Hector A. Chichoni practices in the area of U.S. and global immigration law and is the chair of the firm's Immigration Practice in Florida. Mr. Chichoni represents corporate and individual clients, including healthcare organizations, Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations and universities, doctors, professors, researchers and students. He handles international matters and business transactions and has represented clients in a wide variety of cases before the U.S. Immigration Court. Mr. Chichoni is also a member of Duane Morris' Cuba Business Group.
Mr. Chichoni's experience includes large, complex corporate immigration matters exceeding millions of dollars in potential impact. He also assists clients with immigration audits, obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, counseling non-U.S. companies establishing U.S. operations for the transfer of key executives, managers and specialists into the U.S., counseling U.S. and international businesses, educational institutions and not-for-profit entities regarding temporary and permanent business-, employment- and investment-related U.S. visas, and representing employers in connection with I-9 compliance and work site enforcement actions by Immigration Customs Enforcement. Mr. Chichoni also assists investors and their families with all stages of the EB-5 immigration process, including adjustments of status, immigrant visa processing, consular interview preparation and source of funds preparation.
Mr. Chichoni also has served as lead counsel for immigration and employment verification issues during large acquisitions, mergers and corporate reorganizations; pro bono lead immigration counsel on immigration-related matters in Immigration Court and before the Immigration Board of Appeals on behalf of foreign nationals detained at ICE Processing Service Centers; lead immigration counsel for international corporate clients assisting their employees obtain foreign visas and work authorization for employees assigned inside and outside of the United States. He has assisted foreign nationals with obtaining U.S. citizenship, trained in-house legal personnel in preparing applications and petitions for the temporary admission of foreign nationals, trained the press to report immigration issues accurately; advised universities and other organizations on the fundamental research exception and its applicability to the activities of foreign graduate students, researchers, visiting professors and others and developed systems, procedures and policies in accordance with U.S. immigration laws for employers to provide screening mechanisms for new hires with export licensing issues while complying with federal antidiscrimination provisions.
Mr. Chichoni is the National Immigration Counsel for ALTA (Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association), a large trade association representing airlines and affiliated industries offering services in Latin America, and for RBA (Retail Bakers of America), a trade association representing retail bakers and allied industries in the United States.
In 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2017, the editors of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business also selected Mr. Chichoni as a "Leader in the Immigration Field," based on in-depth interviews with other lawyers and clients. He is a frequent speaker and author on immigration and international issues at U.S. and international forums. Mr. Chichoni is a book reviewer for the book publishing section of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and his articles have appeared in numerous publications, including HR Magazine, HR News, Immigration Legal Weekly, The Immigration Daily, Cyberspace Lawyer (Westlaw), Bloomberg Law Report, HR Executive Magazine, HR Watch, Texas Reporter, E-Commerce Times, The Daily Bugle, HSyndicate News, Hospitality Net, China Update, Cincinnati Business Courier, Immigration Dispatch, Immigration Insider, Employer?s Update and Diario La Tribuna. His articles have been published in English and Spanish and translated into Chinese. Mr. Chichoni presently co-authors the Florida Employer and was the co-founder and co-author of the Florida Employment and Immigration Law blog. He is the editor of the widely distributed newsletters Latest US Immigration News and Latest International Immigration News. Mr. Chichoni is also a frequent commentator on immigration issues, and his interviews have appeared in The National Law Journal, Workforce Management, Law.com, Miami Today, The Daily Report, The Arizona Republic, The Miami Herald, The Daily Business Review, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, El Sentinel, The South Florida Business Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Salt Lake Tribune, El Nuevo Herald, HSToday, Mundo Hispanico, The Ledger, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mercado De Dinero, Diario Tribuna, The Coral Gables Gazette, and El Empresario (Ecuador). Mr. Chichoni also has appeared on Comcast News and the Profiles, Panorama, and Business Watch television shows.
Mr. Chichoni is a 1996 graduate of Brigham Young University Law School, where he was conference editor of the Journal of Law and Education, and a graduate of Brigham Young University (M.P.A., 1996; B.A., 1992). Prior to entering private practice, he served a judicial clerkship with the Fourth District Court of Utah. Mr. Chichoni speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish.
- Obtained a decision from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ombudsman and Chief Counsel reversing an improper rejection of an H-1B petition, and resulting in an immediate re-processing of the petition.
- Serve as lead immigration counsel to individuals in matters before immigration trial judges and file briefs before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Administrative Appeals Office.
- Serve as lead immigration counsel for international corporate clients. Obtain foreign visas and work authorizations for employees assigned inside and outside of the United States.
- Counsel U.S. and international businesses, educational institutions and nonprofit entities regarding temporary and permanent business- , employment- and investment-related U.S. visas.
- Serve as lead counsel for immigration and employment-verification issues during large acquisitions, mergers and corporate reorganizations.
- Serve as pro bono lead immigration counsel on immigration-related matters in U.S. immigration court and before the Board of Immigration Appeals on behalf of foreign nationals detained at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service processing centers.
- Counsel non-U.S. companies establishing U.S. operations for the transfer of key executives, managers and specialists into the United States.
- Assist foreign nationals in obtaining U.S. citizenship.
- Process deemed export licenses with the U.S. Department of Commerce to authorize release of controlled technology while coordinating applicable visas for foreign nationals.
- Advise universities and other organizations on the fundamental research exemption to export-control regulations and its applicability to the activities of foreign graduate students, researchers, visiting professors and others.
- Develop systems, procedures and policies in accordance with U.S. immigration laws for employers to provide screening mechanisms for new hires with export-licensing issues while complying with federal antidiscrimination provisions.
- Represent employers in connection with I-9 compliance and work-site enforcement actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- Assist with streamlining companies' internal processes for the transfer of employees, including U.S. Exchange Visitor Program and blanket L visa and H-2B visa programs.
- Train in-house legal personnel in preparing applications and petitions for the temporary admission of foreign nationals.
- Represent one of the largest children's hospitals in the United States in obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for doctors and researchers of extraordinary and exceptional ability.
- Handle crossovers between immigration and export-control matters to avoid corporate liabilities that could lead to governmental audits and fines.
- Serve as lead immigration counsel in advising and defending a large national corporate client during immigration audits from legacy INS.
- Handle large, complex corporate immigration matters exceeding millions of dollars in potential impact.
Areas of Practice
- Immigration Law
- Labor and Employment Law
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of International Trade
- U.S. District Court for the District of Utah
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, J.D., 1996
- Conference Editor, Journal of Law and Education
- Brigham Young University, M.P.A., 1996
- Brigham Young University, B.A., 1992
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2010-present
- Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
- Member, 2008-2010
- Squire, Sanders & Dempsey
- Principal, 2005-2008
- Frost Brown Todd
- Senior Associate, 2004-2005
- Jackson Walker
- Senior Associate, 2002-2004
- Telecom Global Solutions
- Associate General Counsel, 2001-2002
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- American Bar Association
- Council on Education in Management
- Member, Editorial Team
- J. Reuben Clark Law Society
- Founder and Chair, Miami chapter
- Chair and Chair-elect, Cincinnati chapter
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators
- National Lawyers Guild
- National Immigration Law Project
- National Foreign Trade Council
- Visa Working Group
- The College of the State Bar of Texas
Honors and Awards
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2017
- Referenced in Legal 500 U.S.- Leading Lawyers for Immigration 2015
- Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
- Listed in International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Member, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
- Member, Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce
- Member, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce
- Board Member, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati
- Quoted in, "South Florida Companies Hoping to Preserve Cuba gains Await New Trump Rules," Sun-Sentinel, June 9, 2017
- Quoted in, "Will Trump's Immigration Policies Wreck the Construction Industry?', The Real Deal, April 4, 2017
- Author, "Employers Should Start Preparing for Tougher U.S. Immigration Laws," Miami Herald, January 8, 2017
- Quoted in "Miami panelists try to sort out the real deal on NAFTA ," Miami Herald, September 29, 2016
- Quoted, "Q&A With Cozen O'Connor's Nelsy Gomez," Law360, April 2, 2015
- Author, "USCIS Corrects Form I-9's Effective Date of Use," Duane Morris Alert, April 11, 2013
- Author, "USCIS Provides an Update on the Fiscal Year 2014 H-1B Cap," Duane Morris Alert, April 9, 2013
- Author, "USCIS Announces It Has Reached the H-1B Cap for Fiscal Year 2014," Duane Morris Alert, April 8, 2013
- Author, "CBP Publishes Interim Rule on Automation of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: Eliminates Paper Forms, Streamlines Admission Process," Duane Morris Alert, March 27, 2013
- Author, "H-1B Cap-subject Petitions Likely to Be Subject to a Lottery," Duane Morris Alert, March 22, 2013
- Author, "The H-1B Visa Filing Deadline Is Almost Upon Us," Duane Morris Alert, March 18, 2013
- Author, "Revised Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274)," Duane Morris Alert, March 12, 2013
- Author, "USCIS Announces the Release of a New and Revised Form I-9," Duane Morris Alert, March 8, 2013
- Co-author, "EB-2 Visas for China and India Move Five Months and Other Immigration Law Updates," Duane Morris Alert, June 21, 2011
- Author, "Navigating the Barriers to Global Mobility," HRhero.com, March 21, 2011
- Author, "I-9 Retention: How and What to Keep," HR Magazine, February 2011
- Author, "I-9 Compliance Crackdowns," HR Magazine, February 2011
- Author, "'E' Visas for Traders & Investors," Money Market Magazine, January 31, 2011
- Author of a chapter in "What to Do When the Government Knocks at Your Door: Dealing with Trouble," an immigration publication from the Council on Education in Management
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Roundtable Host, "NAFTA Update: What Effects Will the Current Political Climate in the U.S. Have on the Trade Agreement?" United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Inter-American Chapter Briefing, Miami, Florida, September 29, 2016
- Co-Chair, 6th Annual South Florida's Premier Labor & Employment Law Conference, Miami, Florida, August 18-19, 2016
- Roundtable Organizer, "Practical Aspects of Doing Business in Mexico and the U.S.," United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Inter-American Chapter Briefing, Miami, Florida, May 4, 2016
- Speaker, "Cuba—In Plain English: What U.S. Businesses Need to Know," Miami, Florida, January 14, 2016
- Co-Chair, 5th Annual South Florida's Premier Labor & Employment Law Conference, Miami, Florida, August 6-7, 2015
- Speaker, "U.S. Immigration Law and The Diversity Visa Program for FY2014," Café Caracol, October 14, 2013
- Speaker, "Immigration Legal Update," South Florida's 2nd Annual Premier Labor & Employment Law Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, September 20-21, 2012
- Speaker, "New I-9 Hurdles: Internal Audits, Investigations, Enforcement, and Penalties," Hospitality Human Resources Association, Orlando, September 17-18, 2012
- Speaker, "Business Immigration Issues," Miami Immigration Court, August 1, 2012
- Speaker, "New ICE & I-9 Enforcement Challenges," Advanced Employment Issues Symposium Western Conference, Las Vegas, November 18, 2011
- Speaker, "Immigration Law Update," The Seminar Group's South Florida Premier Labor and Employment Law Conference, Miami, Florida, September 22, 2011
- Speaker, "New ICE & I-9 Enforcement Challenges," Advanced Employment Issues Symposium Eastern Conference, Nashville, October 7, 2011