How To Notify U.S. Immigration About a Change of Address?

If you are an immigrant and changing your address, you must let the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services know. Notifying USCIS of an address change isn’t just important to make sure you receive up-to-date information on your case, it’s also the law. Changing your address with the U.S. Postal Service will not change your address with USCIS.

If you don’t notify USCIS that you’ve moved, it is technically a misdemeanor crime, if done willfully. Without their knowledge of your relocation, there could also be delays in decisions on your case. If you don’t know how to notify U.S. Immigration about a change of address, you can find out in this article.

alien’s change of address card form
An Alien’s Change of Address Card form. The AR-11 form is used to notify U.S. Immigration about your address change if you can’t do it online.

Why Do I Need to Tell USCIS About My New Address?

For immigrants, the biggest reason is so 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 in case your status changes.

If you’re a citizen and you’re sponsoring an immigrant, you also need to notify the USCIS about your address changes. It’s not a legal requirement like with immigrants, but it could jeopardize their chances of becoming an immigrant.

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 unless the status of your sponsored immigrant changes. These changes include:

  • Becoming a U.S. Citizen
  • Leaving the country and abandoning their resident status
  • Receives credit for 40 quarters of work
  • Loses resident status
  • Death

What Happens If I Don’t Notify Them?

According to the law, if you intentionally fail to give USCIS your new address, you could be punished. You could face a fine of up to $200 and 30 days in jail. Not to mention, it will 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!

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 five-minute process. To do it online, 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 do it online. One is through the USCIS Change of Address page.

You can request a change of address on the USCIS website

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 must change the address on all pending USCIS immigration applications.

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 USCIS know that you’ve moved. Sometimes you are required to, like if you’re a victim of certain crimes. To do so, 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 important 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, the form you’ll need to file is Form I-865. All sponsors of an immigrant must file this form even if you live in the same address.

Can I Call USCIS to Update My Address?

If you are a U.S. citizen sponsoring an immigrant, you can call USCIS to notify them of an address change by calling 1-800-375-5238. If you are an immigrant, you cannot use this method. 

Sometimes immigrants get into trouble because they share their new address over the phone with USCIS and do not update it elsewhere. Don’t fall into this trap! Use the online method or the mail method to ensure you’re compliant.

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. 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. 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 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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