International Scholar Relations

Glossary of Terms

Glossary Link

Words used in the visa process are specialized. They may not have the same meanings as they do in everyday language. For additional terms, their definitions and how they are used in the visa and immigration process, please visit the following link:


Primary Terms

Admissions Number: This 11-digit number is assigned to you by the USCIS. It is the number on your Form I-94, which was issued when you first entered the United States.

D/S: This abbreviation stands for “Duration of Status” and refers to the amount of time for which you have been admitted into the United States. Your D/S is defined by law as the period during which you are working toward your objective, plus 30 days within which to depart from the U.S. USCIS: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which has authority over all aliens in the United States, including international scholars.

DOS: Department of State. A Branch of the U.S. Government that has authority over individuals in Exchange Visitor (J-1) and Exchange Visitor Dependent (J-2) status.

EAD – Employment Authorization Document, issued from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). This document authorizes J-2 dependents to be employed. It is also called a Work Permission Card.

Form DS-2019: This is the form used to obtain and renew Exchange Visitor (J-1) status. It specifies your program sponsor, dates authorized in the program, and your exchange visitor classification (such as researcher or professor). This form used to be labeled an IAP-66.

Form DS-156: Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

Form I-94: The purpose of the Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) is to show when you last entered the U.S. as well as to inform the USCIS when you leave. The U. S. Customs and Border Protection has fully automated the Form I-94.  If you are not issued a paper copy of the I-94 when you arrive in the U. S., you may retrieve one at the U. S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Form I-765. Application for Employment Authorization

International Scholar Relations (J-1): The campus office responsible primarily for assisting international visitors who wish to participate in research at Western University of Health Sciences

Post Doctoral Fellow: A postdoctoral fellow has a terminal degree from an accredited domestic or approved foreign institution of higher education, who is primarily associated with the University to obtain advanced research skills under the supervision of one or more member of the University faculty. The purpose of a postdoctoral fellowship is to provide research training experiences to prepare the individual for permanent employment in an academic or research position other than at Western University; therefore the fellow holds a temporary position.

Professor: An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting as post secondary accredited educational institutions, museums or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research unless disallowed by the sponsor. Individuals who will be coming to the U.S. must meet all University requirements. The individual must NOT have been physically present in the U.S. in J status for all or part of the twelve month period immediately preceding the date of the program commencement unless the participant s presents in the U.S. was pursuant to a Short term scholar exchange activity OR s/he is transferring to Western University from another sponsor s program.

Program Sponsor: The program sponsor is the agency or institution that has issued your DS-2019 and is indicated in Section 2 of your DS-2019.

Program: Your program is defined as what you have been admitted to the U.S. to do (i.e., a researcher in Genetics.) All J-1 scholar activities must be directly related to this objective.

Research Scholar: An individual primarily conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, post secondary accredited education institutions or similar types of institutions. The Research Scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor. Minimum duration is three weeks, maximum duration at the present time, is five years. Some extensions beyond five years can be granted on a case by case basis. Individuals are subject to a “twelve month bar” which means that individual must NOT have been physically present in the U.S. in J status for all or part of the twelve month period immediately preceding the date of the program commencement unless the participant s presents in the U.S. was pursuant to a Short term scholar exchange activity OR s/he is transferring to WesternU from another sponsor s program.

SEVIS ID#: the10 digit number on the right hand side of your Form DS-2019 located above the bar code. This number refers to your electronic SEVIS record and is the primary way that the USCIS and Department of State track your immigration history.

SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Also known as the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), SEVIS is a statutorily mandated information system designed to electronically track and record the entry and presence in the United States of nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors.

Short Term Scholar: A professor, research scholar, specialist a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institution, post secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. Examples include educators, scientists, and research fellows. Short term scholars are required to comply with Exchange programs regulations as they pertain to Health Insurance. There is no minimum duration of participation and there is no “twelve month bar” to participation.

Specialist: An individual is eligible for the “specialist” category if he or she is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge of skill; seeks to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of observing, consulting or demonstrating his or her special knowledge or skills; and does not fill a permanent or long terms position of employment while in the U.S. A specialist can participate in the Exchange Visitor program for the length of time necessary to complete the program, not to exceed one year.

USCIS: U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service

US – ICE: U.S. –  Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Visa: The visa is the entry permit placed inside your passport by a U.S. Consulate. It is used only to enter the United States and, therefore, does not need to be renewed while you remain in this country. If it expires and you travel outside the United States, you will need to obtain another visa. You can go outside the country to obtain another visa.

Visiting Professor: A person may be appointed as a Visiting Professor or Visiting Research Professor, a Visiting Assistant Professor or Visiting Assistant Research Professor, or a Visiting Associate Professor or Visiting Associate Research Professor. Typically, the candidate has an appropriate terminal professional degree or equivalent qualifications. Exceptions to this degree requirement may be made for persons who otherwise have extraordinary expertise, qualifications, or credentials in the field of intended appointment. This category applies to persons who are temporarily appointed to the University while they have continuing academic appointments in another institution of higher education, or have continuing associations with business or nonprofit organizations, or with government agencies. Appointments are made while the individual is on leave from the institution, organization or agency with which he or she is affiliated.

Visiting Research Scholar: A visiting research scholar has a Baccalaureate, Master’s degree, or equivalent degree, and is currently enrolled in a post baccalaureate program or has recently (within 6 months) completed a post baccalaureate program, or who is employed at another institution and participates in a research and/or scholarly training program under the direction of a faculty mentor. The purpose of the program is to enable the individual to gain laboratory and research experience, to learn to use state of the art techniques, and/or to share unique expertise with the WesternU community. A Visiting Research Scholar may include an individual with a terminal post graduate degree whose appointment is less than1 year, and who engages in the activities stated above.

Updated:  August 2015