Payroll Services Some Helpful Definitions


US National – an individual that owes allegiance to or who is under the protection of the United States without regard to the more formal status of citizen

Foreign National – an individual that owes allegiance to or who is under the protection of a country other than the United States

US Citizen – an individual who has been granted, either by birth or naturalization, all the rights and privileges embodied in the Constitution. A foreign national who is also a US citizen is a US
citizen for US tax purposes.

US Expatriate – a US citizen who renounced or relinquished US citizenship or a long-term green card holder (8 of 15 years) who abandons green card status. Also the term applied to US Citizens residing abroad.

Immigrant – Also called a US lawful permanent resident (LPR) or green card holder. An individual who is allowed to reside permanently in the United States

Migrant – An alien who has come to the United States to live but who has no authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter the United States for any purpose. Migrants who engage in employment in the United States are typically referred to as undocumented workers.

Nonimmigrant – An individual who is permitted to enter the United States on a temporary basis for the purpose and period indicated by the immigration documents.

Illegal Alien – An alien who entered the United States without the proper authorization and documents or who entered legally but has since violated the terms of the status in which the individual
entered the United States.

Immigration Status – One of any 30 plus categories that allow an alien to come to the United States for the purpose and period indicated. The holder must leave the country at the end of the period,
extend the period by application to the DHS, or change to a different immigration status.

Derivative Status – The immigration status for the dependents (spouse and children under 21 years of age) who accompany the principal visa holder to the United States


Visa – A stamp in a foreign passport issued abroad by a US Embassy or Consulate that allows a common carrier to bring the individual to the shores of the United States. The stamp indicates the
category and period for authorized entry.

Visa Waiver – A program that allows individuals from certain countries with little document frauds to enter the United States for business (VWB) or pleasure (VWT) without a visa for up to 90 days. The period cannot be extended in the United States.

Entry Without Inspection – Exemption from document inspection allowed citizens of Canada who entering the United States for up to 30 days.

Border Crossing Card – Used for individuals who are citizens of Mexico entering the United States in B-2 or B-2 status

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record – The form issued by the DHS inspector at the airport or US port of entry that gives the immigration status and period of time that the individual can stay in the United States


I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status

DS-2019 (IAP-66) Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status

Petition – The generic term for the series of forms used by Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to determine an individual’s eligibility for various immigration categories.