US Immigration News

Informing the USCIS of an Address Change

3.75 minute read
"As a noncitizen, it is your responsibility to inform the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) if there is a change in your place of residence. This is even valid for certain US citizens when they are involved in a pending case with the USCIS. It is easy and free to inform the USCIS if there is a change in your residence, therefore, there is no reason to skip this exercise. However, this is not to say that you are required to ask for USCIS’s approval before changing your residence."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 8, 2021
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As a noncitizen, it is your responsibility to inform the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) if there is a change in your place of residence. This is even valid for certain US citizens when they are involved in a pending case with the USCIS. It is easy and free to inform the USCIS if there is a change in your residence, therefore, there is no reason to skip this exercise. However, this is not to say that you are required to ask for USCIS’s approval before changing your residence. 

Only the following types of noncitizen are not required to inform the USCIS about a change in your residence:

  • Foreign Diplomats
  • Government Representatives to international organizations
  • Foreign nationals on a short stay visitor visas to the US for less than 30 days

Why Do You Need to Inform the USCIS of an Address Change?

It is mandatory to inform the USCIS of a change in your address since it is required by the law for the government agency to have your contact information. They may be required to contact you in regards to a pending case. 

For example, if you have applied for US permanent residence, not responding to the mails by the USCIS may result in denial of your application. The USCIS will not call you to know why we weren't able to respond. But more importantly, since it is required by the law, not informing the USCIS about your address change is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of up to 30 days. It may even get you deported unless you can prove that:

  • The failure to report address change was due to a reasonable excuse or
  • The failure to report was not willful

How to Inform the USCIS of Your Address Change

You are required to inform the USCIS within 10 days of any change in your address. Therefore, you must inform the USCIS 10 days before your moving day. You must file form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address, electronically or by mail. You must file this form with the information about your new address, old address, A-number, email address and also the receipt for any pending forms. If you apply electronically on the USCIS website, you can also update any pending petitions at the same time. 

What Are the Options to Update Your Address?

File Electronically: 

You can use your USCIS account if you have any pending forms with the USCIS. Otherwise, you can use the online Change of Address on the website.

Physical Mail: 

You can mail the Form AR-11. Certain immigrant categories require you to mail the form. If you mail your form, then it is recommended to call the USCIS at 1800-375-5282 to confirm that the USCIS has updated your address with your pending application.

How to Prepare Form AR-11?

If you are filing this form electronically and you have any pending petitions, you can check the status of both at your USCIS account. However, if your pending application has been moved to the National Visa Center (NVC), then you will be required to contact them directly to update your address. This happens in case your application has been approved. You must use the Public Inquiry Form to update the NVC to your address. 

When Do US Citizens Need to Inform the USCIS of an Address Change?

There are very few circumstances that require a US citizen to inform the USCIS of any address change. It happens when:

Petitioning an Immigrant: 

 The USCIS must have your contact information in case they need to contact you regarding any pending applications. Therefore, if you have filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative or Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) and it is still pending, then it is advisable to inform the USCIS about the change in your address to avoid refusal of your petition. 

Sponsoring an Immigrant: 

If you have ever filed a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to sponsor an immigrant, then it is your responsibility to inform the USCIS about a change in your address within 30 days of moving if the sponsorship agreement is still valid. You will be required to file Form I-865, Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address. 

Who Else Is Required to Inform the USCIS of a Change in Address?

If you are a victim of domestic violence, trafficking or any other serious crime, then you do not use the AR-11 form online to update your address. This category includes immigrants who have gained permanent residence through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), T or U nonimmigrant status.

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