Common Immigration Terms

The U.S. Department of State divides foreign nationals into two categories:

  • Immigrant: those who come to the U.S. to stay permanently
  • Non-immigrant: those who come to the U.S. for a specific purpose for a limited amount of time and then leave the U.S.

There are many US visa categories labeled A-V. Each lettered visa represents a specific type of visitor based on their purpose for visiting the US. 

The terms below are commonly used by ISSS in communication with departments/divisions.

CIP Code

An Exchange Visitor’s field of study or research at UCSC is tied to a 6 digit code in SEVIS, known as the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code. CIP codes provide a taxonomic scheme that supports the accurate tracking and reporting of fields of study and program activity. 

Department of Labor (DOL)

An abbreviation for the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers must attest to the Department of Labor that they will pay wages to the H-1B nonimmigrant workers that are at least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment – whichever is greater. 

Form DS-7002

The DS-7002 is an immigration document that applies only to J-1 Student Interns at UCSC. It is a mandatory Training/Internship Placement Plan that describes what the Student Intern will do during their program, what skills they will learn, how cultural exchange will be encouraged, and how their performance will be measured. The DS-7002 must be completed by the UCSC faculty host and signed by the Student Intern, faculty host, and ISSS scholar advisor before the DS-2019 is issued. The signed DS-7002 is required at the Student Intern’s J-1 visa appointment abroad. 

Form DS-2019

The DS-2019 is an immigration document issued by UCSC, a U.S. government-approved institution or organization, certifying that an Exchange Visitor has been invited to conduct research or teach at UCSC and meets all eligibility requirements for the J-1 status. The DS-2019 is officially titled the "Certificate of Eligibility" because with it, Exchange Visitors are "eligible" to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Spouse or children each need their own DS-2019 to obtain J-2 dependent status, if desired. The DS-2019 allows visitors to physically be present in the US and conduct their activities at UCSC.

Getting the DS-2019 from UCSC is not enough to become a legal J-1 visitor and to start activities at UCSC; visitors must also be granted legal entry to the U.S. and enter in J-1 status, or be approved for an in-country change of status from another type of nonimmigrant status.

Form I-129

The form submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with supporting documentation by ISSS to obtain (or amend the details of) a worker on a nonimmigrant immigration status, such as H-1B.

Form I-797

Form I-797, Notice of Action, is issued as a result of an application or a petition submitted to USCIS. For H-1B petitions, the Form I-797 is the approval notice of the petition in order to apply for or maintain one’s current H-1B immigration status.


An individual is considered in valid status ("in status") if they are complying with all terms and conditions of their visa classification. Please reference Maintaining J Status or Maintaining H Status for more information. 

submitted to USCIS for adjudication, USCIS' review of a petition or application to determine if a petitioner or applicant is eligible for the immigration benefit for which they are applying.

Labor Condition Attestation (LCA)

The Department of Labor’s Form ETA-9035 is also a Labor Condition Attestation. This submission is an attestation by the employer about the wages and working conditions related to a given employee.  It is a necessary part of the H-1B petition process.

Premium Processing Service Fee

Premium Processing Service provides expedited processing for certain employment-based petitions and applications. Specifically, USCIS guarantees 15 calendar day processing to those petitioners or applicants who choose to use this service or USCIS will refund the Premium Processing Service fee. If the fee is refunded, the relating case will continue to receive expedited processing.

The 15 calendar day period will begin when USCIS properly receives the complete H-1B petition packet from ISSS. ISSS completes and includes the Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, within the H-1B petition packet. USCIS will issue an approval notice, a denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within the 15 calendar day period. If the petition or application requires the submission of additional evidence or a response to a notice of intent to deny, a new 15 calendar day period will begin upon receipt by USCIS of a complete response to the request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.

Prevailing Wage

The average wage of workers that are similarly employed within the area of intended employment.

Program Objective

The research and teaching activities during an Exchange Visitor's J-1 program participation at UCSC. J-1 Exchange Visitors must always keep their program objectives consistent in order to maintain their J status.


The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an electronic system by which student and Exchange Visitor data is transmitted directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. All Exchange Visitor amendments and new DS-2019 requests are reported to SEVIS.

To create a DS-2019, a scholar advisor must upload DS-2019 requests to SEVIS on a daily basis. The DS-2019 is processed and transmitted back as a pdf file the next day.


The unique ID Number that is included on the top right-hand corner of the DS-2019; all SEVIS ID numbers start with the letter N. The SEVIS ID number is generated by SEVIS once ISSS creates a DS-2019 for an Exchange Visitor. The SEVIS ID is required to start the pre-arrival steps for incoming Exchange Visitors. 


US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States and that grants immigration benefits. It is a component of the Department of Homeland Security. All H-1B petitions and F-1 and J-2 work authorizations are 

Violation of Status/Out of Status

An individual is considered "out of status" or violating their "in status" designation when they are not fulfilling the terms and conditions of their visa classification. Please reference Maintaining J Status or Maintaining H Status for more information. 


A visa only serves as an entry document to the US, meaning a visitor only needs a valid visa to enter the US but not to maintain their legal presence in the US. Since a visa is only needed to enter the US, it can expire while a visitor is conducting activities at UCSC as long as their DS-2019 or I-797 is still valid. 

Visas are obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Visas cannot be obtained within the United States because it is an "entry" document only. To enter the United States, all nonimmigrant international visitors (except Canadians) are required to have the proper visa stamp placed in their passports. “Nonimmigrant” means a person has no intention of staying in the United States permanently.