Glossary of Terms


ARO: Alternate responsible officer for an exchange visitor program, an individual authorized to conduct business with the department of state on behalf of the program sponsor and authorized to sign an DS-2019.

Department of Labor: The Executive Branch Department with jurisdiction over working conditions.

Department of State (or State Department, DOS, State): The Executive Branch Department with jurisdiction over nondomestic issues.

DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. This government form allows to obtain a J-1 visa and maintain the J nonimmigrant status.

D/S: Duration of Status. D/S is recorded on I-94 by the US immigration inspector at port-of-entry. D/S allows students to remain in the U.S. for the length of time necessary to complete the studies.

EAD: Employment Authorization Document; a card issued by USCIS to certain applicants who have requested work authorization.

I-20: A document issued by a school to a nonimmigrant student. Used to obtain an F-1 entry visa, for admission to the US and subsequently for the DSO to make recommendations and grant authorizations.

I-94: Usually stapled into your passport when you are admitted to the US by the BCIS. BCIS inspectors must enter the classification in which the individual is admitted, and the date to which you may remain in the US, or D/S in the case of F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrants.

Nonimmigrant: An individual who has been admitted by the USCIS for a specific purpose for a definite period of time.

Passport: Before you come to the US your government issues you a passport that allows you to leave and re-enter your country. Your passport must be valid at all times.

Permanent Resident (or immigrant): An alien the INS/USCIS has given the right to remain in the US permanently.

Practical Training: A period of work authorization granted subsequent to an F-1 student's completing a degree program.

PDSO: Primary designated School Officer, Highest level of authority among school officials and authorized to sign an I-20.

RO: Responsible Officer for an Exchange Visitor Program. Highest level of authority among school officers, authorized to conduct business with the Department of State on behalf of the program sponsor and authorized to sign an DS-2019.

Two-Year Rule: This is a restriction applied to certain J-1 exchange visitors who meet conditions defined by the State Department. The conditions have to do with funding, country of origin or type of activity undertaken while in J-1 status, and the restriction prevents these visitors from changing status with in the  US.

USCIS: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS) newly created bereau under the Dept of Homeland Security.