Key Terms & Definitions

This section is intended to provide brief definitions of the following terms as they relate to international students, faculty, staff, and researchers whose immigration status is sponsored by Georgetown University. Please speak to an International Student Advisor for more detail.


Nonimmigrant: Individual with a permanent residence outside the United States but who wishes to be in the United States on a temporary basis (i.e. tourism, temporary study, work, etc.)

F-1 Student: The nonimmigrant status granted to eligible students by CBP or USCIS pursuing academic studies and/or language training programs for a period of time in the United States.  

J-1 Student: The nonimmigrant status provided to individuals participating in the Exchange Visitor Program administered by the U.S. Department of State. Also know as an "Exchange Visitor".

Dependent: The lawful spouse and/or unmarried minor child of a non-immigrant. A dependent child is either a biological or adopted child under the age of 21.

F-2: The dependent (spouse or child under 21 years of age) of an F-1 student. 

J-2: The dependent (spouse or child under 21 years of age) of an J-1 student.

E-3: Status for Australian nationals with specialized skills and higher education working in the U.S. in a job related to their expertise.

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR): Person allowed to indefinitely live and work in the United States (green card holder).

O-1: The O-1 visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. 

Temporary Protected Status (TPS): Residents/citizens of designated countries deemed unsafe by U.S. Immigration can remain temporarily until the situation has improved. 

TN: Temporary nonimmigrant status which is governed by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

DSO (Designated School Official): Person certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue F-1 immigration documents (Form I-20) and who is dedicated to helping F-1 students maintain their nonimmigrant status while at Georgetown. The PDSO (Principle Designated School Official) is responsible for overall F-1 program administration.

ARO (Alternate Responsible Officer): Person certified by the U.S. Department of State to issue J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitor documents (DS-2019). The RO (Responsible Officer)  is responsible for overall J-1 Exchange Visitor program administration. 


Visa stamp: The consular visa stamp represents permission to request entry to the United States in a particular status (i.e. F-1, J-1). It indicates the date until which a student or scholar may enter or re-enter the United States. It does not indicate how long the student or scholar may remain in the United States. That amount of time will be specified on the admission stamp and the Form I-20 or DS-2019. Visas may be obtained only outside the United States at a U.S. Consulate.

Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant [F-1] Student Status): issued to a student who has been admitted to a full-time program of study and has provided evidence of the ability to finance his/her education and living costs while enrolled at Georgetown.

Form DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa issued by a program sponsor. Georgetown has permission to issue the Form DS-2019 in the following categories only: Student, Scholar, and Intern.

I-94: Also called an Admission/Departure Record, the I-94 is issued to students and scholars upon their arrival in the United States by an Immigration officer. The form, which was previously a white card stapled into the passport, can now be found online at, and should always indicate the immigration status (F-1 or J-1) and duration of status (D/S) or expiration date (for other statuses).

I-515A: A form given to individuals who arrive at the U.S. port of entry without all required document or with unsigned or missing information.  CBP may deny entry, or may issue a I-515A and allow entry to the U.S. allow for 30 days. During which time the individual must submit missing documents to CBP in order to extend their duration of stay. 

Employment Authorization Document (EAD): Document issued by USCIS granting work authorization for a specific period of time.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): A government agency that is part of the Department of Homeland Security and is charged with the administration of immigration benefits and the adjudication of immigration petitions/applications. 

Department of Homeland Security: The Department of Homeland Security combined 22 different federal departments and agencies into a unified, integrated cabinet agency when it was established in 2002 as a response to the events of 9/11.

Department of State (DoS): A government agency that manages the Exchange Visitor Program and nonimmigrant exchange visitors in the J visa classification and their dependents.

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP): On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), SEVP manages schools and nonimmigrant students in the F and M visa classifications and their dependents. 

Customs and Border Protection (CBP): A federal law enforcement agency of the Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs, and immigration.

Department of Labor (DOL): A government agency that manages the H-1B temporary worker program (in conjunction with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services) and permanent labor certification applications.


SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System): The web-based system that SEVP and DoS use to track and monitor schools; exchange visitor programs and F, M and J nonimmigrants while they visit the United States and participate in the U.S. education system.

SEVIS ID Number: A number beginning in "N" located in the top righthand corner of a DS-2019 or I-20 that is a unique identifier assigned to each student in the SEVIS system.

SEVIS I-901 Fee: A fee mandated by Congress; required for all F-1 and J-1 international students and exchange visitors and used to fund SEVP and SEVIS.

Duration of Status (D/S): The length of time an F-1/J-1 student, J-1 scholar or J-1 student intern is permitted to stay in the United States. 

212E: Sometimes J-1 status carries with it a two-year home residency requirement. J-1 principals and their dependents are typically subject if they have received U.S. or foreign financing to support the exchange and/or are studying in a field listed on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for their home country. 

Advisory Opinion: Government opinion whether a J-1 visa holder is subject to the two year foreign residency requirement. 

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math; those F-1 student in a program of study that is identified as STEM are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension beyond the end date of their approved period of post-completion OPT. The list of eligible programs is determined by ICE and can be found here.


I-9: The I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form that documents the identity and employment authorization of a new employee.

1042S: A tax reporting document for those (1) paid by Georgetown and claimed tax treaty benefits, or (2) receive fellowship/scholarship income to cover living expenses.

Academic Training: Work authorization for J-1 students that can be used both during an academic program and after completion of the academic program.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Pre-completion off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students, for both paid and unpaid internships/employment directly related to a student's major field of study. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT): Work authorization available to F-1 students pre or post completion of their academic program. F-1 students are limited to 12 months of OPT at each new and higher degree level.

DS-7002: A government form called "Training/Internship Placement Plan"; needed only if an individual is coming to Georgetown as a Student Intern.

E-Verify: An internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility.

Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA): The FICA tax consists of both Social Security and Medicare taxes. Social Security and Medicare taxes are paid both by the employees and the employer. 

Income: Wages and all other forms of earnings received in a period of time.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN): A tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service to individuals who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). Individuals who wish to apply for an ITIN must fill out and submit a Form W-7. 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS): A U.S. government agency responsible for the collection and enforcement of taxes. 

W-2: A tax reporting document to be filed with your tax return. You receive W-2 if you were authorized to work in the U.S. and received payments.