Immigrant: In general, this term refers to aliens living in the United States and is used synonymously with legal permanent residency. Any present alien in the United States who is not in a specified class of nonimmigrant aliens, like a student or temporary visitor, is considered to be a legal alien under this definition.

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR): An immigrant given permission to live in the United States based on job qualifications or family ties is known as an LPR. Once arriving in the country, lawful permanent residents may apply for immigrant visas through the Department of State overseas or change their status to LPR with the INS. Lawful permanent residents typically have "green cards" and are eligible to apply for citizenship after five years of residing in the United States.
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Nonimmigrant: Nonimmigrants are people who are permitted to enter the country for a specific reason and for a short time, such as tourists, students, business visitors, diplomats, and people who work in specialized fields like seasonal agricultural workers or high tech workers.

Sponsors: As of December 19, 1997, immigrants who wish to reunite with their family in the United States must provide an affidavit of support (a legal document that agrees to financially assist the immigrant) from their sponsor(s). To be an eligible sponsor, a person must currently be a citizen, national or lawful permanent resident, age 18 or over, a resident of the 50 states or Washington D.C., and the petitioner for admission of the immigrant.
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Naturalization: This is when a foreign-born person is considered a citizen of the United States. However, they must be at least 18 years old, demonstrate a basic knowledge of English as well as American government and history, have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for 3-5 years, and demonstrate good moral character.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): A federal agency a part of the Department of Homeland Security that regulates lawful immigration to the United States. Some responsibilities include:
  • Providing employment authorization to qualified aliens
  • Issuing documentation of alien employment authorization
  • Maintaining Forms I-9 Giving the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program
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Visa: A U.S. visa gives a person the opportunity to apply for entry into the U.S. under a certain type of classification, like a visitor (B), student (F), or temporary worker (H). Once applying, the bearer does not automatically qualify for entrance into the United States. The Department of State is in charge of visa adjudication at U.S Embassies and Consulates outside of the U.S.

Asylum: In order to avoid being removed from the country, an asylum application has to be submitted to an immigration judge during removal proceedings in immigration court. The Executive Office for Immigration Review includes immigration courts (EOIR).
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