November 2016 Newsletter

In This Issue

Paying Filing Fees at USCIS London

Credit cards may no longer be used to pay filing fees for petitions filed with the USCIS Field Office in London. The only acceptable forms of payment are either (1) a U.S. bank cashier's check, (2) a U.S. bank or U.S. Post Office money order, or (3) an international bank draft. For more information go to the Field Office's announcement.

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Payment of Visa Issuance Fees U.S. Embassy London

Nationals of certain countries are required to pay an issuance fee in order for an approved visa to be issued. Fees are based on reciprocity and reflect the charges levied by the applicant's government to a U.S. citizen for a similar service.

In person payment: For applicants applying for a visa in person through a pre-arranged appointment, visa issuance fees are paid to the Embassy cashier. Fees may be paid in cash, dollars or sterling equivalent, by Credit Card: Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover or American Express or Debit Card: Visa. The Embassy does not accept any other credit or debit cards, or personal checks.

Payment of issuance fees after the interview: The U.S. Embassy London no longer accepts credit card payments if the card holder is not present. Payment must be made be either by: International Bankers Drafts or International U.S. Money Order.

Payments must always be in U.S. dollars for the relevant amount per person and made payable to either: American Embassy, London or U.S. Embassy, London.

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USCIS Fees to Increase

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published notice of its new fee schedule, to become effective for all petitions and applications filed on or after December 23, 2016. The fees for certain petitions will increase substantially. For example: the fee for an I-129 petition for non-immigrant worker (used for most H-1, L-1, O-1 & P-1 working visas) will rise from $325 to $460; fee for an I-601 (application for waiver of ineligibility for an immigrant visa) will increase from $585 to $930.

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Duration of Non-Immigrant Waivers of Ineligibility

The Department of State has updated the section of the Foreign Affairs Manual regarding non-immigrant waivers of ineligibility. 9 FAM 305.4-3(G)(1) Homeland Security will generally grant waivers for up to 60 months and multiple entries, so consular officers may recommend 5 year multiple entry visa waivers. This new policy applies to first-time waiver recipients as well as applicants who have previously had waivers approved.

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Rehearing in U.S. v. Texas

The U.S. Supreme Court denied rehearing of United States v. Texas on October 3, 2016. The Court's refusal to reconsider the case, on which it was deadlocked 4-4 in June, means that several Obama administration deferred action programs remain blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's order. The programs include Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The original DACA program is unaffected and has continued since 2012.

President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court has languished for more than 200 days as Senate Republican leaders have refused to take up the matter, holding out for the next presidential election. In its petition for rehearing, the Obama administration had argued that the Court should grant rehearing to provide for a decision when the ninth Justice is appointed, rather than leaving in place "a nationwide injunction of such significance":

Unless the Court resolves this case in a precedential manner, a matter of "great national importance" involving an "unprecedented and momentous" injunction barring implementation of the Guidance will have been effectively resolved for the country as a whole by a court of appeals that has divided twice, with two judges voting for petitioners and two for respondent States.

Other litigation is progressing or may be taken now that the Supreme Court has decided not to take up the case again. Meanwhile any efforts toward comprehensive immigration reform continue to languish. Stay tuned.
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I-94 Website

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has updated the I-94 website where travellers can download their most recent I-94 Arrival/Departure Record and a list of their U.S. entries and exits during the last five years.

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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:
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Hodkinson Law Group News

After our move last month, we have settled well into our new offices which are directly across from London Bridge Station at 6 Hays Lane, London SE1 2HB. Our phone, fax and email addresses remain unchanged. Our offices are more convenient to the new US Embassy, London, which will be moving to Nine Elms next year.

Kehrela Hodkinson will be Discussion Leader for a Web-Seminar on "Hot Topics in Non-Immigrant Visa Consular Processing" for American Immigration Lawyers Association this month. She and Sharon Noble are also updating "An Introduction to Waivers from A to Z" for the American Immigration Lawyer Association Publication, the Waivers Book, Advanced Issues in Immigration Law Practice. She has been named one of the 10 most highly regarded corporate immigration lawyers outside of the United States by Who's Who Legal in its 2016 Corporation Immigration Analysis. Kehrela has been practising US immigration law since 1981 and has been in London since 1994. Her passion for assisting both individual and corporate clients resolve their US immigration issues has never waned in her 35 years of practising law.

Sharon Noble has been practicing U.S. immigration law with Hodkinson Law Group since 1996. Her areas of expertise include non-immigrant and immigrant visa petitions for corporate employees, individual investors and entrepreneurs. 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.

Allison Ouvry has practiced business immigration law since 2000. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the New York Bar, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Women Lawyers in London group, and the London Library. Allison works with the firm's corporate clients to find creative solutions to enable the companies' employees to work in the United States on both a short term and long term basis.

Tasha Wiesman has relocated to Chicago from where she remotely 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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Kehrela Hodkinson has been named as one of the ten most highly regarded immigration lawyers outside of the US by "Who's Who Legal, Corporate Immigration 2016".

Sharon Noble has been practicing US immigration law since 1996. She is Of Counsel to Hodkinson Law Group, working remotely from California.

Allison Ouvry has practiced law since 1996, concentrating in the field of business immigration since 2000.

Tasha Wiesman assists in the preparation and filing of non-immigrant and immigrant visa petitions and applications for waivers of inadmissibility.
Hodkinson Law Group | | +44 (0) 20 7299 2490
6 Hays Lane | London | SE1 2HB | United Kingdom

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