Non-US Citizen and Moving? Don’t Forget to File AR-11 Notification with USCIS

Most non-U.S. citizens are required to report a change of their residential address within 10 days of moving within the U.S. or its territories.  This requirement becomes even more important when there is an application pending with USCIS.  The change of address notification is done by filing Form AR-11 electronically with USCIS.

Who Must File and Who Does Not Have to File AR-11?

The rule (8 CFR 265.1) is that all non-U.S. citizens in the United States are required to inform USCIS of their new address within 10 days of moving.  There are exceptions:  diplomats (visa status A); official government representatives to an international organization (visa status G); and certain nonimmigrants who do not possess a visa and who are in the U.S. for fewer than 30 days are not required to file AR-11.

U.S. citizens normally not required to file a Form AR-11 with two important exceptions.  U.S. citizen petitioners who are petitioners in an application (for example, I-130 filing) should inform USCIS and update their address on pending application so that they receive correspondence relating to the case.  Also, U.S. Citizens who have previously submitted a Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) on behalf of someone who has become a permanent resident are legally required to notify USCIS of a change of address – in this case, a different form, Form I-865 must be submitted within thirty days of moving to inform USCIS of changed address.

Importance of Filing AR-11

It is important to follow and remember about this requirement for a number of reasons.

Perhaps most importantly, this is the law and there are penalties for non-compliance.  A willful failure to give written notice to the USCIS of a change of address within 10 days of moving to the new address is a misdemeanor crime.  If convicted, the alien (or parent or legal guardian of an alien under age 14 who has required to give notice) can be fined up to $200 or imprisoned up to 30 days, or both.  The alien may also be subject to removal from the United States. (INA 266(b)).  Failure to comply could also jeopardize one’s ability to obtain a future visa or other immigration benefits.

Additionally, USCIS uses their most current address information to mail case-related information.  This is true even if a case has been approved and closed for months or years.

Conclusion: Electronic Filing Options Make it Easy to File AR-11

Compliance should not be burdensome.  USCIS allows electronic submission of Form AR-11 and compliance in most cases takes 5 to 10 minutes.  There are no government filing fees associated with this filing. The form provides electronic confirmation and we urge everyone who files AR-11 to make and keep a record of the confirmed address change.