Keeping families together.

About Us
Our Blog
Practice Areas
Immigration Resources
Contact Us



Immigration law has an abundance of abbreviations, acronyms and jargon.  You may hear us use some of the terms.  Correspondence from USCIS will certainly use the terms. 



'A' number

A unique 8- or 9-digit identification number preceded by the letter “A.”  Assigned to most non-citizens during on application for immigrant status.

Adjustment of status


The process through which certain non-citizens apply for permanent residency.  The process is completed while the non-citizen is within U.S. borders and does not require non-citizens to return to their country of nationality.

Prior immigration violations, such as unlawful entry, and certain criminal acts may make an applicant ineligible to apply from within the United States, though waivers (exceptions) may be available in some instances.


A non-citizen who is eligible to enter the U.S.

Immigration law bars certain individuals from entering the U.S., mostly on health, economic or crime-related grounds. 


The decision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whether to allow a non-citizen at a United States border or port-of-entry to enter the United States.

Whether a person is admitted to legally come into the U.S. and on what date may determine whether that person will be eligible for immigration applications that he/she might file in the future.

Persons who are not admitted are not legally present in the U.S.

Technically, a DHS immigration official conducts an “inspection” and then makes a decision about “admission” of each person wanting to enter the U.S. in separate steps. But because the two steps happen essentially at the same time, these two terms are used almost interchangeably.  

Affidavit of support

A form filed by a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsor on behalf of a non-citizen seeking lawful permanent residence in the U.S. The affidavit verifies that the sponsor has sufficient income to support the persons intending to immigrate to the U.S. and will provide the non-citizen with financial support should the non-citizen be unable to work.

The affidavit of support is a legally enforceable contract against the sponsor.

The sponsor must prove that he or she has income equal to at least 135% of the federal poverty level. The amount of income required depends on the sponsor's household size.  The household size is calculated based on the number of dependents a sponsor has plus the sponsor plus any previous persons sponsored for immigration plus the applicant and his or her dependents. 

Affirmative asylum

The process in which asylum-seekers in the U.S. voluntarily present themselves to the U.S. Government to ask for asylum.  Applications must be filed within 1 year after entering the U.S. unless there is proof of changed circumstances.

The affirmative application for asylum is made to the Asylum Office.

An asylum application can also be made after apprehension by DHS.  The application is filed when the non-citizen appears in Immigration Court.  Such an asylum application is defensive asylum.

Aggravated felony

A term created by statute to refer to a list of specific crimes and categories of crimes.  The list of aggravated felonies have been vastly expanded over the years by Congress and by court decisions. 

Aggravated felonies include crimes of violence, almost all drug-related offenses, sex offenses and many property crimes. 

In some circumstances, the length of sentence defines a crime as an aggravated felony even if the crime is classed as a misdemeanor under State law.

Severe legal consequences attach to non-citizens that the government determines to be aggravated felons.  Persons designated as aggravated felons also become much more vulnerable to removal (deportation) from the U.S., resulting in a lifetime disqualification from returning to the country.


A person who is not a citizen of the United States.  The person may be in the U.S. lawfully or unlawfully.  


A commonly-used term for programs that make it possible for illegal aliens to legalize their immigration status. 


The capture of an alien suspected of violating immigration laws.


A person who has been granted asylum status in the U.S.

Asylees are given certain legal rights, such as to be able to remain indefinitely in this country, to bring spouses and minor children to the U.S. as asylees, and to work legally.

Asylees are eligible for some public benefits and to apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) after a one-year waiting period.  


A legal immigration status sought by non-citizens who claims to be afraid of harm in their home country.

Decisions on asylum applications are made by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Illegal entry into the U.S. does not necessarily make one ineligible for asylum status.

Asylum applicants have the same legal requirements to win their case as refugees. However, whereas an asylum applicant applies for his/her status while in the U.S., a refugee applies while abroad in a third country.  


A non-citizen on whose behalf a U.S. or a lawful permanent resident, or a U.S. employer has filed a immigration petition.

Board of Immigration Appeals


The highest U.S. administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws.

The BIA has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals from certain decisions rendered by Immigration Judges and by some officials of the Department of Homeland Security.

Many BIA decisions can be appealed to the federal circuit courts of appeal. 

Cancellation of removal

A form of legal relief that allows the non-citizen to avoid removal (deportation).

It cannot be obtained by direct application, but only during a removal hearing in Immigration Court.

There are different types of cancellation of removal for different violations of immigration law. General requirements include:

(1) long-term residence in the U.S., generally 7 or 10 years;

(3) presence of “positive” factors such as family ties in the U.S., stable employment history, service in the armed forces, property ownership, value and service to the community, and proof of genuine rehabilitation in the event of a criminal history;

(3) absence of such “negative” factors as a background of criminal and immigration violations or bad character.

(4) “Exceptional hardship” to a spouse, parent, or child who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder if the applicant is deported from the U.S.

Convention Against Torture


The common abbreviation for the Convention Against Torture.   An international treaty that bars torture.  The U.S. is a signatory of the treaty.

Under U.S. law, an application for asylum also includes an application for relief under CAT. Because a grant of asylum provides greater benefits than a grant under CAT and with lower legal requirements, the asylum application is considered first and, if granted, the CAT application is not decided.  

Individuals in removal proceedings may use the CAT to avoid removal (deportation) through a claim that returning them to their country of nationality puts them at risk for torture.


The abbreviation for the Customs and Border Protection.  CBP is responsible for inspecting people for entry to the U.S. at the border.  They also inspect any goods being brought into the U.S.


The abbreviation for the Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Also referred to as USCIS.

CIMT Abbreviation for a "crime involving moral turpitude."

The term "moral turpitude" is not defined in the immigration statute.  The courts have interpreted "moral turpitude" to involve dishonesty, immorality, or violence. Crimes of moral turpitude often include sexual offenses, fraud, weapons violations, drug offenses, and crimes against individuals, property, and the government.

Conditional resident

A non-citizen granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis due to a relationship with a qualified person, generally a United States citizen spouse.

Conditional residents must file a second petition within a designated time frame in order to retain United States residency. 

Consular processing

The process through which certain non-citizens apply for permanent resident status from outside the United States, at a United States embassy or consulate.

A person who enters the U.S. illegally and subsequently marries a U.S. citizen must do consular processing to obtain a green card.  This is distinct from applying from within the Unites States, which is referred to as “adjustment of status.”  The illegal alien is required to return to their country of nationality to get the green card.

A successful applicant enters the United States as a lawful permanent resident. 

Credible fear interview

An abbreviated interview of a non-citizen who arrives in the United States with false or no documents (and is therefore subject to Expedited Removal) and who expresses a fear of persecution in one’s own country or a desire to apply for asylum.

The interview is conducted by an Asylum Officer (of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security).

A successful non-citizen is entitled to a full asylum hearing before an Immigration Judge. 

Customs and Border Protection

The agency that has responsibility for protecting U.S. borders.  CBP is part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security in 3003.  

Defensive asylum

The process in which asylum-seekers who are in removal (deportation) proceedings submit an application for asylum to the Immigration Court.

Department of Homeland Security


An agency created by the Homeland Security Act of 3003 and which began operations in 3003. One of its primary responsibilities is the implementation and enforcement of immigration laws and policies. DHS absorbed the functions of many different agencies within the U.S. government, including the immigration responsibilities of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. These immigration activities are administered by the DHS division of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS).


A commonly-used term to describe an alien who is no longer eligible to live in the U.S. because of violating immigration laws.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 replaced the terms "deportable" with the term "removable." 


The administrative process involving the removal of a person from the U.S. who is not a U.S. citizen.

Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the formal term for deportation was changed to “removal”.  

Diversity visa

An immigrant visa lottery program established by the Immigration Act of 1990. It makes up to 55,000 immigrant visas per year available to persons from countries with low admission rates to the United States, in an attempt to diversify the immigrant pool to the U.S.

The US Department of State administers the program. It is also known as the "visa lottery" and "green card lottery".  


Abbreviation for "duration of status."  Used on the immigration stamp in a passport when an individual enters the U.S on certain non-immigrant visas.  It means that the individual is authorized to remain in the U.S. until an immigration judge declares that the individual must leave.



The abbreviation for an Employment Authorization Document.  

Employer sanctions

A series of civil fines for violations or criminal penalities levied against employers who knowingly hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee aliens known to be unauthorized to work in the U.S.

Employment Authorization Document

A card verifying the legal authorization for an alien to work in the U.S.

Also known as a work permit. 

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are eligible to work without an EAD.

Executive Office for Immigration Review


The government office with oversight responsibilities for the immigration court and the Board of Immigration Appeals. It is within the Department of Justice and is abbreviated as EOIR. 

Expedited Removal

A process in which the U.S. government immediately removes non-citizens seeking to enter the U.S. who are not authorized to so enter.

Administered by officials of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the procedure targets individuals who lack travel documents or who fraudulently obtained their documents.

Before removing these persons, however, CBP officials are required to ask a series of questions designed to identify potential asylum-seekers. Those who are so identified must be allowed to remain in the U.S. in order to undergo further screening for asylum.  

EWI An acronym for "entered without inspection."

An individual who has entered without inspection is an illegal alien and has not been legally admitted to the U.S.

Good moral character


A term used to describe desirable character traits of potential immigrants to the U.S. within the five years prior to applying for an immigration benefit. Beyond the five year time frame, the term is not defined by statue. 

Absence of good moral character can be a basis for denying an immigration benefit.

Typically, the prior five years of an applicant's life are critical to the good moral character determination.  USCIS may look beyond the five years only if there is evidence of lack of good moral character during the five year statutory period.

Green Card

A card given to lawful permanent residents of the U.S. The card serves as an entry document, enabling lawful permanent residents to return to the U.S. from abroad. It is also a generally-accepted form of identification in the U.S. and proof of permission to work.

The official name of the green card is Alien Registration Receipt Card. 

Legal permanent residents are often known as green card holders.

I-94 Card

A card that used to be placed in the passport of most non-citizens at a port-of-entry when entering the U.S. The card provides the identifying number and includes name, date of birth, and country of nationality of its holder.

The card is stamped at the time of entry with information showing the date and manner of entry and the expiration date of authorized stay in the U.S.

The I-94 is the primary proof of lawful admission into the country.


The abbreviation for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  


The abbreviation for Immigration Judge. 

Immigration judges are administrative law judges that preside in Immigration Courts and also render decisions on appeals to the BIA.  They are appointed by the U.S. government for 7 year terms.

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)

Federal law passed in 1996 that substantially revised the Immigration and Nationality Act.



The abbreviation for the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986.  

Immediate relative


Immediate relatives, if they meet certain legal requirements, include spouses of citizens, children and stepchildren of citizens who are under 31 years of age and unmarried, and parents of adult citizens.

U.S. immigration law limits the number of immigrant visas that can be issued each year to individuals other than immediate relatives.  There are no limits on the number of immediate relative visas. 

Under certain circumstances, an alien continues to be classed as an immediate relative even if the family relationship ends, such as due to death or domestic violence. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The agency with responsibility for the enforcement of immigration laws within the U.S. borders. These responsibilities include apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens.  

Immigration and Nationality Act


The primary statute relating to the immigration, temporary admission, removal, and naturalization of aliens. Congress passed the INA in 1953 and has amended several times since, including in 1965, 1980, 1986, 1990, and 1996. 

The Act is found in Section 8 of the United States Code.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)

The former name of USCIS. The INS ceased to exist in 3003. 

Immigration Court

An administrative court responsible for adjudicating immigration cases.

Cases involve non-citizens who generally have been charged by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with being in violation of immigration law.

There are 53 immigration courts in the U.S. The U.S. government is represented in court hearings by a DHS attorney.

An immigration court is not a criminal law court, which means that individuals ordered to appear in immigration court do not have all the rights of an individual ordered to appeal in a criminal law court.  Non-citizens have the right to their own attorney if it is at no expense to the government.

The court is part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which is within the Department of Justice.

Appeals of Immigration Judge decisions can be made to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which is also part of EOIR. Some BIA decisions can be appealed further, to the federal courts.  

Immigration Judge

An attorney appointed by the Attorney General to act as an administrative judge . Immigration Judges conduct formal court proceedings in determining whether an alien should be allowed to enter or remain in the U.S., in considering bond amounts in certain situations, and in considering various forms of relief from removal.  

Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986


Federal law passed in 1986 passed in order to prevent and/or discover immigration-related marriage fraud.

Under IMFA, an alien, who gets legal permanent resident status through  marriage to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse, is classified as a "conditional resident" if the marriage is less than two years old at the time the green card is approved.  Two years after entry to the U.S., the conditional resident applies for a permanent green card.

The government's main concern is to ensure that short-term marriages are valid and not entered into for immigration purposes.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986


Federal law passed in 1986. The law established a mechanism to allow two groups of illegal aliens to legalize their immigration status. These groups were:

(1) persons who had lived in the U.S. without lawful status since before 1983.

(3) farm workers who had performed agricultural work for at least 90 days in 1985 and 1986. These workers were known in the law as Special Agricultural Workers (SAWs).

Applicants in these two categories were required to document their length of residence or periods of employment in the U.S.


The abbreviation for the Immigration and Nationality Act. 


The immigration status of an alien who does not qualify to enter or remain in the U.S. because of a prohibited status or activity.

An inadmissible person would likely be unsuccessful in any of these situations: when applying for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad; requesting to enter or re-enter the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry; or applying to an Immigration Judge for adjustment of status (green card) or for the right to remain in the U.S. after having entered illegally.

U.S. law contains a list of “grounds of inadmissibility”, including those based on:

(1) health, such as communicable diseases, lack of vaccinations, physical or mental disorders, and drug abuse or addiction;

(3) economics, primarily relating to likeliness to become a “public charge;

(3) criminal convictions or activities, including many crimes against persons and property, sex offenses, and drug crimes; (4) violations of immigration laws, such as seeking to re-enter the U.S. after previously being removed, being unlawfully present in the U.S., or fraudulently seeking to enter the U.S. or obtaining documentation to enter the U.S.; (5) national security, including terrorist activities and affiliations with terrorist organizations.

Waivers (exceptions) to these restrictions are available in some situations.  


The abbreviation for the former agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service. 


The process by which U.S. immigration officials determine whether people can enter the U.S. It usually occurs at a port-of-entry at a land border or international airport.

Inspectors review travelers’ documents, such as passports and visas to determine whether the documents are genuine and authorize the person to enter the country. Inspectors may also extensively question the traveler and examine his/her luggage or vehicle in order to determine whether their reasons for the visa are legitimate.


The abbreviation commonly used for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. 

Labor Certification

The process of proving that there are no qualified American workers available for a position at a specific time and place.  U.S. employers interested in recruiting and employing an alien must complete a labor certification.

The Department of Labor reviews and certifies applications. It is officially known as an application for Alien Employment Certification. 

Lawful Permanent Resident

An immigrant who has been granted a status allowing him/her to live and work permanently in the U.S.

LPR status allows the holder to travel abroad and return to the U.S. However, the status does not mean the individual will be automatically allowed to re-enter the U.S. LPRs who travel abroad will be inspected each time the return to the U.S. and may be found inadmissible if they have committed crimes since obtaining the green card.

Most LPRs are eligible to apply to naturalize after five years, though shorter waiting periods apply to certain categories of LPRs.

Though the status is “permanent”, it can be lost if "abandoned" (such as, by long-term absences from the U.S.) or by committing certain criminal acts.

An LPR receives a “green card” as physical evidence of this status and is also known as a “Permanent Resident Alien.” 


The abbreviation for a Lawful Permanent Resident. 

Moral turpitude

A classification of crimes committed by non-citizens which might justify their deportation from the U.S. or denial of certain immigration benefits.

The term "moral turpitude" is not defined in the immigration statute.  The courts have interpreted "moral turpitude" to involve dishonesty, immorality, or violence. Crimes of moral turpitude often include sexual offenses, fraud, weapons violations, drug offenses, and crimes against individuals, property, and the government.

Admitting to acts of moral turpitude (e.g. adultery) may be a basis for denying an immigration benefit, including citizenship, even if there has not been a conviction.


The abbreviation for the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act.  


The process by which immigrants become U.S. citizens. To be naturalized under U.S. laws, a person generally must have been a green card holder for at least five years (though there are some categories of persons with shorter waiting periods) and possess an acceptable background with regard to criminal and national security concerns. Other legal requirements include demonstrating one’s ability to read and speak English and a grasp of basic knowledge of U.S. history and government.

Naturalized persons acquire the legal rights possessed by all U.S. citizens, including the right to a U.S. passport, to vote, to leave and enter the U.S., and to sponsor family members for green card status. Many naturalized U.S. citizens retain dual citizenship with their country of origin.  


An alien who wants to enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time and for a specific purpose.

In order to demonstrate to the U.S. government that they do not intend to remain in the U.S. beyond the visa period, applicants must show strong economic, social, and cultural ties to their home countries. In addition, they must show that they are not “inadmissible”, though waivers, or exceptions, are often available.

Non-immigrant visa

A visa issued to a person who has qualified for non-immigrant status. It is issued for a specific temporary period of time and for a specified purpose.

Non-immigrant visas are generally issued by U.S. consulates or embassies abroad.

Being issued a non-immigrant visa is not a guarantee that an alien will be admitted to the U.S.  An immigration inspector may still deny admission.

The Visa Waiver Program applies to nationals of certain designated countries. 

Notice to Appear

A document which alleges that a particular alien has violated certain immigration laws and should be removed (deported) from the U.S. as a result.

In most cases, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prepares this document, serves it on the alien and files it with the Immigration Court that has jurisdiction over where the alien lives.

The filing of this document commences removal proceedings against the individual. This document is also known as an "NTA". 


An abbreviation for a Notice to Appear. 


Permission granted to an alien to enter the United States who is or may be legally ineligible to enter. A person paroled is known as a “parolee.”

Parole is not a formal invitation to enter (“be admitted to” the U.S. with the legal benefits that this would entail.) Parolees are given temporary status, requiring them to depart the U.S. when the conditions supporting their parole status cease or the designated time period expires.

There are different types of parole.  The most common are humanitarian parole (usually granted to allow medical treatment) or parole to take part in legal proceedings.  


The term for a person granted parole. 


The type of harm that would be inflicted on an individual if they returned to their country of nationality.  The term is not defined in the U.S. statute. However, it has been defined by U.S. courts to mean "a threat to the life or freedom of, or the infliction of suffering or harm upon, those who differ in a way regarded as offensive." Generally, such severe forms of harm as imprisonment, torture, and rape as well as death threats are thought of as constituting persecution. Whether less serious actions, such as those thought of as harassment or discrimination, should be considered to be persecution are decided on a case-by-case basis.

To prevail on their applications, asylum-seekers are generally required to prove that they have a "well-founded", or reasonable, chance of suffering persecution if they are forced to return to their home country.  

Port of entry

Any location in the U.S. or its territories that is designated as a point of entry into the U.S. for aliens and U.S. citizens. They are staffed by Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security. At the present time, there are about 300 ports of entry. 


A person who is outside his or her country of nationality and who is unable or unwilling to return to that country due to past persecution or a “well-founded” fear of (future) persecution in that country. The past or feared future persecution must be due to the applicant’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

This legal standard is the same one that is applied to applicants for asylum. However, whereas an asylum applicant applies for his/her status while in the U.S., a refugee applies when they are located abroad, usually in a third country.

Refugees who are “resettled” in the U.S. from this third country are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President, in consultation with Congress. A refugee is granted the right to live and work in the U.S. He/she may also apply for lawful permanent resident status after a one-year period in the U.S.  

RFE Abbreviation for "Request for Further Evidence."

A document issued by USCIS when additional evidence is required to make a decision on an immigration application.  The requests typically have a 60 day deadline.  Failure to comply with an RFE may result in USCIS denying the application or declaring the application abandoned.


The status of a non-citizen who is determined to be in violation of any immigration law and no longer eligible to remain in the U.S.

Grounds for removal include certain immigration violations, criminal offenses, and national security activities and affiliations. A non-citizen may be found to be removable by either the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security, either while physically in, or seeking entry into, the U.S.

A determination of removability makes an alient subject to removal (deportation) from the U.S., though waivers (exceptions) are available in some situations.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 replaced the terms “excludable” with the term “removable.” 


The expulsion of a person from the U.S. who is not a U.S. citizen. The more common term for this is “deportation.”

The process often involves a hearing before an Immigration Judge who also may determine whether any exceptions to deportation should be applied.  

Removal Hearing

A court hearing to determine whether certain aliens are subject to removal (deportation) from the U.S. The hearings take place in an Immigration Court.

The hearing or series of hearings are conducted to determine whether (1) the alien is eligible for removable from the U.S. (that is, has no legal basis to be or remain in the U.S.) and, if so, (3) any waivers (exceptions) exist to being removed.  


Permanent relocation of refugees to a country other than their own country to provide protection from danger of persecution should they be forced to return to that country.

Temporary Protected Status


A legal grant of permission for the nationals of particular countries temporarily to remain in the U.S.

Countries are selected where unstable or dangerous conditions would pose a temporary threat to returning persons such as ongoing armed conflict within the country, environmental disasters (e.g. earthquake, flood, drought, or epidemic) and other “extraordinary” conditions which prevent the safe return of nationals.

Nationals of designated TPS countries typically must have been in the U.S. since before an established cut-off date. Eligible persons who register for TPS can obtain employment authorization and are generally protected from removal (deportation) during the TPS period (and any extensions) for their country.

Grants of TPS are initially made for periods of 6 to 18 months and can be extended as long as a country remains designated for TPS.

Once the government lifts TPS status for a country, nationals exempted from departure under TPS are expected to return to their country of nationality.


Abbreviation for Temporary Protected Status. 

Undocumented Immigrant

A person who is not a citizen of the U.S. and who does not have lawful immigration status in the U.S.

Most undocumented immigrants either entered the U.S. "without inspection" (i.e., they did not enter the U.S. at a designated port of entry with valid documents) or they were "inspected and admitted" with valid documents but violated the terms of that status (e.g. they overstayed a non-immigrant visa).

Persons who are unlawfully present for more than a year and then depart the U.S. are ineligible to return to the U.S. for a period of ten years.

Undocumented immigrants are often referred to as “illegal aliens.” 


The abbreviation for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a branch of the United Nations (U.N.).

UNHCR's primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees by leading and co-ordinating international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. UNHCR's headquarters are in Geneva.  


Abbreviation for United States Citizen. 


Evidence of official permission for an alien to enter the U.S. and to remain there for a certain period of time and for a specific purpose. The form of an approved visa is either a piece of paper attached to the person’s passport or a stamp in the passport. The passport and visa are then presented to U.S. officials at the time of entering the U.S.

“Non-immigrant” visas are issued to temporary visitors to the U.S., such as students, tourists, and temporary workers. “Immigrant” visas are issued to lawful permanent residents (green-card holders).  

Possession of a visa is not a guarantee that an alien will be admitted to the U.S.

Violence Against Women Act


Federal legislation that allows abused spouses of US citizens or legal permanent residents to petition for legal ermanent residence independent of their abusive spouse.

Abused children and abused parents of US citizens or legal permanent residents to petition for legal permanent residence independent of their abusive spouse.

The legislation does not preclude men from seeking a VAWA petition if they have been abused by a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse.

Voluntary Departure

Permission granted to an alien to leave the U.S. voluntarily, at his/her own expense, by a designated date. The permission is offered by the Department of Homeland Security either before or during a removal (deportation) hearing in Immigration Court.

Aliens often request voluntary departure as an alternative to receiving a formal order of deportation from the U.S. Voluntary departure preserves the alien's opportunity to re-enter the U.S. at a later date without restrictions.Failure to depart from the U.S. within the time granted results in an order of removal and all related consequences, including a bar on return to the U.S. for a specified number of years.
Voluntary departure is not available to persons who have engaged in certain criminal or terrorist activities. In addition, DHS authorities can attach certain conditions to an offer of Voluntary Departure, such as the posting of a bond or continued detention until departure.  


The abbreviation for the Visa Waiver Program. 

Blackwell Immigration Law Group  700 W. Virginia Street, Suite 307, Milwaukee, Wisconsin  53304  414-964-1900

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

© Blackwell Law Group S.C. All rights reserved