Principal Alien Law and Legal Definition

The term 'principal alien' is used to refer to a foreigner who has applied for immigrant status, and from whom another alien may derive lawful status under immigration law or regulations. For example, spouses and minor unmarried children of a principal alien can get a lawful immigration status based on the principal alien's immigration status. The principal is the primary person applying as opposed to a dependent. For example, TN is a principal classification, and TD is the dependent classification.

The following is an example of a statute defining the term “principal alien.”

According to 22 CFR 40.1[Title 22; Foreign Relations; Chapter I; Department of State; Subchapter E; Visas; Part 40; Regulations pertaining to both Nonimmigrants and Immigrants under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended; Subpart A; General Provisions],principal alien means an alien from whom another alien derives a privilege or status under the law or regulations.