What if I forgot to tell USCIS of my change of address?

Question:

I have a green card and I moved to a new address six months ago. In a few months, I may have to move again because of a new job assignment. Do I really have to tell USCIS every time I move to a new address?

Answer:

Yes, you are supposed to tell U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) every time you move to a new address. Almost all non-U.S. citizens who are in the U.S. are required to give USCIS their new address within 10 days of moving.

People who do not have to give USCIS their address after moving include: diplomats (A visa), foreign government representatives to international organizations (G visa), and some nonimmigrants without visas who are in the U.S. for less than 30 days.

You can submit your change of address online, or call USCIS's customer service number, 800-375-5283, to change your address. You can also complete Form AR-11 (available at www.uscis.gov/ar-11) and mail it to the address listed on the form. If you're changing your address through the mail and you have submitted any applications to USCIS that are still being processed, it is a good idea to send a letter to the office that is processing your application to let them know that you have a new address.

But what if you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who has never given USCIS a new address, or has already waited, perhaps a year after moving? According to the law, willfully (intentionally) failing to give USCIS your new address is a misdemeanor that can be punished by a fine of up to $200 and up to 30 days in jail. 

The law also says that an LPR can actually be removed (deported) for failing to give USCIS a new address, unless the LPR can prove: (1) that the failure to report a change of address was “reasonably excusable” or (2) that the failure was not “willful.”

However, in practice, it is unlikely that the immigration authorities would actually prosecute or deport an LPR who failed to update an address. Immigration authorities have limited resources and cannot go after every LPR who fails to update his or her address. Nevertheless, strict enforcement is always possible in theory.

Therefore, updating your address with immigration is always a good idea. And if you haven't done it when you've moved in the past, do it now and do it every time you move in the future. Or, if you meet all of the eligibility requirements, consider applying for U.S. citizenship. Once you are a U.S. citizen, you'll never have to give USCIS your address again. For more information about applying for U.S. citizenship, see Who Can Apply for U.S. Citizenship.

 

 

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you

Legal Information & Books from Nolo

NOLO-web4:DRU1.6.12.2.20161011.41205