Alongside U.S. citizens, there are so many foreign natives that positively stimulate the U.S. economy by developing innovative technology and companies, creating jobs in the U.S. workforce, and generating revenue in the U.S.

On August 26, 2016, USCIS proposed and released a draft text of an action called the International Entrepreneur Rule which welcomes international entrepreneurs into the United States. This rule would grant permission to temporarily enter and reside in U.S. to selected international entrepreneurs that meet the requirements of this proposal so that they can develop and grow their startup companies.

There are visas such as E2 and H-1B that allow foreign nationals to work in the U.S. for an employer. However, these visas aren’t without their restrictions.

Under normal circumstances, these work visas have specific requirements that can be difficult to achieve. The International Entrepreneur Rule gives foreign nationals that do not meet the requirements of a work visa more flexibility to meet the requirements of a specialty occupation. When granted parole, foreign nationals can enter the U.S. without having to obtain a U.S. visa stamp.

The Proposed International Entrepreneur Rule

On January 17th, 2017, the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register and the public has 45 days to comment on this rule after that publishing date. When this rule is finalized on July 17th, 2017, it will make more room for foreign nationals to work simultaneously with U.S. citizens to stimulate of U.S. economy.

These international entrepreneurs should continue to encourage growth in the U.S. revenue by creating more jobs and facilitate more investments.

Initial Parole

Under this proposed rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startup enterprises for the initial 2-year parole term approval.

In order to qualify for Entrepreneurial Parole, you must meet these application requirements:

  • You must own at least 15% of the company, as well as have an essential part in its function.
  • Your startup must have been created in the U.S. within the last 3 years.
  • Your entity may not have more than three entrepreneurs under this parole exception.
  • You must meet the Income-Related Conditions on Parole. This means maintaining a household income while in the U.S. that is greater than 400% of the Federal poverty line for his or her household size as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services
  • The startup must have a demonstrated potential for substantial rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
    1. Having received a minimum of $345,000 from designated investors from the U.S. These investors must have a successful track record of past investments.
    2. Having been awarded at least $100,000 from local, federal, or state government organizations.
    3. Alternatively, you can partially fulfill either or both above requirements. You must also include proof that your enterprise has marked growth potential as well as the potential to create jobs.

If you qualify, here are the steps you need to take in order to receive parole:

  • File Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole along with the $1,200 filing fee.
  • Biometrics appointment. This usually costs around $85.

Re-Parole Under the International Entrepreneur Rule

The maximum period of stay under this parole is 5 years. DHS may grant the re-parole of an entrepreneur for an additional period of up to 3 years from the date of the expiration of the initial parole period.

If the entrepreneur files before expiration and is in the U.S. at the time that USCIS approves the request for re-parole, the approval will be considered a grant of re-parole if they believe the applicant is significantly impacting the U.S. economy.

If the alien is outside the United States at the time that USCIS approves the request for re-parole, the alien must appear at a port of entry to be granted parole.

According to the advance version of the notice, to be qualified for the renewal, you would have to demonstrate that:

  • Your enterprise is still doing business in the U.S. and it also still has the potential to grow and create jobs.
  • You still have 15% ownership in the company and your essential role has not diminished.

In order to demonstrate that your enterprise still has the potential to grow and create jobs, you must be able to provide evidence of the following:

  • An investment total of at least $500,000 that was invested during your parole term.
  • A minimum of $500,000 in yearly revenue along with an average yearly growth of at least 20%
  • 10 new jobs that were created by your company. These jobs must be filled by full-time U.S. employees.
  • Auxiliary evidence that demonstrates that your company can expect further growth and benefit to the U.S. in the future.

Dependents of Applicant

Spouses and dependents of the international entrepreneur seeking parole would be required to file an Application for Travel Document (Form I-131) as well as submit biographical information and biometrics. Spouses of international entrepreneurs can work in the U.S. by filing for work authorization. However, if the parole is terminated, the employment authorization will also be revoked.

Dependents are granted stay alongside the entrepreneur and will be required to depart the United States when their parole periods have expired or have otherwise been terminated. They are eligible to lawfully remain in the U.S. if re-parole is granted and other permits are up to date.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

VisaNation Law Group’s experienced lawyers work with entrepreneurs regularly and have an established track record of success with startup companies. If you are interested in learning more about how this International Entrepreneur Rule affects you and your business, feel free to contact one of their experienced attorneys to have an in-depth consultation.

Scheduling a consultation may help you better understand your immigration options and decide on how you’d like to move forward with your particular immigration case.