In my Consulta Migratoria® column this week I explain why it is necessary to notify USCIS and other government agencies of a change of address and how you can do it.
This is the column:
The law requires most non-U.S. citizens to notify the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of address changes within 10 days of moving. It is the sole responsibility of the person applying for immigration benefits for themselves or their family to ensure that USCIS has their updated address. Failure to provide written notice of a change of address is a misdemeanor and may affect your ability to acquire immigration benefits in the future.
USCIS processes hundreds of thousands of applications each year and often require additional evidence, which is requested by mail. USCIS may reject a case as abandoned if the applicant for immigration benefits fails to respond promptly to a request for evidence.
Non-citizen immigrants must fill out Form AR-11. You can mail it or fill it out online by going to USCIS Government Display COAForm. It is recommended to keep copies of all correspondence sent to the USCIS, and to use certified or registered mail to guarantee delivery and to have proof that the documentation was sent.
It is not mandatory for a U.S. citizen to provide a change of address, but it is recommended that they do so if they have a pending case with USCIS, such as a family petition or have provided a letter of support.
Each government agency has its own procedures for address changes. Although not mandatory, the U.S. Department of State recommends immediate change to avoid delays in consular processing requests. Changes can be reported through the National Visa Center by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 603-334-0700.
If your case is being processed at a U.S. consulate, contact the appropriate consulate to change your address. Visit https://www.usembassy.gov to find the consulate contact information.
If you have a case before the Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals, address changes must be reported within five days of a move. Use Form EOIR-33/IC for court cases and Form EOIR-33/BIA for cases before the Board of Appeals. If you have a court case, send a copy of the form to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorney because it is required by law. You can find the forms at https://www.justice.gov/eoir/formslist.htm.