How to Register a Change of Address for Foreign Nationals

USCIS Change of Address

With limited exception non-US Citizens including lawful permanent residents (green card holders) must let the Department of Homeland Security know of their change of address within 10 days of moving. This need has been more enforced since September 11, 2001. The failure to register a change of address is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or removal from the United States.

Change of Address



  • The AR-11 form is a general change of address form that changes your address within the master database of USCIS an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. You can change your address manually using a printed Form AR-11 or you can do it online using the electronic AR-11. However completing this legal requirements and submitting the necessary AR-11 forms does not update an address on any applications or petitions pending before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Individuals affected by special registration must complete AR-11SR, Alien’s Change of Address Card. Form AR-11 SR can only be mailed and cannot be filed online.

 Application or petition pending before USCIS

If there is an application or petition pending for you before the USCIS, in addition to filing form AR-11, you must let the USCIS know of your change of address according to the instructions contained on the Notice of Action form. You should give them a copy of your receipt notice, your USCIS A#, your old address and your new address.

Appeal Pending before an Immigration Judge (IJ)

In addition to filling Form AR-11 with USCIS, if you have a case pending with before an Immigration Court, you must let the Immigration Court know within 5 working days of your move by completing Form EOIR 33/IJ for the court in your particular state. Form EOIR-33/IJ is available on the Department of Justice website. Giving notice to the court Form EOIR-33/IJ is not the same as giving notice to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS. The foreign nation with a pending case before an immigration court should also give separate notice to the DHS using form AR-11. 

Appeal Pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)

If you there is an appeal pending for you with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), in addition to filing Form AR-11 with USCIS, you must let  the BIA know within 5 working days of your move by completing Form EOIR 33/BIA. You cannot let the BIA know of a change of address electronically. Form EOIR 33/BIA is available on the Department of Justice website. Giving notice to the BIA on Form EOIR-33/BIA is not the same as giving notice to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS. The foreign nation with a pending case before the BIA should also give separate notice to the DHS using form AR-11.

 If you have any questions about change of address or a failure to register change of address (an immigration violation) please consult an immigration attorney of your choice.


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What is K3 Visa?

The LIFE Act of 2000, allows an alien who

  1. has a valid marriage to a U.S. citizen (husband or wife) and who is
  2. the beneficiary on Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and
  3. the beneficiary of an approved petition on Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), 

 admission into the United States as a K3 non-immigrant to adjust to immigrant status (get a green card) while inside the United States. The K3 visa is different from the K1 visa in that the K1 alien is merely engaged to marry a U.S. Citizen and is seeking admission as a non-immigrant K1 to get married in the United States and adjust to immigrant status (green card).

Wedding Photo - US Citizen bride








Avoids long wait abroad. Prior to the passage of the LIFE Act the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides abroad had to wait for the length of time it took to process an immigrant visa which could be a year or more in some cases.

Derivative  K 4 status for children. The dependent children of the spouse of a U.S. citizen with an approved I-129F petition, who are accompanying or following to join their K 3 parent get admission on K 4 derivative status.

Admission for 2 years.  K 3 non-immigrants are initially admitted for a 2 year period. Extensions of stay are available for K3’s whose adjustment of status is not complete.

Employment in the United States. K-3/K-4 aliens must apply to USCIS for a document evidencing employment authorization using Form I-765.

Termination of K3/K4 status. K3/K4 status automatically terminates 30 days after

 (i) The denial or revocation of the Form I-130 petition;

 (ii) The denial or revocation of the immigrant visa application (Forms DS-230) filed by the alien;

 (iii) The denial or revocation of the alien’s application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to that of lawful permanent residence;

 (iv) The K-3 spouse’s divorce from the U.S. citizen (final judgment);

 (v) The marriage of an alien in K-4 status.

 The K-4 status also ends with the denial of any of these petitions or applications for a K-3 parent.

Nevertheless, a denial or revocation of a petition or application is not effective unless you have exhausted the administrative appeal applicable to your application or petition.

Attorney Gary D. Goodin, for Immigration Navigator

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration Navigator

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What is a K1 VISA?

What is a K1 VISA?

A K1 visa is a non-immigrant visa designed to speed up the immigration to the US of the fiancé (e) of a U.S. Citizen and his or her unmarried children under 21 years of age. The K1 visa is different from the K3 visa which is a non-immigrant visa designed to expedite the immigration of the spouse of a U.S. Citizen and his or her unmarried children under 21 years of age.

K1 visa status permits the fiancé (e), the K1 visa beneficiary, to enter the US for a period of 90 days to marry the US Citizen Petitioner and apply to adjust status to permanent residence (green card status).

K1 Visa - Marriage engagement

K1 visa requirements

The K1 visa process starts with a Form I-129F visa petition executed by the US Citizen. The US Citizen Petitioner must file an I-129F with the designated USCIS facility showing that;

– The US Citizen and fiancé(e) must have met within the previous 2 years

-You have a bona fide intent to be married

-You are legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States within 90 days of the fiancé (e) arrival.

The Petition should be accompanied by proof of US Citizenship, certified copies of all court and police records if the petitioner has been convicted of certain crimes (e.g. child abuse, sexual assault), the marital history of the fiancé(e) and other documentation. A petitioner who is not in the United States may execute the petition before a United States consular or immigration officer for forwarding to the Stateside Service office having jurisdiction for adjudication.

Attorney Gary D. Goodin, for Immigration Navigator

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration Navigator

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Immigration Navigator RSS feed now available!

Thanks to those subscribers who were kind enough to let us know about the problem, the RSS feed for Immigration Navigator is now fixed!

To keep up-to-date with immigration and visa issues, visitors are invited to subscribe to the RSS feed. Please also remember our contact page for US immigration and visa questions.

Continue to tell us how we are doing.

With Thanks,

Gary D. Goodin, Esq.

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What if I can’t make it to a scheduled USCIS interview?

An applicant, a petitioner, a sponsor, a beneficiary, or other individual residing in the United States at the time of filing an application or petition may be required to appear for an interview. With limited exceptions, failure to appear for a scheduled interview can result in the denial of the related application or petition for abandonment.

An unintended failure to appear for an interview may result when the notice of scheduled interview is sent to the wrong address because of USCIS processing errors for a timely filed change of address form AR-11. It can also result by an alien’s failure to file a timely change of address while an application or petition is pending.

An immigration interview is conducted because it is required by statute, regulations, agency policy or because there is a question of material fact that the adjudicator cannot resolve without an interview. Any interview may be required to determine the applicant’s or beneficiary’s credibility. Interviews are not scheduled if not required or if a material fact can be determined by other means. They are intended to be investigative and non- adversarial (as opposed to, say, a court proceeding involving two attorneys, each representing a particular side before a judge).

A scheduled interview (or fingerprinting) can be rescheduled if prior to the date and time of the interview an applicant or petitioner requests a rescheduled interview and show good cause. The applicant or petitioner should follow the instructions on the interview notice. The request may be made by mail, fax or telephone (in emergencies). The applicant or petitioner or his representative must show why he is unable to appear at the scheduled date and time because of circumstances beyond his control. The adjudicator will use her discretion to determine whether good cause exists for rescheduling the interview (or fingerprinting). If the adjudicator determines that good cause exists, the adjudicator will reschedule the interview and mail a new interview notice. The adjudicator is also required to reschedule an interview if a logged change of address notification is confirmed for the interviewees so that the interviewees may not have obtained notice of the interview.


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Backdating passport stamps

I have a 10-year multiple B-1/B-2 visa. I entered the U.S., and was given six months by the Immigration Officer at the airport, but overstayed by only a few years.  

I would like to take a brief trip to Jamaica, in order to visit my family, but I need to return for my job. I was told that if I “back date” or “back stamp” the immigration entry date to Jamaica in my passport, to cover up that I overstayed, that I won’t have any problems.

Non-US passport holders (holders of green cards and non-immigrant visas) who illegally “backdate” or “back-stamp” their foreign passports to forge their actual physical presence in the United States are subject to removal and cancellation of their US visas.

Passport Stamps


The illegal practice of backdating arises because visitors who spend too much time in the States may be thought of as having immigrant intent, and permanent residents who spend too much time outside the U.S. may be deemed to have abandoned their U.S. Permanent Resident status.

A non-immigrant who backdated his passport may face the cancellation of his US visa and expedited removal upon seeking admission to the United States. Additionally a non-immigrant who overstayed in the United States for more than 6 months and accumulates unlawful presence and departs the United States may be barred from admission for 3 years or 10 years. Furthermore back-stamping or back-dating your passport constitutes fraud, and could result in a lifetime ban from the United States. A green card holder who is deemed to have abandoned his status may be subject to deportation.

Backdating is no longer effective for proving actual physical presence in the United States because the Department of Homeland Security now uses various databases for obtaining arrival and departure evidence. These include the US VISIT program under which biometrics and I-94/I-94W of non-US passport holders are checked. Though biometrics is not checked upon departure at this time, this may soon be the case. Another database is the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System, or eAPIS which allows airlines and other carriers to furnish lists of arriving and departing passengers to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  

The best thing to do is to be truthful to the US immigration authorities and to use your visa or green card for its intended purpose. Persons on a non-immigrant visa who want to live and work in the United States should seek advice from an immigration attorney about their immigration and non-immigrant visa options. Green card holders who wish to stay outside of the United States for extended periods should seek legal advice about avoiding the harsh immigration consequences of doing so including the consequences for becoming a U.S. Citizen.

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US Citizenship for a child with a green card

I am a US Citizen. My 16-year-old son came to the US 2 years ago on a green card. He lives with his mother who has a green card. Is my son a US Citizen?


US Citizenship for a child with a green card – The Requirements

For a permanent resident child to acquire automatic US Citizenship the law requires that:

1.            at least one parent must be a US citizen;

2.           the child must be under 18 years old; and

3.            the child must live in the US in the legal and physical custody of a US Citizen Parent (the child must be still living with a US Citizen Parent).

All three citizenship requirements must be met at the same time. Pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (effective Feb. 27, 2001) at the moment all these requirements are fulfilled the child is deemed a United States citizen.

Child must live with US Citizen Parent

Your son is not a US citizen at this time because he does not live with you. If you were to have legal custody of your son and can show a court order granting you custody of your son or if you can show factually that you son lives with you, (e.g. your address is contained on his school records, he is claimed as a dependent on your IRS tax returns and receives mail at your home), then all three  citizenship requirements would be met and your son is a US citizen.  Additionally if his mother becomes a US Citizen before he reaches 18 and he is still living with her, he could acquire automatic US citizenship then.

Get Certificate of Citizenship to prove US Citizenship

If your son acquires automatic US Citizenship you should file an up-to date copy of Form N-600 ( available at and include the application fee and supporting documents to get his Certificate of Citizenship. His certificate of Citizenship will then be used to document his US Citizenship and to apply for a US Passport.

Naturalization Process as a practical alternative

If your son does not qualify for automatic US Citizenship before he turns 18 he will have to satisfy the requirements for United States Citizenship through the Naturalization process using Form N-400 ( also available at The requirements for naturalization are:

  1. permanent resident in the US for at least 5 years (continuous residence);
  2. physical presence in the US (he has not been outside the US for more than a specified time);
  3. good moral character ( he has conducted himself in a legal and acceptable way);
  4. an understanding of English and US history and Government;
  5. an understanding of and support for the principles of the US Constitution; and
  6. residence for a specific amount of time in the state or USCIS district where he will file.

US Immigration Attorney Gary Goodin.

Copyright © 2011 Immigration Navigator

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U Visas, Application Information (Part 2 of 2)

Purpose of U Visa

A U Visa is designed to assist US investigators and prosecutors of certain criminal activity such as domestic violence, trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation while assisting the alien victims of these qualifying crimes. Through this Visa Aida, a 23-year-old who was brought to the United States from Kyrgyzstan to work as a sex worker may be able to acquire a non-immigrant status that will allow her to live and work freely in the United States and adjust to permanent residence later. The maximum number of aliens who may be issued U Visas each year is set by Congress at 10,000 persons.

U Visa eligibility requirements

To obtain a U Visa an applicant, in this case Aida must show that:

1.      She has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity;

2.     She possesses information about that criminal activity;

3.      She has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to Federal, State, or local investigators or prosecutors

4.      The criminal activity violated the laws of the United States or occurred in the United States or in U.S. territories (including Indian reservations).

By being forced to work as a commercial sex worker Aida has been a victim of a qualifying crime. She has information because she has experienced how this commercial sex trade operation works and is likely to be of help to investigators and prosecutors here in the US in seeking to charge and convict the operators who have violated the laws of the United States.

U Visa Certification

 To qualify for a U visa, Aida must complete USCIS Form I-918 and provide supporting paperwork. Aida must also obtain a completed certification of helpfulness from a Certifying Offi­cial from a Certifying Agency (USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B) verifying that she has been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime perpetrated against her.

How do I find a Certifying Official?

The first step in finding a certifying official begins with finding a certifying agency.

1.      Certifying Agency

A Certifying Agency is a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, prosecutor, judge, or other authority, that is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of a qualifying crime or criminal activity. This definition includes agencies that have criminal investigative authority in their own area of expertise. It includes, but is not limited to, child protective services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor.

2.      Certifying Official

A Certifying official is:

1)       The head of the certifying agency, or

2)       Any person in a supervisory role who has been specifically designated by the head of the certifying agency to issue U nonimmigrant status certifications on behalf of that agency; or

3)       A Federal, State or local judge


1.      File a completed Form I-918 making sure to check that she wants an Employment Authorization Document

2.      File Form I-918 Supplement B (completed by Certifying Official) together with supporting documents and in the same mailing as I-918.

3.      Submit any trial transcripts, court documents, police reports, orders of protection and, affidavits of other witness such as medical personnel

4.      Include a detailed personal statement setting out the substantial physical or mental suffering arising from qualifying crime (the forced commercial and sexual exploitation she suffered).

5.      File Form I-912 Request for Waiver of application fees if she is indigent

 Later after receiving a notice of action on her petition Aida may later follow-up her initial petition by filing Form I-918 Supplement A to petition for derivative U Visa status for her alien spouse, child and other qualifying family members.

If you have questions about U Visas, consult an immigration attorney who can advise you based on your unique facts.

Attorney Gary D. Goodin, for Immigration Navigator

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration Navigator

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One important document that Marriage visa and K visa holders must read

One of the most shocking things to happen to potential immigrants to the United States is for them to suffer abuse or domestic violence at the hand of their US Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse. Many people come to the United States for a better life but wind up living a nightmare of silent abuse and domestic violence because they “do not understand the system” and lack legal representation.

One immigrant victim of spousal abuse was so embarrassed she could not mention her abuse to family and friends until things took a dramatic turn for the worst. Her U.S. Citizen spouse, who would not speak to her for weeks at a time, became violent and threatened to kill her.

The most important thing that immigrants who are victim of domestic violence need to know is that they do not have to live with an abusive spouse to remain legally in the United States. They should consult an immigration attorney as soon as possible. For those who cannot afford an attorney, free or law cost legal counsel is available

The immigration law protect victims of domestic abuse. The burden however is on the victim to prove the abuse (mental or physical) using documents such as medical records, testimony by social workers, the affidavits from persons with personal knowledge of the abuse and police reports. 

The USCIS recently issued a pamphlet titled “Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa.” The brochure is designed to tell holders of marriage visas and k visas about their legal rights in the United States and where they can get help. It also informs them about US immigration options that are available without the sponsorship of an abusive spouse.

Oftentimes trying to leave an abuser may provoke a violent reaction. For this reason it, is normally highly recommended that abuse victims consult an immigration attorney and a domestic violence counselor. The two will collaborate to devise a plan to make sure the applicant is not harmed or killed by her abuser. The immigration attorney will also help by gathering supporting evidence for a self-petition, interviewing the abuse victim and helping with preparation of the applicant’s declaration.

Read the USCIS brochure here. 




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Never mail a single document to USCIS unless you do this

The documents that must be filed with USCIS in an adjustment of status, removal of condition or other green card case are time-sensitive. Your case may be denied if the right document is filed late.

Even when the right documents are filed in a timely manner they could become mishandled and lost in the US Immigration bureaucracy – yes accidents do happen at the worst times.

Leave nothing to chance. Obtain proof of delivery and date for your green card filings by using one of the following mailing methods.

1. USPS Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested (ask a USPS employee for help if you need it)

2. USPS Express Mail Overnight Guarantee

3. FedEx or UPS

But before you pop the package in the mail to USCIS remember to make photocopies of all documents for your own immigration file.

Attorney Gary D. Goodin, for Immigration Navigator

Copyright © 2011, The Immigration Navigator

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