Most foreign nationals in the United States must report a change in address to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The legal timeframe for this notice is only ten days. The process is simple and free and helps to facilitate the proper delivery of official notices and correspondence.
Change In Address Requirements
Immigration laws require most foreign nationals in the U.S. to submit a notification of address changes to the USCIS within ten days of relocation. There are exemptions for diplomats (A visa status), official government representatives to an international organization (G visa status), and certain nonimmigrants who don’t have a visa and are in the United States for less than 30 days. All other foreign nationals, including permanent residents (for example green cardholders). Are required by law to notify the USCIS following a change in residence, typically accomplished by completing form AR-11.
Separate Form for Each Family Member
Within ten days of moving to a new address, each foreign national typically should finish a hard copy AR-11 form. Or its online equivalent (although, the online option is not available to one who has a pending VAWA, T, or U case). Each form only applies to a single individual; so, for instance, if an H1B worker and H-4 spouse move to a new address, a different form should be finished for every individual. The form is relatively simple to complete and does not need a filing fee.
Special Reporting Requirements for F Students, M Students, and J Exchange Visitors
Rather than finishing form AR-11, those in F, M, or J status generally are instead required to report an address change within ten days to the designated school official (DSO) or responsible officer (RO) at the school or exchange visitor program. The DSO or RO then is required to update the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 21 days.
Normally, reporting the address change to the DSO or RO satisfies the general reporting requirements. If, however, the foreign national in F, M, or J status has a pending application or petition for an unrelated immigration benefit (e.g., pending H1B petition). The individual also needs to complete the form AR-11.
Additional Action may be Required for Pending or Recently Approved Applications / Petitions
If the address change is submitted using the online system, or through the DSO or RO, no further action is necessary. However, if the foreign national submits a hard copy of the AR-11, and has any pending or recently approved applications or petitions. The individual also should give a second notification to the USICS of the address change to link the new address to these cases. For most case types, this notice should be possible by telephone at 1.800.375.5283; for VAWA, T, or U cases, however, the notification should be submitted in writing to the Vermont Service Center.
The purpose of this second step is to guarantee the proper delivery of correspondence. As with the AR-11, a separate update should be submitted by each family member, if applicable. Further, if the foreign national has more than one application or petition pending. S/he must specify each pending case when notifying the USCIS of the address change.
Update with Recent Corrected Address Change
An address update requires one’s current address and most recent previous address. The system doesn’t allow for the submission of various past addresses. If the foreign national failed to submit an AR-11 after a past address change. One can’t submit an AR-11 form to give this outdated data to the USCIS.
Address change notification is a simple process, yet one that can be easily overlooked. Foreign nationals should be aware of this requirement and promptly submit the necessary data following a move.