One of the usual requirements for filing an application for U.S. citizenship (“naturalization”) is that you must live in your state or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service district for three months before applying. This makes it easier for USCIS to balance its workload across its many offices nationwide, and prevents you from applying for citizenship if you’re living overseas.
The rule requires only that you live somewhere for three months before filing your application. You can move to a new state or USCIS service district after you file your application and USCIS will continue to process it. The question is, where will your interview and oath ceremony be held—near your old address or your new one?
The first thing to know is that, as a permanent resident, you are required to send notification of your change your address to USCIS within ten days of moving, whether you’ve applied for citizenship or not.
It’s especially important to change your address with USCIS if you have an application pending. You can change your address online, or call USCIS customer service at 800-375-5283. Make sure you have the receipt number from your citizenship application ready.
U.S. immigration law says that USCIS doesn’t have to schedule your interview in your new state or service district, but what actually happens is that the USCIS office in your old state or service district sees your change of address in its computer system and transfers your file to the office nearest where you’re actually living. That office will mail a notice of interview to you at your new address, scheduling the interview to take place near where you live.
If you moved without ever changing your address online or by phone, or if you know you’re going to move soon, you can request that your interview take place near your new address. You need to send a request letter to the USCIS office nearest your new address letting it know about your new address.
If you move after your citizenship interview has already been scheduled, you first need to notify USCIS of your change of address. When the USCIS office near your old address sees your change of address in the system, it will cancel your interview and send your file to the USCIS office closest to your new address. That office will schedule you for an interview near your new address.
If for some reason USCIS never noticed your change of address and never cancelled your interview, you can show up for the interview near your old address. USCIS will usually just go ahead with the interview. Once the interview is complete, USCIS will transfer your file to its office nearest your new address. If your citizenship is approved, your oath ceremony will take place near your new address.
It’s a little bit risky to show up for an interview near your old address, because the USCIS officer might not agree to interview you. It’s better to change your address first and wait for a new interview.
If you move after your citizenship interview has been completed but before your oath ceremony, you first need to notify USCIS of your change of address. USCIS will cancel your oath ceremony, transfer your file to the office nearest your new address, and schedule you for an oath ceremony near your new address.