Hodkinson Law Group Launches Our Updated Website

Please take a look at our updated website at www.usvisalawgroup.com.  We would love feedback please at info@usvisalawgroup.com. Also please check out and, if you are so inclined, “like” our Hodkinson Law Group Facebook page.

USCIS Proposes Substantial Fee Increases

On November 14th, USCIS published its proposed Fee Increase Regulation and, to no one's surprise, fees are increasing dramatically in a number of categories and the Regulation also contains procedural changes to application and petition processing that go beyond mere increases in processing fees. One major change is that the fee for Adjustment of Status which currently totals $1,225 including the fees for biometrics, travel and work authorization will increase by $970 to a total of $2,195 because the fees for the travel and work authorization will be charged separately under the proposed rule. In addition, the reduced fee for children under 14 has been eliminated. The fee for Naturalization will also increase substantially. The biometrics fee of $85 will go away but the increases in application fees where biometrics are normally collected (or not collected in some cases) more than make up this difference. For petitioners who rely on premium processing, there is also a procedural change – under the proposed rule, premium processing will be 15 business days and not 15 calendar days. 

Read the proposed rule here.

ESTA Website Updates

Customs and Border Protection has announced that it is updating its ESTA website.  Among the changes are a feature allowing applications to be saved for up to seven days before being submitted.

New EB-5 Regulations Take Effect, Program Extended Through December 20

In July 2019, USCIS announced and published new EB-5 regulations that nearly doubled minimum investment amounts, dramatically changed TEAs designations, changed priority date retention. These new regulations took effect on 22 November 2019.

Read the USCIS announcement here.

USCIS Indicates H-1B Registration Tool Must Pass Testing to Take Effect in 2020

Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced during a speech at SHRM's Global Mobility and Immigration Symposium in Washington D.C. that the new H-1B online cap registration tool must demonstrate its ability through the testing phase before it can be in place before the beginning of the next filing season early next year. The new H-1B cap registration program would require employers seeking to file H-1B cap cases to register online in order to enter the H-1B lottery. Employers would then be allowed to file full petitions exclusively for registrations selected in the lottery, which would have to be filed with USCIS during a period of at least 90 days. A $10 processing fee is applicable to all H-1B petitions at the time of submission. The primary concern is the system's ability to manage the volume that it is expected to face; a legitimate concern that could result in the program being removed altogether.

Click here to read the full article.

Trump Administration Attempts Bar on Immigrants Lacking Health Insurance, but Judge Issues TRO

In early October, Donald Trump issued a proclamation blocking the admission of individuals applying for immigrant visas who cannot demonstrate their ability to acquire health insurance within 30 days of their entrance into the United States. Any applicants who receive an immigrant visa after the order was to go into effect on November 3rd would need to demonstrate when applying for a visa that within 30 days of entering the United States, they would have insurance in place. Individuals who were issued immigrant visas prior to November 3rd but entering after that date are not covered by the proclamation.

Under the executive action, approved health insurance coverage includes coverage under any of the following plans:

  • an employer-sponsored plan, including a retiree plan, association health plan, and coverage provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985;
  • an unsubsidized health plan offered in the individual market within a State;
  • a short-term limited duration health policy effective for a minimum of 364 days — or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
  • a catastrophic plan;
  • a family member's plan;
  • a medical plan under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, including coverage under the TRICARE program;
  • a visitor health insurance plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care for a minimum of 364 days — or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
  • a medical plan under the Medicare program; or
  • any other health plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or his designee.

For individuals over the age of 18, Medicaid is not considered acceptable health insurance coverage.

The Trump Administration is basing the action on Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which permits the President to bar the entry of people deemed to be detrimental to the interests of the United States. This is the section of the law used to justify the travel ban. Critics are already arguing that extending this provision beyond physical security issues is impermissible and a court challenge is expected soon. 

A Federal Judge has issued a Temporary Restraining Order on the policy, which prevents its implementation for at least 28 days as of its issuance on November 2. 

Read the White House Proclamation

Read the Temporary Restraining Order.

New Publications and Items of Interest

Advisories and tips:

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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