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Change of Address Requirement for Noncitizens

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Oct 25, 2019)

Who are required to update their address with the USCIS?

Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) ยง 265(a), almost all non-citizens in the United States are required to update their address with the USCIS.

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The following non-citizens are exempt from the change of address requirement:

  • Diplomats (holding A visa)
  • Governmental representatives to an international organization (holding G visa), and
  • Certain nonimmigrants, who do not hold a visa and are in the country for less than 30 days.

Parents and guardians of non-citizen minors are required to provide such notice on behalf of the minor.

How do I file a change of address with USCIS?

Ordinarily, you should use USCIS Form AR-11, to submit a change of address to USCIS.  You can do this by calling the USCIS at 800-375-5283, printing Form AR-11 and mailing it to the USCIS, or submitting a change of address online.

In addition, if you change your address while a petition or an application on your behalf is pending before the USCIS, you must file an additional and separate change of address as may be required for that particular petition or application. Consult your attorney or see USCIS Change of Address Page, for specific instructions.

If you are in a removal proceeding, you must also file an additional and separate change of address with the immigration court using Form EOIR-33/IC. Depending on where your immigration case is pending, you may download this form from the web site of Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

If your case is pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals, you must also file an additional and separate change of address with the Board, using Form EOIR-33/BIA.  In that case, it would be prudent to file a change of address with the immigration court as well.

Always keep copies of the documentation showing how and when you filed your notice of change of address and what information you submitted on that notice. These may include a copy of the hard copy form you submit to the USCIS or screen shots and confirmation emails for your online submissions.

How many days do I have to file a change of address?

Ordinarily, you have ten (10) days to file a change of address with the USCIS.

If you have a pending petition or application before the USCIS, you should submit the required change of address as soon as feasible.

If you are in a removal proceeding, you must file a change of address within five (5) days of any change.

Do I have to pay any fees for change of address?

No.

What are the consequences of not updating my address?

Willful failure to submit timely change of address is a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of not more than 30 days.  The noncitizens who fail to file a change of address may also be arrested and haled into a removal proceeding.

Obviously, if you are a United States citizen, you are not required to file a change of address with the USCIS. However, if you are the parent or guardian of a non-citizen minor, you are responsible for submitting timely changes of address for your ward. As a U.S. citizen, you cannot be deported for failure to do so, but you still can be fined and imprisoned.

While historically the USCIS has rarely brought charges for failure to submit change of address, it is prudent that you observe this requirement carefully, especially because of the USCIS' trend to tighten its policies and pursue strict enforcement.

Further, if you do not update your address, you may not receive notices that may be sent to you, you may miss deadlines, and default decisions and orders may be entered against you.

If you have not yet filed any change of address with the USCIS, you may consider starting now.

 

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