Glossary, J-Q

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)

Any person not a citizen of the United States who is
residing the in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as "Permanent Resident Alien," "Resident Alien Permit Holder," and "Green Card Holder."

Legalization Dependents

A maximum of 55,000 visas were issued to spouses and children of aliens legalized under the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 in each of fiscal years 1992-94.

Legalized Aliens

Certain illegal aliens who were eligible to apply for temporary resident status under the legalization provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (see above). To be eligible, these individuals must have continuously resided in the United States in an unlawful status since January 1, 1982, not be excludable, and have entered the United States either 1) illegally before January 1, 1982, or 2) as temporary visitors before January 1, 1982, with their authorized stay expiring before that date or with the Government’s knowledge of their unlawful status before that date. Legalization consists of two stages--temporary and then permanent residency. In order to adjust to permanent status aliens must have had continuous residence in the United States, be admissible as an immigrant, and demonstrate at least a minimal understanding and knowledge of the English language and U.S. history and government.

Match(ing) Grant

The Matching Grant program, directly administered by ORR, is an incentive program implemented by resettlement agencies that also contribute in-kind or cash support. The program offers refugees and other eligible clients intensive case management, employment services, rent assistance or other incentives for up to four months to foster early self-reliance as an alternative to public cash assistance.

Medical and Legal Parolee

See Parolee.

Medical Waiver

A medical waiver permits an immigration applicant to be allowed into or to remain in the United States despite having a health condition identified as grounds of inadmissibility. Terms and conditions can be applied to a medical waiver on a case-by-case basis.


A person who moves from one region or country to another, either temporarily or permanently.


See Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act.


A person owing allegiance to a country by birth or naturalization, distinct from citizenship.


The conferring, by any means, of citizenship upon a person after birth.

Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)

Signed into law on November 19, 1997, NACARA provided various forms of immigration benefits and relief from deportation to certain Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, nationals of former Soviet bloc countries and their dependents. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection
Act of 2000, signed into law on October 28, 2000, added two more categories of individuals eligible to apply for relief from removal under NACARA.


A basic principle of international refugee law that a country must not forcibly return refugees to a place where they would be persecuted or in danger for their lives.


A foreigner who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. The nonimmigrant visa classifications include: foreign government officials, visitors for business and for pleasure, aliens in transit through the United States, treaty traders and investors, students, international representatives, temporary workers and trainees, representatives of foreign information media, exchange visitors, fiancé (e)s of U.S. citizens, intracompany transferees, NATO officials, religious workers, and some others. Most  nonimmigrants can be accompanied or joined by spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children.

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)

Department of Health and Human Services, established by the Refugee Act of 1980, funds and administers programs for resettled refugees through the states and other service providers. Other groups of non-citizens eligible for these same programs include asylees, Cuban-Haitian entrants, Amerasians, and victims of trafficking. These programs help clients achieve economic self-sufficiency, develop English skills and otherwise assimilate into communities in the United States.


See Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Panel Physician

A medical doctor practicing overseas who is appointed by the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to provide examinations for immigrants. The doctor must meet requirements established by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). For medical examinations given in the U.S., please  see Civil Surgeon.


Parole is not considered formal admission to the United States and confers temporary status only. Parolees must leave when the reasons for their parole cease to exist. Types of parole include:

  1. Deferred inspection: Authorized at the port on arrival; may be decided by an immigration inspector when someone appears at a port of entry with documentation, but after preliminary examination, some question remains about their admissibility which can best be answered at their point of destination.
  2. Advance parole: Authorized at an USCIS District office before an individual arrives; may be issued to non-citizens living in the United States (other than lawful permanent residents) who need to travel unexpectedly and who would not otherwise be allowed to return to the United States if they depart.
  3. Port-of-entry parole: Authorized at the port on arrival; applies to a wide variety of situations and is used at the discretion of the supervisory immigration inspector, usually to allow short periods of entry. Examples include allowing individuals who could not be issued the necessary documentation within the required time period, or who were otherwise inadmissible, to attend a funeral and permitting the entry of emergency workers, such as fire fighters, to assist with an emergency.
  4. Humanitarian parole: authorized at USCIS headquarters or overseas District Offices for "urgent humanitarian reasons" specified in the law. It is used in cases of medical emergency and comparable situations.
  5. Significant Public Benefit Parole: Authorized at USCIS headquarters Office of International Affairs for "significant public benefit" specified in the law. It is generally used for individuals who enter to take part in legal proceedings when there is a benefit to the government.
  6. Overseas parole: Authorized at an USCIS District or sub office while the person is still overseas; designed to constitute long-term admission to the United States. In recent years, most of the individuals USCIS has processed through overseas parole have arrived under special legislation or international migration agreements.


A parolee is a foreigner who appears to be inadmissible to the immigration inspector but is allowed into the United States, usually for urgent humanitarian reasons or when that alien’s entry is determined to be for significant public benefit.

Permanent Resident

Any person not a citizen of the United States who lives in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as "Permanent Resident Alien,” "Lawful Permanent Resident," "Resident Alien Permit Holder," and "Green Card Holder."

Permanent Resident Alien

An individual admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants although the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines any alien in the United States as an immigrant unless specifically admitted as a nonimmigrant. An illegal alien would therefore be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of living permanently in the United States. They may have received immigrant visas from the Department of State overseas or have adjusted to permanent resident status in the United States after applying with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Port of Entry

Any place in the United States or its territories that is designated as a point of entry for aliens and U.S. citizens. All district and files control offices are also considered ports since they become locations of entry for individuals already in the United States and adjusting to immigrant status.

Principal Alien

The individual who applies for immigrant status from whom another alien may derive lawful status under immigration law or regulations (usually spouses and minor unmarried children).

Priority Date

The priority date is the date a petition was filed with the USCIS by someone in the United States asking for an immigrant benefit for an alien (the beneficiary). If the beneficiary has a priority date on or before the date listed in the U.S. State Department’s monthly visa bulletin, then he or she is currently eligible to apply for the visa.


The Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) is responsible for developing and coordinating refugee admissions policies and for management of resettlement programs.


Present without authorization, a term used by immigration enforcement to indicate aliens who entered without inspection (EWI) or violated the terms of their status.