UPDATE: On December 14, 2017, USCIS released the forms required to apply for the foreign entrepreneur parole program. In order to apply, the updated USCIS guidelines require that entrepreneurs demonstrate that they:
- Possess a substantial ownership interest in a start-up entity created within the past five years in the United States that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
- Have a central and active role in the start-up entity such that they are well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business.
- Will provide a significant public benefit to the United States based on their role as an entrepreneur of the start-up entity by showing that:
1. The start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
2. The start-up entity has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other types of grants or awards typically given to start-up entities) from federal, state, or local government entities that regularly provide such awards or grants to start-up entities; or
3. They partially meet either or both of the previous two requirements and provide additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
- Otherwise merit a favorable exercise of discretion.
Spouses of qualifying entrepreneurs may be eligible for their own Advance Parole and Employment Authorization Documents, subject to USCIS discretion.
We are happy to assist with analysis and applications for entrepreneurs seeking parole. For any questions related to a specific case and potential strategies and alternatives, please feel free to reach out to us. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as additional information is available.
UPDATE: On December 1, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned the rule delaying the foreign entrepreneur program. In vacating the rule that delayed the program from July 17, 2017, to March 14, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg held that the required notice and comment periods were not followed and that vacating the delay was appropriate. Accordingly, the program is anticipated to go into effect once USCIS prepares appropriate forms and processing guidelines to permit grants of parole for foreign entrepreneurs. Appeals of the District Court’s order may cause delays to the program, but we will continue to monitor and provide updates on availability of the foreign entrepreneur program.
UPDATE: On November 17, 2017, the Trump administration sent a notice to the Office of Management and Budget to officially rescind the foreign entrepreneur parole program. The Office of Management and Budget is anticipated to post the rescission in the Federal Register within the next few weeks for comment and review. After the notice and comment period, the rule may be rescinded. The rule was initially slated to take effect on March 14, 2018, but it is likely that the rule will not be implemented given the upcoming rescission. We will continue to monitor and provide updates on additional developments for this program.
UPDATE: USCIS is delaying the foreign entrepreneur parole program until March 14, 2018, while the program is under review for potential elimination. During this review period, USCIS is accepting public comments until 08/10/2017 online and via mail. We will continue to monitor and provide updates on additional developments for this program.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has passed the final rule permitting foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. for a period up to five years if they can establish that they would provide a “significant public benefit” as decided by USCIS on a case-by-case basis. As discussed in the proposed program, the parole program will entail the following:
- The program does not provide an underlying visa or immigration status to the qualifying entrepreneur; instead, the program grants “parole” or authorized temporary stay in the U.S. Dependent family members would also be eligible to apply for parole and spouses would be eligible for employment authorization.
- To qualify, the international entrepreneur must:
1. Have formed a start-up business in the U.S. within the preceding three years
2. Have at least 15 percent ownership of the U.S. entity;
3. Perform a central role within the operations; and
4. Demonstrate one of the following:
a. Receipt of investment of at least $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
b. At least $100,000 in grants or awards from certain government entities; or
c. Other compelling evidence to evidence substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.
- Initial parole would be granted for a period of up to two years, with an additional extension of three years available if the entrepreneur and start-up entity can evidence that they provide a significant public benefit by showing substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.
Although recent regulations passed under the Obama administration are being reviewed by the Trump administration, the parole program has not been rescinded. However, since the parole program will begin on July 17, 2017, and the Trump administration has indicated many recently-passed immigration regulations are subject to change, we will continue to monitor to determine if the program will commence as scheduled. For any questions related to a specific case and potential strategies and alternatives, please feel free to reach out to us.