Is it better to file a case before or after I move?
Hi. I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. In order to answer this question, we have to think first about what kind of a case is it.
So with naturalization cases, you have to live in a jurisdiction for 90 days before you file your N-400.
So typically if we can avoid it, we don’t like our clients to move in the middle of a case, of any kind of case, not just naturalization.
But sometimes life circumstances require that. Now, one of the great things about working with an immigration lawyer is that if you fill out your forms correctly, specifically your G-28, and you notify USCIS that you want all original documents to go to the immigration lawyer, then as long as that lawyer is not moving themselves, everything should be sent to their office.
So if you’re going to be moving during the process, that’s probably a check mark in support of wanting to hire a lawyer.
Because then you can make sure that everything gets sent including your work card, and your travel card, and your green card, and all the receipt notices to the attorney themselves. So that’s one good reason why you want to work with a lawyer.
But getting to the fundamental question at the top of the video: if you can avoid it, don’t move. But if you have to move, you might want to get your case on file ahead of time. So it’s sort of a balancing act.
And again, it depends on what kind of case it is. It depends on how busy your office is. So everybody has a requirement to notify USCIS of their address within 10 days of moving, except for US citizens obviously. So any non-citizen has to notify them of their address.
So sometimes we have to put a lot of thought into when to file, where to file. Like sometimes people will be at the very end of their lease, and they’re just about to file their case, and we’ll say, “Well let’s wait a minute. Let’s wait till you get solid at your new address, till you’re getting mail there, and then just use that address.”
So you always have to provide all of your addresses to USCIS, but the most recent address is the most important one because: number one, that’s where they’re going to send you mail; and number two, on certain kinds of cases, especially marriage-based cases, they might show up at that address.
So moving while a case is pending does tend to slow down the case. It might slow down your work card. It might slow down your work and travel card. It might slow down your green card. So you really need to think it through, and you probably want to get the case on file in most instances.
That’s how I would lean towards getting on file, but there might be certain circumstances where you want to wait.
So if you need help with this, if you need help talking it through, figuring out, “Well should I file now or should I file later?” give us a call: (314) 961-8200.
You can email us at infohackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called An Immigrant Home.
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Thanks a lot. Have a great day.