What Should I Do If My Address Changes While My Asylum Application Is Being Processed?

Question:

Notifying USCIS of an asylum applicant change of address.

I submitted an application for asylum to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but recently moved because I couldn’t afford to live in the city anymore. How can I change my address? Is there anything else I need to do?

Answer:

The first thing you should do is go online to the USCIS website and download two copies of the Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card. Fill it out completely. In the opening section, where it says "I am in the United States as a:," check the "Other" box, and state "Asylum applicant."

Make a copy of your filled out form for your files, then mail one copy to:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Citizenship and Immigration Services
ATTN: Change of Address
1344 Pleasants Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

The second copy, you will need to mail or deliver directly to the office that will be conducting your asylum interview. In most cases that will be a local USCIS asylum office; or, asylum interviews in your area might be held at a USCIS field office. Check any correspondence you have received from USCIS to see whether that office is named. Online, you can find a list of asylum offices and a list of field offices. If in doubt, call the USCIS Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. (It's a good idea to tell the Customer Service Office about the change of address, as well.) 

If you are moving far away and you have already received a date and location for your asylum interview, you must also ask to reschedule your interview at an asylum office that is closer to you. You can do this by including a separate letter in your submission to the asylum office or field office where your interview is scheduled, explaining that your address has changed and requesting an interview date at a USCIS asylum office or field office that is more convenient.

While a change of address can sound like a small matter, it's important to make sure that USCIS is successfully notified in every way possible. Government bureaucratic delays can result in the wrong office sending you an interview notice, which would mean you miss your asylum interview, which could land you in deportation (removal) proceedings. If possible, check in regularly at your old address to see whether any USCIS correspondence has arrived.

And if you find yourself in any difficulty, consider hiring an immigration attorney. Many nonprofits offer low-cost or free assistance to asylum applicants. 

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