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!

USCIS Reaches FY 2016 H-1B Cap

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap (maximum number of visas) for fiscal year (FY) 2016. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption. As USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption, all unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general limit.

Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period, which ended April 7. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process. USCIS, however, will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

USCIS Updates L-1B 'Specialized Knowledge' Guidance

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued interim policy guidance on L-1B "specialized knowledge" adjudications that supersedes and rescinds certain prior L-1B memoranda. USCIS said it is issuing this memorandum now for public review and feedback. USCIS will finalize the guidance effective August 31, 2015. The memo provides guidance on how L-1B petitioners may demonstrate that an employee has specialized knowledge. In the case of off-site employment, it also clarifies how to comply with the requirements of the L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee) Reform Act of 2004.

Among other things, the memo notes that a beneficiary must possess either special or advanced knowledge, or both. Determining whether a beneficiary has "special knowledge" requires review of the beneficiary's knowledge of how the company manufactures, produces, or develops its products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests. Determinations concerning "advanced knowledge," on the other hand, require review of the beneficiary's knowledge of the specific employing company's processes and procedures, the memo states. While the beneficiary may have general knowledge of processes and procedures common to the industry, USCIS's focus is primarily on the processes and procedures used specifically by the beneficiary's employer. With respect to either special or advanced knowledge, the petitioner ordinarily must demonstrate that the beneficiary's knowledge is not commonly held throughout the particular industry or within the petitioning employer. As discussed in detail in the memo, however, such knowledge need not be proprietary in nature or narrowly held within the employer's organization.

The memo notes the following non-exhaustive list of factors USCIS may consider when determining whether a beneficiary's knowledge is specialized:

  • The beneficiary is qualified to contribute to the U.S. operation's knowledge of foreign operating conditions as a result of knowledge not generally found in the industry or the petitioning organization's U.S. operations.

  • The beneficiary possesses knowledge that is particularly beneficial to the employer's competitiveness in the marketplace.

  • The beneficiary has been employed abroad in a capacity involving assignments that have significantly enhanced the employer's productivity, competitiveness, image, or financial position.

  • The beneficiary's claimed specialized knowledge normally can be gained only through prior experience with that employer.

  • The beneficiary possesses knowledge of a product or process that cannot be easily transferred or taught to another individual without significant economic cost or inconvenience (because, for example, such knowledge may require substantial training, work experience, or education).

  • The beneficiary has knowledge of a process or a product that either is sophisticated or complex, or of a highly technical nature, although not necessarily unique to the firm.



The memo, which includes details on types of evidence to present and information on off-site employment, is available here. Comments are due to USCIS by May 8.’

IRS Office at US Embassy to Close Permanently

The Internal Revenue Service office at the United States Embassy in London, United Kingdom is in the process of permanently closing.

For assistance you can call or fax the Philadelphia International Customer Service Site, which is open 17 hours a day Monday through Friday, from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time.

Tel: 001-267-941-1000 (not toll free) select the option for international callers
Fax: 001-267-941-1055 (response should be received within 10-12 working days)

Updated Poverty Guidelines

The Department of Homeland Security has released new poverty guidelines applicable to all I-864 Affidavits of Support filed on or after March 1, 2015.

Instructions for Medical Exams for Immigrant Visa Interviews in London Updated

The US Embassy in London has updated its online instructions for immigrant visa applicants’ medical examinations. Its instructional leaflet was also recently updated, but applicants should refer to the website stating that four photographs will now be required for the medical rather than only one as shown in the leaflet.

Revised Form I-407 Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Residence Now Mandatory

Only revised form I-407 with the expiration date of 02/28/17 will be accepted by USCIS. Former editions of the form are no longer valid.

New Publications and Items of Interest

New supplemental guide for E-Verify employer agents. On March 8, 2015, USCIS published the new Supplemental Guide for E-Verify Employer Agents. The new guide replaces the previous E-Verify User Manual for E-Verify Employer Agents and the E-Verify Quick Reference Guide for E-Verify Employer Agents. E-Verify employer agents should now use the E-Verify User Manual and the new supplemental guide. These changes do not affect the information that E-Verify employer agents should provide to their clients. E-Verify employer agents should continue to provide their clients with the user manual and the E-Verify Quick Reference Guide for Clients of E-Verify Employer Agents.

Links:


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