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Can You Move During Your Immigration Case?

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Life happens, which means many people who are attempting to secure a green card, a work permit, or both end up having to change residences halfway through the process. While nothing stops you from making the move, it could create delays and problems in your immigration case if you aren’t careful.

Here’s what you need to know about minimizing the problems with different kinds of moves. 

Moving From Country to Country

If you think there’s a chance you may need to change countries it’s best to file your application electronically and to update your information online. At the point where you’re in one country, filing in another, and moving to a third it can be difficult to score an embassy interview.

If you can, you might want to wait until you’re going to be settled a little while before starting an application. Avoiding a move during the process is probably easiest.

Moving From One USCIS Jurisdiction to Another

Believe it or not shifting from one USCIS jurisdiction to another can cause delays of up to one year. If at all possible you want to stay at the old address if you can, or wait to start your application at the new one. 

Otherwise, you’re inviting your application to fall through the cracks as it gets shifted from one office’s queue to the other. In addition, you risk missing notifications when they don’t get sent to the right place (government notices do not forward from one address to the other). 

In addition, you can’t simply go to the old city’s office when it’s time for your interview. The USCIS officials will not grant you the interview because you’ll be in the wrong jurisdiction. 

There are a few things you can do to alleviate the problem. The first is to file your AR-11 form in a timely fashion. This updates USCIS about your move. In addition, you can hire an attorney, even if you haven’t had one in the past. All of your notices, your green card, and your work permit may all be sent to your attorney’s office. This is easy and convenient, as your attorney is unlikely to move.

Moving Within a USCIS Jurisdiction

If you are moving within the boundaries of your current USCIS office’s jurisdiction you shouldn’t have any problems, though you will still need to fill out an AR-11 within ten days of your move. You can check this with the field office locator on the USCIS website.

Be careful as it’s not always obvious where your field office is going to be, and it’s usually about which office is closer, not about state lines. 

For example, if you are in Pittsburgh your office is at 777 Penn Center Boulevard, Suite 600, Pittsburgh, PA. If you move to Philadelphia, your office will shift to the field office on North 41st Street here in Philadelphia. Yet if you move to Wheeling, Ohio, your field office will still be here in Pittsburgh. Double check the zip codes before you make any assumptions.

Got questions?

The best way to make sure your case goes smoothly is to work with an immigration lawyer. If you’re struggling, contact Hykel Law today.

See also:

5 Steps to a Smoother Immigration Process

7 Ways to Get a Green Card

Remote Work and US Immigration Law

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