The simplest form for any immigration or citizenship process is the AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card, but it is also the most important. With a variety of ways to fill out the AR-11 and distinct specifications for different categories of people, it is essential to fill this form out correctly to avoid any serious issues with USCIS or the Department of State.
This guide will help you know when, how, why, and where to fill out the AR-11.
What is the AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card
Whenever you move from one address to another, you need to fill out and submit the AR-11 form within 10 days of moving. This form not only alerts the authorities of your move but also lets them know where to send any correspondence regarding your immigration cases.
It is a common misconception that notifying the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) of your change of address is sufficient notice to the government. However, the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, and the Executive Office of Immigration Review does not receive any information from USPS about a change of address.
What Happens If You Don’t Fill Out an AR-11
Nearly every non-citizen must fill out an AR-11 when they move. The AR-11 is required by law, specifically 8 U.S.C. § 1305. Yes, the law says you need to alert the attorney general, but the government soon realized that flooding the attorney general’s mailbox with the change of address letters might not be a good idea, so they created the AR-11.
Failure to fill out and submit the form can lead to severe consequences, including the following:
- $200 fine
- Up to 30 days in jail
If authorities do try to cite you for failing to submit an AR-11, you can be excused if you prove that your error wasn’t willful and is reasonably excusable.
While the consequences may seem steep, it is uncommon for authorities to go after you for only forgetting to submit an AR-11 due to their lack of resources and priorities. Also, if you miss the 10-day deadline, you should still submit the form.
How to Submit the AR-11
You can alert the government of your change of address in two ways: through your USCIS online account or filing the AR-11 online.
Filling Out AR-11 When You Don’t Have an Immigration-Related Application or Petition
If you don’t have an immigration-related application or petition, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- First and last name
- Alien registration number if you have one
- Current country of citizenship
- Whether you are a permanent resident, visitor, student, or other
- Your old address
- Your new address
- Your mailing address if it’s different from your new address
- Your email address
- Information about who filled out the form if it wasn’t the applicant or petitioner
Filling Out AR-11 If You Filed an Immigration-Related Application or Petition and Have Not Yet Received a Decision Notice, Card, or Document
If you do have an open application or petition, you’ll need to provide everything in the section above and the following information:
- Any form numbers related to your application or petition
- The form subtype for each form
- The receipt number for each form
- The zip code used when you filed
Who Has to Mail the Form
Although there is an online AR-11, there still exists a physical form. However, only people under specific categories need to fill out and mail the physical form.
If you have to fill out the physical form, you should use certified, registered, or return receipt mail.
If you filed an I-751 Abuse Waiver, you need to mail the AR-11. The three letters at the beginning of your I-751 receipt number dictates where you’ll send the form.
- EAC should mail to
USCIS Vermont Service Center
Attn: Humanitarian Division
75 Lower Welden St.
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001
- LIN should mail to
USCIS Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87918
Lincoln, NE 68501-7918
- MSC should mail to
National Benefits Center
P.O. Box 648006
Lee’s Summit, MO 64002
- SRC should mail to
USCIS Texas Service Center
6046 N Belt Line Rd.
Irving, TX 75038-0001
- WAC should mail to
USCIS California Service Center
Attn: Customer Service Section/SA
P.O. Box 10751
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1075
- YSC should mail to
Potomac Service Center
2200 Potomac Center Drive, MS 2425
Arlington, VA 20598-2425
Domestic Violence Victims, Trafficking, and Other Crimes
If you filed under any of the following categories, you need to mail the form to
U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn: Humanitarian Division
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden St.
St. Albans, VT 05479
- Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (as a VAWA self-petitioner);
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (as an abused spouse under the Cuban Adjustment Act; as an abused spouse, parent, or child under VAWA; or as a T or U nonimmigrant);
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, filed by VAWA self-petitioners and T/U nonimmigrants;
- Form I-765V, Application for Employment Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouse;
- Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status;
- Form I-914, Supplement A, Application for Family Member of T-1 Recipient;
- Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status;
- Form I-918, Supplement A, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Recipient; or
- Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Nonimmigrant
Categories that Need to Notify Change of Address Through Other Means
The AR-11 is the way most need to notify USCIS of a change of address. However, others need to communicate change of address through other forms or other means.
If you submitted an affidavit of support for someone and you’re a U.S. citizen, you need to fill and submit form I-865, Sponsors Notice of Change of Address. Submit this form within 30 days of your move.
You need to provide the following information when filling your form I-865:
- Your full name
- New physical address
- New mailing address
- Full name of the immigrants you’re sponsoring
- Alien registration number of the immigrants you’re sponsoring
Civil surgeons should send an email to the email address where they received their approval to see change-of-address notification instructions.
Attorneys and Registered Representatives
Any accredited attorney or legal representative needs to alert USCIS of an address change. They can either fill out form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, or mail a letter on office stationery to USCIS.
If they go the route of G-28, they need to do it for each one of their pending cases. If they go the way of mailing a letter on official stationery, it needs to state “Attorney Change of Address” on it along with a spreadsheet of every pending case, form type, alien registration number, receipt number, and applicant’s full name.
Although most attorneys and registered representatives are aware of this requirement, it does not hurt to confirm with them that they alerted USCIS if they moved.
How to Avoid Notifying USCIS of Change of Address
There is only one way to avoid having to notify USCIS of every move: become a U.S. citizen. If you suffice all the requirements, it might be time to think about becoming a citizen.