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Posted on:12/17/2005
Written By: Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law, Dallas
Change of Address Requirement by Aliens


Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law, Dallas


All non-U.S. citizens (aliens) who are required to be registered are also required to keep the USCIS informed of their current address. This is particularly important when you have filed an application or petition for a benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act and expect notification of a decision on that application. In addition, the USCIS may need to contact you to provide other issued documents or return original copies of evidence you submitted. It is also mandatory for any alien who has been designated as a “special registrant” under 8 CFR § 264.1(f)(as amended by 67 Federal Register 52585 (August 12, 2002) to inform the USCIS whenever he or she has a change of address, employment or school. The special registrant rule is effective as of September 11, 2002. In the past, the INS, required every alien in the United States to report his or her address annually, in January. This requirement was eliminated in 1980 and annual reporting is no longer required. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, the law still requires that you report any change of address change within 10 days of the change.

Where Can I Find The Law?

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is a law that governs immigration in the United States. For the part of the law concerning reporting of your address and for the penalties if you do not comply, please see INA § 265 and 266. The specific requirements for reporting your change of address are federal regulations found in 8 CFR Part 265 and at 67 Federal Register 52584, 52592 (to be codified at 8 CFR § 264.1(f)(6)(concerning designated special registrants)).

Who Must Comply?

All aliens in the United States who are required to be registered under the law (INA § 262 and 261) must keep the USCIS informed of their changes of address. The only aliens exempt from this requirement are diplomats (visa status A), official government representatives to an international organization (visa status G), and certain non immigrants who do not possess a visa and who are in the U.S. for fewer than 30 days (INA § 263).

How Do you Report?

All aliens changing their address must file Form AR-11 with the USCIS address listed on the form. That address is:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Change of Address
P.O. Box 7134
London, KY 40742-7134

For commercial overnight or fast freight services, only:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Change of Address
1084-I South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744

USCIS has created an additional procedure and recommends additional notifications for those aliens who are also applicants for benefits. Applicants and Petitioners with pending cases should telephone customer service at 1-800-375-5283 to report their change of address and get the address on the pending application/petition changed. If you are not a U.S. Citizen you will also be required to complete a Form AR-11. If you are not a U.S. citizen and you have a case pending with USCIS you need to do both - call customer service and complete the Form AR-11. The AR-11 is used by non-U.S. citizens to meet the legal requirements of informing USCIS of any change of address. Presently, completing an AR-11 does not update your address on any pending case. Also, while calling customer service updates the address on your pending case, it does not meet the legal requirement of completing an AR-11. You may choose the method of mailing your Form AR-11. Using certified, registered or receipt mail is not currently a USCIS requirement. However, it is advisable to send the AR-11 with a Return Receipt or some other method that will give you documentation that you did indeed mail the form to the USCIS, in case there should ever be a question.

What should be Included?

For the Form AR-11: Complete the information requested on the form, including present address, last address (most recent only), alien or registration number, country of citizenship, date of birth, and your signature. You do not need to include temporary addresses as long as you maintain your present address as your permanent residence and continue to receive mail there. When sending us a change of address, you do not need to include numerous last addresses; only the most recent last address is needed. Be sure to also indicate in the appropriate block on the AR-11 your current employment and school, where applicable.

Additional Information

The address reporting requirement should not be confused with renewal or replacement of lawful permanent resident cards (Form I-551) or replacement of other evidence of alien registration, such as the Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record; I-186, Nonresident Mexican Border Crossing Card; I-688, Temporary Resident Card; or, I-766, Employment Authorization Document.

Penalties for Failure to Comply

A willful failure to give written notice to the USCIS of a change of address within 10 days of the change is a misdemeanor crime. If convicted, the alien (or parent or legal guardian of an alien under age 14 who is 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)). Compliance with the requirement to notify the USCIS of any address changes is also a condition of an alien’s stay in the United States. Failure to comply could also jeopardize the alien’s ability to obtain a future visa or other immigration benefit.

Disclaimer:      Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law does not claim authorship for above referenced information. Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law or the publisher is not responsible or liable for anything stated above, since it is generalized information about the subject matter collected from various sources including Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, State Department, Federal Register, and American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) Advocacy Center, and other legal sources.  For individual cases and specific questions you are advised to consult an attorney of your choice or contact the agencies mentioned above.  You can reach Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law at (972) 788-0777 or (972) 788-1555 or Fax (972) 556-1109 or at e-mail:, for a free consultation on this subject matter. You can visit our website at: for more information about other related immigration matters.

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