Want to know how to change your address with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services? In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick walks you through the process with a step-by-step guide and answers some of your frequently asked questions.
Did you know? By law, most temporary U.S. visa holders and even lawful permanent residents are required to inform USCIS every time they change their residential address. The address change notification must be sent to USCIS within 10 days of moving.
Failing to notify USCIS of an address change can have serious consequences, including making a foreign national subject to deportation. In addition, it could lead to non-delivery of very important correspondence from USCIS such as delivery of a green card, requests for evidence, and/or denial notices associated with a pending application or petition.
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While you are going through your immigration process with USCIS, there may come a time where you must move to a new residence. Whether it’s moving to a different city or state, you are required to notify USCIS of your move within 10 days by filing a change of address form on the USCIS webpage or by mail.
It is very important to file your change of address for two reasons. First, by failing to change your address you might miss out on receiving critical correspondence from USCIS such as Notices of Action on your case, requests for additional evidence needed from you (RFEs), interview appointment notices, biometrics appointment notices, notices of intent to deny, and such related documents. Many of these notices are subject to time limits, requiring applicants to respond or appear by specific dates. Failure to respond by the stated deadline on a notice, or failure appear for an appointment could not only result in the closure and denial of your case, but also potential removal from the United States.
Secondly, you must change your address with USCIS because it is the law. As stated, under the law, you are required to notify USCIS every time that you move. In fact, failure to notify USCIS of a change of address can be a misdemeanor offense, could lead to fines, jail time, and in some instances even deportation for those who have never ever reported an address change.
The reality is that often times people are not penalized for failing to report a change of address with USCIS, because the vast majority of people who go through the immigration process do in fact submit a change of address online.
What if I am a green card holder, do I need to notify USCIS of my change of address?
Absolutely. Even legal permanent residents (LPRs) must notify USCIS every time that they move within 10 days of the move. The rules are the same regardless of whether you are a conditional permanent resident (2-year green card holder) or legal permanent resident (10-year green card holder). It does not matter that you do not have a pending case with immigration. You must still notify USCIS every time that you move.
What if I have a temporary nonimmigrant visa, do I still need to notify USCIS?
Yes. The same exact rules apply to most people with temporary U.S. nonimmigrant visas. The only nonimmigrant visa holders that are exempt from this requirement are:
- Diplomats (A visa holders)
- Official government representatives working at international organizations (G visa holders)
- Visitors traveling on visa-waiver, i.e. visitors who do not possess visas and who are admitted in the United States for up to 30 days
Does the notification requirement apply to U.S. Citizens?
If you are a U.S. Citizen who sponsored an immigrant on Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, you must notify USCIS of moving within 30 days of your move. Again, this is important in case of nondelivery of a notice from USCIS. As a sponsor, you have legal obligations to the government and will be expected to respond to correspondence from USCIS.
So, how do you update your address with USCIS?
There are a several ways you can file a change of address with USCIS.
- Online, through the USCIS Change of Address page
The easiest way to change the address on file with USCIS is to use the online Change of Address form. It is quick and easy to complete, and you can request immediate email confirmation. Once your change of address has been submitted online, you will receive mail confirmation of your address change within approximately 15 days. Please note that not everyone is eligible to file the change of address online. Special categories of immigrants such as victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other crimes, must file their change of address requests by mail (see below).
- Online, through your USCIS account. If you e-filed your paperwork, you can log into your USCIS online account to change your address quickly and easily.
If you have a USCIS online account, you can also file your change of address directly on your portal.
- By Mail
Finally, you can complete your change of address by completing and mailing Form AR-11, officially known as an “Alien’s Change of Address Card,” by mail. The form includes instructions on where to mail it. You must sign the form in black ink, otherwise it may be rejected.
Some categories of applicants are in fact not able to submit their change of address online, and instead must submit their Form AR-11 by mail.
For instance, those who filed and/or have a pending or approved form listed below, must mail the Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card:
- Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (as a VAWA self-petitioner);
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (as an abused spouse under the Cuban Adjustment Act; as an abused spouse, parent, or child under VAWA; or as a T or U nonimmigrant);
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, filed by VAWA self-petitioners and T/U nonimmigrants;
- Form I-765V, Application for Employment Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouse;
- Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status;
- Form I-914, Supplement A, Application for Family Member of T-1 Recipient;
- Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status;
- Form I-918, Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient; or
- Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Nonimmigrant
Note: if you have submitted your change of address online, you do not need to send Form AR-11 by mail.
IMPORTANT: For all individuals filing a change of address by mail, USCIS strongly recommends using certified, registered, or return receipt mail as proof that you mailed the change of address from to USCIS. Those who submitted the change of address online, should save their change of address confirmation receipt in a safe place.
What happens if I forgot to update my address?
If you have forgotten to submit your change of address, with the required 10-day period, you should submit your change of address as soon as possible. It is best to file late, then to never file at all. As stated previously, if you fail to change your address with USCIS you may miss out on important time-sensitive correspondence.
What if I have moved out of the country?
The same rules apply even if you have moved out of the country. You must still file a change of address with USCIS within 10 days of your move.
The bottom line is that while you are free to change residences as often as you like, you must remember to promptly notify USCIS every time you change your address with USCIS. It is important not only to continue to receive important notices that can impact your immigration status, but also because it is the law. Failure to report a change of address is a misdemeanor offense and could lead to more serious repercussions. To avoid any issues, remember to file the change of address online or by mail. It is easy and simple to do.
We hope this information was helpful. If you need more information help please contact us to schedule a consultation.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
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