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Provide the change of address to the USCIS to avoid missing your notifications

22nd November 2011
By Jessica Potter in Immigration Law
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Providing the correct address to the USCIS is very important as almost all the notifications from the USCIS are mailed to the applicants. It is the responsibility of the applicants to inform the USCIS regarding their change of address as soon as they have shifted from the address provided to the USCIS. The USCIS has indicated that majority of the non-U.S. citizens should report a change of address within 10 days of shifting within the US or its territories. The following category of applicants is exempted from this requirement.

• Diplomats who are on a A visa
• Government officials who are acting as representatives to an international organization by holding a G visa
• Certain non -immigrants who are in the US for a short period of less than 30 days and who do not do not possess a visa

How to intimate the change of address?

If the applicant is a non- US citizen and does not belong to any of the above category of people, then they need to file in Form AR-11. If the applicant has no pending cases against him/her then the form can be filed in either online or by mail. In case the applicant has pending cases or recently approved applications, then they need to file in the Form AR-11(either by online or mail) first followed by changing the address on the pending or approved applications (either by online or through phone)

Online process of filing in the change of address

The most basic requirements for this are a personal computer and a compatible browser with a secure internet connection. An applicant has to log in to the USCIS website and click on the link on the bottommost link on the right hand side of the homepage. It will take the applicant to the next step and prompt them in completing the Form AR-11. After this step, the system will instruct the applicant to update the address on any pending or approved applications. In case the applicants fail to complete the second step, they can do it later by calling 1-800-375-5283 or accessing the online system again.

Non –US citizens who come under Special Registration need to file Form AR-11SR. This cannot be filed online and should be sent in through mail only. International students on a F visa, Vocational students on a M visa, Exchange visitors on a J visa are not required to submit this form but should notify their Designated School Official regarding the change of address.

Sending Form AR-11 by mail

The USCIS advises the applicants to send the Form AR-122 either through certified, registered or return receipt mail in order to avoid any problems. Even though the form has been mailed, the applicants are required to call 1-800-375-5283 and update their address on pending or approved applications.

Completing Form AR-11

The Form requires the applicant to fill in details about his/her present address, last address, alien registration number, DOB, country of citizenship and signature. As long as the applicant maintains his/her current address as the permanent residence, there is no need to fill in details about temporary address. Only the most recent address should be filled in and not the list of all the previously resided addresses. The applicant should also indicate his/her current employment or school whichever is applicable.

Should US Citizens file in Form AR-11?

US citizens need not file Form AR-11 and can make any change of address on their pending applications through the online system or by calling the number. However when they have submitted a Form I-864 on behalf of someone who has immigrated to the US, then they need to complete Form I-865 and submit it within thirty days of moving to the new residence.

Why should applicants inform the USCIS regarding their Change of address?

When an applicant has filed in a petition with the USCIS and is expecting a decision on that, an address where the applicant is currently staying should be the one that is provided to the USCIS. Otherwise, the notifications may go amiss leaving the applicant in a state of anxiety and worry. Also, the USCIS may demand additional documents in order to process the submitted application. For this purpose, any change of address should definitely be brought to the notice of the USCIS.

What if applicants fail to update their change of address?

Failing to notify the USCIS about the change of address within 10 days of moving will be regarded as misdemeanor crime. If convicted, then the applicant can be issued a fine up to $200 or sent to prison for a maximum of 30 days or both. It will also lead the removal of the alien from the US and jeopardize his/her chances of obtaining a visa in the future.

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