Immigration Dictionary

Legal Terms Explained In Plain English

S-5 VisaCertain Aliens Supplying Critical Information Relating to a Criminal Organization or Enterprise.
S-6 VisaCertain Aliens Supplying Critical Information Relating to Terrorism.
S-7 VisaQualified Family Member of S-5 or S-6.
Safe HavenTemporary 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.  
Service CentersFive offices established to handle the filing, data entry, and adjudication of certain applications for immigration services and benefits. The applications are mailed to INS Service Centers -- Service Centers are not staffed to receive walk-in applications or questions.
Special Agricultural Workers (SAW)Aliens who performed labor in perishable agricultural commodities for a specified period of time and were admitted for temporary and then permanent residence under a provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Up to 350,000 aliens who worked at least 90 days in each of the 3 years preceding May 1, 1986 were eligible for Group I temporary resident status. Eligible aliens who qualified under this requirement but applied after the 350,000 limit was met and aliens who performed labor in perishable agricultural commodities for at least 90 days during the year ending May 1, 1986 were eligible for Group II temporary resident status. Adjustment to permanent resident status is essentially automatic for both groups; however, aliens in Group I were eligible on December 1, 1989 and those in Group II were eligible one year later on December 1, 1990.
Special ImmigrantsCertain categories of immigrants who were exempt from numerical limitation before fiscal year 1992 and subject to limitation under the employment-based fourth preference beginning in 1992; persons who lost citizenship by marriage; persons who lost citizenship by serving in foreign armed forces; ministers of religion and other religious workers, their spouses and children; certain employees and former employees of the US Government abroad, their spouses and children; Panama Canal Act immigrants; certain foreign medical school graduates, their spouses and children; certain retired employees of international organizations, their spouses and children; juvenile court dependents; and certain aliens serving in the US Armed Forces, their spouses and children.
Special Naturalization ProvisionsProvisions covering special classes of persons whom may be naturalized even though they do not meet all the general requirements for naturalization. Such special provisions allow: 1) wives or husbands of US citizens to file for naturalization after three years of lawful permanent residence instead of the prescribed five years; 2) a surviving spouse of a US citizen who served in the armed forces to file his or her naturalization application in any district instead of where he/she resides; and 3) children of US citizen parents to be naturalized without meeting certain requirements or taking the oath, if too young to understand the meaning. Other classes of persons who may qualify for special consideration are former US citizens, servicemen, seamen, and employees of organizations promoting US interests abroad.
SponsorThe word sponsor does not appear anywhere in the U.S. immigration laws. When people refer to a sponsor for immigration purposes, they usually mean a petitioner. A sponsor can be a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident or U.S. employer who undertakes to bring an immigrant legally into the U.S. Close U.S. relative or U.S. employers who need your services in their businesses are the only ones with the legal ability to act as sponsors. When they do so, they are called petitioners. Years ago, any willing U.S. citizen could bring any foreigner into the U.S. simply by vouching for his or her character and guaranteeing his or her financial support. Under the present U.S. Immigration laws, this type of sponsorship is no longer possible.
SS-5Application for a Social Security Card.
SS-5SPSolicitud Para una Tarjeta de Seguro Social.
StatelessHaving no nationality.
StatusWhen a foreign national enters the U.S., they acquire a status. This term refers to the condition of legal presence within the U.S.
StowawayAn alien coming to the United States surreptitiously on an airplane or vessel without legal status of admission. Such an alien is subject to denial of formal admission and return to the point of embarkation by the transportation carrier.
StudentAs a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States to pursue a full course of study in an approved program in either an academic (college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, other institution, or language training program) or a vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution.
Subject to the Numerical LimitCategories of legal immigrants subject to annual limits under the provisions of the flexible numerical limit of 675,000 set by the Immigration Act of 1990. The largest categories are: family-sponsored preferences, employment-based preferences, and diversity immigrants.
Sub officesOffices 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.