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H1B Address Change: What to Do & How to Do It
Image of Form AR-11 Alien`s Change of Address Card with a pen and calculator on top of the writing pad.

This blog explains the following topics:

  • Why & how you should notify the USCIS of the change of address.
  • Options to notify the USCIS of change in address
  • Implications of not notifying the USCIS of change of address.

Relocation Plans: Why & How to notify the USCIS

One of the basic USCIS rules for H1B holders is to notify the agency of any change in residential address if they plan to relocate. Many non-immigrant workers on an H1-B visa want to know why. You will find all the answers to your questions regarding relocation and notification of change of address in this article.

So, let's deal with the first question: Why should H1B holders notify the USCIS of any address change?

Here are some of the reasons:

  • To alert the authorities of your relocation plans.
  • To provide the USCIS with a correct forwarding address to send any correspondence regarding your immigration case. ( Postal mail is an important line of communication between the USCIS and non-immigrants.)
  • Changing the residential address with the US Postal Service (USPS) does not equate to notifying the USCIS. ( Both USPS and the USCIS should be notified separately.)
  • To be compliant with Section 265 of the INA Act. (The Act requires all US non-citizens to legally inform the USCIS of any change in residential address within 10 days of moving.)

Please note that failure to notify the USCIS is punishable by penalty, imprisonment, or withdrawal of status. Notifying the USCIS of the change in your address allows quick dispensation of your visa-related information and disbursement of benefits.

Occasionally, immigration officers conduct site visits for religious workers. In the event of a USCIS officer visiting the wrong address and failing to verify the religious worker's employment, the USCIS may revoke the petition's approval or deny the pending petition.

List of people who must notify the USCIS of any change in address:

  1. US Citizens who have submitted an affidavit of support for another person must submit Form I-865 - Sponsor's Notice of Change of Address - within thirty days of moving.
  2. All permanent residents and Green Card holders.
  3. All Non-US citizens present in the US for more than 29 days on temporary visas such as F1, H1B, and L1 or other visas. (It is not applicable for Exempt type visas.)

Now that you know the importance of notifying the USCIS of a change in address let's check out the options for the same.

Options for Notifying the USCIS Regarding H1B Home Address Change

Option 1: Via Mail Using AR-11

If you choose to inform the USCIS of your relocation plans via mail, you must:

  • Download Form AR-11 from the USCIS website.
  • Include the following information on the Form:
  1. New address
  2. Recent previous address
  3. Alien "A" number or registration number
  4. School name or organization's name if you are employed
  5. Country of citizenship
  6. Date of birth
  7. Date of entry into the US
  8. Port of Entry
  9. Signature
  • Ensure the Form is duly signed. (If not, the USCIS will reject it.)
  • Mail the completed Form to the following address;

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn: Change of Address
1344 Pleasants Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Also Read: Insightful Details About Country of Residence

Abuse Waivers

Form I-751 or Abuse Waiver is filed by victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other such crimes. If you have filed an Abuse Waiver or have one pending or approved Form for a specific application process, you must mail your Form I-751 to this address:

U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn: Humanitarian Division
Vermont Service Center
38 River Road
Essex Junction, VT 05479-0001

Please try to send your AR-11 with a return receipt. It will prove that you mailed your AR-11 if there is any doubt about it or if your Form does not reach the USCIS.

Option 2: Online using the Change of Address page

Using the Change of Address page to notify the USCIS is one of the most hassle-free ways to get things done. You must:

  • Navigate to the Change of Address form on the USCIS website.
  • Fill out the details and Case Information or USCIS Receipt Number as given instructions.
  • Complete the Form and save the PDF copy for the records.

When you file Form AR-11 online, it will automatically update your address on all your visa applications and pending requests included on the Form.

Option 3: Calling the National Customer Service Center

You can call (800) 375-5283 to notify the concerned authorities of your change of address, pending approvals, and recently approved petitions. In Form AR-11, you should refer to your pending visa application if you change your address while your application is pending with a USCIS Service Center.

Changing Address for H1B Dependents

Non-immigrant dependents must fill a separate AR-11 to notify the USCIS of a change of address. For example, if you are a family of five members, each member should submit a separate Form AR-11. You should not list all the five members in one AR-11.

What Are the Implications if You Do Not Fill Out Form AR-11?

The USCIS takes strict action against non-immigrants failing to file for a Change of Address. As per its rules, the agency has the power to fine the H1B holder a penalty fee of $200 or imprison them for not more than thirty days. Sometimes, both punishments are applicable.

The worst-case scenario is that the H1B holder can lose their H1B status and be deported. To avoid deportation, the H1B holder must prove that the:

  • Failure to report the Change of Address was reasonably excusable
  • Failure to report was not wilful.

To Conclude

Most USCIS rules are hard and fast. One such rule is notifying the agency of the Change of Address. There are no two ways about it. Therefore, if you have not submitted your relocation details in the past, NOW is the time to do it. And never fail to do it in the future.

Want to know more about H1B processes? Check our TechFetch H1B website for in-depth insights about US non-immigrant visas.

**Disclaimer : All H1B processes and policies are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for more details.**

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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