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How to Do a USCIS Green Card Change of Address
Have you recently moved to the U.S. on an immigrant visa? Are you required to move or have you moved to another residential address recently? Do you know how to inform the USCIS about the change of your address?
You need to file a Green Card change of address to make sure you comply with immigration law. Otherwise, you could face deportation. This is what you need to know.
How to Make a Green Card Address Change with USCIS
So, how do you file a Green Card change of address? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Here are a few ways in which you can file your AR-11. Please note a simple filing per US Postal Service is not enough. Here’s the process:
- Submit your change of address online
- Call the USCIS customer service number, 1-800-375-5283
- Send a letter to a local immigration office in your area
Change of Address Warning
Just like when you change your personal details on your Green Card mortgage, you must file an AR-11 each time you change addresses. If you don’t it could lead to a $200 fine, a 30-day jail sentence, and/or even deportation back to your home country.
Deportation orders have previously been mistakenly issued to immigrants who have actually filed an AR-11. So you must make sure the USCIS knows about your address change to avoid any confusion. The safest is to get confirmation from the USCIS about their notice of your change in address.
What to Do if You Have a Pending Application
What can you do if you have a currently pending case with the USCIS but have since moved to a new address? It depends on the type of application you filed. You may find yourself in one of three potential situations:
- Your Application is Pending Online
- Your Application is Pending At a Service Center
- Your Application is Pending At a Local Office
Here are the procedures you need to follow based on the type of application you filed.
If Your Application is Pending Online
If you filed online, you need to visit the USCIS website and click on “Change of Address”. Follow the instructions to change your address and keep the confirmation number for future reference.
If Your Application is Pending At a Service Center
Phone the USCIS customer service center (1-800-375-5283) and change your address. Also, ask for the addresses on your pending application to be changed as well.
If Your Application is Pending At a Local Office
If you sent a letter to file your application, you need to send a letter to your local USCIS field office and ask them to change your address on your current pending applications as well.
5 Tips for Completing Your Green Card Change of Address
You don’t have to be in the dark about your Green Card change of address. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Use Certified or Registered Mail
- Complete the Form
- Do Not Report Temporary Changes of Address
- Complete One Form for Each Applicant
- Include Applicable Receipt Numbers
Read on to learn more about each of these tips!
1. Use Certified or Registered Mail
Use certified, registered, or receipt mail. Hard copies of your papers help to prove to any immigration officials your compliance. Create copies of the confirmations and store them for future use. Registered mail provides proof of the filing of your application.
2. Complete the Form
Complete the form correctly. Use the help of a professional (like an immigration attorney) to assist you if you are having some trouble doing it yourself. The USCIS can’t process documents that are only partially completed. Just like a permanent resident student loan application would be rejected if found incomplete.
3. Do Not Report Temporary Changes of Address
Don’t file a change of address if you only stay somewhere for a temporary period, but still have your main address as your permanent residence. You can still get all your mail delivered at your main residence even if you are living somewhere else temporarily.
4. Complete One Form for Each Applicant
Submit one form per person. You have to submit a form for each of your family members. You can, unfortunately, not use one form for your entire family. The USCIS needs an AR-11 for each of your family members living with you in the U.S.
5. Include Applicable Receipt Numbers
Include the receipt numbers of all your current pending immigration filings. This will help to update the addresses of all your current pending immigration cases.
Green Card Change of Address FAQ
To put you at ease, let’s go through a few of the most frequently asked questions. Use this advice to make sure you cover your bases.
Do I really have to file a change of address AR-11 every single time I move? Even if it’s temporary?
Yes, you must file a Green Card change of address each time you move to a new permanent residence. And you have to do it within 10 days of moving. No matter how recently you’ve filed other paperwork to the USCIS. Change your address with an AR-11 each time you move to a new permanent residence.
What happens in a worst-case scenario, even when an AR-11 is properly filed and confirmed?
The worst-case scenario is quite traumatizing and you must do your utmost best to avoid it. The USCIS can make mistakes or your Form AR-11 might not reach the USCIS offices. In such a case the USCIS won’t know about your change of address. They will send your immigration-related communications to the wrong address. They’ll become suspicious of your unwillingness to cooperate with their demands. Miss any court orders and you’ll run the risk of arrest, criminal charges, and possibly deportation. Even if you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., keep the USCIS informed about your address changes and get confirmation about them receiving notice of your new address.
What happens if I forget to file a change of address with USCIS?
Don’t panic and stay calm. Stressing about it won’t help. Rather channel your urgency to take action and rectify the situation as soon as possible. Follow the procedures provided above to file your AR-11 Green Card change of address as soon as possible.
You might have forgotten to file your Green Card change of address and it does hold some pretty nasty consequences. But the likelihood of the USCIS tracking you down from removal procedures is quite slim. Unless you are guilty of serious negligence, in which case we’d recommend you get legal counsel as soon as possible to aid you in your immigration attempts and possible court orders.
Be as compliant and respectful as possible toward the USCIS, because incidents like these affect their decision when you might apply for naturalization someday (to become a citizen). Any court orders against your name may very well affect your chances for relocation loan applications as well.
What can I do to avoid any problems? Tips for filing your AR-11
Here are a few extra tips to help you with the filing of your Form AR-11:
- Only file your last (current) address in your AR-11. Don’t cause any confusion by including trivial information like previous addresses.
- Keep a form of communication and proof of that communication. Ask the USCIS if they have received your AR-11 and if it is to their satisfaction. Keep your end of the bargain to avoid unpleasant legal issues in the future.
- Stay in your current residence when you have pending applications. Try not to move during this time. Moving too often might cause communication issues which could lead to bigger problems when you don’t respond to the demands of the USCIS. Remember, they have the power to deport you from the U.S., so work with them to ensure your best possible future.
- Get postal forwarding from your old addresses. Mistakes still happen. Even if you have filed an AR-11, still check-in at your old addresses (or get postal forwarding) to prevent any miscommunication errors.
- Ask the expert advice of an immigration attorney. It might cost a bit of money, but the legal cost compared to the alternative of deportation is cheap. Immigration lawyers can help you to keep your immigration matters up to date and intact, helping you to create your best possible life in the U.S.
- Can I Stay More Than 6 Months Outside the U.S. with a Green Card?
- Green Card Process Steps: EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visa
- SSN Update After Green Card
- How Long Does it Take for USCIS to Make a Decision After an Interview?
- Can You Be Deported if You are Married to an American Citizen?
- Which Countries Can You Visit With a Green Card?