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[HOT] Key immigration terms and abbreviations used in this site and all immigration contexts


If you are going to seriously explore this site, you should familiarize yourself with the following immigration terms and abbreviations.

EB-5 or EB5: This abbreviation refers to "Employment-based 5th category". EB-5 is the last, 5th category of Employment-based categories or classifications to immigrate to the United States. However, it is slightly a misnomer, since EB-5 applicant creates jobs, rather than be employed by some company. Therefore, EB-5 is often referred to as "Employment-creation" immigration, because the alien's investment fund is supposed to be used in a way to create new positions.

RC: Regional Center

TEA: Targeted Employment Area

INA: Immigration & Naturalization Act

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations

USCIS: United States Citizenship & Immigration Services is the U.S. governmental agency which reviews and decides EB-5 related applications and petitions.

CSC: California Service Center is the Center reviewing certain types of cases filed in the Western parts of the United States, but for purposes of EB-5 cases, the CSC is the sole office designated by USCIS to receive, review and decide EB-5 related applications and petitions, including I-526, EB-5-based I-485 and I-829 conditions removals. In addition, CSC also is the place where requests/proposals to obtain a designation of a EB-5 regional center must be submitted.

AOS: Adjustment of Status which is done through I-485 form filed with USCIS.

NVC: National Visa Center is a division of the Dept of State, which is in charge of collecting IV fees and IV application documents and set an IV interview for Investor and Dependents as part of "consular processing".

CPR: Conditional Permanent Resident status is given, pursuant the U.S. immigration law, to both EB-5 investors and foreign aliens who marry U.S. citizens. Under the U.S. immigration law, CPRs have all the same rights and obligations as LPRs. CPRs are also given the same I-551 "green cards" but have an expiration period of 2 years.

DOS: Department of State, which includes National Visa Center (NVC) and American Embassies as its divisions.

LPR: Lawful Permanent Resident status is the "permanent" green card status without any expiration date. This is the status you get once I-829 conditions removal application is approved.

PA: Principal Applicant refers to the primary applicant who is the investor in EB-5 context. For example, in I-526 petition, only investor will sign, although the investor's immediate family members' names will be listed as "dependents".

Dependents: Refers to "dependent" family members whose rights to immigrate depends upon the PA's rights. They are spouse and unmarried children of PA under 21 years of age at the time I-526 is filed with the USCIS. Step-child of PA is also included if the step-child relationship has been established with the PA before step-child turned 16 years old. The concept of "dependents" is important because you have to be one to immigrate based on the PA's I-526 petition.

I-526: It is a form of immigrant petition for EB-5 cases. The name is based on the actual USCIS form which was designated as "I-526".

Petition: It is a submission made to USCIS by the PA in EB-5 case context to accord the right to immigrate based on the EB-5 category to PA and Dependents.

I-485: This is an application to adjust status to either CPR or LPR status while you "reside" in the United States.

I-829: This is an application to "remove" conditions from your CPR status. In other words, to change from CPR status to LPR status.

EAD:Employment Application Document which you need to work before you obtain CPR or LPR. You have to apply for this if you want to work while I-485 is pending.

Travel Permit: You can also apply for this when you apply for I-485 if you wish to travel back and forth from the United States while your I-485 is pending.

IV: Immigrant Visa which is issued by Embassy. After IV is issued, the holder must enter the U.S. within 6 months from the issue date to receive CPR status. In other words, IV issued is valid for only 6 months.

NIV: Non-immigrant visa status. Non-green card status, such as B-2, F-1, E-2, E-1, J-1, H-1B, L-1, etc.

CBP: United States Customs & Border Protection which is in charge of inspecting all entrants to the United States.

Biometrics: Includes fingerprints and photo identification procedure often required to receive certain immigration benefits.

Field Office: USCIS has both regional service centers to serve let's say Western and Eastern regions, but also has Field Office spread out throughout the United States. These are often referred to as "District Offices".

I-551: It's the form number for Green Card which evidences your CPR or LPR status. Whether or not you have Green Card, you are still CPR or LPR.