U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has proposed a new rule aimed at making it easier for certain foreign entrepreneurs to obtain temporary permission to be in the United States to start or grow a business.


Key points:

  • Under the proposed rule, the Department of Homeland Security would be allowed to grant parole on a case-by-case basis to entrepreneurs who can establish that there would be a “significant public benefit” to their continued stay in the U.S.
  • Specifically, parole would be available to international entrepreneurs who (1) have formed a start-up company in the U.S. in the last three years; (2) have at least a 15 percent ownership interest and central role in the company’s operations; and (3) can show that the company has “substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation,” demonstrated by receiving at least $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors or $100,000 in grants or awards from specified governmental organizations or some combination of these in addition to other compelling evidence.
  • Under the proposed rule, applicants would need to file a new Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, with a filing fee of $1,200 in order to be considered. Work authorization would be implicit with this type of parole for the principal applicant. Spouses would be eligible to apply for an Advanced Parole and an Employment Authorization Document using standard Forms I-131 and I-765.
  • Qualifying entrepreneurs would be granted an initial stay of up to two years, with an additional stay of up to three years possible if they can show that the start-up continues to provide a “significant public benefit.”
  • An advance version of the notice of proposed rulemaking is available on the USCIS website. The public will have 45 days from the time the rule is published in the Federal Register to offer comment. The rule is expected to be finalized by the end of 2016.

Background: The International Entrepreneur Rule, as it is called, is part of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which were outlined in November 2014. USCIS Director León Rodríguez said the rule, when finalized, will help the economy by providing additional immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet criteria for growth and job creation.


BAL Analysis: When finalized, the rule will provide a new path to the U.S. for foreign entrepreneurs who can demonstrate that their start-up can generate investment and create jobs. The key for applicants will be to demonstrate that their continued stay in the country will create a “significant public benefit,” as described above. Those with questions or who want to participate in the 45-day comment period should contact their BAL attorney as soon as possible.


This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.


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Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP