How Do I Report a Change of Address to the USCIS?
All non-U.S. citizens (aliens) who are required to be registered are also required to keep the USCIS informed of their current address. This is particularly important when you have filed an application or petition for a benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act and expect notification of a decision on that application. In addition, the USCIS may need to contact you to provide other issued documents or return original copies of evidence you submitted. It is also mandatory for any alien who has been designated as a “special registrant” under 8 CFR § 264.1(f)(as amended by 67 Federal Register 52585 (August 12, 2002) to inform the USCIS whenever he or she has a change of address, employment or school. The special registrant rule is effective as of September 11, 2002. For information about special registrant go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
In the past, our predecessor, the INS, required every alien in the United States to report his or her address annually, in January. This requirement was eliminated in 1980 and annual reporting is no longer required. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, the law still requires that you report any change of address change within 10 days of the change.
How Do I Report My Change of Address?
If you are not a U.S. citizen, changing your address for legal purposes does not change your address on any application or petition pending with USCIS and changing your address on a pending application or petition does not meet the legal requirements of informing USCIS of your change of address. You will need to do both. For most cases, you can now do both at the same time on our website using the Electronic Change of Address tool (available under "Related Links" on this page).
With the exception noted above, all non-U.S. citizens who move within the United States and its territories must submit a Form AR-11 within 10 days after completing the change of address. You can do that here on our website with the Electronic Change of Address tool. If you choose to use this online tool, you can complete an electronic Form AR-11 and notify USCIS to update your address on most pending cases.
If you choose not to complete an electronic Form AR-11, you will be required to obtain a paper Form AR-11 and mail it to the address shown on the form. This will delay the process of notifying USCIS significantly. Not filing an electronic AR-11 and choosing to mail in a paper AR-11 will not update your address on any applications or petitions pending with USCIS.
Regardless of whether or not you are a U.S. citizen, if you choose not to use the electronic change of address notification, you will need to call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 to request that the address on your pending application/petition be changed. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will also need to complete a paper Form AR-11.
If you are not a U.S. citizen and you have a case pending with USCIS, you will need to do both – call customer service and complete the paper AR-11. Completing an AR-11 does not update your address on any pending case. Also, notifying customer service does not meet the legal requirement of completing an AR-11.
If you mail a paper Form AR-11, we recommend using certified, registered or return receipt mail. This is not currently a requirement of USCIS, however it is advisable to send the AR-11 by a method that will give you documentation that you did mail the form to USCIS, in case there should ever be a question.
Where Can I Find The Law?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is a law that governs immigration in the United States. For the part of the law concerning reporting of your address and for the penalties if you do not comply, please see INA § 265 and 266. The specific requirements for reporting your change of address are federal regulations found in 8 CFR Part 265 and at 67 Federal Register 52584, 52592 (to be codified at 8 CFR § 264.1(f)(6)(concerning designated special registrants)).
Who Must Comply?
All aliens in the United States who are required to be registered under the law (INA § 262 and 261) must keep the USCIS informed of their changes of address. The only aliens exempt from this requirement are diplomats (visa status A), official government representatives to an international organization (visa status G), and certain nonimmigrants who do not possess a visa and who are in the U.S. for fewer than 30 days (INA § 263).
What Should I Include?
For the Form AR-11: Complete the information requested on the form, including present address, last address (most recent only), alien or registration number, country of citizenship, date of birth, and your signature.
You do not need to include temporary addresses as long as you maintain your present address as your permanent residence and continue to receive mail there.
When sending us a change of address, you do not need to include numerous last addresses; only the most recent last address is needed.
Be sure to also indicate in the appropriate block on the AR-11 your current employment and school, where applicable.
The address reporting requirement should not be confused with renewal or replacement of lawful permanent resident cards (Form I-551) or replacement of other evidence of alien registration, such as the Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record; I-186, Nonresident Mexican Border Crossing Card; I-688, Temporary Resident Card; or, I-766, Employment Authorization Document.
Penalties for Failure to Comply
A willful failure to give written notice to the USCIS of a change of address within 10 days of the change is a misdemeanor crime. If convicted, the alien (or parent or legal guardian of an alien under age 14 who is required to give notice) can be fined up to $200 or imprisoned up to 30 days, or both. The alien may also be subject to removal from the United States. (INA § 266(b)). Compliance with the requirement to notify the USCIS of any address changes is also a condition of an alien’s stay in the United States. Failure to comply could also jeopardize the alien’s ability to obtain a future visa or other immigration benefit.
This page can be found at How Do I Report a Change of Address to the USCIS?