Skip to main content

Appendix H: Glossary

Table 21


(if applicable)





The disposition of an application for relief is used if an applicant fails to appear for a court hearing; or fails to provide, without good cause, any required information within the time frame the immigration court allows.


Accredited Representative


A person who is authorized to represent noncitizens on behalf of a recognized organization before the immigration courts, the BIA, and/or DHS. See Recognized Organization.


Active Pending


Cases with no completion date and no off-calendar call-up code within the last 10 days.


Administrative Control Court


An immigration court that creates and maintains records of proceedings for locations within an assigned geographic area.


Administrative Law Judge


A federal agency judge appointed pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. section 3105. Administrative Law Judges in the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer hear cases and adjudicate issues arising under the provisions of the INA relating to: 1) knowingly hiring, recruiting or referring for a fee unauthorized noncitizens, or the continued employment of unauthorized noncitizens, failure to comply with employment eligibility verification requirements, and requiring indemnity bonds from employees in violation of section 274A of the INA (employer sanctions); 2) unfair immigration-related employment practices in violation of section 274B of the INA; and 3) immigration-related document fraud in violation of section 274C of the INA.


Adjustment of Status


Relief from deportation, removal, or exclusion for a noncitizen who is eligible for lawful permanent resident status based on a DHS approved visa petition.



(if applicable)


Administrative Closure


Temporary removal of a case from an IJ’s calendar or from the BIA docket. See also Inactive Pending.

Affirmative Asylum Application


An asylum application initially filed with DHS (USCIS) by a noncitizen not in removal proceedings before EOIR. See also Defensive Asylum Application.

Appellate Immigration Judge


Judges appointed to serve in formal, quasi-judicial BIA proceedings to review the determinations of IJs in removal and related proceedings, and of certain DHS officers in visa petition proceedings and other matters. All AIJs review the record on appeal, including briefs, exhibits, and transcripts, and hear oral arguments when conducted.



A formal request to the BIA in which a party seeks the review of decisions that IJs or certain officials of DHS have rendered. There are three types of BIA case receipts: (a) appeals of IJ decisions (i.e., case appeals, appeal of IJ denial of a motion to reopen, bond appeal, interlocutory appeal, continued detention review, zero bond appeal); (b) appeals of DHS decisions (i.e., decisions on visa petitions, 212(d)(3)(A) waiver decisions, decisions on fines and penalties); and (c) BIA work related to appeals (i.e., motion to reopen/reconsider, bond motion to reopen, federal court remand).  

Application for Relief


An application for relief or protection from removal that may include, but is not limited to: Adjustment of Status, Asylum, and Withholding of Removal.



Discretionary relief granted to noncitizens in the United States who establish that they are refugees, not subject to any prohibitions on eligibility, who cannot return to their country of nationality or last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.



(if applicable)


Asylum Grant


An adjudicator’s finding that allows a noncitizen to remain in the United States as an asylee and provides certain benefits and derivative asylum status for any eligible spouse or child.

Asylum Only Case


A case type in which certain respondents are only eligible to seek asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the CAT as a form of relief or protection. Filed with EOIR on Form I-863, Notice of Referral.  See also Withholding Only Case.

Base City


Administrative Control Courts are usually referred to by the city or place where they are located. See also Administrative Control Court.

Board of Immigration Appeals


See Description under EOIR Components section.



The amount of money that DHS or an IJ sets as a condition to release a noncitizen from detention.

Bond Redetermination Hearing


An immigration court hearing on a request to reevaluate a bond that DHS set. Bond proceedings are separate from other immigration court proceedings.

Cancellation of Removal

42A; 42B

Discretionary relief determined during the course of a hearing before an IJ. There are two different forms of cancellation of removal: cancellation of removal for certain lawful permanent residents who were admitted more than five years ago,

have resided in the United States for seven or more years, and have not been convicted of an aggravated felony; and cancellation of removal and adjustment of status for certain non-permanent resident noncitizens who have maintained continuous physical

presence in the United States for ten years and have met all the other statutory requirements for such relief.



(if applicable)




Before the immigration courts, a proceeding that begins when DHS files a charging document. 
Before the BIA, appeals from IJs’ decisions; appeals from certain DHS decisions; and motions to reopen, reconsider, or reinstate proceedings. 

Before an Administrative Law Judge in the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, an administrative proceeding that begins when DHS, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, or certain private individuals or entities file a complaint.

Case Access System for EOIR


CASE is the Information Resource Management System that provides EOIR with case tracking and management information. 

Case Appeal


An appeal from the decision of an IJ pertaining to the removal, deportation, or exclusion of noncitizens.

Case Completion


Before the immigration courts, a dispositive IJ decision on the following types of cases: removal, deportation, exclusion, asylum only, withholding only, or recission. See also Initial Case Completions and Subsequent Case Completions. 


Before the BIA, when the BIA renders a decision in a case.


Before the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, an Administrative Law Judge’s final decision on the merits of a case or on a motion for attorney’s fees.

Change of Venue


Moving of a case from one immigration court to another upon a party’s motion.

Charging Document


DHS initiates removal proceedings when it serves a noncitizen with a Form I-862, NTA, or a Form I-863, Notice of Referral, and files that charging document with one of the immigration courts. See also Form I-862, NTA, and Form I-863, Notice of Referral.

Claimed Status Review


A case type in which noncitizens in expedited removal proceedings seek an IJ’s review of their claim under oath that they are a United States citizen; have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence; have been admitted as a refugee; or have been granted asylum, after DHS determines that they have not proven such claim.


(if applicable)




See Case Completion; Proceeding Completion.

Continued Detention Review


A case type established in response to the 2001 United States Supreme Court decision in Zadvydas v. Davis, in which an IJ decides whether a noncitizen should remain in custody.

Convention Against Torture


An international human rights agreement the United Nations drafted to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world. The United States signed the CAT in 1988, and ratified it in 1994, issuing implementing regulations in 1999 providing for withholding and deferral of removal protections under CAT. See Deferral of Removal; Withholding of Removal; Withholding Only Case.

Credible Fear Review


A case type in which an IJ reviews a DHS asylum officer’s decision that a noncitizen subject to removal under INA section 235(a)(2) or (b)(1) failed to establish their claim of fear of persecution or torture.

Custody Status


Whether or not a noncitizen is detained. Within EOIR’s jurisdiction, there are three custody categories: 1) detained; 2) never detained; and 3) released. See Detained; Never Detained; Released.



A determination by an adjudicating official of the OCIJ, the BIA, or the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer. As an example, for an I-862 case type case completion, an IJ decision may include relief, removal, dismissal, termination, voluntary departure, removal-withholding of removal granted, or removal-withholding of removal CAT. Other case types have different decisions.

Defensive Asylum Application


An asylum application initially filed with an immigration court after a noncitizen has been put into removal proceedings. See also Affirmative Asylum Application

Deferral of Removal


The DHS postponement of a noncitizen’s removal to the country in which an IJ has determined the noncitizen, who is ineligible for any other forms of relief or protection, is likely to be tortured. See also withholding of removal.



An IJ’s decision not to grant a party’s motion or a noncitizen's application for relief. An IJ’s decision not to grant a party’s motion or a noncitizen's application for relief.

Department of Homeland Security


Twenty-two different federal departments and agencies combined into a unified, integrated cabinet agency following the enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Public Law 107-296. It works to improve the security of the United States. The Department's work includes customs, border and immigration enforcement, immigration services, emergency response to natural and manmade disasters, antiterrorism work, and cybersecurity.



(if applicable)


Deportation Case


A case type initiated when the former INS filed an Order to Show Cause with an immigration court before April 1, 1997. See also Exclusion Case; Form I-862 Notice to Appear; Removal Case.

DHS Portal


Allows registered DHS staff to upload initiating and supporting documents and request/download eROPs.

EOIR Courts & Appeals System


An overarching information technology modernization effort at EOIR. ECAS was first introduced in July 2018 to phase out paper filing and processing, and to retain all records and case-related documents in electronic format. Now fully implemented at all immigration courts and the BIA, ECAS supports the full life cycle of an immigration case including: electronic filing of court and appeals documents, processing and receiving filings, maintaining eROPs, preparing case information, conducting a hearing, and adjudicating appeals, while providing cost and time savings for all parties.

Electronic Filing


Allows registered users to complete and file the EOIR-27 and EOIR-28 forms.

Electronic Information

Case Portal

Allows registered attorneys and accredited representatives to view their case details, upload initiating and supporting documents, and request/download the electronic Record of Proceeding.



(if applicable)


Electronic Record of Proceedings


A cloud-based electronic repository containing all immigration case-related documents. These documents are acquired through Case Portal and eFiling and are accessible EOIR-wide and to external users as requested. See also ROP.

Evidence Act


See Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018.

Exclusion Case


A case type involving a person who, before April 1, 1997, tried to enter the United States but was stopped at the port of entry because the former INS found the person to be inadmissible. See Deportation Case; Form I-862, NTA; Removal Case.

Executive Office for Immigration Review


Under delegated authority from the Attorney General, the Department of Justice component responsible for interpreting and administering federal immigration laws by conducting immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings. See EOIR Fact Sheet for additional details.

Failure to Prosecute


A situation in which the DHS has not filed a charging document with the immigration court by the time of the first hearing.

Federal Records Center


The FRC stores federal records. For EOIR, in addition to storing paper ROP files, the FRC processes intake, transfer, scheduled changes, and references for all EOIR stored file or files. The FRC is part of the Archives Records Center Information System.

Fiscal Year


The 12-month accounting period for the federal government that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.

Form I-221, Order to Show Cause


Charging document that was used to commence deportation proceedings pre-Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).



(if applicable)


Form I-222, Notice to Applicant for Admission Detained for Hearing before an Immigration Judge


Charging document that was used to commence exclusion proceedings pre-IIRIRA.

Form I-862: Notice to Appear

NTA, I-862

A charging document that the DHS issues and files with the IC to start removal proceedings under section 240 of the INA against an individual, known in removal proceedings as the “respondent.” The NTA serves many functions in an immigration case, like explaining why the government thinks the respondent may be deportable and gives notice to the respondent. The NTA lists the charges that DHS is bringing against the respondent, specifying the removability grounds and factual allegations to establish removability. The charging document must include a certificate documenting that DHS has served the NTA on the respondent. For purposes of consolidation in data reporting, Deportation and Exclusion case receipts are included as “I-862s” although they were originally filed with Order to Show Cause forms.

Form I-863: Notice of Referral to Immigration Judge

NOR, I-863

A charging document that is used in various immigration proceedings, such as credible fear, reasonable fear, claimed status review, asylum-only and withholding only. It is issued by an immigration officer to a noncitizen who requests a review of a negative determination or a referral of an expedited removal order by an asylum officer, or who applies for asylum or withholding of removal after being admitted under the Visa Waiver Program.



(if applicable)


Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 ("Evidence Act")


Pub. L. No. 115-435, 132 Stat. 5529. Act emphasizes collaboration and coordination to advance data and evidence-building functions in the federal government by statutorily mandating federal evidence-building activities, open government data, and confidential information protection and statistical efficiency.

Government Performance and Results Act


Pub. L. 103–62. Act designed to improve program management throughout the federal government. Agencies are required to develop a five-year strategic plan outlining its mission, long-term goals for the agency's major functions, performance measures, and reporting results. In addition to the strategic plan, agencies submit an annual performance report to the Office of Management and Budget with established fiscal year performance goals, objectives on how to achieve these goals, and an explanation of how performance is measured and verified.

Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act


Pub. L. 111–352. Act designed to help focus agencies on their highest priorities and create a culture where data and empirical evidence plays a greater role in policy, budget, and management decisions, the law also created transparent roles and responsibilities for ensuring leadership engagement – one of the most important aspects of any effective performance management system. The Act codified and strengthened existing resources for performance management, including the creation of the Chief Operating Officer and Performance Improvement Officers within the federal agencies, and the establishment of the interagency Performance Improvement Council.



An IJ’s decision to approve a party’s motion or a noncitizen’s application for relief.

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996


Public Law Number 104-208. Enacted in 1996, it was designed to strengthen United States immigration laws, increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who commit crimes while in the United States or who stay in the U.S. for statutorily defined periods of time. The Act was designed to improve border controls and streamline the deportation process.



(if applicable) 


Immigration Adjudication Center


Refers to three locations (Falls Church IAC, Fort Worth IAC, and Richmond IAC) where IJs conduct hearings exclusively via video teleconference to IACs or hearing locations to increase EOIR's overall capacity.

Immigration and Nationality Act


Public Law Number 82-414. Enacted in 1952, the INA collected many provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The INA has been amended many times over the years and contains many of the most important provisions of immigration law.

Immigration Court


A tribunal within the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge where IJs conduct immigration proceedings.

Immigration Court Case Type


Includes twelve case types, divided into four categories. I-862 case types include removal, deportation, and exclusion cases. I-863 case types include asylum-only and withholding-only cases. Review case types include CFR, reasonable fear review (RFR), and claimed status review cases. Other case types include rescission, non-removal Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), departure control, and continued detention review cases.

Immigration Court Matter


Includes cases, bond redeterminations, and MTRs, reconsider, and recalendar.

Immigration Court Online Resource


A centralized location for resources and information about immigration proceedings before EOIR.



(if applicable)


Immigration Court Receipts


Consist of charging documents, bond redeterminations, and MTRs, reconsider, and recalendar received and filed within a reporting period.

Immigration Judge


IJs preside in formal, quasi-judicial hearings. Proceedings before IJs include but are not limited to deportation, exclusion, removal, rescission, and bond. IJs make decisions which are final unless formally appealed. In connection with these proceedings, IJs exercise certain discretionary powers as provided by law, and are required to exercise independent judgment in reaching final decisions. IJs may be required to conduct hearings in penal institutions and other remote locations.

Immigration Judge Decision (IJ Decision)


IJ decisions on I-862, NTA, and I-863, Notice of Referral, case types, credible and reasonable fear reviews, and/or bond redeterminations. See also Decision.

In Absentia


An order issued when an IJ determines that a removable noncitizen received the required notice about their removal hearing and failed to appear. This term derives from the Latin phrase meaning “in the absence of.”

Inactive Pending


Cases that were administratively closed that have not been recalendared.

Initial Case


The proceeding that begins when DHS files a charging document with an IC and ends when an IJ renders a determination. See also Initial Case Completion; Subsequent Case Completion.

Initial Case Completion


The first dispositive decision rendered by an IJ. For instance, an I-862 removal case is completed by an order of removal, relief, voluntary departure, dismiss termination, or withdrawn. An order granting a continuance, changing venue, or administratively closing a case is not a dispositive decision and, thus, does not constitute a case completion.



(if applicable)


Institutional Hearing Program


A cooperative effort between EOIR, DHS, and various federal, state, and municipal corrections agencies, to complete cases for incarcerated noncitizen criminals serving federal or state sentences prior to their release from prison or jail so DHS can remove them with final removal orders upon their release.

Interlocutory Appeal


A party’s appeal to the BIA from a preliminary ruling of an IJ before an IJ renders a final decision in the case.

Judicial Tools


An online dashboard  within ECAS that allows OCIJ and BIA users to access case details, review documents in the eROP, make annotations on documents, view the docket, and create orders and decisions. JT for OCIJ and BIA are separate applications.

Legal Orientation Program


An initiative where representatives from nonprofit immigration legal service organizations provide comprehensive explanations about IC procedures along with other helpful legal information to adult individuals in DHS custody. The program is normally administered at specific DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities and is typically comprised of four components: Group Orientations, Individual Orientations, Self-Help Workshops, and Referral to Pro Bono Legal Services, where available.



(if applicable)




See Immigration Court Matter.

Matters Completed


Determinations IJs render on initial cases, subsequent cases, bond redeterminations, and MTRs, reconsider, or recalendar that are not granted.

Matters Received


The DHS filing of charging documents with an immigration court; parties’ requests that an IJ make bond redeterminations; or parties’ requests that an IJ rule on motions to reopen, reconsider, or recalendar.



A formal request from a party to carry out an action or make a decision.

Motion to Recalendar


A request in which a party seeks to have their case returned to an active adjudications docket.

Motion to Reconsider


A request in which a party seeks to have a prior decision re-examined based on a possible error in law or fact, or a change in the law that affects the prior decision.

Motion to Reopen


A request in which a party seeks to have a prior, completed case re-examined in order to consider new facts or evidence in the case.

Motions to Reopen, Reconsider, Recalendar


The sum of all motions to recalendar, reconsider, and reopen.



The status of owing permanent allegiance to a particular nation by origin, birth, or naturalization.



(if applicable) 


Never Detained


Custody status of those noncitizens whom EOIR has no record from DHS or other entities’ custodial supervision. See Custody Status.



The status of a noncitizen in immigration proceedings who is not in DHS’ or other entities’ custody. Within EOIR, these persons are considered to have a custody status of never detained or released. See Custody Status; Never Detained; Released.

Notice of Intent to Rescind


A document in which DHS notifies an individual that it intends to revoke permanent resident status. See also Rescission Case.

Notice to Appear


See Form I-862, NTA; Order to Show Cause.

Office of Administration


See Description under EOIR Components section.

Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer


See Description under EOIR Components section.

Office of the Chief Immigration Judge


See Description under EOIR Components section.

Office of the Director


See Description under EOIR Components section.

Office of Equal Employment Opportunity


Serves as the principal advisor to EOIR leadership on all equal employment opportunity matters. The mission is to ensure an environment that promotes equal employment opportunity for all individuals, eradicates discrimination and harassment in all forms, and promotes an inclusive environment that empowers employees to participate and support EOIR’s mission.

Office of the General Counsel


See Description under EOIR Components section.

Office of Information Technology


See Description under EOIR Components section.



(if applicable) 


Office of the Ombudsman


Provides EOIR workforce with a confidential, neutral, independent, and informal alternative to address workplace issues. The Ombuds serves to assist EOIR employees and managers at all levels of the organization address individual and organizational matters informally. 

Office of Policy


See Description under EOIR Components section.

Order to Show Cause


See Form I-221.



A case that has not been completed nor otherwise closed.

Planning, Analysis and Statistics Division (PASD)


Develops statistical reports, analyses, assessments, and evaluations to inform EOIR strategic management efforts and communicate meaningful insights to both internal and external EOIR stakeholders.

Pro Bono


A Latin phrase meaning “for the public good.” In a legal context, legal representation performed free of charge.

Pro Se


A Latin phrase meaning “for oneself.” In a legal context, the party represents him or herself in legal proceedings without an attorney or representative.

Proceeding     (Legal Term)


The legal process conducted before the ICs, BIA, and OCAHO.



(if applicable) 


Proceeding completion


Within CASE, this is a term that indicates the permanent or temporary end of action or jurisdiction of a case in a particular IC, such as case completions, changes of venue, transfers, and administrative closures (including TPS or other administrative closures).

Reasonable Fear Review


A case type in which an IJ reviews a DHS asylum officer’s decision that the noncitizen who is subject to removal under INA section 238(b) or 241(a)(5) has not established a reasonable fear of persecution or torture.

Recognized Organization


A non-profit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organization formally recognized by EOIR as such under the provisions of 8 C.F.R. sections 1292.11 to 1292.20. See also Accredited Representative.



Custody status of those noncitizens who are no longer detained. See Custody Status.



An action an appellate body takes that sends a case back to a lower court for further proceedings.

Record of Proceeding


Organized, official material constituting the record of any application, petition, hearing, or other proceeding before EOIR. See also eROP.

Removal Case


A case type that begins when DHS files a charging document with an immigration court to initiate INA 240 Proceedings. See Form I-862 Notice to Appear.



(if applicable)




The status of an individual who has an attorney or accredited representative to act as their agent in proceedings before the ICs or the BIA.

Rescission Case


A case type that is related to revoking a noncitizen’s lawful permanent resident status. See Notice of Intent to Rescind.



A noncitizen individual referred to EOIR by DHS for removal from the United States.

Standard Operating Procedures


Step-by-step instructions compiled by EOIR offices to help employees carry out routine operations.

Subsequent Case


The proceeding that begins when: 1) the IJ grants a MTR, reconsider, or recalendar; or 2) the BIA issues a decision to remand and ends when the IJ renders a determination. See also Case Completion; Initial Case.

Subsequent Case Completion


Any dispositive decision by an IJ after an initial case completion. See also Subsequent Case; Case Completion.

Suspension of Deportation


Discretionary relief for certain noncitizens in deportation proceedings who maintained continuous physical presence in the United States for seven years and met the other statutory requirements for such relief. See Cancellation of Removal; IIRIRA.

Temporary Protected Status


A temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country (or to persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country) that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has designated for protection because the country is experiencing an ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent a safe return.



(if applicable)




The moving of detained noncitizens between detention facilities or the administrative transfer of a noncitizen’s case from one hearing location to another by DHS.



A type of decision by an IJ that dismisses the case related to a particular charging document. The noncitizen is not subject to removal relating to the dismissed charging document



The status of a noncitizen who does not have an attorney or accredited representative to act as their agent in proceedings before the ICs or the BIA. See Pro Se.

Voluntary Departure


An order that permits noncitizens, who are otherwise removable, to depart from the country at their own expense within a designated amount of time in order to avoid a final order of removal.

Withdrawal of an Application for Relief


A noncitizen’s request to remove an application for relief from the IJ’s consideration prior to the IJ’s decision in their case.

Withholding of Removal


A form of protection from being removed from the United States.

Withholding Only Case


A case type in which a noncitizen, who is not entitled to removal proceedings, is eligible only to apply for withholding of removal. See also Form I-863 Notice of Referral to an Immigration Judge; Asylum Only Case.