As a result of the 9-11 attacks, the INS is enforcing a relatively disused provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. That provision required aliens who moved to report a change of address to the INS. Most aliens – residents and non-residents alike – did not comply. However, the INS is currently taking a dim view of non-compliance. The INS can penalize non.residents (and potentially even residents) for failure to record address changes with the INS. Potential consequences of non.compliance could include a bar to immigration benefits, including a change of status, or perhaps even a bar to citizenship. In these times of uncertainty, with INS and governmental regulations being issued at a dizzying pace, and with policy memoranda oftentimes taking the place of well.developed law, anything is possible.
Therefore, I advise all my clients and readers to file a change of address form, AR-11, with the INS. The form can be found on the INS website, at the address:
This is a .fillable. form if you have Adobe Acrobat 5 or higher. However, even if you do not have Adobe Acrobat 5, but a lower version of Acrobat, you can retrieve the form on your computer, print it out, fill it in with pen, and mail it to the INS.
Regardless of how you obtain the blank AR-11 form, I caution all readers to mail the form to the INS by CERTIFIED MAIL, return receipt requested. This will act as proof that you filed the form with the INS. Retain a copy of the form that you mailed to the INS. The instructions to the form specify an INS address in Washington, DC, where the form must be mailed. Even if you have moved quite some time ago, file the form. Filing the form puts the INS on notice that you have moved and complied with the law.
Copyright Farhad Sethna, 2002