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Business Immigration Zone: U.S. Government Proposes New Rule to Attract International Entrepreneurs

August 29, 2016

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently proposed a rule that would allow certain international entrepreneurs to enter the United States to start businesses.

“This proposed rule, when finalized, will help our economy grow by expanding immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment and generating revenue in the U.S.,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez.

The proposed rule would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use its authority to extend parole to entrepreneurs of start-up entities whose stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Under this proposed rule, eligible entrepreneurs might include those:

  • Who have a significant ownership interest in the start-up (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;
  • Whose start-up was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
  • Whose start-up has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
    • Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
    • Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their start-up entity in the United States. A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the start-up entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.

Stakeholders expect that the proposed rule may be finalized before the end of 2016. For information concerning visa options for foreign entrepreneurs, contact Brandon Davis at brandon.davis@phelps.com.