A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s of Immigration


By Senior Immigration Paralegal, Esther Oh

alphabet soup By Senior Immigration Paralegal, Esther Oh

When I became a immigration paralegal over 10 years ago, I didn’t realize re-learning the way that I think of my ABC’s, acronyms and numbers would be part of the job description.

 No longer do I think, “B for Banana.”  Instead, it is “B” is for Visitor’s Status, “F” is for Student Status, “H” is for a worker status, “L” is for an intra-company transferee and my alphabet letters have now changed to correlate with the different immigration statuses and forms that must be filed with the immigration service.  Oh, and those letters are then followed by distinct numbers that make all of the difference when it comes to properly filing any visa petition.

 No more TGIF – “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” acronyms, now it is remembering the proper acronyms for the administrative agencies linked to the immigration process…and even those acronyms continuously change.

I remember when the “immigration service” was referred to as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which then changed to Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) and then once again changed the name they are now known as, the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).  

If you’re involved in the immigration process in any way, often it’s good to keep track of these changes and familiarize yourself with these acronyms and abbreviations. The immigration world is always evolving and if you are like me and you work in or with the immigration service in some way, you have to continuously learn to speak their ever-changing language.