On August 31, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) proposed a program to grant “parole” to certain qualifying foreign entrepreneurs.  Such program would allow 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,” and such paroles, or stays, would be decided by USCIS on a case-by-case basis.

  • The “International Entrepreneur Rule” is one of President Obama’s executive immigration actions and is aimed to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation in the U.S.,
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  • The proposed 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.
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  • To qualify, the international entrepreneur must:
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    1. Have formed a start-up business in the U.S. within the preceding three years;
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    3. Have at least 15 percent ownership of the U.S. entity;
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    5. Perform a central role within the operations; and
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    7. Demonstrate one of the following:
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      • Receipt of investment of at least $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
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      • At least $100,000 in grants or awards from certain government entities; or
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      • 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.

Public comments to the proposed rule may be made to USCIS and are due by October 17, 2016.  USCIS should then review the comments and issue a final rule, a process which may take many months.

For any questions related to a specific case and potential strategies and alternatives, please feel free to reach out to us.

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