US Visa Glossary

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A list of abbreviations &c. related to immigration issues. What follows is a small list of some of the most common shorthand terms used:

AmConGen = American Consulate-General (aka USConGen)
AmEmb = American Embassy
ACS = American Citizens' Services (section at AmEmb or AmConGen)
AOS = Adjustment of Status

BIA = Board of Immigration Appeals

CBP = US Customs and Border Protection
CFR = Code of Federal Regulations
CIMT = Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (aka Crime of Moral Turpitude)
CIS = US Citizenship and Immigration Services
COS = Change of Status
CR = Conditional Resident

DCF = Direct Consular Filing
DHS = Department of Homeland Security
DOS = Department of State
DS-156 = Application for Nonimmigrant Visa
DS-157 = NIV Supplemental Information (Security Screen)
DS-158 = NIV Employment and Education Supplement
DS-230 = Application for Immigrant Visa
DS-2019 = Exchange Visitor Information Form
DSO = Designated School Official
d/s = Duration of Status

EAD = Employment Authorization Document
EOS = Extension of (nonimmigrant) Stay

I-20 = F-1 / M-1 Student Acceptance Form
I-94 = Arrival-Departure Control Card
I-129 = Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker
I-129F = Petition for Fiancé(e)
I-130 = Petition for Alien Relative
I-131 = Application for Travel Document
I-140 = Petition for Alien Worker
I-485 = Application for Adjustment of Status
I-539 = Application for Change of Nonimmigrant Status or to Extend Nonimmigrant Stay
I-551 = Legal Permanent Resident Card
I-765 = Application for Employment Authorization Document
IAP-66 = Exchange Visitor Information Form (obsolete)

IBIS = Interagency Border Inspection System (one of several criminal record and security verification data bases)
ICE = Immigration and Customs Enforcement
IMFA = Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments (to the INA)
INA = Immigration and Nationality Act
IR = Immediate Relative
IRCA = Immigration Reform & Control Act (of 1986)
IV = Immigrant Visa

LPR = Legal Permanent Resident

N-400 = Application for Naturalization
NIV = Nonimmigrant Visa
NOID = Notice of Intent to Deny

PPT = Passport

RFE = Request for Evidence

SAVE = Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements
SEVIS = Student & Exchange visitor Information System

ULP = Unlawful Presence
USC = US Citizen
USN = US National
USConGen = US Consulate-General

VIOPP = Visa in Other Passport
VO = Visa Office (at US Department of State)
VWP = Visa Waiver Program (formerly, Visa Waiver Pilot Program)

Regional processing centers for USCIS and DOS:
CSC = California Service Center
VSC = Vermont Service Center
NSC = Nebraska Service Center
TSC = Texas Service Center
NBC = National Benefits Center
NVC = National Visa Center

Many attorneys and consular officers develop their own shorthand. This is especially true with reference to certain sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act or the regulations. Thus, when you hear someone refer to a "212(a)(4) denial" (for public charge) or a "§212(a)(1)(A)(i) waiver" (for HIV infection), the reference is to the corresponding section of the INA.


--J Craig Fong
Los Angeles, CA


In laymans terms, AOS can also mean Affidavit of Support
ASC = Application Support Center for the biometrics