As a result of the expanding COVID-19 virus, Hodkinson Law Group is taking extra measures to ensure the safety of all staff while we simultaneously strive to provide a high level of service to our clients. 

In an effort to maintain this balance we have altered our schedules to allow staff to work remotely.  Our response times may be slower than normal, as we may be working with limited staff and resources. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Details Released on DV-2014 Lottery Program; DV-2013 Entrants Should Keep Confirmation Numbers

Online registration for the DV-2014 Program began on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at noon EDT, and concludes on Saturday, November 3, 2012, at noon EDT. Applicants must submit entries electronically during this registration period using the electronic DV entry form (E-DV) at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. Paper entries will not be accepted. The Department of State strongly encourages applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays.

Selectees for the DV program are chosen by a computer-generated, random drawing. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration to the United States, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years. No single country may receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. A "native" ordinarily means someone born within a particular country, regardless of the individual's current country of residence or nationality. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

For DV-2014, the Department of State once again will implement an online process to notify entrants of their selection and to provide information about the immigrant visa application and interview. Beginning May 1, 2013, DV-2014 entrants will be able to use their confirmation number provided at registration to check online through Entry Status Check at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov. Successful entrants will receive instructions on how to apply for immigrant visas for themselves and their eligible family members. Confirmation of visa interview appointments will also be made through Entry Status Check.

For detailed information about DV-2014 entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV program, see the instructions for the DV-2014 Diversity Visa program, available here. The related Federal Register notice was published on September 28, 2012. Click here to read..

The Department of State also noted that DV-2013 entrants should keep their confirmation numbers until at least September 2013, even if they were not selected on May 1, 2012. The Department said it may select more DV-2013 entries on October 1, 2012. Entrants in the DV-2013 program may check the status of their entries through Entrant Status Check (https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ESC/) through September 30, 2013.

STEM Bill Fails in House

On September 20, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429), sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) by a vote of 257-158. (288 votes were required to pass under suspension of the rules.) The bill would have provided permanent residence to 55,000 foreign students each year who graduate with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from U.S. universities and agree to work for at least five years in the United States in a STEM field. The bill included requirements for an employer to petition on the student's behalf and a labor certification process.

Democrats who voted against the measure signaled that they were in favor of similar legislation but objected to a provision that would have eliminated the diversity visa program. Congress may take up this and similar bills in November, after the presidential election.

CBP Announces Delays in Processing I-94 Arrival/Departure Records

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on September 17, 2012, that it is experiencing delays in processing foreign visitors' travel information in the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record database. CBP said this does not affect the majority of foreign travellers visiting for business or leisure and will not affect any visitor's record of departure.

CBP is exploring automating the I-94 to allow for the collection of arrival/departure information electronically to streamline the arrival and inspection process for travellers. CBP is coordinating with other agency stakeholders and is considering rulemaking.

The announcement is available here.

H-1B Visas Cap Met

With the H-1B cap having been reached in June, and no H-1B visas available until Oct. 2013, we have been busy advising clients about alternative strategies for employing professional foreign workers. Many clients are already planning and anticipating their H-1B needs, to be ready to file H-1B Petitions on the 1st April 2013. If you would like to discuss your current/future needs, please contact us.

EB5 Immigrant Investor Update

On September 28, President Obama signed S. 3245 into law. The bill extends the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, E-Verify, Special Immigrant Non-minister Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad 30 Program through September 30, 2015.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Qualifying EB-5 investors (and their dependent relatives) are eligible for conditional, two-year Green Cards. After the two-year period, investors and their dependents can apply for a removal of the conditions on the Lawful Permanent Residence.

Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. If you would like further information regarding applying for permanent resident status as an immigrant investor, please contact us.

State Dept. Announces Visa Availability for Fiscal Year 2013

The Visa Bulletin for October 2012, which includes the cut-off dates for employment-based and family-based visa numbers, is available here.

New Publications and Items of Interest

Updated fact sheets on FY 2012 statistics. The Department of Labor has posted updated program fact sheets on FY 2012 selected statistics:


Visa processing and foreign visitor processing. The Departments of State and Homeland Security issued a joint report, "Executive Order 13597: Improvements to Visa Processing and Foreign Visitor Processing 180-Day Progress Report." The report, released on September 19, 2012, notes that a foreign visitor's first and primary encounters with the U.S. government shape opinions about the United States. Executive Order (EO) 13597 (Jan. 19, 2012) initiated a policy to ensure that these first impressions are the best impressions. The report states that over the past six months, the Departments have "made significant progress in three key areas: increasing productivity and efficiency; improving the traveller's experience; and enhancing partnerships, both within the U.S. government and with the travel and tourism industry."

Increased staffing has been key to lower visa interview wait times, the report says. By the end of 2012, the State Department will have created more than 50 new visa adjudicator positions in China and 60 in Brazil, including 43 hired under the Limited Non-Career Appointment program. Between October 2011 and July 2012, the Department deployed, on temporary duty, 220 consular officers to Brazil (a 253 percent increase over the number of temporary officers sent the previous fiscal year) and 48 officers to China (a 60 percent increase). The additional staff enabled the Department to meet the 40 percent capacity increase target goal outlined in EO 13597 in Brazil in June 2012, and will enable the Department to meet that goal in China by December 2012, the report notes.

Visa processing capacity in high-demand countries, particularly Brazil and China, has grown to meet sharply rising demand, the report states. Consular managers in China have expanded their work hours to maximize interview window use. Managers throughout Brazil's four consular sections have responded to a nearly 50 percent year-on-year increase in demand by expanding operating hours, including occasional Saturdays and holidays.

On January 20, 2012, the two Departments initiated a two-year Interview Waiver Pilot Program (IWPP) to streamline processing for low-risk visa applicants. Many consular sections have implemented the IWPP during the past six months, the report notes. As of August 2012, 52 visa processing posts in 28 countries participate in the pilot program, waiving interviews for more than 63,000 low-risk visa applicants.

The Department of Homeland Security is also focusing on a risk-based approach to security to create efficiencies for travellers, as exemplified through its Trusted Traveller Programs.

Click here for the report.

2011 immigration statistics. The Department of Homeland Security has released its 2011 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. The yearbook consists of a compendium of tables organized by subject, including legal permanent residents, refugees and asylees, naturalizations, nonimmigrant admissions, and enforcement actions. It is available here.

USCIS national engagement. On October 16, 2012, USCIS will hold a public engagement (in-person in Washington, DC, and via teleconference) for EB-5 immigrant investor stakeholders. Click here.

Notes from previous engagements by topic are available here.

Green Card Stories. The immigration debate is boiling over. Americans are losing the ability to understand and talk to one another about immigration. We must find a way to connect on a human level. Green Card Stories does just that. The book depicts 50 recent immigrants with permanent residence or citizenship in dramatic narratives, accompanied by artistic photos. If the book's profiles share a common trait, it's a mixture of talent and steely determination. Each of them overcame great challenges to come and stay in America. Green Card Stories reminds Americans of who we are: a nation of immigrants, from all walks of life and all corners of the earth, who have fuelled America's success. It tells the true story of our nation: E pluribus unum--out of many, one. For more information or to order, visit www.greencardstories.com.

Government Agency Links

Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

Attorneys at Hodkinson Law Group

Kehrela Hodkinson

Principal/Immigration Lawyer - California State Bar, 1980

Since 1994, Mrs. Hodkinson has exclusively practiced U.S. immigration law in London. She represents a broad range of corporate and individual clients in connection with temporary (non-immigrant) visas and both employment and family-based permanent (immigrant) visa petitions.

She also provides advice relating to complex issues of waivers on grounds of inadmissibility, maintenance, and abandonment of permanent resident status, and renunciation (expatriation) of U.S. citizenship.

Publications

Kehrela Hodkinson's
Publications

Kehrela Hodkinson quoted in Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, regarding potential issues of inadmissibility resulting from arrest of professional golfer, Thobjorn Olesen.

August 6th, 2019

Discussion Leader on Panel entitled Consular Processing: What Things go Wrong”, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Orlando, FL

June 1st, 2019

Renunciation of US Citizenship – Why Would a Client “Give It All Up”.

April 15th, 2019

Invited to serve on the Editorial Board of the AILA Law Journal which will cover current and pragmatic topics related to the rapidly changing immigration law landscape and will be produced biannually, commencing 2019.

December 1st, 2018

Discussion Leader for an American Lawyers Association teleconference on the topic of visa processing in London.

December 1st, 2018

Kehrela Hodkinson, US immigration lawyer and founder of Hodkinson Law Group, told The Independent any presidential order over birthright citizenship would face “many constitutional challenges”, including requests for an injunction against implementation, much like what happened with Mr Trump’s initial travel ban on a number of Muslim-majority countries.

October 30th, 2018

Interviewed by The Independent, a UK newspaper, regarding the immigrant visa category by which Melania Trump’s parents obtained their permanent resident status.

February 22nd, 2018

A chapter The Waivers Book, 2nd Edition, published by American Immigration Lawyers Association

December 1st, 2016
Memberships and affiliations

Kehrela Hodkinson's
Memberships and affiliations

ABIL (Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers)

Founding member of ABIL, which is comprised of 19 of the top U.S. business immigration law firms, has over 140 attorneys devoted to business immigration in 21 major U.S. cities, plus Cologne, Hong Kong, London, Monterrey, Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo, Toronto, and Vancouver. Founding member and first Chair of Rome District Chapter of American Immigration Lawyers Association.


Multiple leadership roles in the American Immigration Lawyers Association

  • 2011-2012 B-1 in lieu of H-1 Task Force
  • 2011-2012 Department of State Liaison Committee
  • 2011-2012 Military Assistance Program Task Force
  • 2011-2012 Rome District Chapter Pro Bono Committee Chair
  • 2010-2011 Department of State Liaison Committee
  • 2010-2011 Distance Learning Committee
  • 2010-2011 Rome District Chapter Pro Bono Committee Chair
  • 2009-2010 Midyear Conference Committee
  • 2009-2010 Department of State Liaison Committee
  • 2008-2009 Chair Rome District Chapter
  • 2007-2008 Interim Chair Rome District Chapter

American Bar Association


International Bar Association


American Women Lawyers in London


Society of English and American Lawyers


Nominated by peers to the International Who’s Who of Business Immigration Lawyers

Sharon L. Noble

Of Counsel

Sharon Noble has exclusively practiced U.S. immigration law since 1996, concentrating on business-related immigration matters with an emphasis on both non-immigrant visa petitions for corporate employees, individual investors and entrepreneurs as well as employment based immigrant petitions, extraordinary ability petitions and outstanding researcher petitions. Ms. Noble worked with Ms. Hodkinson in London for seven years before returning to the United States in 2003. She is now Of Counsel to Hodkinson Law Group, working remotely from California. Prior to 1996, Ms. Noble practiced corporate real estate and health care law in Los Angeles. With Ms. Noble’s prior corporate experience, she possesses a strong business background and exceptional writing skills, both of which have proven invaluable to her immigration practice.

Publications

Sharon L. Noble's
Publications

A chapter The Waivers Book, 2nd Edition, published by American Immigration Lawyers Association

December 1st, 2016

Tasha N. Cripe

Of Counsel

Tasha Cripe continues to assist our clients in the preparation and filing of non-immigrant and immigrant visa petitions and applications of waivers of grounds of inadmissibility. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar and is actively involved in The American Immigration Lawyers Association Military Assistance Program.

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Hodkinson Law Group
3 More London Riverside
London
United Kingdom