Filing a Change of Address Form AR-11? Read this guide to avoid errors that can lead to deportation

Errors in filing Form AR-11 can lead to deportation. We have seen clients who say, “we did everything right, how can a change of address form lead to deportation?”

Still we have to step in because they are facing removal.

Here is what you need to know about filing your change of address form.

1. What is Form AR-11?

Form AR-11 is a change of address form that must be filed by immigrants within 10 days of moving to a new address

The form takes about 5 minutes to complete. Filing a change of address with US Postal Service is NOT sufficient. Even if the move is from one temporary address to another, you must file the form with USCIS right away. You can download a copy of the form AR-11 from USCIS here, but first I highly suggest you read to the end of this post. It sounds simple: you can just download the form, or fill it out online, but we have seen this simple procedure go very wrong.

2. What happens in worst case scenario, even when an AR-11 is properly filed and confirmed

One of my clients was a US citizen, who fell in love and got married to a woman from another country. His new wife filed the appropriate papers to get her green card. While the couple waited to be interviewed by Immigration, the husband was transferred by his company. Before moving, the couple informed the Immigration Service that they were changing their address using the AR-11 change of address form. They received confirmation that Immigration knew they had relocated. The green card interview (not a deportation hearing) was mistakenly scheduled in the state where the couple had previously lived. When they failed to show up for the interview, a notice for the wife to appear at a deportation hearing was also sent to their old address. Of course, the woman didn’t know that she had to go to court. So, she was ordered deported for failure to appear in court.

3. But she filed the AR-11 form!!! How could this happen?

The system is far from perfect. Mistakes get made. But it gets worse. Immigration and Customs Enforcement located her and took her to a detention center to prepare to deport her. The US citizen hired us to get his wife out of jail and stop her deportation. We got her released after many weeks and eventually secured her green card.

4. What can I do to avoid any problems?

  1. File your AR-11 and get confirmation. Do this right away after moving, this is no joke for immigration. Take it very seriously.
  2. Check with the local USCIS office, and call USCIS National Toll Free Customer Service to make sure that there have been no errors, and that they know where you are. Double check.
  3. Seriously consider a consultation with a top, experienced immigration attorney. All immigration matters, even those which appear easy, are often complex to non-experts.

If you have any questions regarding Form AR-11, or any other immigration-related issues, please do not hesitate to contact me straight away.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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