Glossary

Use this glossary to find a definition or explanation for a term related to immigration. Start by searching for the term or clicking on the letter your word begins with. You may also view all terms.

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S


Glossary

Sponsor

A U.S. citizen or green card holder who applies for their family member to get a green card.

Glossary

Spouse

The person someone is married to; husband or wife.

Glossary

Status

Immigration status refers to a person’s legal situation or options. Someone with status has a legal right to be in this country, such as a: U.S. citizen, green card holder, U visa holder, VAWA recipient, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylee, etc.

T


Glossary

T visa

The "T visa" protects immigrants who are trafficking victims by making it safer for them to report the crime. A trafficking victim is someone who was tricked or forced to work like a slave or as a sex worker. Qualified applicants can get a work permit and stay in the U.S. for 4 years. They may be able to help other family members get a T visa, too.

Glossary

Temporary

For a limited time, not intended to last forever.

Glossary

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

A program for people from certain countries with very serious problems, like war or natural disasters. People with TPS can get a work permit and can stay in the U.S. temporarily. TPS is not a path to a green card or citizenship.

Glossary

Terrorism

Using violence or the threat of violence to achieve political goals.

Glossary

Threaten

To say or do something that scares another person.

Glossary

Torture

To cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering. It is usually done to force someone to say or do something they do not want to.

U


Glossary

U visa

The "U visa" protects immigrants who are crime victims by making it safer for them to report a crime or help law enforcement. A person who is the victim of domestic violence or trafficking, but who doesn't qualify for VAWA or a T visa, can sometimes qualify for a U visa. Qualified applicants can get a work permit and stay in the U.S. They may be able to help other family members get a U visa, too.

Glossary

Undocumented

Someone who is in the U.S. without permission, such as no visa or an expired visa.

Glossary

USCIS

USCIS is short for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It is the office that processes immigration applications and visas.

V


Glossary

Valid

Genuine, authentic, real.

Glossary

VAWA

VAWA is short for the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA protects family members of abusive U.S. citizens and green card holders by allowing them to apply for a green card without the help of their abusive family member. It is not just for women.

Glossary

Violation

Disobeying a rule or a law, even if you did not know about the rule or law. Some violations can make it difficult or impossible for you to stay legally.

Glossary

Visa

Official permission to be in the U.S. Examples: tourist visa, student visa, U visa.

Glossary

Vocational

Training, school, or other learning program related to a job or job skills.

Glossary

Voluntary Departure

An order from an immigration judge to leave the U.S. on your own by a certain date.

W


Glossary

Waiver

An exception to a rule or requirement. For example, someone with a waiver can qualify even if they do not meet all of the usual requirements.

Glossary

Witness

A person who knows something about a crime or who saw it happen.

Glossary

Work Permit

A special card from USCIS, called a work permit or Employment Authorization, lets a person work in the U.S. Citizens and people with green cards do not need work permits.

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