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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C


Glossary

Child

In immigration law, a child is an unmarried person under 21.  The child may be a parent’s natural child, adopted child, or stepchild.

Glossary

Child Protective Services

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a state agency that protects children from abuse and neglect. Each state has its own agency, but it may be called something different. CPS agencies investigate reports of abuse, and if possible, help families learn how to stay together in healthier ways.

Glossary

Citizen or Citizenship

Being or becoming a U.S. citizen gives you the right to:

  • live in the U.S.,
  • vote in U.S. elections,
  • run for public office, and
  • travel freely.

If you were born here, you are a U.S. citizen. If one or both of your parents are U.S. citizens you are probably a U.S. citizen. Others who want to become U.S. citizens must apply for citizenship, also called naturalization.

Glossary

Communicable Disease

The U.S. government has a list of serious diseases that can spread easily and affect public health. These include: active tuberculosis, gonorrhea, infectious syphilis and other diseases that spread through sex. If you have a disease on this list, you are considered inadmissible and cannot immigrate to the U.S.

Glossary

Conditional Residence

When a person is granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis (for example, the spouse of a U.S. citizen). To stay here, that person must apply to have those conditions removed.

Glossary

Conditional Resident

A person granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis (for example, the spouse of a U.S. citizen). To stay here, that person must apply to have those conditions removed.

Glossary

Consular Processing

An interview for a green card that takes place at a U.S. consulate, usually in the applicant’s home country.

Glossary

Consulate

U.S. Consulates
U.S. consulates are branch offices of U.S. embassies, located all over the world. Most consulates accept and process nonimmigrant and immigrant (green card) visa applications.

Other Consulates
You may have to go to your own country’s consulate if you need to renew your passport or to get an official document, such as a national ID document, birth certificate, etc.

Glossary

Continuous Residence

Continuous residence is the time you live in the U.S. Some trips outside the U.S. are allowed. But if you have lived outside the U.S., or take trips that are too long, you may not prove continuous residence.

Glossary

Convicted (Conviction)

Found guilty of a crime.

Glossary

Country of Citizenship

It is usually the country where a person was born, where their parents were born, or where they became a citizen.