Glossary of Key Immigration Terms and Concepts

Glossary of Key Immigration Terms and Concepts

Immigration law is a body of complex concepts, words, and phrases. Below is a list of commonly used words and phrases, simplified into understandable ideas.

A-Number: The ‘alien number’ is a unique 7-9-digit number assigned to foreign nationals who have applied for benefits with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, or who are in deportation proceedings.

Asylee: An asylee is a person who meets the definition of a refugee and who is present in the United States or at a port of entry.

Deportation: Deportation is the formal removal of a foreign national from the United States. Deportation is a civil remedy and may be ordered by an immigration judge and by certain Department of Homeland Security agencies.

Immediate Relative: Certain close familial relationships that are exempt from annual numerical limits imposed on immigration. Relationships include spouses of United States citizens, children of US citizens (under 21 years of age and unmarried), and parents of US citizens (citizen must be 21 years or older).

Immigrant Visa: A visa issued to a person who will enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

Inadmissible: An applicant for admission to the United States who, for some reason, is ineligible for admission. Someone can be inadmissible, and there are also grounds of inadmissibility.

Lawful Permanent Resident: An individual who may lawfully reside in the United States, having been issued an immigrant visa or who has an approved I-485. Lawful permanent residents have many of the same rights and responsibilities as U.S. citizens; however, they cannot vote, register to vote, or serve on juries.

Naturalization: The means through which a person becomes a citizen of the United States, not by birth.

Nonimmigrant Visa: A visa issued to an individual who comes to the United States for a temporary period, for a specific purpose. Typical purposes are tourism, school, employment, exchange visitors, fiancés of United States citizens, intracompany transfers, and Mexican and Canadian professionals.

Parole: An applicant for admission, who is otherwise inadmissible, may be ‘paroled’ into the United States instead of ‘admitted.’ Parole is approved sparingly, for urgent humanitarian reasons.

Preference Category Relatives: Family-based immigration encompassing close familial relationships for which there are annual caps on the number of petitions that may be approved. The family-based categories consist of (1) unmarried sons and daughters (over 21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens, (2) spouses and children (under 21) of lawful permanent residents, (3) unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents, (4) married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and (5) brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (citizen must be over 21 years of age).

Refugee: A person who is outside of their country of nationality who cannot return to that country because they have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of being persecuted.

Receipt Number: A Receipt Number is a unique 13-digit letter and number combination that USCIS assigns to cases filed with its offices. When you file a case with USCIS, you will receive a receipt notice containing your receipt number, with which you can track your case.

USCIS: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service is a federal agency within the Department of Homeland Security that processes affirmative applications for nonimmigrant visas, adjustment of status, applications for travel documents, and employment authorization documents, among other duties.

Visa Waiver Program: Gives citizens of certain countries the right to visit the United States, temporarily, without first having to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. Admission is granted for no more than 90 days.

If you would like information about an immigration case or concept, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, have extensive experience with family-based cases, non-immigrant visas, and removal defense cases. Please feel free to call us at 510-488-1020 to see how we can help!

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