Did you know that most foreign nationals living in the USA, nonimmigrant visa holders, temporary residents, and even lawful permanent residents or green card holders are required by law to notify USCIS whenever their residential address changes?
USCIS must receive the address change notification within 10 days after moving.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the Government agency that oversees the country’s naturalization and immigration systems as per the immigration law.
While you are going through the immigration process with USCIS, you may need to relocate to a new home. Moving to a different city or state requires you to inform USCIS of your move within 10 days by submitting a change of address on the USCIS website or by mail.
Failure to notify US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of an address change can have serious consequences, including the deportation of a foreign national.
Furthermore, it may result in the non-delivery of critical USCIS correspondence, such as the delivery of a green card, requests for evidence, and/or denial notices associated with a pending application or petition.
Why Should You Notify USCIS of an Address Change?
It is necessary to ensure that the agency has your contact information for communication which is required by law.
USCIS may need to contact you regarding a pending application or important status information.
For instance, If you have a pending green card application USCIS may deny the case if they do not receive a response to mailed communications. They will not contact you to inquire as to why you are not responding.
For Permanent Residents:
If you change your address as a green card holder, you must notify USCIS within 10 days. The rules apply whether you have a conditional 2-year GC or an unconditional 10-year GC.
For other Non-citizens:
If you have a temporary visa, such as an H-1B employment visa, you must notify USCIS of your new address within 10 days of moving.
Only the following non-immigrant visitors are exempt from this requirement:
- Foreign diplomats and government officials (A visa holders)
- Official Government representatives working in international organizations (G visa holders)
- Tourists and other visitors participating in a visa waiver program for trips lasting less than 30 days.
For US citizens:
If you are a U.S. citizen who has sponsored an immigrant by completing Form I-864, also known as an “Affidavit of Support,” you must notify USCIS change of address within 30 days. As this is not a legal requirement, you won’t be prosecuted if you don’t inform USCIS, but it may cause delays or other issues for the immigrant.
How to inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that Your Address Has Changed?
Non-citizens can submit the form to USCIS in three ways:
- The USCIS Change of Address page can be accessed online.
The online Change of Address with USCIS is the simplest way to change the address on file with USCIS. It takes about 5 minutes to complete, and you can get an immediate email confirmation right away if you want. Within about 15 days, you should get a return receipt mail confirmation of your address change.
- Online, via your USCIS account
If you filed your original paperwork online, you can easily change your address by logging into your USCIS online account.
- By Mail
You can register a change of address with USCIS by mailing Form AR-11, also known as an “Alien’s Change of Address Card.” If you don’t use black ink and sign the form, it might get rejected. The form includes instructions for mailing it.
- You do not need to mail in Form AR-11 if you update your address online.
- If you mail Form AR-11, the USCIS address provided is only for that form. All other applications and associated fees must be mailed to the address specified in the application instructions.
- Not everyone has the ability to change their address online. If you are a victim of domestic violence, human trafficking, or certain other crimes, you must complete Form AR-11 and mail it to the Humanitarian Division of USCIS. Civil surgeons and attorneys of record are two other special cases.
- If you are currently working on one or more pending applications or petitions, such as Form I-130 (“Petition for Alien Relative”) or Form I-485 (“Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”), you must change your address for each pending or approved form. You will have the option to update your address for other applications at the same time if you use the online form to change your address.
- You must file a separate address-change notification for each family member of your household if you have non-citizen dependents or other family members.
- Because mistakes happen and things get lost, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of each confirmation for your records. If you’re sending a paper copy of Form AR-11, consider sending it via registered mail to ensure you have a proper record.
There are three ways for US citizens to notify USCIS of a change of address:
- The USCIS Change of Address page can be accessed online.
The online Change of Address form available on the official website of USCIS is the simplest way to change the address on file with USCIS. It takes about 5 minutes to complete, and you can get an email confirmation right away if you want.
Within about 15 days, you should receive mail confirmation of your address change.
- By Phone
U.S. citizens can inform USCIS of a change in address by calling 1-800-375-5283. (Non-citizens are still required to file form AR-11 or an online notification, even if they have informed USCIS of an address change over the phone.)
- By mail
You can report any address change by submitting Form I-865 (“Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address”). Even if they live at the same address, each sponsor must submit this form.
Information you will require while filling change of address form
Make sure you have the following information on hand before filling out your form:
- Your new address
- Your previous address
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) receipt number (only for pending cases)
- If you have a GC, please provide your green card receipt number. (You can find this on the notice USCIS sent you after they received your original application.)
- If you are a sponsor, please provide the petitioner’s name and other biographical information.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I didn’t update my address within the deadline?
If you did not update your address on time, you could risk a fine, jail time, or even deportation. That rarely happens, but you should immediately change your address with USCIS and continue to do so after any future relocations. If your immigration matters are handled by a law firm then the said law firm can send the required details to USCIS.
What if I decide to relocate after my naturalization interview is scheduled?
Even if you have an interview scheduled, you should still inform USCIS within 10 days after changing your address. USCIS will then know to send any future correspondence to your current address.
What if I leave the country?
You must still notify USCIS within 10 days of your move. If your immigration case is now being handled by the National Visa Center, you should contact them personally as well to ensure they are aware of your new address.
What if I sent in a change of address request but USCIS never received it?
You are solely responsible for keeping USCIS informed of your address, however, the majority of the consequences are aimed at punishing persons who intentionally fail to update their address. Still, it will be up to you to prove your innocence, so if you file by mail, make a record of it. Remember that filing online is considerably simpler and leaves nothing to chance.
Is it necessary to report USCIS of a change of address if I am a green card holder?
Absolutely. Legal permanent residents (LPRs) must inform USCIS within 10 days of any move. The rules are the same whether you are a conditional permanent resident (green card holder for two years) or a legal permanent resident (10-year green card holder). It makes no difference if you do not have a pending immigration case. You must still report USCIS whenever you relocate.
Read Green Card Processing Steps Explained to know everything about the steps required to become green card holders.
Is USCIS notified if I utilize a change of address form from the United States Postal Service?
No, you must tell USCIS separately. Your USPS change of address notification only applies to mail you receive, it has no effect on the address USCIS has on file for you. Also, even if you’ve submitted a postal change of address form, USCIS correspondence isn’t normally transmitted by the USPS, so you’ll likely miss vital correspondence unless you keep USCIS up to date.
Many frequent issues can also be answered utilizing USCIS’s self-service resources, which include how-to tutorials and a chatbot named “EMMA.” On their website, you can also find your local office and the USCIS Contact Center phone number.
What can I do to protect myself if I fail to notify USCIS of my address change?
You must notify USCIS of your new address within 10 days of moving. Keep the final or new address change confirmation page for your records until you naturalize and become a US citizen. If you neglected or were unaware that you needed to change your address, consult with an immigration attorney to determine whether you are vulnerable and, if so, what steps you may take to mitigate risks.
The bottom line is that, while you are allowed to move as often as you like, you must remember to notify USCIS quickly whenever you change your address with USCIS, even if you are currently moving into a temporary address, inform them.
It is critical not just to continue receiving important notices that may affect your immigration status, but it is also mandatory per immigration law.
Failure to disclose a change of address is a misdemeanor offense with serious consequences. Remember to file the change of address online or by mail to avoid any problems. It is quite simple to do.