Threatened Enforcement of Address Change Notice Requirements

Many of you are already aware that the Citizenship and Immigration Services (‘CIS’) has recently issued warnings that it will now ‘promote compliance’ with little-known and never-to-my-knowledge-enforced address change requirements. For over 50 years Section 265(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (‘INA’) has required every alien (non-US citizen) to notify the CIS of each change of address within 10 days of each change. Failure to give written notice of each address change is a criminal offense under Section 265(b) of the INA, and it is also a ground of removal under Section 237(a)(3)(A) of the INA (unless the failure was reasonably excusable or not willful). The CIS justifies its recent intent to enforce these provisions as (1) preventing removable aliens from avoiding removal (They really expect removable aliens who want to avoid removal to inform them of address changes?) and (2) securing our borders. The CIS also wants immigration judges to be able to obtain valid orders of removal where notices of immigration proceedings are returned as ‘Undeliverable’ by the postal service.

Non-citizens are required to complete CIS Form AR-11 Change of Address to report address changes within 10 days. Go to www.uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/ar-11.htm to download the form. If you are unable to download the form, we will send it to you, if requested. It is a very simple form. The problem is not in completing the form and reporting the address change. The problem is proving the change was reported, if proof is necessary. I advise mailing the completed form by certified mail (which requires a trip to the post office to have the mail certified) and sending it ‘return receipt requested’ to prove delivery. Mail the form to this address:

U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Address
Post Office Box 7134
London, Kentucky 40742-7134

Before mailing the form, copy it and attach the white certified receipt. Assuming you receive the green return receipt, attach it to the form copy and put these in a safe place. Keep the copies with receipts until you are a U.S. citizen (or until you no longer live in the U.S.). Possibly some day, having been deluged with these forms, the CIS will have the law changed and you can destroy your evidence of compliance.

This address change requirement has nothing with the need for an applicant for CIS benefits to inform the appropriate CIS Office of address changes. So long as you notify us, we will be responsible for informing the appropriate CIS Office of your address changes as the need arises.

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