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Abbreviations Commonly Used in the Student Visa Universe

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018

Here are descriptions for some of the abbreviations commonly used in the connection with the international students' visa universe.

Abbr. Description
ARO Alternative Responsible Officer (pertinent to Exchange Scholar Programs), an employee or officer of a program sponsor who is nominated by the sponsor and approved by the U.S. Department of State. ROs or ARO's must issue Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019).
COOP Continuity of Operations Plan. DHS encourages schools to develop a Continuity of Operations Plan to address any crisis that may arise, in order to be able to continue critical operations and help students.
CPT Curricular Practical Training, a type of hands-on training received during and as a part of an educational program.
DHS United States Department of Homeland Security.
DOS United States Department of State.
DSO Designated School Official, who is a school official dedicated to assisting and overseeing F and M students enrolled at the school. To receive SEVP certification, schools must have at least one DSO. Usually one or more staff members at office of the International Student Advisor, or a similar office, are the DSO's.
OPT Optional Practical Training, a type of hands-on training received at the completion of a program of study (Post-Completion OPT) and sometime during the course of study (Pre-Completion OPT).
PDSO Principal Designated School Official, who is a DSO with additional responsibilities.  Commonly the International Student Advisor, or a person in a similar position, is the PDSO for your school.
RO Responsible Officer (pertinent to Exchange Scholar Programs), an employee or officer of a program sponsor who is nominated by the sponsor and approved by the U.S. Department of State. ROs or ARO's must issue Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019).
SEVIS Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is administered by SEVP.  SEVIS is a web-based system that maintains information on foreign students and exchange visitors admitted into the United States on nonimmigrant F, J, and M visas. Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act ยง 641 (1996) requires DHS to maintain updated information on foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States.
 
United States Department of Homeland Security uses SEVIS to maintain information on F and M students and their dependents. United States Department of State uses SEVIS to maintain information on J exchange visitors their dependents.
 
For additional information about SEVIS, see SEVIS Fact Sheet.
SEVP Student and Exchange Visitor Program is a DHS program for administering foreign students and for certifying schools that may enroll F- and M-visa students.  SEVIS administers Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
 
To search for SEVP-certified schools, see SEVP_Certified School Search.
STEM Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics. Generally used to describe the major of students who have received a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from a SEVP-accredited school.
 
See List of STEM Majors.

 

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