If you are seeking naturalization, you must file your application with the regional or state immigration office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. Further, you must have resided in that location for at least three months prior to filing. That being said, applicants for naturalization have the right and ability to move to new homes and change their addresses. However, you MUST notify the US Citizenship & Immigration Services ("USCIS") of your new address.
Why? With regard to those seeking naturalization, notifying the USCIS of an address change is legally required. This is required for many reasons, but the most important of which is that various regional USCIS offices have jurisdiction over those seeking naturalization. The "correct" office -- the one assigned to the geography where you live -- is the office that is processing your application, scheduling and conducting your interview and scheduling your ceremony. As stated here (emphasis added):
"In cases where an applicant changes or plans to change his or her residence after filing the naturalization application, the applicant is required to report the change of address to USCIS so that the applicant’s A-file (with application) can be transferred to the appropriate office having jurisdiction over the applicant’s new place of residence."
There are a couple of other reasons to notify the USCIS. First, the USCIS sends various notices and communications. Without a proper change-of-address form, the USCIS cannot contact you. Letters and correspondence will be returned to the USCIS and, when that happens, the USCIS can deem an application to be abandoned. Second, there have been many cases where applications have been incorrectly denied due to failures to notify the USCIS of new addresses. Do not endanger your application by failing to file a change-of-address form.
What Should I Do?
If you have changed your address or plan to move your residence after having filed for naturalization, you should file an AR-11 Form. See here. It can be done online. You can also use your existing USCIS online account if you filed your form online. Either option will allow the USCIS to transfer your application to the correct field or regional office for continued processing.
What is My "Place of Residence?"
According to the USCIS, an applicant’s “place of residence” refers to the applicant’s principal, actual dwelling place in fact. This is also called your "domicile." This is the place where you sleep, keep your clothes and furnishings and the like. A location becomes your "place of residence" from the moment you first establish residence in that location.
What About a Temporary Move?
A temporary move to a new location is "okay" as long as you actually return to the dwelling place within a reasonable time period (less than a year). As the USCIS states:
"An applicant's residence during any absence abroad of less than one year will continue to be the state or service district where the applicant resided before departure. If the applicant returns to the same residence, he or she will have complied with the three-month jurisdictional residence requirement when at least three months have elapsed, including any part of the absence, from when the applicant first established that residence."
But it is important to ensure that you are getting mail and correspondence at your temporary location.
Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today
For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.