USCIS Proposes Rule to Welcome International Entrepreneurs

The United States Immigration and Citizen Services released the below press release on Friday.  It lays out the Service’s plan for permitting investors and international entrepreneurs to be considered for parole (temporary admission) to the United States to start or develop their U.S. based business.  It is not the “startup visa” that many entrepreneurs were hoping for to be certain, but it does allow individuals who meet certain criteria to be admitted to the United States to further the develop a business begun in the United States.  The rule would allow entry to those:

  1. Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;
  2. Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
  3. Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by

(a) Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;

(b) Significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or

(c) Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

It will permit an entrepreneur to remain up to two years to develop a business and then permit an extension of parole for three more years provided the business has exhibited substantial public benefit.

As the press release linked below indicates, there will be a 45-day period for the public to comment.  After that period, the rule will go into effect when published in the Federal Register.

Proponents will view this development as an overdue response to pent up demand for a means for entrepreneurs to contribute to the U.S. economy.  It is an ambitious proposal considering the current political climate.  Presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to end the H-1B program, which is a program through which US employers bring a limited number of foreign employees to work in the United States.  If the reaction by States to President Obama’s Deferred Action programs are an indication of the response USCIS might expect from opponents, the success of the new rule’s implementation are not guaranteed. 

Update as of January 2017:

The Department of Homeland Security has published the International Entrepreneur Rule as of 1/17/17, bringing into effect what was proposed at the time this blog post was originally written. More information can be found here.