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What Every Foreign National In The U.S. Should Know About Reporting A Change Of Address

What the Law Says.

Federal law requires all foreign nationals (including both persons in temporary visa status and lawful permanent residents) to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in writing within 10 days of the date of a (residential) address change.  [8 United States Code §1305]. 

Failure to comply with this requirement is a misdemeanor and can subject the foreign national to a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of up to 30 days.  In addition, the Department of Homeland Security may initiate removal (deportation) proceedings.  This change of address notification obligation, together with the possible penalties, remains in effect until the foreign national finally departs the United States or becomes a U.S. citizen.

U.S. law also allows foreign nationals to prove to USCIS that failure to report a change of address was reasonably excusable or was not willful.  This allows USCIS discretion not to impose the harsh consequences mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Form AR-11 Change of Address Notification

If you move to a new address, you and each family member (who is not a U.S. citizen) should complete an “AR-11” form, sign and date it, and send it to USCIS within 10 days of an address change.  We strongly recommend that you maintain a copy of the signed and dated AR-11 form, together with proof of mailing/transmittal to USCIS, for your records.

A conservative approach would be to mail the AR-11 to USCIS via U.S. certified mail, return receipt requested and to keep the proof of mailing and proof of delivery receipts with your copy of the form.  You may find the AR-11 form under “Immigration Forms” at USCIS’ website:

Electronic Change of Address Notification

USCIS operates a web-based service allowing foreign nationals (except those persons subject to “special registration”) to submit address change information online.  (Special registrants must continue to file address changes via hard copy Form AR-11SR.)  The electronic Change of Address online tool is available on the USCIS website at:

Telephone Notification to NCSC

If you are in the final stage of the permanent residence process in the United States (known as “adjustment of status”), you should telephone the USCIS’ National Customer Service Center (NCSC), in addition to submitting an AR-11 change of address form by mail or electronically online.  The NCSC’s toll-free number is (800) 375-5283. 

You will need the “Receipt Number” from your I-485 adjustment of status Receipt Notice (the receipt number will begin with one of the following 3-character codes: VSC, LIN, SRC, WAC, or MSC).  You will also need your “A” number – a number that begins with the letter “A” followed by 9 digits.

Calling the NCSC, in addition to sending either an electronic or a hard copy AR-11 notice to USCIS, will help ensure that the USCIS office where your I-485 adjustment of status application is pending will be notified of your address change. 

A Final Note

For those persons who have changed addresses and have not filed the required written notification with USCIS within the prescribed 10 day period, we recommend filing the notification as soon as possible thereafter.  Late compliance is better than no compliance.


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