Changing Addresses and Other Statistics When You're on an H-1B Visa

You might not have realized it, but when you accepted your new H-1B visa (or sponsored an employee for one), you entered a contract with the United States government. The details printed on that contract, including the employer’s name and location and the employee’s place of residence, must stay the same throughout the visa’s validity period. If something changes, it’s your responsibility to update USCIS — and they have the right to decide if your visa is still valid after those changes have occurred. This guide explains what you need to know to change your address and other statistics when you’re on an H-1B visa.

Changing Your Statistics

Whether you're a US national or in the country as a nonimmigrant, the requirements for changing your address are similar. US citizens must update their licenses with their new address within a set period, usually thirty days. And those, like you, on a visa have ten days after the move to complete an AR-11 Alien Change of Address form and submit it to USCIS. This can be completed online or sent through the mail.

However, things change when your new address is considered outside of USCIS’s definition of a normal commuting distance from your contract’s work location. When that happens, you must contact your legal aid to determine your next steps. USCIS will likely consider this move a substantial change, and you’ll need to file an amendment to your current petition.

This amendment is required any time there is a substantial change in your statistics, such as a move outside of the commute distance, a change of employer, a change in marital or family status, etc.

Filing an H-1B Amendment

Your new amendment to your visa petition paperwork is submitted to the service center that processed your original paperwork. The time it takes to review and adjudicate the amendment depends on the center’s workload. If the center isn’t backlogged, you can expect your answer within 2-4 months. 

Some centers and times of year are busier than others, and it can take closer to nine months for your case to get reviewed. If time is an important factor, consider filing with H-1B amendment premium processing, and your review should be completed within 15 calendar days. (Note: New legislation is attempting to change this to 15 business days.)

Determining if an Amendment is Necessary

So is your statistic change substantial enough to justify an amendment, or do you simply need to notify USCIS with something like a Change of Address form? The answer depends on whether you want to face the penalties for not filing an amendment.

Talk to your legal rep, like Visa2US. They’ll review your case and advise you as to whether your change is categorized as substantial and needs an amended petition. For instance, if your job moves you to a new worksite, but you’re still with the same employer, an amendment might be necessary if the new worksite is outside of your petition’s work area. 

Not filing an amendment could be detrimental to you and your employer. You could lose your H-1B validity status and possibly face deportation. Employers will be fined and penalized in other ways.

Other Statistic Changes Requiring Amendments

Changing your address or your worksite location happens. It’s not a major concern for USCIS unless the move is considered a “material change.” When you’re dealing with the government, particularly as a nonimmigrant, it’s best to err on the side of caution any time a change occurs.

Employers should notify USCIS of any material change before it happens. If your job is discussing moving you to another location, ensure that they file this amendment change with USCIS before the move occurs or as soon as possible afterward. They’ll need to submit Form I-129 to USCIS, which can be completed online. Then, they will create a new Labor Condition Application, including the details of the new location, and submit that to the Department of Labor.

An amendment is not necessary if the new statistics aren’t considered “material changes.” To be safe, let your legal expert know any time a change occurs, such as a move or a salary adjustment.

What’s Next?

You want to stay on the right side of the law and follow all the terms of your H-1B visa petition, but it can get confusing. Things happen in life, and even if they’re blessings, changes are scary when you’re on a visa. No matter what life throws at you, Visa2US is here to guide you through your contract terms.

Contact Visa2US for all your questions and concerns about your visa status. We’ll help you understand what your changes mean, whether they’re substantial enough for a petition review, and what to do if your amendment is denied. It’s our goal to help you successfully obtain and keep your H-1B visa, and we’re with you all day, every day, to make that happen.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

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I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

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