The Office of Immigration Statistics recognizes the importance of protecting the identity of individuals included in the data used to generate tabulations, reports, and other research. Below is an alphabetical listing of reporting terms, acronyms - as provided, and definitions.
Accompanied Minor - (AM): A child who has no lawful immigration status in the United States, is younger than 18 years old, and is traveling with a lawfully admissible adult.
Adjustment of Status - LPR (ADJ): A foreign national already present in the United States who becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) by filing an application for admission to LPR status with and receiving application approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Age: The number of whole years from a person’s date of birth to an event.
Agency: Program office or component within a department; independent governmental entity.
Aggravated Felony: Category of criminal offenses listed under 8 USC 1101(a)(43) that, if committed by a noncitizen who is subsequently convicted of such crime(s), precludes the noncitizen from receiving most forms of relief under U.S. immigration law or to be readmitted to the United States at any time in the future.
Agricultural Worker: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States to perform agricultural labor or services, as defined by the Secretary of Labor.
Alien: Terminology in Title 8 of U.S. Code to describe a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. "Alien" is the term in statute; see noncitizen, foreign national.
Alternatives to Detention (ATD): ICE program using technology and other tools to manage unauthorized individual's compliance with release conditions while they are on the non-detained docket.
Apprehension: The arrest of a potentially removable noncitizen by DHS.
Arrest: Act of detaining an individual by legal authority based on an alleged violation of the law.
Arrest, administrative (administrative arrest): Detaining by ICE within the interior of the United States of a noncitizen unlawfully present in the United States or of a lawfully present noncitizens who is subject to removal.
Arrest, criminal (criminal arrest): Detaining of an individual based on an alleged criminal offense, which may or may not have a nexus to immigration.
Asylee: Person granted asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 208.
Asylum: Form of protection provided to noncitizens physically present in the United States who meet the definition of refugee under INA Section 101(a)(42) and are not otherwise barred from applying for or receiving asylum.
Asylum, affirmative (affirmative asylum): Process through which a noncitizen who is physically in the United States and not currently in removal proceedings applies for asylum through USCIS.
Asylum, defensive (defensive asylum): Process through which a noncitizen in removal proceedings applies for asylum with an immigration judge in immigration court as a defense against removal from the United States.
B1 Visa (Business Visitor Visa) (B1): Visa given to a temporary visitor for business.
B2 Visa (Tourist Visitor Visa) (B2): Visa given to a temporary visitor for pleasure.
Beneficiary: A noncitizen on whose behalf a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or employer have filed a petition or application for such noncitizens to receive immigration benefits from DHS.
Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA): The highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws with nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals from certain decisions rendered by immigration judges and by district directors of DHS.
bond (immigration): Immigration bonds are primarily issued to release from ICE custody a noncitizen who has been placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.
book-in: A book-in is a physical book-in to a detention facility. Multiple book-ins (transfers) can occur within a detention stay.
book-in, initial (Initial book-in): An initial book-in to a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility is defined as the first time a noncitizen enters ICE custody for a detention stay and does not include transfers between facilities.
book-out: A book-out is a physical book-out from a detention facility. Multiple book-outs (transfers) can occur within a detention stay.
book-out, final (final book-out - CBP): A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) final release is defined as a final book-out from custody in a CBP holding facility and then transferred to ICE custody, Alternative to Detention (ATD) enrollment through ICE, released, repatriated or expelled from the United States.
book-out, final (final book-out - ICE): An ICE final release is defined as a final book-out from a detention stay with ICE that reflects one of the following release reasons: Bonded Out, Order of Recognizance, Order of Supervision, Paroled, or Prosecutorial Discretion.
Border Crossing Card (Border Crossing Identification Card) (BCC): A document of identity valid for 10 years and containing machine-readable fingerprint and other biometric data that is issued to certain noncitizens for the purpose of crossing over the borders between the United States and foreign contiguous territory in accordance with certain conditions and prescribed regulations.
border location: Refers to one of three U.S. border areas (Maritime, Northern, or Southwestern).
border patrol sector: Any one of 20 geographic areas into which the United States is divided for the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) activities.
business nonimmigrant: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States to engage in commercial transactions which do not involve gainful employment in the United States (i.e., engaged in international commerce on behalf of a foreign firm, not employed in the U.S. labor market, receives no salary from U.S. sources).
Cancellation of removal: A discretionary benefit adjusting a noncitizen's status from that of deportable individual to one lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Application for cancellation of removal is made during the course of a hearing before an immigration judge.
case priority (refugee): Processing priorities established by the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) that identify individuals and groups who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States and who are eligible for refugee resettlement consideration.
Central Index System (CIS): Repository of electronic data and system of record in a legacy mainframe database that contains an index of basic data elements related to an individual passing through the immigration process, plus information on the status of applicants and petitioners seeking immigrant and non-immigrant benefits.
Central Index System 2 (CIS2): A repository of electronic data and system of record in a cloud-based database that contains an index of basic data elements related to an individual passing through the immigration process, plus information on the status of applicants and petitioners seeking immigrant and non-immigrant benefits.
certificate of citizenship: Identity document proving U.S. citizenship that may be issued to derivative citizens and to persons who acquired U.S. citizenship.
child (immigration): Generally, an unmarried person under 21 years of age who is: a child born in wedlock; a stepchild, provided that the child was under 18 years of age at the time that the marriage creating the stepchild relationship occurred; a legitimated child, provided that the child was legitimated while in the legal custody of the legitimating parent; a child born out of wedlock, when a benefit is sought on the basis of its relationship with its mother, or to its father if the father has or had a bona fide relationship with the child; a child adopted while under 16 years of age who has resided since adoption in the legal custody of the adopting parents for at least 2 years; or an orphan, under 16 years of age, who has been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen or has an immediate-relative visa petition submitted in his/her behalf and is coming to the United States for adoption by a U.S. citizen.
Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities (CIEP): Guidelines establishing civil immigration enforcement priorities for the apprehension, detention, and removal of noncitizens based on them being a threat to national security, public safety, and/or border security.
class of admission (COA): Refers to a specified single category of admission to a lawful immigration status.
class of admission, broad or major (broad or major class of admission): Refers to a grouping of one or more specified and similar single categories of admission to a lawful immigration status.
commuter student: Canadian or Mexican national who resides near the U.S.-Canada or U.S.-Mexico border and commutes into the United States to pursue studies in an approved program in either an academic or a vocational institution within close proximity of one of the two international borders.
Computer Linked Application Information Management System - (CLAIMS 3): A legacy USCIS case management system and system of record that supports the maintenance and tracking of officer casework documentation for many immigration related requests.
Consequence Delivery System (CDS): Process designed and implemented by CBP to impede and deter further violations of immigration law by noncitizens by guiding CBP agents and officers through a process designed to uniquely evaluate each subject and identify the most effective and efficient consequences to deliver.
Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA): A statistical geographic entity consisting of the county or counties associated with at least one core (Urban Area) of at least 10,000 population, plus adjacent counties having a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured through commuting ties with the counties containing the core. Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas are the two categories of CBSAs.
country of birth: Country in which an individual is born.
country of chargeability: Country to which an immigrant in a numerically limited classification is charged by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for purposes of numerical control.
country of citizenship: Country to which a person owes allegiance and by which they are entitled to be protected. Each country sets its own rules for granting citizenship, which may be based on birth or naturalization, and some persons may not have a country of citizenship.
country of former allegiance: Previous country of citizenship of a naturalized U.S. citizen.
country of last residence: Country in which a noncitizen habitually resided prior to crossing the U.S. border and entering the United States.
country of nationality: Country in which a person has a legal status of membership and is deemed a national.
county: The primary legal divisions of U.S. states and territories and includes “county equivalents” as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau which are considered primary divisions for statistical purposes.
credible fear: Establishment in a hearing before an immigration judge by a noncitizen of a “significant possibility” of having been persecuted or having a well-founded fear of persecution or torture on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if returned to the noncitizen's country of origin.
crewman: A foreign national serving in any capacity on board a vessel or aircraft.
criminal removal: The deportation, exclusion, or removal of a noncitizen who has 1) been charged under a section of the INA that requires a criminal conviction and that charge is the basis for the removal or, 2) a criminal conviction noted in DHS immigration enforcement data systems for a crime that renders the noncitizen removable. A noncitizen with an appropriate criminal conviction is considered a criminal noncitizen regardless of the section of law under which the noncitizen was removed.
criminality: Indicates criminal conviction against an individual.
custody - CBP: Noncitizens apprehended by CBP and detained in CBP short-term custody facilities or processing centers (up to 72 hours) for purposes of case processing and disposition, pending transfer to another agency, release, or additional or other actions.
custody - ICE: Noncitizens detained in ICE civil immigration detention system in furtherance of their removal proceedings or to affect their departure from the United States after a final order of removal from an immigration judge.
D-1 nonimmigrant crewmember visa: Nonimmigrant visa for persons working on board commercial sea vessels or international airlines in the United States, providing services required for normal operation and intending to depart the United States on the same vessel or any other vessel within 29 days.
deferred inspection: Procedure authorized by an immigration inspector when a noncitizen appears at a port of entry with documentation, but after preliminary examination, some question remains about their admissibility which can best be answered at their point of destination.
deportable person: Noncitizen in and/or admitted to the United States that is subject to a ground(s) of removal specified in INA Section 237.
deportation: The removal or return of a noncitizen from the United States.
derivative citizenship: Citizenship conveyed to children through the naturalization of parents or, under certain circumstances, to foreign-born children adopted by U.S. citizen parents, provided certain conditions are met.
detention - ICE: ICE detentions are defined as a noncitizen that is physically booked into ICE custody and does not include those under U.S. Marshall custody, Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee and Resettlement (ORR) custody, or transportation facilities.
diplomats and other representatives: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States as a foreign government official, international representative, or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) official.
diversity immigrants: Category of persons who obtained LPR status through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, designed to allow immigration from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States, as defined by the INA.
Electronic Immigration System (ELIS): A USCIS electronic case management system and system of record for processing electronically filed benefit request forms and certain paper forms.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA): Web-based application and screening system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
eligible to naturalize: Refers to persons who may be eligible to become U.S. citizens by applying for naturalization with USCIS and meeting certain legal requirements.
employer sanctions: A series of civil or criminal penalties for violations under the employer sanctions provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and other legislation, which prohibits employers from hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee noncitizens known to be unauthorized to work in the United States.
employment-based preferences: Consist of five categories of workers (and their spouses and children): 1) First preference (EB-1), priority workers; 2) Second preference (EB-2), professionals with advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability; 3) Third preference (EB-3), skilled workers, professionals with baccalaureate degrees, and unskilled workers; 4) Fourth preference (EB-4), “special” immigrants; and 5) Fifth preference (EB-5), immigrant investors.
encounter, administrative - CBP/CBP administrative encounter: An encounter by CBP Office of Field Operations (OFO) with a noncitizen who is determined to be inadmissible and whose application for admission is terminated without prejudice, who is a crewman refused landing rights or detained on board, or who is granted parole status.
Encounter, enforcement (CBP enforcement encounter): An encounter by CBP with a noncitizen who is apprehended by USBP or determined to be inadmissible by OFO, except for persons whose application for admission is terminated without prejudice, who are crewmen refused landing rights or detained on board, or who are granted parole status.
encounters: The sum of USBP Title 8 apprehensions, OFO Title 8 inadmissibles, and noncitizens processed for expulsions under Title 42 authority by USBP or OFO.
Enforcement Integrated Database (EID): A shared common database repository and system of record used by several DHS law enforcement and homeland security applications, which stores and maintains information related to the investigation, arrest, booking, detention, and removal of persons encountered during immigration and criminal law enforcement investigations and operations conducted by ICE, USCIS, and CBP.
exchange visitor: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States as a participant in a program approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, or receiving training.
Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR): Department of Justice agency whose primary mission is to adjudicate immigration cases, under delegated authority from the Attorney General, through immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings.
expedited removal: Process in which a noncitizen is administratively removed from the United States by DHS without being referred to an immigration judge.
expulsion: Noncitizen expelled under Title 42 authority to their country of last transit or, if a person cannot be returned to the country of last transit, to their country of origin (see Title 42).
family status: Indicates whether the subject of the encounter was an accompanied minor (AM), a family unit individual (FM), a single adult (SA), or an unaccompanied child (UC).
family unit individuals (FM): Individuals processed by CBP who belong to a family unit, defined as one or more minors plus their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) with whom they are traveling; excludes minor children (under the age of 18) traveling with adult family members who are not their parents or legal guardians. All references to family units or FMs are to numbers of individuals in families, not to family groupings.
family-sponsored preferences: Consist of four categories of relatives: 1) First preference (F-1), a U.S. citizen’s unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 years and over) and their children; 2) Second preference, an LPR’s spouse and children (F-2A), or an LPR’s unmarried sons and daughters and their children (F-2B); 3) Third preference (F-3), a U.S. citizen’s married sons and daughters and their spouses and children; and 4) Fourth preference (F-4), siblings of a U.S. citizen (if the citizen is age 21 years or older) and their spouses and children.
fear claim: A claim of fear of return to a noncitizen's country of citizenship while subject to expedited removal, reinstatement of removal, or administrative removal. See "credible fear" and "reasonable fear."
fear claim at border: Subject of an encounter claimed a fear of return to their country of citizenship after being encountered by a CBP officer and while in CBP custody.
fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizen: A nonimmigrant coming to the United States to conclude a valid marriage with a U.S. citizen within 90 days after entry.
field office - CBP OFO (OFO FO): Any one of 20 geographic areas into which the United States is divided for OFO activities, plus CBP preclearance activities abroad.
field office - USCIS (USCIS FO): Offices within a USCIS district that provide services and enforcement functions for a particular portion of the district.
final enforcement outcome: Includes confirmed repatriations (removals or returns), grants of relief or other forms of protection from removal, findings of non-removability, and CBP re-encounters of noncitizens (aliens) believed to have departed the country of their own accord. These events are “final” in that they represent a durable resolution to an initial enforcement action.
fiscal year (FY): The 12-month period beginning October 1 of the preceding calendar year and ending September 30.
follow-to-join beneficiary - refugee: A spouse or child who joins the principal refugee more than 4 months after the primary beneficiary's admission to the United States.
foreign government official: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States who has been accredited by a foreign government to function as an ambassador, public minister, career diplomatic or consular officer, other accredited official, or an attendant, servant or personal employee of an accredited official.
foreign information media representative: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States as a bona fide representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media.
foreign national: Person not a citizen or national of the United States.
foreign state of chargeability: The independent country to which an immigrant entering under the preference system is credited or charged.
gender: Gender is a broad term typically associated with a person's own sense of their behaviors, characteristics, and thoughts, often in relation to their sex.
green card: Document also known as a Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551, and issued by USCIS to noncitizens as evidence of their LPR status in the United States.
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H-1B beneficiary: Specialty worker whose H-1B petition to work temporarily in the United States has been approved by DHS; such worker is admitted on the basis of professional education, skills, and/or equivalent experience.
H-1B petition: An application form used by employers seeking permission for a foreign national to work temporarily in the United States. An H-1B petition must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security before a foreign national specialty worker, whether residing overseas or within the United States at the time of application, is authorized to begin or continue working in the United States.
I-94/I-94W: DHS Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, and DHS Form I-94W, Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record, used by most types of nonimmigrants entering the United States to document their arrival and legal presence in the United States. The main categories of nonimmigrants exempted from forms I-94 and I-94W are Mexican citizens with border crossing cards and most Canadian citizens.
ICE ERO area of responsibility (AOR): Any one of 25 geographical areas (plus Headquarters) in the United States associated with an ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) field office within which the field office has the authority to plan and conduct immigration enforcement and removal operations.
immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: Spouses of U.S. citizens, children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens, parents of U.S. citizens at least 21 years old, and certain widow(er)s of U.S. citizens, who are exempt from the numerical limitations imposed on immigration to the United States.
immigrant: Any person lawfully in the United States who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or person admitted under a nonimmigrant category as defined by the INA Section 101(a)(15).
immigrant visa: A visa issued by a consular officer outside of the United States to a person eligible to immigrate to the United States to become a lawful permanent resident.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA): The primary law, codified at U.S. Code Title 8, that governs the immigration, temporary admission, naturalization, and removal of persons who are not citizens or nationals of the United States.
immigration judge (IJ): An attorney appointed by the Attorney General to act as an administrative judge within EOIR and who is qualified to conduct specified classes of proceedings, including removal proceedings.
inadmissible noncitizen: Foreign national who has not been inspected and admitted to the United States who is subject to the grounds of removal specified in INA Section 212.
initial encounter location: Refers to one of three U.S. border areas (Maritime, Northern, or Southwestern) or the U.S. interior where DHS may encounter a noncitizen subject to immigration enforcement actions.
initial enforcement event - initial enforcement action: Includes USBP apprehensions and OFO inadmissibility determinations. These events are “initial” in the sense that they initiate a process that may lead to a repatriation or to relief/protection from removal.
international representative: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States as a principal or other accredited representative of a foreign government (whether officially recognized or not recognized by the United States) to an international organization, an international organization officer or employee.
intracompany transferee: A foreign national, employed for at least one continuous year out of the last three by an international firm or corporation, who seeks to enter the United States temporarily in order to continue to work for the same employer, or a subsidiary or affiliate, in a capacity that is primarily managerial, executive, or involves specialized knowledge.
labor certification: Requirement for U.S. employers seeking to employ certain foreign nationals whose admission into the United States is based on job skills or lack of qualified authorized workers in the United States. The Secretary of Labor issues labor certification that attests to the U.S. employers’ needs for such foreign workers.
lawful permanent resident (LPR): Status accorded to an individual who has been lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant in accordance with immigration laws, such status not having changed.
LPR Date: Date when a person was admitted to LPR status.
marital status: Status indicating whether a person is, has been, or has never been married.
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): A Core Based Statistical Area associated with at least one Urban Area that has a population of at least 50,000. The MSA comprises the central county or counties containing the core, plus adjacent outlying counties having a high degree of social and economic integration with the central county or counties as measured through commuting.
Mexican Interior Repatriation Initiative (IRI): Program based on joint agreement between the governments of the United States and Mexico to ensure that those repatriated to Mexico are returned closer to their homes in a safe and expeditious manner. Staffed by ICE-ERO officers, this program includes flights returning Mexican nationals to their cities of origin, with the goal to have them reintegrate back into their communities, rather than fall victim to human smuggling schemes. Through this program, ICE aims to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious and humane manner with assistance and coordination from CBP.
Micropolitan Statistical Area (µSA): A Core Based Statistical Area associated with at least one Urban Area that has a population of at least 10,000, but less than 50,000. The µSA comprises the central county or counties containing the core, plus adjacent outlying counties having a high degree of social and economic integration with the central county or counties as measured through commuting.
migrant: A person who leaves his/her country of origin to seek temporary or permanent residence in another country.
mode of transportation (or transportation mode): Method of travel (air, land, or sea) for persons arriving at ports of entry (POEs).
N-400 naturalization: The conferring of citizenship upon a person after birth through approval by USCIS of the person's naturalization application (USCIS Form N-400).
national (immigration): A person owing permanent allegiance to a state.
NATO official: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States as a member of the armed forces or as a civilian employed by the armed forces on assignment with a foreign government signatory to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
naturalization: The conferring by any means of citizenship upon a person after birth.
naturalization application: USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, used by a lawful permanent resident to apply for U.S. citizenship.
naturalization provisions, general (general naturalization provisions): The basic requirements for naturalization that every applicant must meet, unless a member of a special class.
naturalization provisions, special (special naturalization provisions): Provisions covering special classes of persons whom may be naturalized even though they do not meet all the general requirements for naturalization.
new arrival - LPR: A foreign national living abroad who becomes a LPR concurrently with admission to the United States at a U.S. POE after receiving an immigrant visa from DOS.
noncitizen: Person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.
nonimmigrant: Any person in the United States not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national who is admitted on a temporary basis to the United States for a specific purpose under a nonimmigrant category as defined by the INA Section 101(a)(15).
nonimmigrant admission: Lawful entry into the United States of a foreign national under a nonimmigrant class of admission after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.
nonimmigrant admission, I-94 (I-94 (nonimmigrant) admission): Lawful entry into the United States of a foreign national under a nonimmigrant class of admission who is required to complete or obtain DHS Form I-94 or I-94W.
nonimmigrant admission, non-I-94 (Non-I-94 (nonimmigrant) admission): Lawful entry into the United States of a foreign national under a nonimmigrant class of admission who is not required to complete or obtain DHS Form I-94 or I-94W.
nonimmigrant visa: A visa properly issued to a person eligible to be admitted as a nonimmigrant to the United States.
nonpreference category: Category of immigrant visas available to qualified applicants not entitled to a visa under the preference system prior to the Immigration Act of 1990.
Northern Triangle countries (NTC): El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Notice to Appear (NTA): Form I-862, a document that is the first step in starting removal proceedings under INA Section 240. The form identifies the grounds for removal under which the noncitizen is being charged and instructs them to appear before an immigration judge.
Notice to Report (NTR): Form I-385, a document that directs an individual to report to an ICE office within 60 days for further immigration processing.
numerical limit, exempt from: Those noncitizens accorded lawful permanent residence who are exempt from the provisions of the flexible numerical limit of 675,000 set by the Immigration Act of 1990.
occupation (immigration): For a noncitizen entering the United States or adjusting immigration status without a labor certification, occupation refers to the employment held in the country of last lawful residence or in the United States. For a noncitizen entering the United States or adjusting immigration status with a labor certification, occupation is the employment for which certification has been issued.
order of supervision: Condition under which a noncitizen may be released from ICE custody because the field office is unable to obtain a travel document.
orphan (immigration): For immigration purposes, a child whose parents have died or disappeared, or who has been abandoned or otherwise separated from both parents. An orphan may also be a child whose sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing that child with proper care and who has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption. In order to qualify as an immediate relative, the orphan must be under the age of sixteen at the time a petition is filed on their behalf. To enter the United States, an orphan must have been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen (and spouse, if married) or be coming to the United States for adoption by a citizen.
parole - ICE: Temporary status granted to a noncitizen for release from ICE custody due to humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit or because the noncitizen has made a claim for asylum and has been found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture if returned to his/her country of origin.
parole in place - USCIS: Parole in place allows a noncitizen, who came into the United States without authorization by an immigration officer, to stay for a certain period of time and is granted on a case-by-case basis for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
parole, advance (advance parole): Parole authorized in advance of an inadmissible noncitizen's arrival or for foreign nationals residing in the United States in other than LPR status who need to travel and return and whose conditions of stay do not otherwise allow for readmission to the United States if they depart.
parole, humanitarian (humanitarian parole): Parole authorized for "urgent humanitarian reasons" as specified by law, regulation, or declaration by the U.S. Government.
parole, I-94/ATD (I-94 parole-ATD): Noncitizens paroled into the United States by CBP and enrolled in an ICE ATD program prior to their release.
parole, overseas (overseas parole): Parole authorized by DHS while the noncitizen is still overseas; designed to constitute long-term admission to the United States. In recent years, most of the noncitizens the DHS has processed through overseas parole have arrived under special legislation or international migration agreements.
parole, port-of-entry (POE parole): Parole authorized at the port upon noncitizen's arrival; used at the discretion of the supervisory immigration inspector, usually to allow short periods of entry, and applies to a wide variety of situations, such as allowing noncitizens who could not be issued the necessary documentation within the required time period, or who were otherwise inadmissible, to attend a funeral and permitting the entry of emergency workers, such as fire fighters, to assist with an emergency.
parole, public interest (public interest parole): Parole authorized at DHS headquarters for "significant public benefit" specified in the law; generally used for noncitizens who enter to take part in legal proceedings.
parolee: A noncitizen, appearing to be inadmissible to the inspecting officer, allowed into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or when that noncitizen's entry is determined to be for significant public benefit. Parole does not constitute a formal admission to the United States and confers temporary status only, requiring parolees to leave when the conditions supporting their parole cease to exist.
per-country limit: The maximum number of family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas that can be issued to citizens of any country in a fiscal year.
port of entry (POE): Any location in the United States or its territories that is designated as a POE for noncitizens and U.S. citizens.
preference system (Immigration Act of 1990): The nine categories since FY 1992 among which the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference visas are distributed.
pre-inspection: Complete immigration inspection of airport passengers before departure from a foreign country. No further immigration inspection is required upon arrival in the United States other than submission of Form I-94/I-94W for persons arriving as nonimmigrants.
principal applicant: The person who applies for immigrant status and from whom another foreign national may derive lawful status under immigration law or regulations (usually spouses and minor unmarried children).
Priority 1 (P-1) refugee: Individuals referred by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), a U.S. Embassy, or certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for refugee resettlement consideration.
Priority 2 (P-2) refugee: Groups of special humanitarian concern for refugee resettlement consideration.
Priority 3 (P-3) refugee: Family reunification cases for refugee resettlement consideration.
prosecutorial discretion (PD): PD is the authority of a law enforcement agency to decide where to focus its resources and whether or how to enforce the law against an individual.
reasonable fear: A “reasonable possibility” an individual would be persecuted or subject to torture in the future on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if returned to their country of origin. The reasonable fear screening process is triggered when an individual subject to final administrative removal or reinstatement of removal expresses to an ICE agent or CBP officer a fear of returning to the country to which they have been ordered removed.
recognizance (ICE release condition): Condition under which a noncitizen who is not subject to a final order of removal may be released from ICE custody because they are not a detention priority.
refugee: Status granted to an individual, prior to departure for and arrival in the United States, who has been determined by competent authority to be fleeing persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution in their own country because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
refugee approvals: The number of refugees approved for admission to the United States during a fiscal year by DHS officers in overseas offices.
refugee arrivals: The number of refugees DHS initially admits to the United States through ports of entry during a fiscal year.
refugee authorized admissions: The maximum number of refugees allowed to enter the United States in a given fiscal year. As set forth in the Refugee Act of 1980 (Public Law 96-212) the President determines the annual figure after appropriate consultation with Congress.
refugee resettlement: Permanent relocation of refugees in a place outside their country of origin to allow them to establish residence and become productive members of society there. Refugee resettlement in the United States is accomplished with the direct assistance of private voluntary agencies working with the HHS ORR.
region: One of eight continental or subcontinental areas (excluding Antarctica) that includes multiple countries; regions are Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America (including or excluding Caribbean and Central America), Oceania, and South America.
region of birth: World region in which an individual is born.
region of chargeability: World region to which an immigrant in a numerically limited classification is charged by DOS for purposes of numerical control. For refugees, any one of five regions-Africa, East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East and South Asia, and the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe-into which the world is divided for the initial admission of refugees to the United States.
region of citizenship: World region in which a person is born or naturalized and to which the person owes allegiance and by which they are entitled to be protected.
relation to principal applicant: Refers to principal applicant (self) or the type of familial connection between the principal applicant and a person who derives a benefit from such a relationship.
removal (noncitizen removed): Confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable noncitizen out of the United States based on the compulsory execution of an order of removal against the person.
removal order (order of removal): Order issued by a U.S. immigration official to remove a noncitizen from the United States.
repatriation: Removal or return of a noncitizen to their country of citizenship or a third country.
repeat encounter - CBP: Refers to a noncitizen encountered by CBP more than once within the previous 12 months.
return (noncitizen returned): Confirmed movement of a potentially inadmissible or deportable noncitizen out of the United States not based on an order of removal, but through either voluntary departure or voluntary return.
service centers - USCIS (SC): The Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) has five service centers that process and adjudicate certain immigration applications and petitions. Service centers do not provide in-person services, conduct interviews, or receive walk-in applications, petitions, or questions. They work only on certain applications or petitions that applicants have mailed, filed online, or filed with a USCIS Lockbox.
sex: Biological forms described as male or female. Unknown sex indicates instances where sex cannot be determined or was not recorded.
single adults - CBP (SA): Individuals encountered by CBP who are at least 18 years of age and not part of a family unit.
special agent in charge jurisdiction - ICE HSI (SAC): Any one of 30 geographical areas in the United States plus those areas abroad associated with an ICE Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI) SAC office within which the office is responsible for the administration and management of all ICE HSI investigative and enforcement activities.
special immigrant (SI): Certain categories of LPRs who were exempt from numerical limitation before fiscal year 1992 and subject to limitation under the employment-based fourth preference beginning in 1992.
special immigrant visa (SIV): A visa properly issued by a consular officer outside of the United States to a person eligible to immigrate to the United States to become a lawful permanent resident under a special immigrant class of admission.
state or territory: One of the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or any territorial possession of the United States.
state or territory of destination: One of the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or any territorial possession of the United States to which a person travels.
state or territory of residence: One of the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or any territorial possession of the United States in which a person has taken up residence and habitually resides.
stateless: Not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law.
stowaway: A noncitizen who obtains transportation without the consent of the owner, charterer, master or person in command of any vessel or aircraft through concealment aboard such vessel or aircraft in order to come into the United States surreptitiously and without obtaining lawful status of admission.
student (nonimmigrant): A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States to pursue a full course of study in an approved program in either an academic (college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, other institution, or language training program) or a vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution.
subject to the numerical limit (immigration): categories of lawful immigrants subject to annual limits under the provisions of the flexible numerical limit of 675,000 set by the Immigration Act of 1990.
successful unauthorized entries: The estimated number of inadmissible noncitizens who improperly enter the United States, including those who enter without inspection between POEs and those who enter fraudulently or without inspection through POEs.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS): TPS allows certain eligible nationals of a foreign state to apply for temporary refuge in the United States after a finding that conditions in that country pose a danger to personal safety due to ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster.
temporary visitor for business: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States to engage in commercial transactions which do not involve gainful employment in the United States (i.e., engaged in international commerce on behalf of a foreign firm, not employed in the U.S. labor market, receives no salary from U.S. sources).
temporary visitor for pleasure: A foreign national coming temporarily to the United States for tourism or other non-business purposes.
temporary worker: A foreign national coming to the United States to work for a temporary period of time.
Title 42 (T42): Title 42 of the U.S. Code, which includes provisions related to public health. Border encounters processed under a March 2020 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) order pursuant to
Title 42 are expelled from the United States as expeditiously as possible in the interest of U.S. public health to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
Title 8 (T8): Title 8 of the U.S. Code, which includes most provisions for immigration enforcement. Encounters processed under Title 8 authority may be subject to removal from the United States.
title authority: The Title within the U.S. Code that provides the legal authority to process noncitizens for exclusion or removal. See Title 8 and Title 42.
transfer: A transfer is a book-out from one detention facility followed by a book-in to another detention facility within a detention stay.
transit individual: A foreign national in immediate and continuous transit through the United States, with or without a visa, including, 1) persons who qualify as persons entitled to pass in transit to and from the United Nations Headquarters District and foreign countries and, 2) foreign government officials and their spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children in transit.
treaty trader or investor (immigration): A foreign national coming to the United States, under the provisions of a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the foreign state of such person, to carry on substantial trade or to direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested a substantial amount of capital.
type of admission - LPR: One of two paths to LPR status, depending on whether a person applies for an immigrant visa abroad (New Arrival) or seeks LPR status from within the United States (Adjustment of Status).
unaccompanied child (UC): A child who has no lawful immigration status in the United States, is younger than 18 years old, and either 1) Does not have a parent or legal guardian in the United States or, 2) Does not have a parent or legal guardian in the United States who is able to provide care and physical custody.
unauthorized immigrant population: The unauthorized immigrant population is defined as all foreign-born non-citizens who are not legal residents, including naturalized citizens, persons granted lawful permanent residence, persons granted asylum, persons admitted as refugees, and persons admitted as resident nonimmigrants (i.e., students and temporary workers, as opposed to tourists) who have unexpired authorized periods of admission. Most unauthorized immigrants either entered the United States without inspection or were admitted temporarily and remained past the date they were required to depart.
unique encounter - CBP: Noncitizen who has been encountered by CBP only once within the previous 12 months.
unique individual (nonimmigrant): Refers to a person admitted one or more times into the United States under a nonimmigrant class of admission within a defined period of time.
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Visa Waiver Program (VWP): The VWP allows citizens of certain selected countries to travel temporarily to the United States under the nonimmigrant admission classes of visitors for pleasure and visitors for business, to enter the United States without obtaining nonimmigrant visas, and to be admitted for no more than 90 days.
voluntary departure: The departure of a noncitizen from the United States without an order of removal and may or may not have been preceded by a hearing before an immigration judge. A noncitizen allowed to voluntarily depart concedes removability but does not have a bar to seeking admission at a POE at any time. Failure to depart within the time granted results in a fine and a
10-year bar to several forms of relief from deportation.
Wet Foot – Dry Foot policy: The “Wet Foot – Dry Foot” policy exempted certain Cuban nationals from the provisions of INA Section 235(b)(1) and allowed them to remain in the United States if they reached U.S. soil. Since the end of this policy on January 12, 2017, all Cuban nationals entering without proper documentation are subject to removal.
withdrawal: An arriving noncitizen's voluntary retraction of an application for admission to the United States and immediate departure from the United States in lieu of a removal hearing before an immigration judge or an expedited removal.
years before naturalization: Number of whole years a person was in LPR status before naturalization.
years in LPR status: Number of whole years a person has been in LPR status.
Zip Code: U.S. ZIP codes are a type of postal code used within the United States to help the United States Postal Service (USPS) route mail more efficiently. The five digit number represents a geographic mail delivery area for USPS and is the first part of a delivery point code