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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A


Glossary

Abuse

Abuse means to hurt - or threaten to hurt - someone physically, sexually, mentally or financially. Examples include hitting, raping, controlling someone with threats about immigration or financial support.

Glossary

Acquired Citizenship

When a child not born in the U.S. becomes a U.S. citizen because one or both of his/her parents are U.S. citizens. The ability to acquire citizenship depends on the child’s year of birth.

Glossary

Affidavit of Support

A written promise that says the signer agrees to be financially responsible for the immigrant for a certain period of time.

Glossary

Alien

The legal word for any person who is not a citizen of the U.S.

Glossary

A-Number (Alien registration number, Alien number)

A 7-, 8- or 9-digit number assigned to immigrants by the Department of Homeland Security.

Glossary

Application

The form or papers you fill out to ask the government for a visa, a benefit, or legal status, such as citizenship or a work permit.

Glossary

Arrest

Arrest is when a law enforcement officer holds someone, and they are not free to walk away. The government checks all immigration applicants for arrest records.

Glossary

Asylee

A person from another country who arrives in the U.S. asking for protection because it is dangerous for them to be in their home country.

Glossary

Asylum

Asylum is a legal status for people who came to the U.S. because they were harmed or threatened because of who they are or what they believe, and they had no other place to go to. People who get asylum can apply for a green card 12 months later.

Glossary

Attempted Crime

An attempted crime is a crime that was started, but not completed. Attempted crimes are still crimes. You may qualify for the U visa if you were the victim of an attempted crime. (It depends on the crime.)