States from attacks and responding to attacks and natural disasters. Included in the DHS are immigration and customs enforcement, citizen immigration services and border control

Department of Justice (DOJ) – A department of the United States government responsible for the enforcement of law and administration of justice.

Department of Labor (DOL) – Oversee the employment related benefits and rights including working conditions and profitable employment.

Field Office – USCIS offices located around the country serving very specific areas to oversee and schedule interviews for non-asylum related applications. It is recommended to make an appointment prior to visiting a field office.

Green Card –An identification document (Form I-551) provided by the US government that serves as evidence of legal permanent resident status. Status not the card is determinative. The newer cards are “green.”

I-485 – The form used to adjust your status to a permanent resident of the United States.

I-751 – Also referred to as the petition to remove conditions of residence, the I-751 is used for a conditional resident whom obtained status through marriage to remove the conditions and then apply to become a permanent resident.

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) – A person who is not a U.S. citizen, but is residing the United States legally as a permanent resident or “green card holder.”

N-400 – Form N-400 or the application for naturalization. The form used by permanent residents to become citizens of the United States.

Parole In Place – Granting admission of an alien to the United States while the alien is in the United States. At this time this form of parole is being used by USCIS to help military families with immigrants. Parole in Place is granted on a case-by-case basis.

Permanent Resident – Same as LPR

Permanent Resident Alien – Same as LPR

Port of Entry – A designated entry point for aliens and U.S. citizens to the United States and its territories. Additionally field offices are considered ports of entry because they are places where aliens adjust their status.

Prosecutorial Discretion – Authority to decide to take action against an individual for illegal activity. Generally, within immigration this takes the form of Deferred Action. A form of relief where the government decides to take no action remove a person that is technically inadmissible or deportable.

Refugee – A person who is unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or out of a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – A government agency included in the Department of Homeland Security that oversees lawful immigration to the United States.

Veteran – A person who has served in any one of the United States Armed Forces.

Visa – A document that allows the holder to apply for entry to the United States. It is generally obtained at a U.S. consulate and signifies that the holder has been examined and is permitted to seek admission at the U.S. border or port of entry.