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

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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 USCIS every time you move to a new address. Almost all aliens (non-U.S. citizens) who are in the U.S. are required to give USCIS their new address within 10 days of moving. This law is at Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) Section 265(a).

Aliens 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.

Address updates can be submitted by completing Form AR-11 (available at www.uscis.gov/ar-11) and mailing it to the address listed on the form. Or you can submit your change of address electronically athttps://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=coa. And if 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. (I.N.A. Section 266).

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”. (I.N.A. Section 237.)

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."

 

 

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