Are you moving, and do you have an application with USCIS? Wondering how that will impact your case? Will it slow it down? Will it make you start again? On this week’s Tip of the Week, I talk about the effect of moving on your immigration case.
What should I do about my immigration case if I move?
Many times during the immigration process, people might have to move. There are several types of moves:
- Moving countries
- Moving cities or states
- Moving within the same city/state
And some of these might mean you are moving to a different USCIS office jurisdiction and if you’re moving countries, a foreign embassy.
When I mean moving countries, this would be for someone outside the US who has a relative (either a USC or green card holder) applying for them to get legal status.
If they move to a different country – it can be challenging to get an embassy interview in a foreign country than where they started the application process.
Especially if the case has started processing through the NVC (National Visa Center). The NVC will submit all information about the application to one embassy based on the location.
Remember, if the US Citizen who is applying for the out-of-country applicant moves, they must also notify USCIS of their change of address within ten days of moving so that any notifications are sent to the correct address.
I always recommend that if you make a change of address online – print out the paper showing you submitted it and keep it in your file. Many people have experienced USCIS not updating their files and sending notifications to the wrong place. You may have some recourse if you can prove you notified them, and the error was on their part.
Applying for a Green Card
Now I want to talk to people IN the US who may be filing for a green card by marriage or citizenship. You’ve already started your process, so USCIS has your application, but it is not yet complete.
How will moving during that time impact you and your USCIS case?
I wish I could tell you it was as easy as submitting a change of address, but in some cases, we have seen, if your move causes you to have to be interviewed at a different office – your case can be delayed for up to a year. There are two options – if you know you’ll be moving, wait to file until AFTER your move. OR do everything you can to stay in that location until your case is resolved.
It could also create a delay in getting your work authorization (EAD) if you move before you receive that.
One way to help your case if you have to move is to hire an experienced New Jersey immigration attorney. You’re probably wondering how does hiring an immigration attorney help?
Well, when you hire an immigration attorney, their office can get a copy of everything that USCIS sends, meaning they can get your employment authorization card and green card for you.
Applying for Legal Status
So what about people who have applied for legal status, and their application is moving along. But then they moved to a foreign embassy, and now their interview must take place at another location?
We have had people on our YouTube channel ask us if it would be okay to just travel back to the old location and complete their interview there.
It is essential (and the law) that you tell USCIS within ten days if you do move.
USCIS does not like it if you move and don’t tell them.
As I say in so many of my videos, always be honest with USCIS. That includes being honest with them about your current life and life circumstances. They do background checks. It would be frustrating if they found out you moved, but you didn’t tell them, and they denied your case because you weren’t honest.
If you are only moving a short distance and not changing into new USCIS territory boundaries, you shouldn’t have any issues meaning it shouldn’t impact your case processing.
Apply for an AR-11
Again, everyone must file an AR-11 (that is how you notify USCIS about your address change) when they move within ten days of moving.
I know I already said this, but it bears repeating – I recommend that you keep a copy of this showing you notified USCIS. So if you print it out online, be sure the date of informing USCIS shows on the printout because we’ve seen many circumstances when people have notified USCIS promptly. If USCIS’ system doesn’t process that, documents are sent to the wrong location, and the person misses getting important notifications.
If you didn’t hire an immigration attorney before you moved, you might want to consider doing that when you move. An attorney can help ensure all the notices and documents are received to avoid missing anything important.
I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t move while going through the immigration process. It can delay your case, and it is essential to think it through before making that decision.
I hope that answers any questions you had about moving during trying to get a green card or citizenship. If it didn’t, post them below, and I’ll try to cover them in a future Tip of the Week.
Consult a New Jersey Immigration Attorney
I am here to help you make your immigration journey as smooth as possible. I’m an immigration attorney, Andres Mejer. I help immigrants throughout the US and the world gets immigration status.
I became an immigration attorney after having to figure out the immigration system myself. I came to the US as a child, and I didn’t have legal status for a long time. My experience made me want to help people who need legal status to get one.
If there’s something you want to know about immigration, write a comment below, and we’ll try to answer it on our page or in a future video.
If you have any immigration concerns, such as applying for legal status, getting a green card, or applying for VAWA or DACA, our New Jersey immigration attorneys are here to help. Schedule a consultation with our immigration law firm in New Jersey today!