Alien - Glossary of Terms

Adjustment of Status (AOS) The process in which a nonimmigrant becomes an immigrant (Permanent Resident) without leaving the country.
Affiliation When UCLA is not sponsor of the visa but there is an established association with visa sponsor of the employee.
Alien An individual living in or visiting the United States who is not a citizen of the U.S.
Asylee A person who has been granted asylum in the United States. This individual applied for this status while in the U.S.
Calendar Year Any time between January 1 and December 31.
Change of Status (COS) Indicates that a nonimmigrant has applied and received a change from one nonimmigrant classification to another nonimmigrant classification.
Compensation A payment in exchange for services rendered.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Responsible for protecting our nation’s borders in order to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) CPT is an employment option available to F-1 Students where practical training employment is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) The DHS is responsible for the approval of all immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions, and the authorization of permission to work in the U.S.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) ESTA is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It requires the same information as the paper I-94W form that VWP travelers currently fill out en route to the U.S.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Most commonly known as a Work Permit (Form I-766) and is a document issued by USCIS that provides its holder the legal right to work in the U.S.
Extension of Status (EOS) Indicates that a non-immigrant has applied and received an extension of the duration that they may stay in the US.
FICA Tax Known as Social Security, it is an employment tax imposed by the United States Social Security Administration on certain employees to support the US social benefits program. It is a combination of both a retirement pension and medical plan. These taxes are called OASDI and Medicare. The rates for 2009 are 6.2% for OASDI and 1.45% for Medicare.
Foreign Sourced Income Payment made to a nonresident alien working and living outside of the U.S. This type of income is not taxable to nonresidents of the U.S.
Form DS-2019 The Certificate of Eligibility for an Exchange Visitor designates the J-1 visa status. It describes the purposes and length of stay of the visiting alien.
Form I-20 The certificate for eligibility for an F-1 student. This form tracks the individual’s education experience while in the United States and is completed by the educational sponsor of the student.
Form I-94 The arrival/departure card of a visiting individual. It shows the length of permission to stay in the United States and the status of the individual at the time of entry into the U.S.
Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card.
Form I-797 Notice of Action issued by USCIS as a formal means of communication. Most often this includes information on visa status approval (H, O, P and TN status); Receipt Notice to indicate payment has been received; or indication of Change of Status.
Form 1040NR US Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return.
Form 1042-S Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding Form.
Form 8233 Form used to request exemption from federal withholding by means of a tax treaty. It is used by aliens accepting payment for independent personal services and/or employment.
Honorarium An award granted in recognition of a special service or distinguished achievement. It is a monetary gift with does not require a service to be “paid”.
Immigration To come into a country of which on is not a native for permanent residence.
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)See USCIS.
Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) The largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nation’s border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security.
Immigrant Someone who has intent to reside in the United States permanently.
ITIN An "Individual Taxpayer Identification Number" issued to nonresident individuals unable to obtain a social security number. Effective for tax year 1996, all nonresident must file tax returns with an identification number per IRS.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)The governmental agency which has authority to enforce Federal tax rules and regulations.
Multiple Entry Visa Permission to enter the United States using the same visa for the number of times designated on the visa.
Multiple Indefinite Visa Permission to present oneself indefinitely at the border for reentry on the same status. Laws have currently limited this to a 10 year period.
National The relationship between a person and their state of origin, culture, association, affiliation and/or loyalty.  Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state.
Nonresident Alien Tax status given to a visiting alien who is not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident, or someone who has not obtained residency for tax purposes due to the Substantial Presence Test. These individuals are only taxed on their U.S. source income and are required to file a tax return each year for income that they receive.
Non-immigrant An alien who comes to the U.S. temporary for the purpose of study, business or tourism and has the intent to return to their home country. The duration of stay will be indicated on their I-94.
Original Date of Entry in the U.S. The first date that the individual arrived in the U.S. for the primary purpose of the visit.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major of study. Generally, F-1 student are authorized to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training either before and/or after completion of studies.
Out of Status A non-immigrant who entered the U.S. with a legal status but has violated the terms of admission. This could be an overstay, accepting a position when no work authorization has been granted, not working for the sponsor of the visa, etc.
Parolee (PIP) An alien allowed to enter the US for emergency purposes or when the aliens entry is determined to be in the public interest.
Permanent Resident Alien An individual who has been granted legal permanent residence in the U.S. They are referred to as immigrants. Generally, these are the only aliens that are allowed to apply for naturalization.
Portability When current institution is not the sponsor of the H1-B Visa, then the work authorization begins at the time of the new sponsor’s filing with the USCIS and work authorization is extended 240 days from the date USCIS received application of portability.
Refugee A status that is granted during admission into the US. Granted to persons fleeing from a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.
Resident Alien An individual who is a resident for tax purposes due to the Substantial Presence Test calculation.
Social Security Tax See FICA.
Substantial Presence Test A test to determine residency for tax purposes. It involves counting the days of presence in the current year and 1st and 2nd preceding years.
Status The terms of the individual entry into the United States. It is granted by an USCIS official at the time of entry. Information is generally noted on the I-94.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) A temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of designated countries.
Temporary Resident An individual in the process of legalization or amnesty. These individuals may become permanent residents.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)The governmental agency which is authorized to control and enforce immigration rules and regulations. They grant permission to entry and the border and process changes in status. Formerly known as INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).
U.S. Source Income Income paid generally from sources in the United States.
Visa Permission to present oneself at a U.S. border to ask for entry. The decision to let a foreign visitor entered is made by the immigration officer at the point of entry.
Visa Type The type of category that an alien is granted upon entering the U.S. This is also referred to as the "status" of the visitor.
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)The Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals from select countries to be admitted to the United States under limited conditions and for a limited time without obtaining a visa.
Undocumented Alien A person who enters the United States illegally. This individual may not be employed or accept any payment.
United States Citizen The designation given to individuals born in the United States or born to U.S. citizens. Individuals may also gain this status through the naturalization process.
Work Any act or service provided by an employee for an employer.

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