Immigration terminology can be difficult to understand when navigating through any immigration process. This section provides a brief definition of immigration-related terms. We have organized the terms in alphabetical order for easy reference.
DHS: An abbreviation for the Department of Homeland Security.
DOJ: An abbreviation for the United States Department of Justice.
Declaration under Penalty of Perjury: A statement by a person, in which the person states that the information is true, to support his or her request or application. For example, a declaration may list the facts and then state: l declare under penalty of perjury (under the laws of the United States of America) that the foregoing is true and correct." This statement should be followed by the date, signature, and printed name of the person signing.
Deportable Alien: An alien in and admitted to the United States subject to any grounds of removal specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. This includes any alien illegally in the United States, regardless of whether the alien entered the country by fraud or misrepresentation or entered legally but subsequently violated the terms of his or her nonimmigrant classification or status.
Deportation: The formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws. Deportation is ordered by an immigration judge without any punishment being imposed or contemplated. Prior to April 1997 deportation and exclusion were separate removal procedures. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 consolidated these procedures. After April 1, 1997, aliens in and admitted to the United States may be subject to removal based on deportability. Now called Removal, this function is managed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Derivative Citizenship: Citizenship conveyed to children through the naturalization of parents or, under certain circumstances, to foreign-born children adopted by U.S. citizen parents, provided certain conditions are met.
District: Geographic areas into which the United States and its territories are divided for the Immigration and Naturalization Service's field operations or one of three overseas offices located in Rome, Bangkok, and Mexico City. Each District Office, headed by a District Director, has a specified service area that may include part of a state, an entire state, or many states. District Offices are where most USCIS field staff are located. District Offices are responsible for providing certain immigration services and benefits to people resident in their service area, and for enforcing immigration laws in that jurisdiction.
Diversity: A category of immigrants replacing the earlier categories for nationals of underrepresented countries and countries adversely "affected" by the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (P.L. 89-236). The annual limit on diversity immigration was 40,000 during fiscal years 1992-94, under a transitional diversity program, and 55,000 beginning in fiscal year 1995, under a permanent diversity program.
Docket Control: The DHS mechanism for tracking the case status of potentially removable aliens.