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Abbreviations Used by the US Immigration Service

The immigration process is complex and anxiety-filled for most non-Americans. Here at the Pasadena immigration Fong & Aquino, we do our best to explain the process applicants will undergo. It is important that you understand the procedures that you will be undergoing and the law that applies to you. We firmly believe in doing what we can to de-mystify the process.

The field of immigration law, like many other complex areas, has its own language and abbreviations. Sometimes the government uses these abbreviations to make the process seem intimidating and mysterious. Sometimes, it is just easier for us to use “shorthand,” instead of a long phrase. Either way, it is some times very confusing to people. We have put together a list of the most common abbreviations:

  • 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
  • CMT = Crime of Moral Turpitude (aka, Crime Involving Moral Turpitude)
  • ConOff = Consular Officer
  • COS = Change of Status
  • CR = Conditional Resident
  • 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
  • NTA = Notice to Appear (before an immigration judge)
  • PPT = Passport
  • RFE = Request for Evidence
  • 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)

These are the most common abbreviations you may see or hear. There are many more, and of course, if you have any questions about the law and how it applies to your situation, you are welcome to contact us, and we will do our best to explain things.

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