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International Students


Glossary of USCIS Terms

ADIT Photos
Special photograph requirements for Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Two (2) ADIT-style photos (not passport pictures but similar to "green card" photos) taken within the past 30 days. The photos should be placed in an envelope or plastic bag and stapled to the application so they are not lost. Do not staple the photographs. The photos should be taken by a photographer within the 30 days before submission. ADIT photos must:
  • have a white background,

  • be unmounted,

  • be printed on thin paper,

  • be glossy,

  • be non-retouched

  • show a three-quarter frontal profile of the right side of the face with the right ear visible and with the head bare (unless wearing a headdress is required by a religious order to which the student belongs),

  • be no larger than 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches, with the distance from top of the head to just below the chin about 1-3/16 inches and one inch from the left cheek to the right ear, and

  • bear the student's name and any admission number on the back, lightly printed in pencil
CFR
Code of Federal Regulations.
COS
Change of Status.
D/S
Abbreviation of "Duration of Status." D/S permits an individual to remain in the United States to complete his or her program within the dates on the I-20.
DSO
Designated School Official, the person whom the school has indicated to the USCIS will act on its behalf for the F-1 program.
Grace Period
The additional time a nonimmigrant may remain in the United States after completion of program. F-1 students have a grace period of 60 days.
Immigrant
Person who enters the United States as a legal permanent resident (or becomes one while in the United States). Also known as resident alien, permanent resident, green card holder.
In Status
An alien is said to be "in-status" if he or she is abiding by all of the regulations governing his or her status.
Notification
Procedure by which DSO notifies USCIS of an action by sending certain documents to the USCIS Data Processing Center.
Nonimmigrant
Individual who wishes to enter the United States for a temporary stay and intends to return home.
Out of Status
An alien is said to be "out of status" if he or she has not abided by all of the regulations governing his or her status.
Overstay
Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, nonimmigrants who remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay. For F-1s with D/S on their I-94s, overstay describes those who stop going to school. Penalties apply.
Port of Entry (POE)
The first place the nonimmigrant or immigrant is inspected by USCIS. POEs include the arrivals terminals at all international airports in the United States and the inspection stations at land crossing points with Canada and Mexico.
Prospective Students
A notation put on the B-2 (tourist) visa of an individual whom the consular officer has determined intends to be a student in cases where the individual lacks an I-20 or wishes to enter the United States more than 90 days before classes begin.
SEVIS
Student Exchange Visitor Information System - Internet-based system, which maintains current academic and immigration information on non-immigrant students (F/J) visas and their dependants.
Status
An alien's legal status in the United States. Should not be confused with "visa," which is the stamp in the passport.
USCIS
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Formerly INS, BCIS, Immigration)
Visa
The stamp in the passport that permits someone to apply for admission to the United States at the port of entry. This document governs the time period during which you apply for entry to the U.S. It does not govern your stay in the U.S., and can expire while you are in the U.S.