Glossary, R-Z


Reception and Placement (R&P) services are the initial resettlement services provided to refugees over their first 90 days in the United States by voluntary resettlement agencies under cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State. These agencies assist newly arrived refugees with housing, referral to health and social services, and strategies to become socially and financially self-reliant.


Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear of persecution must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States.

Refugee Approvals

The number of refugees approved by the USCIS for admission to the United States during a fiscal year.

Refugee Arrivals

The number of refugees admitted to the United States through ports of entry during a fiscal year.

Refugee Authorized Admissions

The maximum number of refugees that may enter the
United States in a given fiscal year. As set forth in the Refugee Act of 1980 (Public Law 96- 212) the President determines the annual figure after consultations with Congress.

Refugee Services (RS)

Refugee Services, under the supervision of the State Refugee Coordinator in the Florida Department of Children and Families, administers a variety of programs through state, county and local agencies and non-profit organizations to provide services to refugees and other eligible clients. With funding provided by the federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, RS facilitates cash and medical assistance, employment preparation and
job placement, skills training, English language training, social adjustment programs including youth and elderly services.


A qualified applicant for conditional entry, between February 1970 and April 1980, whose application for admission to the United States could not be approved because of inadequate numbers of seventh preference visas. As a result, the applicant was paroled into the United States under the parole authority granted to the Attorney General.


The expulsion of an alien from the United States. This expulsion may be based on grounds of inadmissibility or deportability.

Required Departure

See Voluntary Departure.


Permanent relocation of refugees in a place outside their country of origin to allow them to establish residence and become productive members of society there. Refugee resettlement is accomplished with the direct assistance of private voluntary agencies working with the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Some refugees apply directly to the U.S. Government under criteria established annually; others must be referred by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to be considered.

Resident Alien

Applies to non-U.S. citizens currently living in the United States. The term is applied in three different manners; please see Permanent Resident, Conditional Resident, and Returning Resident.

Returning Resident

Any Lawful Permanent Resident who has been outside the United States and is returning to the United States. If outside the country for more than one year and returning to his or her permanent residence in the United States, a returning resident usually must have reentry documentation from USCIS or an immigrant visa from the Department of State. Also defined as a "special immigrant."


See Refugee Services.

Safe Haven

Temporary refuge given to migrants who have fled their countries of origin to seek protection or relief from persecution or other hardships, until they can return to their countries safely or, if necessary until they can obtain permanent relief from the conditions they fled.


See Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program.

Service Centers

Four offices established to handle the filing, data entry, and adjudication of certain applications for immigration services and benefits. Service Centers accept applications only by mail and do not receive walk-in applications or questions.


See Special Immigrant Juvenile.

Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ)

Minors from other countries who are unaccompanied or placed by court order in long-term foster care because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment may be eligible to petition USCIS as a “special immigrant” to adjust their status to permanent resident if the court has determined that the child should not be returned to his country or family members. See also Unaccompanied Minor (UAM), Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM). According to USCIS guidance, an individual classified as SIJ is considered to be paroled in order to adjust status. SIJ’s who are Cuban or Haitian should therefore be considered to have met the definition of a Cuban-Haitian entrant prior to adjustment.


Sponsor is used in several different ways in relation to immigration. The term "sponsor" often means to bring to the United States or "petition for". The term may mean the family member or employer who files the petition (I-130). The term is also used for a refugee or asylee who file a petition (I-730) for a relative. Another meaning of the term "sponsor" is a person who completes Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. A sponsor may also refer to a voluntary nonprofit or governmental agency that agrees to serve as the legal sponsor of refugees arriving in the United States under contract with the U.S. Department of State.

State Refugee Coordinator

In each state that resettles refugees, an appointed State Refugee Coordinator coordinates public and private resources under a State Plan to deliver services to refugees and other eligible clients. Under an executive order issued by Florida’s governor, the Department of Children and Families is Florida’s lead agency and the Secretary of Children and Families is designated as the State Coordinator.

Sub offices

Offices found in some Districts that serve a portion of the District’s jurisdiction. A Sub office, headed by an Officer-in-Charge, provides many services and enforcement functions. Their locations are determined, in part, to increase convenience to INS’ customers.

Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE)

The SAVE Program gives Federal, state, and local government agencies and licensing bureaus information on immigration status to determine a non-citizen applicant's eligibility for many public benefits. The SAVE Program also administers employment verification pilot programs that enable employers to quickly and easily verify the work authorization of their newly hired employees.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

A legal status that allows a group of persons temporary refuge in the United States. Under a provision of the Immigration Act of 1990, the Attorney General may designate nationals of a foreign state eligible for TPS by finding that conditions in that country pose a danger to personal safety due to ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster. Grants of TPS are initially made for periods of 6 to 18 months and may be extended depending on the situation. Removal proceedings are suspended against aliens while they are in Temporary Protected Status.

Temporary Resident

See Nonimmigrant.

Temporary Worker

A foreigner coming to the United States to work for a temporary period of time. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the Immigration Act of 1990, as well as other legislation, revised the categories of nonimmigrant admission.

Trafficking Victim

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-386, makes adult victims of severe forms of trafficking who have been certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) eligible for benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. Victims of severe forms of trafficking who are under 18 years of age are also eligible for benefits to the same extent as refugees but do not need to be certified.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Bureau of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for deciding applications for immigrant benefits and naturalization, and for establishing immigration service policies and priorities.


See Unaccompanied Refugee Minor.

Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM)

A refugee child under 18 years old who is separated from both parents and is not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for him or her. Children eligible for the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program (URM) are under age 18, and are: refugees (URM status is granted overseas), entrants (Reclassified to URM  status after arrival), asylees (Reclassified to URM status when they are granted asylum), or victims of severe a severe form of trafficking. ORR’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program assists unaccompanied minor refugees and entrants receive foster care and other refugee services and benefits.


See United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The UN agency charged with leading international action to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.


See U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


A document that allows the bearer to apply to enter the U.S.; a visa does not give the bearer the right to enter the United States. The visa gives information only on the period the individual is permitted to apply for entry and on the visa classification (e.g. student (F), visitor (B), temporary worker (H)), or immigrant category. The Department of State (DOS) is responsible for visa adjudication at U.S. Embassies and Consulates outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspectors at a port of entry determine if the bearer may enter the United States, how long he or she may stay, and under what conditions.

Visa Waiver Program

Allows citizens of some countries, traveling temporarily to the United States as visitors for pleasure or business, to enter the United States without obtaining nonimmigrant visas. Admission is for no more than 90 days. The program was instituted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (entries began 7/1/88). Under the Guam Visa Waiver Program, certain visitors from designated countries may visit Guam only for up to 15 days without first having to obtain nonimmigrant visitor visas.

VISAS 92 (V-92)

A term referring to a beneficiary (following-to-join) of an I-730 petition filed by a person granted asylum in the United States.

VISAS 93 (V-93)

A term referring to a beneficiary (following-to-join) of an I-730 petition filed by a person admitted to the United States as a refugee.


Voluntary agencies (Volag) are nongovernmental agencies, faith-based as well as other non-profit organizations in the private sector. The refugee resettlement program is implemented by a partnership of these agencies and U.S. government agencies, both overseas and in the United States.

Voluntary Departure

The departure of an alien from the United States without an order of removal. The departure may or may not have been preceded by a hearing before an immigration judge. An alien allowed to voluntarily depart concedes removability but is not barred from seeking admission at any time. Failure to depart within the time allowed results in a fine and a ten-year bar to several forms of relief from deportation.


An arriving alien’s voluntary retraction of an application for admission to the United States in lieu of a removal hearing before an immigration judge or an expedited removal. Withdrawals are not included in nonimmigrant admission data.