Glossary of Common Terms

Acronyms
CBP Customs and Border Protection
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
D/S Duration of Status
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DOS Department of State
DSO Designated School Official; The person designated by a SEVP approved 
school to support the Principal Designated School Official and maintain 
SEVIS records.
EAD Employment Authorization Document (I-766)
ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement
INA Immigration and Nationality Act; The Immigration and Nationality Act (Act) provides for the admission of different classes of Non-immigrants who are foreign nationals seeking temporary admission to the United States.
O.I.s Operating Instructions
PDSO Principal Designated School Official. The person designated by the president/head of a SEVP-approved school to be its key contact for all F-1 SEVIS compliance matters.
POE Port-of-Entry. The term port of entry means a port or place designated by DHS at which a person may apply for admission to the United States, including international airports, seaports and land ports of entry.
SEVIS Student and Exchange Visitor Information System; SEVIS is a web-based system for maintaining information on international Non-immigrant students and exchange visitors to the United States.
SEVP Student and Exchange Visitor Program; SEVP is the DHS program that administers SEVIS.
USCIS United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Forms
DS-156 Application for Non-immigrant Visa. Old non-electronic application now only used in emergency situations.
DS-160 Online, Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application, replaced DS-156, and certain other related forms.
I-17 Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Non-immigrant Student.
I-17A The form used by the president/head of a SEVP-approved school to appoint an employee to serve as a Designated School Official. The appointee’s signature certifies that he or she is familiar with and intends to comply with SEVP regulations relating to the requirements for admission and maintenance of status of Non-immigrant students, change of Non-immigrant status under part 248 of 8 CFR, and school approval under 8 CFR §§214.3 and 214.4. The president/head’s signature certifies that adequate resources and training will be provided the appointee to fulfill his or her DSO duties.
I-20
Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant F-1 Student Status, issued by SEVP-approved schools.

I-515 Notice to student or Exchange Visitor of provisional admission to the US for 30 days upon failure to provide a properly completed Form I-20 or DS-2019.
I-539 Form used to apply for a change of Non-immigrant status.
I-765 Form used to apply for employment authorization.
I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms
I-901 Form submitted with SEVIS fee.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, aka I-94 card
Additional Terms
Adjudication; notification Decisions rendered by USCIS on petitions or applications.
Continuing Student For purposes of Non-immigrant status, a continuing student is one who has not completed, or terminated a program of study and has maintained status. Continuing students may, under certain circumstances, transfer schools while continuing to maintain status. F-1 and F-3 students may also change their level of study while continuing to maintain status.
F-1 Non-immigrant status conferred on students attending SEVP approved academic institutions and language training programs who meet the requirements outlined in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(1).
F-2 Non-immigrant status conferred on the spouse or minor child of an F-1 or F-3 student.
F-3 Border commuter students in academic institutions and language training programs.
Immigrant People who intend to live permanently in the U.S.
M-1 Non-immigrant status conferred on students attending SEVP approved vocational or other non-academic institutions who meet the requirements outlined in 8 CFR 214.2(m)(1).
M-2 Non-immigrant status conferred on the spouse or minor child of an M-1 student.
M-3 Border commuter students in vocational training programs or other non-academic institutions.
Non-immigrant People with a permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis – for tourism, business, temporary work, study, or medical treatment.
Passport An official document from a person’s country of citizenship that attests to his/her identity and citizenship.
SEVIS ID Number The unique identifying number assigned to a student or exchange visitor within SEVIS that appears on the Form I-20 or DS-2019.
Status A legal term describing an individual’s principal purpose for being in the U.S., represented by the immigration classification granted by CBP upon the person’s arrival in the country.
Visa Exempt Citizens of Canada or Bermuda or residents of certain other islands described in 8 CFR 212.1a, do not need a visa. These applicants for F-1, F-3, M-1, M-3 or J-1 Non-immigrant status may apply at the Port-of-Entry.
Visa An attachment to a page in the passport issued by a U.S. consular officer at an American embassy or consulate that permits the holder to apply at a U.S. port of entry for admission to the country for a specific purpose.
J Terminology
ARO Alternate Responsible Officer (J-1); A person designated by a Department of State
authorized exchange visitor program sponsor to support the Responsible Officer and maintain SEVIS data.
EV Exchange Visitor (J-1)
RO Responsible Officer (J-1). The person designated by a Department of State authorized exchange visitor program sponsor to have primary responsibility for exchange visitors in that program and maintaining SEVIS records.
DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, created by DOS approved exchange visitor program.
DS-3036 Exchange Visitor Program Application. (J)
DS-3037 Update of Information on Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor. (J)
Exchange visitor program sponsor The sponsor of a Department of State approved exchange visitor program. The sponsor of a Department of State approved exchange visitor program. (J)
J-1 Non-immigrant status conferred on exchange visitors participating in DOS approved exchange visitor programs who meet the requirements outlined in 8 CFR 214.2(j)(1).
J-2 Non-immigrant status conferred on the spouse or minor child of an J-2 student