If you’re an immigrant, you must let the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) know when you change your address. An address change is crucial to ensure you receive up-to-date information on your case—plus, it’s the law.
However, be aware that changing your address with the postal service will not change it with USCIS. If you willfully fail to notify USCIS that you’ve moved, it is technically a misdemeanor. Without their knowledge of your relocation, there could also be case delays. We’ll help you learn how to notify U.S. Immigration about an address change.
Why Do I Need to Tell USCIS About My New Address?
For immigrants, the primary reason to update your address is so that you can get notifications from the USCIS about your immigration status. Even if you’re a green card holder, you still need to notify them if your situation changes.
If you’re a U.S. citizen acting as a sponsor to get your relative a green card, or have submitted Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, you should also notify the USCIS about your address changes. It’s not a legal requirement; however, failing to do so could jeopardize your relative’s chances of becoming a permanent resident.
When Do I Need to Notify USCIS About My Move?
Most non-citizens must report a change of address to the USCIS within 10 days of moving within the United States or its territories. There are three exceptions:
- Diplomats with visa status A
- Official government representatives to an international organization with visa status G
- Certain nonimmigrants who do not possess a visa and who are in the U.S. for less than 30 days
If you are a sponsor, you need to notify the USCIS within 30 days of your move. You are not required to inform them of your address change if you are no longer a sponsor because your sponsored immigrant:
- Became a U.S. citizen
- Left the country and abandoned their resident status
- Has received credit for 40 quarters of work in the U.S.
- Lost resident status
What Happens if I Don’t Notify USCIS of My New Address?
According to the law, if you intentionally fail to give USCIS your new address, you could be punished with a fine of up to $200 and 30 days in jail. It’ll also be a black mark on your immigration history.
Though it’s rare, you can be deported from the U.S. for failing to update your address with USCIS unless you can prove it wasn’t intentional or have a reasonable excuse, such as a natural disaster. Deciding to enforce this rule is up to the immigration authorities.
Even if you are late, update your address and remember to do so in the future. It’s a simple process, so there’s little reason to avoid it.
How Do I Change My Address for an Application or Petition Currently in Progress?
Changing your address on a pending petition or application is a two-step process.
- First, file Form AR-11 via mail or online for your USCIS change of address.
- Second, change your address on any recently approved or pending applications through the USCIS website or by phone at 1-800-375-5283. For TTY (deaf or hard of hearing), call 1-800-767-1833.
If you use the online system, you can achieve steps one and two at the same time. Once you finish Form AR-11 online, you will have the chance to change your address on any recently approved or pending applications.
Changing Your Address Online
The easiest way to let the USCIS know that you’ve moved is by doing it on the USCIS website. It’s a simple process that you can complete online in about five minutes. To make the change, you will need to have:
- Your old address
- Your new address
- Your green card receipt number if you’re a green card holder
- Your petitioner’s name and personal information if you’re a sponsor
USCIS Change of Address Page
There are two places to change your address online. One is through the USCIS Change of Address page.
Note the question on this page. If you already have a petition in progress, you will need to let the USCIS know about every pending application you currently have. The form will look like this:
You can find your receipt number on your Form I-797 (Notice of Action). This form should have been sent to you immediately after the USCIS received your application. Your receipt number will contain 13 characters.
Once you complete the online address change form, you’re done. There is no need to file a paper AR-11.
Using My USCIS Account
If you filed your immigration paperwork online, you likely have a USCIS online account already. You can use your account to change your address information immediately. This is the simplest way to do it.
In fact, if you don’t have an account, we recommend getting one. It’s a great way to get information about the status of your immigration process. Plus, you won’t have to deal with mailing a paper AR-11 form.
What if I Want to Change My Address by Mail with the USCIS?
You can file a paper AR-11 to let the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) know that you’ve moved. Sometimes, you are required to: for example, if you’re a victim of a specific crime. To change your address by mail, download Form AR-11 from the USCIS website. Fill it out completely, sign it, and mail it to:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn: Change of Address
1344 Pleasants Dr.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
It’s vital that you fill out the form completely and sign it, or else you could run into problems. We recommend keeping a paper copy for yourself and sending off your AR-11 using registered mail. This can serve as proof that you sent it.
If you are a sponsor, you’ll need to file Form I-865, Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address. All sponsors of an immigrant must file this form even if you live at the same address.
Can I Call USCIS to Update My Address?
If you are a U.S. citizen sponsoring an immigrant, you can notify USCIS of an address change by calling 1-800-375-5238.
Immigrants can call this number to provide their updated address, but they must also report it online or by mail to ensure compliance.
What if I Become Homeless?
Even if you’re only moving to a temporary address, you should still notify the USCIS within 10 days as required. Likewise, if you become homeless, update the USCIS as soon as you can get an address, even if it’s only a temporary one.
Be prepared to explain what happened. USCIS may question you about why there was a problem with your address updates.
Can I Use a U.S. Postal Service Change of Address Form?
While this is the most common way to update an address for a citizen, it will not work for an immigrant. This is because the U.S. Postal Service and USCIS keep separate records. Also, the U.S. Postal Service does not forward mail from the USCIS.
It’s still a good idea to fill one out so that you can continue receiving your other mail, but you still need to update your address with USCIS. It only takes five minutes if you do it online.
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