USCIS to Destroy Returned Green Cards, EADs, & Travel Documents after 60 Days

USCIS announced recently that, beginning April 2nd, all Permanent Resident Cards, Employment Authorization Cards (EADs), and Travel Documents returned as undeliverable by the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be destroyed after 60 business days unless USCIS is contacted by the recipient. A change of address, without proper reporting to USCIS, could result in a destroyed document

Change of Address

According to the USCIS website, if a non-U.S. living in the United States moves domestically, that individual must report their change of address within 10 days. Exceptions include:

  • Diplomats (visa status A),
  • Official government representatives to an international organization (visa status G), and
  • Certain nonimmigrants who do not possess a visa and who are in the U.S. for less than 30 days.

Those not included in the above circumstance must report any change of address to remain in compliance with U.S. law. Penalties for failure to comply with reporting requirements include a fine up to $200 and a misdemeanor charge. To report a change of address, and to insure that important immigration documents are not destroyed by USCIS, non-citizens must submit a Form AR-11. The form can be completed online, or through mail. If a non-citizen opts to report their change of address through the paper method, USCIS recommends using a certified mailing system. A paper Form AR-11 will not update your address on any pending USCIS applications, so applicants must call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to update the address on the pending applications. The online method of reporting an address change allows users to report an address change and also to update it on the pending applications.

The announcement to destroy return documents will prove to be an added burden on foreign nationals. Although the measure ensures security, those who do not contact USCIS to report a problem with receiving sensitive documents will be greatly impacted by a destroyed green card, EAD, or other travel document.