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!

Sens. Graham, Durbin Introduce Bipartisan 'Dream Act'

On July 20, 2017, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the "Dream Act," a bipartisan legislative effort that would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence. As of press time, co-sponsors also included Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

"These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here," said Sen. Graham. "There is support across the country for allowing Dreamers—who have records of achievement—to stay, work, and reach their full potential. ... [T]his may be an area where both parties can come together."

Sen. Durbin said, "I'll do everything in my power as a United States Senator to protect these Dreamers and give them the chance to become American citizens so they can contribute to a brighter future for all Americans. I first introduced the Dream Act 16 years ago and I'll continue fighting until it becomes the law of the land. I thank Senator Graham for partnering with me in this bipartisan effort."

The Dream Act would allow eligible young people to earn lawful permanent residence, and eventually U.S. citizenship, if they:

  • Are longtime residents who came to the United States as children;
  • Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
  • Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
  • Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
  • Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to the United States.

Additional information

Supreme Court Allows Temporary Exemption for Grandparents, Others from Travel Ban, But Not for Certain Refugees

On July 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a temporary exemption of grandparents and other relatives (grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law) of those in the United States from President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban to stand. However, the court continued the temporary travel ban for certain refugees, at least until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit can review the related appeal. The people affected are from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Also exempt from the travel ban, per a Trump administration list, are parents, spouses, fiancé(e)s, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and siblings.

The Supreme Court also denied the Trump administration's motion to clarify its order of June 26, 2017. Read the Supreme Court's brief order.

USCIS to Resume H-1B Premium Processing for Certain Cap-Exempt Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has resumed premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions as of July 24, 2017.

USCIS explained that the H-1B visa has an annual cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Additionally, there is an annual "master's cap" of 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries with a U.S. master's degree or higher. Premium processing will resume for petitions that may be exempt from the cap if the H-1B petitioner is:

  • An institution of higher education;
  • A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or
  • A nonprofit research or governmental research organization.

Premium processing will also resume for petitions that may also be exempt if the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization, or entity.

Cap-exempt petitioners who are eligible for premium processing can file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The I-907 can be filed together with an H-1B petition or separately for a pending H-1B petition.

USCIS previously announced that premium processing resumed on June 26, 2017, for H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program as well as interested government agency waivers.

USCIS said it plans to resume premium processing for other H-1B petitions "as workloads permit." USCIS plans to make additional announcements with specific details related to when the agency will begin accepting premium processing for those petitions. Until then, premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions. USCIS will reject any Form I-907s filed for those petitions, and if the petitioner submitted one check combining the Form I-907 and Form I-129 fees, USCIS will reject both forms.

Additional information

Read the USCIS announcement.

USCIS Announces Return of All Unselected FY 2018 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 19, 2017, that it has returned all fiscal year 2018 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected by the agency's computer-generated random selection process. USCIS previously announced that it had completed data entry for all selected cap-subject petitions.

USCIS said that those who submitted an H-1B cap-subject petition between April 3 and April 7, 2017, but have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by July 31 may contact USCIS for assistance.

Additional information

USCIS Revises I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form

On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. USCIS said employers can use this revised version or continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16N through September 17, 2017. On September 18, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17N. The revised form includes the changes summarized below.

Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions:

  • The name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has been changed to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • "the end of" has been removed from the phrase "the first day of employment."

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) has been added to List C. Employers completing the I-9 on a computer can select Form FS-240 from the dropdown menus in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users can also select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9 purposes.
  • All the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) have been combined into selection C #2 in List C.
  • All List C documents except the Social Security card have been renumbered. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

Additional information

DHS Delays, Plans to Propose Rescinding International Entrepreneur Rule

As expected, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has delayed the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Rule that was scheduled to take effect July 17, 2017. The Federal Register notice, published on July 11, 2017, states that this delay "will provide DHS with an opportunity to obtain comments from the public regarding a proposal to rescind the rule pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13767, 'Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.' "DHS said it will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting public comments on the proposal to rescind the IE Final Rule.

The new effective date for the final rule, with one exception, is March 14, 2018. In the final rule, DHS added the Department of State Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to the regulatory text and to the "List C" listing of acceptable documents for Form I-9 verification purposes. As part of the final rule, DHS also revised the accompanying form instructions to reflect this change. As this provision is unrelated to entrepreneur parole under the final rule, this one provision will go into effect on July 17, 2017, as originally provided, the notice states.

The final rule amended DHS regulations to include criteria that would guide the implementation of the Secretary of Homeland Security's discretionary case-by-case parole authority as applied to international entrepreneurs. Specifically, the notice states, it applied to international entrepreneurs who can demonstrate that their parole into the United States under § 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) would provide a significant public benefit to the United States. In accordance with the final rule's criteria, such potential would be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or obtaining significant awards or grants from certain federal, state, or local government entities. In addition to defining criteria for the favorable exercise of the Secretary's discretionary parole authority, the final rule established a period of initial parole stay of up to 30 months (which may be extended by up to an additional 30 months) to facilitate the applicant's ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States.

Additional information

I-94 Arrival/Departure Info Now Available Online for Air and Sea Travelers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced that foreign visitors arriving to the United States via air or sea no longer must complete the paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or Form I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record. Such travelers who need to prove their legal-visitor status to employers, schools and universities, or government agencies, can now access their CBP arrival/departure record information online. CBP said it is gathering travelers' arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. Because advance information is transmitted only for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper I-94 at land border ports of entry.

If travelers need the information from their I-94 admission record to verify immigration status or employment authorization, the record number, and other admission information, CBP encourages them to obtain the I-94 number here.

Upon arrival, a CBP officer stamps the travel document of each arriving nonimmigrant traveler with the admission date, the class of admission, and the date until which the traveler is admitted. If a traveler would like a paper I-94, one can be requested during the inspection process. All requests will be accommodated in a secondary setting, CBP said.

Upon leaving the U.S., a traveler previously issued a paper I-94 should surrender it to the commercial carrier or to CBP upon departure. Otherwise, CBP will record the departure electronically via manifest information provided by the carrier or by CBP.

Additional information

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on H-1B Master's Degree Cap Exemption Case

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a policy memorandum designating Matter of A-T- as an "Adopted Decision," which establishes policy that applies to and binds all USCIS employees. "USCIS personnel are directed to follow the reasoning in this decision in similar cases," the memo states. The decision clarifies that to qualify for an H-1B numerical cap exemption based on a master's or higher degree, the conferring institution must have qualified as a "United States institution of higher education" at the time the beneficiary's degree was earned.

In Matter of A-T- Inc., Adopted Decision 2017-04 (AAO May 23, 2017), the California Service Center director denied the H-1B petition, concluding that the beneficiary did not qualify for the claimed master's cap exemption because the degree-conferring institution was not accredited when it awarded the beneficiary's master's degree. The petitioner asserted that a master's degree does not need to be from a U.S. institution of higher education when the degree is awarded to qualify for the master's cap exemption, but rather that a beneficiary may qualify for the exemption if he or she earned a degree from an entity that qualified as a U.S. institution of higher education at the time of adjudication. The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) disagreed, noting that the degree must have been earned from an institution that has either been accredited or granted preaccreditation status. Among other things, the AAO noted that if a beneficiary could qualify for the master's cap exemption based on accreditation or preaccreditation that happens long after the degree was earned, this would not necessarily reflect the quality of the beneficiary's education. Conversely, the beneficiary subsequently could become ineligible for the exemption if the institution ended up not being accredited. Thus, the AAO noted, the petitioner's proffered interpretation introduces uncertainty for graduates seeking immigration benefits over time. In contrast, the AAO said, under its interpretation, an individual who earns a degree from an accredited or preaccredited institution may continue to qualify for the master's cap exemption even if the institution later closes or loses its accreditation status. Therefore, the AAO said it interprets the statute as requiring that the institution's qualifications be established at the time the degree is earned, and the date the beneficiary earned his master's degree is critical.

Additional information

Read the USCIS policy memorandum.

New Publications and Items of Interest

The E-Verify User Manual has been updated to include the latest system enhancements and policy updates. Some sections have been reorganized and consolidated.

Travel ban FAQ, by David Isaacson of Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC, updated July 19, 2017.

Community Advisory: Social Media, Criminalization, and Immigration has been published by the National Lawyers Guild's National Immigration Project. This advisory summarizes ways in which immigration agents may use social media against those in removal proceedings or involved in criminal cases.

How to safeguard your data from searches at the border is the topic of several recent articles and blogs. Click here for an example, and click here for a second example.

Airport Lawyer is a free Web app that is intended to help ensure that immigrants are treated fairly at airports. Arrivals information can be securely passed along to large groups of volunteer attorneys who have been organized to monitor arrivals.

Listings and links to cases challenging executive orders, and related available pleadings.

The latest E-Verify webinar schedule from USCIS is available.

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.


Kehrela Hodkinson's

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.


Sharon L. Noble's

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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