Q. I submitted an application to USCIS almost a year ago, and I am about to move to a new address. How can I let the agency know? Is setting up mail forwarding with USPS enough?
A. Until you become a US citizen, whenever you move, you have an obligation to notify USCIS within ten days of your move that you have a new address. You cannot expect that filing a change of address notice with USPS will ensure that USCIS correspondence will arrive at your new place of residence because security concerns will prevent USPS from forwarding most government correspondence. Failure to respond to USCIS deadlines, failure to attend interviews or appointments, or mail returned to USCIS as undeliverable can all lead to a USCIS determination that you abandoned your application, resulting in a denial.
USCIS offers three ways to change an address: mail a paper form to the agency, submit the form on USCIS’ website, or update your USCIS online account. This third option only exists for individuals who submitted their application online. If you did not, then you will want to visit uscis.gov/ar-11. Since you have a pending application, you must inform USCIS directly of the address change so that the officer(s) processing the case can mail future notices to the correct address.
On the USCIS webpage, you will see the option to file online and the option to mail the paper form. Should you choose to mail the physical form to USCIS, you’ll need to print out Form AR-11, complete it, and mail it to the provided address. If you are a victim of domestic violence, trafficking, or other crime, or if you previously filed a Form I-751 abuse waiver, you are required to mail the form to protect your privacy, and you will need to look up the specific address for where to mail your AR-11.
If you are able to and choose to file online, and you currently have a pending application, then you will need to input additional details, e.g., the case’s receipt number, the applicant’s or petitioner’s biographic information, etc. If you do not have a pending case, then you will only input information about yourself and your addresses. You do not need to pay any filing fee when submitting the change of address form to USCIS.
We strongly suggest that you make an effort to keep proof of your address change. If you file by mail, then you should keep a copy of the AR-11 and pay extra to ensure you can track the envelope you send to USCIS to prove that it was indeed delivered. If you file online, then you will receive an email from USCIS with the confirmation number and details about your form submission. You should print out that page or save it somewhere on your computer or phone where you will be able to access it in the future.
If your pending case requires a financial sponsor to submit an affidavit of support (Form I-864) or you have submitted an affidavit of support for a friend’s or family member’s application, then the sponsor is obligated to notify USCIS when the sponsor moves. In this circumstance, however, a different form must be sent: Form I-865. No fee is required.
Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform the general public, not to advise in individual cases. All law, including immigration law, is always subject to change. If you seek legal advice you can contact Rian’s immigration legal staff at 617-984-6542.