CBP (Customs and Border Protection)
The US government agency that controls the country's borders. CBP officers are the people who check your documents when you arrive at the airport.
DHS (Department of Homeland Security)
The department of the US government in charge of all immigration matters within the USA. This department includes the following agencies that are important for international students and scholars: CBP, ICE, and USCIS.
DOS (Department of State)
The department of the US government in charge of embassies and visa decisions. This department is responsible for oversight of people in J-1 visa status in the USA, but not F-1 or M-1 visa status.
(Designated School Official)
The person/people at your US school responsible for keeping SEVIS records of students in F-1 or M-1 visa status updated. They also advise students on immigration matters and ensure that schools follow the government's rules for enrolling international students.
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
The US government agency responsible for creating immigration policies for international students and enforcing immigration law.
RO (Responsible Officer)
ARO (Alternate Responsible Officer)
The person/people at your US school responsible for keeping SEVIS records of students and scholars J-1 visa status updated. They also advise students on immigration matters and ensure that schools follow the government's rules for enrolling international students.
SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program)
Part of ICE, this program manages the SEVIS system, and is responsible for oversight of schools that enroll students in F-1 and M-1 visa status.
SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)
The online database where certain information about students and scholars in F-1, M-1, and J-1 status is shared with the US government. Each student or scholar has a SEVIS record, which should be up-to-date at all times.
USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)
The US government agency that handles applications for changes to a visa status inside the USA (e.g. F-1 visa to H-1B visa), and applications for work authorization (e.g. OPT).