Moving can be a stressful and tiring event. Remembering to have mail forwarded and updating your address is often low on the priority list for people. But if you move, remember to tell your attorneys, too! We will want to update our records, as well as make sure that you are in compliance with the law when it comes to updating your address with the government.
American immigration law requires non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents (or green card holders), to keep their address current with immigration authorities. In fact, failure to do so is a deportable offense. INA § 237(a)(3)(A) creates a ground of removability (deportability) for any alien who has failed to comply with the address change requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Form AR-11 must be filed with USCIS within 10 days of moving. The Immigration Court also has an address change requirement, as well.
It is imperative that people update their addresses with USCIS and the Immigration Court. From time to time, notices are sent out, and both USCIS and the Immigration Court will use the last address on file to reach you. Should something serious happen, like the government initiating deportation proceedings, or rescheduling a hearing when someone is already in deportation proceedings, that notice would be sent to the last known address. If the last known address is not valid anymore, the respondent will not be notified of the hearing, and they would most likely be ordered deported in their absence. When this happens due to the non-citizen’s fault, it is nearly impossible to have the case reopened and have the deportation order rescinded. Unfortunately, immigration law is very unforgiving in this situation.
If you are a client of the firm, please contact your attorney to have your address updated with the firm and with immigration authorities. We are happy to handle this for you. If you are no longer a client of the firm, please review the information at http://www.uscis.gov/addresschange to determine your address change requirements. People in removal (deportation) proceedings who do not have an attorney should contact the immigration court that has jurisdiction over their case.