Visa Glossary of Terms; Immigration Definitions

Quick Overview of Routine Terminology for Visas

Temporary Visa( h3b)
Nonimmigrant visa classification for temporary professional workers in a specialty occupation. Nonimmigrant visa classification reserved for temporary professional workers in a specialty occupation.

H-1B Cap
Each year, a quota is set for the issuance of H-1B visas for the government(s) fiscal year.

H-1B Transfers, Amendments and Extensions
This process permits each h3b individual to transfer, amend or extend a valid H-1B visa status to a new H-1B employer once a new petition is filed with USCIS by the new employer to authorize work with the new or existing employer if only extending the visa.

Labor Condition Application (LCA)
The Department of Labor’s Form ETA-9035 is also a Labor Condition Application. This certification is when an employer attests that the foreign national worker will be paid a higher wage than what would be the normal wage for that position or a similar position with the employer. The wage is based upon the prevailing wage paid by other employers in the geographic area.

Nonimmigrant visa classification for qualified nurses to work for up to three years in health professional shortage areas.

Nonimmigrant visa for temporary agriculture workers whose services are needed in the United States.

Nonimmigrant visa for temporary/ seasonal workers providing services / labor for a one-time occurrence, a seasonal need, a peak load need or an intermittent need.

Nonimmigrant visa classification reserved for individuals who will be receiving training in the U.S.

Nonimmigrant visa for dependent spouses and children of H-1B, H-2 and H-3 nonimmigrants.

Terminology for Employment Based Permanent Visas

Labor Certification
Labor Certification is the determination by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the job in question in the area of intended employment. This certification of labor is always required for most employment-based immigrant petitions, especially for EB-2 and 3 visas. Additionally, the Labor Certification is required for H-2A and H-2B temporary workers too.

Permanent Visa (EB- Employment Based)
The Employment Based has 1-5 Preference(s) Immigrant Visa categories for “Priority Workers: EB-1 through EB-5.

These workers include foreign nationals of Extraordinary Ability in a range of areas from the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; Outstanding Professors and Researchers; and Multinational Managers and Executives. Labor certification application is not required.

The priority worker who has an advanced degree (a masters or bachelor’s degree and at least five years’ experience. You must file a labor certification.

For professionals, with a job offer and an approved labor certification application.

For special immigrants, such as a religious ministers and /or workers and their dependent family members.

Best suited for immigrant investors investing a $1 million of capital minimum of which $500,000 of capital is invested in a targeted employment area that will create at least 10 fulltime jobs for U.S. workers.

Terminology for Family Based Visas

Family Based Visa
Family based visas are for any citizens and lawful permanent residents who wishes to petition for spouses, sons and daughters, and parents of U.S. citizens, and spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents for permanent residence.

K-1 Visa
Reserved for a fiancé(e) of a United States Citizen. Recipient of this visa must marry the fiancé(e) within 90 days of entry to the U.S. and to obtain permanent residence only through sponsorship by that U.S. citizen.

K-3 Visa
Reserved for the spouse of a U.S. Citizen. The U.S. Citizen spouse is required to file an I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative and a separate I-129F Petition.


L-1 Visa
L-1 is a visa reserved for foreign nationals employed overseas who will need to work in the United States temporarily in order to continue to work for the same employer, or a parent, subsidiary or affiliate in a specialized knowledge capacity.

L-2 Visa
For the spouse or minor child of an L-1A or L-1B nonimmigrant. L-2 spouses can be issued employment authorization.

Labor Condition Application (“LCA”)
The Department of Labor’s Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application, by which an employer attests that the foreign national worker will be the higher of the actual wage paid for a similar position with the employer and the prevailing rate paid by other employers in the geographic area. Employment of the foreign national must not “adversely affect” the working conditions of other similarly employed U.S. workers. U.S. workers must be given notice of the employment and there must be no strike or lockout at the worksite.

Nonimmigrant Fact Sheet

Sports Visas: P-1 Visa
Nonimmigrant visa classification reserved for individual or team athletes, or entertainment groups.

Sports Visas: P-2 Visa
Nonimmigrant visa classification reserved for artists and entertainers in reciprocal Exchange programs.

Sports Visas: P-3 Visa
Nonimmigrant visa classification reserved for artists and entertainers in culturally unique programs

Sports Visas: J-1-Visa
For exchange visitors participating in an authorized program recognized by the Department of State. This visa promotes a mutual cultural understanding between the United States and the recipient’s home country. Candidates for this visa are often academic scholars/researchers, professors and other trainees in specialized knowledge or skill.

J-2 Visa
Reserved for spouses and children of J-1 exchange visitors. J-2 visa holders may apply for employment authorization.

Acronym for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, this agency is responsible for processing applications for immigration benefits.

Visa processing
The process that yields a sticker issued by a U.S. Consulate/Embassy authorizing a person to apply for admission/entry into the United States in a particular visa classification. The visas sticker is usually electronically generated in a foreign national’s passport.

US Employment Authorization
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a photo identification card that serves as authorization of the bearer to work in the United States for a particular period of time. The EAD is issued immediately after the filing and approval of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Form I-129
The USCIS form required to classify nonimmigrant workers for visas.

Form I-129F
The form for Alien Fiancé petition. Also a USCIS form used to petition a fiancé(e) (and that person’s children, if desired) to come to the United States for purposes of marriage.

Form I-129S
The USCIS form for a petition based on blanket L, used by employers to help classify employees as L-1 nonimmigrant intra-company transferees under a blanket L approval.

Form I-485
The application to adjusts status. This form is submitted by foreign nationals as part of the permanent residence process.

A USCIS-issued document, Form I-551, evidencing U.S. lawful permanent residence.

Permanent resident
Foreign national who has been lawfully admitted to the United States to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

The final process to obtain citizenship. If a foreign national holds permanent residence for five years (three if based on marriage to a U.S. citizen) they are eligible for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen.