Common Immigration Status Acronyms
USC – U.S. citizen
CR – Conditional Resident
LPR – Lawful Permanent Resident
EWI – Entered Without Inspection
Statuses and documents
Immigrant – An immigrant is a person coming to the U.S. to remain permanently or for an indefinite period of time and who intends to make the United States the primary place of residence. A permanent resident of the U.S. is an immigrant. A person who plans to become a permanent resident is an intending immigrant. See our employment-based or family-based immigration pages for more information.
Non-immigrant – A non-immigrant is a person coming to the U.S. for a specific purpose, such as visitor, student, or employee. See our temporary visas page for more information.
Visa – A visa is a document placed in your passport by a U.S. consular officer. A visa permits a person to apply to be admitted to the U.S. at a port of entry. A visa does not give you the right to enter the U.S. but only the right to apply to enter at a port of entry.
Immigrant Visa – If you qualify for permanent residence, a consular officer will issue you an immigrant visa. An immigrant visa is a document placed in your passport by a consular officer. After immigrant visa issuance and paying a fee., USCIS will mail you the green card. See our immigrant employment or family pages for more information.
Non-immigrant Visa – A non-immigrant visa is a visa that allows a person to remain within the United States for a particular purpose for a limited time. A non-immigrant visa is valid for entry only for the purpose for which it was issued. For example, a student visa (F-1) cannot be used for entry as a visitor. The validity period shown in a non-immigrant visa relates only to the period during which it may be used in making application for admission into the U.S., it does not indicate the length of time a foreign national may spend in the U.S. See our temporary visas page for more information.
Branches of U.S. Immigration
DHS – Department of Homeland Security
ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement
USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
CBP – Customs and Border Protection (this includes Border Patrol)
ERO – Enforcement and Removal Operations
Removal proceedings – this is another name for deportation proceedings; when the U.S. government has filed a case in the Immigration Court to try to prove that an individual should be deported from the U.S.
EOIR – Executive Office of Immigration Review
NTA – Notice to Appear
IJ – Immigration Judge
NWDC – Northwest Detention Center
OSUP – Order of Supervision
BIA – Board of Immigration Appeals
DA – Deferred Action
DOL – Department of Labor
PERM – (Program Electronic Review Management) – Electronic Labor Certification program filed with the Department of Labor (DOL)
LCA – Labor Condition Application – It is filed with DOL for some employment-based non-immigrant visa petitions.
FDNS – Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate
Answers To Some Common Questions
How do I become a U.S. citizen?
- A person may become a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization. Generally, people are U.S. citizens if they are born in the United States or if one of their parents is U.S. citizen. If you were born in the United States (including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are an American citizen at birth. Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship. Please refer to our citizenship page on who may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, or whether you may already be a citizen through your parents or grandparents.
What is Naturalization?
- Naturalization is the act of making a person a citizen of the United States who was not born with that status. An application for citizenship is an application for Naturalization. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information.
How do I become a naturalized citizen?
- If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, you may be eligible to become a citizen through naturalization. People who are 18 years and older use the “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400) to become naturalized. Children who are deriving citizenship from naturalized parents use the “Application for a Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600) to become naturalized. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information.
What are the requirements for naturalization?
- You may apply for naturalization if either: (1) you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years, (2) you have been a lawful permanent resident for three years, have been married to a US citizen for those three years, and continue to be married to that U.S. citizen, (3) you are a lawful permanent resident child of United States citizen parents, or (4) you have qualifying military service. Children under 18 may automatically become citizens when their parents naturalize. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information.
Is my child a U.S. citizen?
- Usually if children are Permanent Residents they can derive citizenship from their naturalized parents. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information on this topic.
Is it possible to be a dual citizen of the United States of America and another country?
- Yes. If you have been a citizen from birth or childhood of another country, and you become a U.S. citizen, you may retain dual citizenship as long as the other country does not have any laws or regulations requiring you to formally renounce either citizenship.
My family member or friend was arrested by immigration – what do I do?
Can I work in the United States?
- You may only work in the U.S. if you have work authorization. An individual may obtain work authorization through many different ways, such as through an employer’s petition, through an application, F-1 optional practical training after completing a degree program at a college or university, or through filing an application in Immigration Court.
I have been a victim of crime or abuse, can I get a green card?
- You may be eligible for a green card (Lawful Permanent Residence.) Please refer to our survivors of certain crimes page for more information on how an individual may be able to obtain legal status if he or she has been a victim of a crime.
I am widow or widower of a U.S. citizen; can I get a green card?
- If your U.S. spouse has died and you don’t have your green card yet, you may still be able to obtain a green card for you and your children.
I came here as a child, can I get legal status?
Can I bring my family member to the U.S.?
- You may be able to bring your family members to the U.S. if you are a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen. Please refer to our family-based immigration page for more information.
I or my family member have been arrested by the police – how will this affect my immigration status?
- If an individual has been arrested by police, his or her immigration status may be affected. It is very important that the individual contact an attorney immediately to determine whether the arrest will cause problems for his or her immigration status. Please see our criminal immigration matters page for more information.
I won the Diversity Lottery (DV); what is next?
- If you have won the Diversity Lottery, please go to www.travel.state.gov and search “Diversity Lottery” for additional information.
Know Your Rights
If you are approached by immigration officers or the police, you do not have to speak with them. No matter your legal status is in the U.S., you are protected under the U.S. constitution’s right to remain silent. You also have the right to refuse the police or immigration entry into your home or to search your belongings unless they have a judicial warrant.
The statements made throughout this website are not intended to provide legal advice and are neither meant to replace legal advice nor to substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. The statements are solely meant to provide very basic information about concepts in immigration law. By reading the information on this website, you have not created an attorney-client relationship with Soreff Weinrich Law.