Home country physical presence requirement

Actual Wage

The wage rate paid by the employer to all other individuals with experience and qualifications similar to those of the H-1B nonimmigrant, for the specific employment in question." The "actual wage" for LCA purposes is not an average of the wage rates an employer pays to all workers employed in the occupation, but rather a listing of wages paid, usually tending to form a wage range.


The process and determination on a request for an immigration benefit, rendered by an administrative agency.

Candidate for a Degree
A full or part-time student who:

  • Attends a primary or secondary school or is pursuing a degree at a college or university, or
  • Attends an educational institution that is authorized or accredited to provide a program that is acceptable for full credit towards a bachelor's or higher degree, or to provide programs of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.


U.S. Customs & Border Protection, a division within U.S. Department of Homeland Security


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Continuing Student

A student who has already made initial entry to the United States, been registered in SEVIS, and who has begun a course of study.


Change of Status, referring to change from one nonimmigrant status to another


Duration of Status


U.S. Department of Homeland Security


The Department of State (DOS) operates through U.S. consulates and embassies outside the U.S. and has exclusive authority to issue visas.  The entry visa is stamped in the foreign national's passport by a U.S. consular officer abroad. The stamp indicates the visa type, the period during which the traveler may enter the U.S. and the number of entries permitted.


Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form; A new online form issued by the DOS to streamline and combine several of the current DOS application forms (DS-156, DS-157, DS-158) into one form that can be submitted electronically.


Certificate of eligibility for J exchange visitor status, issued through SEVIS by an exchange visitor program designated by the Department of State


Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State


DHS Electronic System for Travel Authorization


Employment and Training Administration, within the U.S. Department of Labor


Exchange Visitor; A foreign national granted a J-1 visa status by the USCIS.


Nonimmigrant visa classification for foreign students pursuing a full course of study in a college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, private elementary school, other academic institution, or accredited language training program in the United States that has been approved by SEVP to enroll foreign students.


Nonimmigrant visa classification for a foreign national who is the spouse or qualifying child (under the age of 21) of an F-1 nonimmigrant.


A visa classification assigned to "border commuters" who reside in their country of origin while attending a school in the United States. These are granted to citizens of Mexico or Canada only.

Federal Withholding Tax

Federal withholding tax is the tax a foreign national is obligated to pay to the U.S. government which is typically withheld at the time of payment. All payments to a foreign national are taxable unless specifically exempt by IRS Code or a tax treaty.

Foreign National

A foreign national is any individual who is not a U.S. citizen.


Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker; Employers use this form to petition for an alien to come to the United States temporarily to perform services or labor, or to receive training, such as H-1B nonimmigrant workers.


Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by F or M Nonimmigrant Students. Approved schools must keep their Form I-17 up to date through SEVIS.


Certificate of eligibility for F or M student status, issued through SEVIS by a school designated by the Department of Homeland Security.


Temporary Entry Form; This form is issued to international students/exchange visitors/dependents by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at a port of entry (POE) when the officer is not satisfied with the documentation that a student/scholar/dependent provides. Temporary entry is only valid for 30 days, and the student/exchange visitor/dependent must submit the lacking documentation to SEVP within that time period to avoid becoming an "overstay."


The USCIS Application for Employment Authorization is used when applying for Optional Practical Training upon completion of a program of study.


Employment Authorization Document; issued by USCIS as evidence that the holder is authorized to work in the United States.


Notice of Action; Issued by the USCIS when an application or petition is approved.


Employment Eligibility Verification form


Form used to pay the SEVIS fee


Arrival/departure Record; a paper or electronic form on which CBP or USCIS records the immigration classification and duration of stay of an individual admitted to the United States.


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security


A person who intends to live permanently in the U.S.

In Status

An individual is considered in valid status ("in status") if they are in complying with all terms and conditions of their visa classification.


Individual Taxpayer Identification Number; a nine-digit number issued by IRS for purposes of tax processing. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number, but who are ineligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).


Foreign national who has been selected by a sponsor, designated by the United States Department of State, to participate in an exchange visitor program and who is seeking to enter or has entered the United States temporarily as an exchange visitor on a J-1 visa. This term of exchange visitor does not include the visitor's immediate family.


The accompanying spouse and minor children of an exchange visitor (J-1) who are accompanying or following to join the exchange visitor and who are seeking to enter or have entered the United States temporarily on a J-2 visa. For clarifications, a minor is a unmarried person under the age of 21 years old.

Legal status
Formal recognition that an institution may operate in a host country under the laws of that country.


A person with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wishes to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis – for tourism, business, temporary work, study, or medical treatment.


The Department of Labor's National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) renders Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWD) used in the H-1B, H-1B1, H-2, E-3, and PERM processes.

Nonresident Alien (NRA) for Tax Purposes

A nonresident alien for tax purposes is not a U.S. citizen and does not meet either the "green card" test or the "substantial presence" test" as described in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.


National Security Entrance-Exit Registration System; sometimes called Special Registration


National Security Education Program


An official document issued by a government, certifying the holder's identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries.

Prevailing Wage

The “prevailing wage” rate is generally defined as the average wage rate paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment. An employer must pay at least the prevailing wage rate as a condition of sponsoring an alien worker in the H-1B, H-1B1, H-2, or E-3 nonimmigrant categories, and as a condition of filing a permanent labor certification application through PERM.

Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD)

A determination of the prevailing wage for nonimmigrant and permanent labor certification purposes.


Typically, but not always, the process by which an institution obtains legal status.


Student and Exchange Visitor Information System--database which houses information on all F and M students as well as J exchange visitors

Sevis ID Number

The unique ID Number that is included, along with a barcode, on the top right-hand corner of the I-20 or DS-2019 form; all SEVIS ID numbers start with the letter N.

Transfer or SEVIS Transfer

Refers to the electronic transfer of a SEVIS record from one SEVP approved institution to another


US Citizenship and Immigration Services (A division under the Department of Homeland Security)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for the administration of immigration and naturalization adjudication functions and establishing immigration services policies and priorities.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for admitting foreign nationals into the U.S. Upon admission, which usually happens after presenting a visa issued by the DOS, CBP issues the non-immigrant status appropriate for the purpose of travel to the U.S.

Violation of Status/Out of Status

An individual is considered "out of status" or violating their "in status" designation when they are not fulfilling of the terms and conditions of their visa classification.


A visa is an official endorsement of a passport indicating the owner is eligible to enter into or to cross a particular country, but not automatically guaranteed admission. The entry visa is stamped in the foreign national's passport by a U.S. consular officer abroad. The stamp indicates the visa type, the period during which the traveler may enter the U.S. and the number of entries permitted. The stamp may only be obtained outside the U.S. Visas do not guarantee admission to the U.S. but only allow a foreign national to present himself/herself to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for entry into the U.S. Entry will be granted if CBP official finds that the person's intent conforms to the visa; i.e., a person with a tourist visa is visiting and is not actually intending to go to school or work in the U.S.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel.


IRS form used to determine federal tax withholdings from employment income

Work Authorization

Work authorization is associated with visa status and specifies what type of employment, if any, a foreign national may have. Work authorization is verified by use of USCIS Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Powered by Drupal