Legal classifications of immigrants

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter provides an overview of terminology and methods to enter the United States. The chapter begins with a description of short-term strategies to enter the United States as nonimmigrants: to visit, to study, to work temporarily. The chapter then describes methods by which individuals can enter or stay in the United States permanently through a family sponsorship, work sponsorship, or as refugees. The chapter then provides a description of reasons the government uses to exclude individuals from entering; and for those already here, the chapter describes government policies to deport. The chapter concludes with how lawful permanent resident can take the final step and become U.S. citizens.


nonimigrants, short term migration, student visa, visitor visa, work visa, green card, lawful permanent resident, LPR, lottery, diversity visa, family petition, marriage petition, labor petition, labor certification, visa bulleting, exclusion, inadmission, crimes, disease, terrorism, deportation, removal, humanitarian parole, citizenship, naturalization, immigration, immigrant, lawful permanent resident, refugee, undocumented, citizen, noncitizen, social workers, service provider cultural humility, cultural competence

Publication Title

Social work with immigrants and refugees: legal issues, clinical skills, and advocacy