Admission: What happens once you have been both (1) interviewed by a CBP officer, and (2) allowed entry into the U.S.
Authorized Stay: The period of time a nonimmigrant (a foreign national other than a Lawful Permanent Resident) is permitted to remain in the U.S. It is noted on the I-94 Arrival/Departure Document either as a specific date by which the foreign national must depart the U.S., or as “D/S”, which means “Duration of Status”.
B-1: The category or class designation for Business Visitors seeking admission to the U.S. with visas.
B-2: The category or class designation for Tourists seeking admission to the U.S. with visas.
Backlog: If the demand for visas exceeds supply for a particular visa category or foreign state, that category is classified as “oversubscribed” and DOS must impose a cut-off date. In this instance, only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the date listed in the Visa Bulletin may be given an immigrant visa number.
Business Visitor: A short-term business visitor who has a home institution abroad and whose activities within the U.S. will mainly benefit that home institution. Business visitors are not allowed to receive a salary or stipend. Payments of “honorarium” and “customary hospitality” expenses are allowed, such as per diem, airfare, lodging, and transportation. Business Visitors who enter the U.S. with visas hold B-1 status. Business visitors who enter without visas, under the Visa Waiver Program, hold WB status.
CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection): The U.S. government agency that interviews foreign nationals seeking admission to the U.S., either before you enter the U.S. (such as in the airport before departure) or after arrival here. It is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Consulate: The branch or office of a U.S. Embassy that is charged with the processing and issuance of visas to foreign nationals, among other tasks. Some U.S. Consulates are housed within the same building as the Embassy for that country; in other cases, the Consulates are separate. Each Consulate uses different procedures for the submission of visa applications, and requires different documents to support the applications, largely based on host country business practices, culture, and immigration trends. See a list of all U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide. It is a bureau within the U.S. Department of State.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT): A training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is any approved alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the F-1 student’s school. Generally, work performed by the student results in academic credit. CPT is issued only by the school.
DHS (US Department of Homeland Security): The U.S. government agency with responsibility for national security, including U.S. immigration, border protection, customs, and immigration enforcement.
DOS (US Department of State): A U.S. government agency charged with advancing freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community. Its Bureau of Consular Affairs is responsible for the operation of U.S. Consulates worldwide.
DS-2019: The Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status issued to a foreign national who seeks to enter the U.S. in J-1 Status. It is issued by the Exchange Visitor’s sponsor, who has been designated for this purpose by the U.S. Department of State. Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, is a sponsor for J status at Fermilab and oversees the following J-1 Designations: Intern/Trainee, Short Term Scholar, and Research Scholar.
DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan: The document issued to J-1 Trainees and Interns that sets out: (i) the role or position to be held by the individual, (ii) the specific tasks and/or activities to be completed by the individual, (iii) the knowledge, skills, or techniques to be imparted to the individual; and (iv) the methods of performance evaluation and supervision.
E-3 Visa: The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia. You must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields and at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
EB-1/EB-2/EB-3: Permanent Worker Visa Preference Categories are based on the position’s requirements and/or applicant’s qualifications.
Embassy: See Consulate.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD): Also called an Employment Authorization Card. A plastic card issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that authorizes work. The card contains a photo of the foreign national, biographical data, and the period of authorized work. The EAD card is used in many instances including, but not limited to (1) F-1 Optional Practical Training status, (2) J-2 status, (3) a foreign national with a pending residency application; or (4) qualifying H-4 dependents, as well as other instances.
Exchange Visitor (EV): A foreign national in J-1 status.
F-1: The category or class designation of a student enrolled in a designated U.S. post-secondary institution as evidenced by a Form I-20, or recently graduated from such an institution and in possession of an unexpired EAD. F-1 students are not immediately work-authorized, but are eligible to obtain permission to work through several different routes, including Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
F-2: The category or class designation of a family member of an F-1 student.
Foreign Access Central Tracking System (FACTS): A database used by the U.S. Department of Energy (Click down to other listing) to track the access by foreign nationals to U.S. Department of Energy facilities.
Foreign National: A person who is not an U.S. citizen.
H-1B: The category or class designation of nonimmigrant professionals holding at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or foreign equivalent, or related experience/education) in a specific field, who seek to work in the U.S. in a job that requires at least a bachelor-level education in that field. Normally, H-1B status is available for a maximum initial increment of 3 years, and for an additional period of no more than 3 years; if the individual has reached a certain stage in applying for permanent residence, further extensions of H-1B status might be available.
H-4: The category or class designation of a family member of an H-1B status holder.
Home Residency Requirement 212(e): Some J-1 exchange visitors may be found subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement, which means you either have to reside in your home country OR obtain a Waiver form the Department of State before you can change status or enter the U.S. in a work-authorized or permanent resident status.
Immigrant: A foreign national who has granted the right to live indefinitely in the U.S. with unrestricted work authorization. An immigrant holds “permanent residence” status.
Intern: A J-1 Intern Exchange Visitor Program available to students who either: (a) are currently enrolled in, and pursuing studies at, a degree- or certificate-granting foreign post-secondary academic institution or (b) have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to the start date of their J-1 Intern program. J-1 Intern programs may be one year in duration.
I-20: A document issued by a post-secondary institution to an F-1 student that the institution sponsors who is currently enrolled in or recently graduated from that same institution.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Document: The I-94 is the Arrival / Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States. Since April 30, 2013, most Arrival/Departure records have been created electronically upon arrival. Instead of a paper form, the visitor will be provided with an annotated stamp in the foreign passport. If provided a paper form, the admitting CBP Officer generally attaches the I-94 to the visitor’s passport and stamps the departure date on the form.
ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement): The U.S. government agency that enforces immigration, customs and related laws. Although its primary mission focuses on targeting cross-border and immigration-related crimes, terrorism, financial and trade violations, deportation, and similar activities, it also is responsible for SEVIS and for the workplace investigations to ensure that foreign nationals lacking authorization for work do not engage in employment. It is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
J-1: The category or class designation of an Exchange Visitor whose status is monitored by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement through the SEVIS database. The J status has many categories, but Fermilab’s programs are limited to Intern/Trainee, Short Term Scholar, and Research Scholar.
Labor Certification (PERM): “PERM” Labor Certification in an application filed with the U.S> Department of Labor in which an organization shows whether there are minimally-qualified American workers available, willing and able to work in a specific job in a specific geographic location.
Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR): Also called an “immigrant.” A foreign national who has granted the right to live indefinitely in the U.S. with unrestricted work authorization. An LPR holds “permanent residence” status.
Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Card: Also called a “greencard”. A document (similar in appearance to a Driver’s License) that confirms that grant of permanent residence. The card contains a photo of the foreign national and biographical data. It also contains an expiration date, but the permanent residence status itself does not expire – just the card expires. Lawful Permanent Residents currently are not required to update an expired LPR card.
Nonimmigrant: A foreign national who holds a visa status that authorizes being in the U.S. for a specific period of time. B-1, F-1, J-1, H-1B, and O-1 visas statuses, and admission under the Visa Waiver Program, all are examples of nonimmigrant statuses. Many nonimmigrant classes are prohibited from having immigrant intent (which is the intention to reside indefinitely in the U.S.) – such as B-1, F-1, and J-1. H-1B status holders may have dual intent (the intention to remain in the U.S. in nonimmigrant status while pursuing permanent residence).
O-1: The category or class designation of a nonimmigrant person who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim. There are 6 specific regulatory criteria used to show the national or international acclaim. O-1 petitions are filed only upon consideration and approval by the Directorate, and only where J-1 or H-1B status is unavailable.
O-3: The category or class designation of a family member of an O-1 status holder.
Optional Practical Training (OPT): A program available to F-1 students that authorizes them to engage in work that is related to their field of studies, either during the degree program or after graduation. The F-1 student must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for the authorization, and must receive an EAD to show the approval of the application. 12 months of practical training (Curricular or Optional) is available for each degree program, with an additional 17-months period available for certain STEM field graduates.
Priority Date: Priority date is the date on which the first step toward permanent residence was taken. For EB-1 and NIW filings, this is the date the Form I-140 petition is filed. In all other cases, where Labor Certification is required, the priority date is the date the Labor Certification application is filed.
Research Scholar: A J-1 Exchange Visitor program available to professionals and scientists seeking admission to the U.S. to conduct research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project or experiment. They may also teach or lecture, upon approval from the Visa Office. The maximum program duration is 5 years.
SEVIS: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (“SEVIS”) is an Internet-based system that maintains information on certain visitors to the U.S. (F, M, and J visa status holders). SEVIS is accessed by the U.S. Department of State and its Consulates, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, other government agencies, and J-1 program sponsors.
Short-term Scholars: A J-1 Exchange Visitor program available to professionals and scientists seeking admission to the U.S. to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Research normally is not an acceptable activity. The maximum program duration is 6 months.
Specialists: A J-1 Exchange Visitor program available to experts in a field of specialized knowledge or skill who seek admission to the U.S. to observe, consult, or demonstrate special skills. The maximum program duration is 1 year.
Sponsor: The organization, institution or legal entity that undertakes responsibility for certain nonimmigrant foreign nationals, such as those in F-1, M-1, and J-1 visa status. The Sponsor is responsible for ensuring the SEVIS entries for the foreign national are accurate and up-to-date, providing the education, training or other activities authorized by the program in question, evaluating and accepting the individual for participation in the program, and issuing all necessary immigration-related paperwork.
Status: Represents your authority to actually engage in certain activities in the U.S. It is shown on the I-94 Arrival/Departure Document and only exists while you physically are in the U.S. You can hold only one immigration status at a time.
Student: A person enrolled in, or (in limited circumstances) recently graduated from, a degree- or certificate-granting program at a designated U.S. post-secondary institution that sponsors the student status. Foreign students are eligible for F-1, M-1, and J-1 visa status, depending on the type of studies in which they will engage. F-1 and M-1 student status is documented using a Form I-20, issued by the institution they attend. J-1 student status is documented using a Form DS-2019, issued by the sponsor (which usually is the institution). F-1 students are eligible for Optional and Curricular Practical Training. J-1 students are eligible for Academic Training.
TN Visa: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
Tourist: A short-term tourist. Tourists cannot be issued Fermilab ID badges and may visit only Fermilab’s public areas. They cannot conduct research or similar activities. Often the spouse or child of a business visitor is granted tourist status. Tourists who enter the U.S. with visas hold B-2 status. Tourists who enter without visas, under the Visa Waiver Program, hold WT status.
Trainee: A J-1 Exchange Visitor Program available to graduates who have either: (i) a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least 1 year of prior related work experience (acquired outside the United States), or (ii) 5 years of work experience acquired outside the United States. Training Programs may last for no more than 18 months.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS): The U.S. government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States of America. It establishes immigration services, policies and priorities and adjudicates (decides) petitions and applications for immigration benefits, such as nonimmigrant status, Employment Authorization Documents, and permanent resident status. It is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): The U.S. government agency that interviews foreign nationals seeking admission to the U.S., either before you enter the U.S. (such as in the airport before departure) or after arrival here. It is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. Department of State (DOS): A U.S. government agency charged with advancing freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community. Its Bureau of Consular Affairs is responsible for the operation of U.S. Consulates worldwide.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS): The U.S. government agency with responsibility for national security, including U.S. immigration, border protection, customs, and immigration enforcement.
Visa/Visa Stamp: The stamp in your passport that suggests what you want to do once admitted to the U.S. (work, study, intern, etc.). Visas are issued by U.S. Consulates. Visas are comparable to tickets. They do not grant rights, nor guarantee your admission to the U.S. You can have many different kinds of visas in your passport at the same time.
Visa Bulletin: Visa bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to adjust their status to that of Legal Permanent Resident.
Visa Waiver Program (VWP): A program available to citizens of certain countries that allows the foreign national to travel to the U.S. without first applying for a visa. You must register in the ESTA database at least 72 hours before traveling to the U.S. Foreign nationals entering the U.S. are issued green I-94 Arrival/Departure Documents.
WB: The category or class designation for Business Visitors seeking admission to the U.S. with under the Visa Waiver Program. Foreign nationals holding WB status may remain in the U.S. for no more than 3 months. It is not possible to extend the Authorized Stay, nor to change to another status.
WT: The category or class designation for Tourists seeking admission to the U.S. with under the Visa Waiver Program. Foreign nationals holding WT status may remain in the U.S. for no more than 3 months. They may not be issued ID Badges nor permitted to any non-public area of Fermilab. It is not possible to extend the Authorized Stay, nor to change to another status. Foreign nationals holding WT status hold green I-94 Arrival/Departure Documents.
Questions? Comments? Contact the Visa Office!