Terminology that Every Immigrant in the U.S. Should Know

Student Standing in USA Airport

Let us face it, everybody in this world looks for the better place to live, work, or study. The reasons can be different: You can be a refugee that lost the house and almost everything in this life or just a student, standing and joyfully smiling in the airport. However, both need to be aware of the most common terms when it goes about immigration and aliens in the USA. In that regard, we have composed a kind of a list that is going to be rather useful containing terms, words, and phrases that every immigrant in the U.S. should know about.

Admission / Departure Card

It can be also called I-94 card. All non-immigrants foreigners have to possess it as far as it shows the information on the main points regarding person’s stay in the U.S. as stay duration, all stamps collected in the port of entry, the personal number of this card, and visa status.


Co-op is a preparation set of arrangements that is a basic piece of a set up educational modules. Work approval is conceded by the Designated School Official.


COS means the Change of Status without going out of the USA. In this situation, a man submits an application to INS according to form I-539. If the request is complied, then a visa is allowed to get a new status.


CPT means Curricular Practical Training that is a basic piece of a set up educational modules. Work approval is conceded by the Designated School Official.

D/S Duration of Status

F-1 and J-1 students are admitted to the U.S. for the period amid which they are seeking after a full course of study at an educational institution endorsed by INS.


Under this term, all children under the age 21 (unmarried) and spouses (legally married) are supposed.

DSO or Designated School Official

Immigration Queue in USA

A standard representative of the college (faculty or staff part), delegated by the school and endorsed by BCIS, who speaks for the school in all F-1 matters. Just a DSO may sign a migration record for the school.

Green Card

It is an identity card or a so-called “green card” that proves the existence of a residence permit for a person who is not a U.S. citizen but permanently residing in the United States, and which grants the right to work in the territory of that country.

Immigrant or Green Card Holder or Resident Alien or Permanent Resident

All these terms are supposed to determine the person (alien) who has been legally admitted to the USA for lasting residence. Basically, this person has the indistinguishable rights and commitments from a U.S. citizen with the exemptions of voting, holding certain open workplaces and work by government organizations in common administration positions.


A foreigner allowed to stay in the USA for a particular reason for an impermanent remain that must leave the States when its aim will be completed according to his/her visa.


OPT means Optional Practical Training, it is an advantage of lawful F-1 status. Actually, it is a period (around 1 year) during which a student (undergraduate or graduate) can apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to get a work permit with an aim to get practical training to complete education on a student visa basis.

Transfer Student

For movement purposes, an understudy who is seeking after a full course of study at the school he or she was last approved to go to and is generally keeping up status is qualified to exchange to another INS approved school by following the transfer procedures.


A F-1 or J-1 understudy who has outstayed his/her approved time of stay or generally disregarded his/her understudy status might be restored to legitimate F-1/J-1 status by INS. Application is made on form I-539 joined by supporting reports. Contact the Designated School Official for points of interest.


It is a sign in a passport, given by American Embassy or Consulate abroad, that allows a foreigner to request for an admission to the U.S. on a certain set in the visa time period. Read more here.

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