On August 31, 2016, USCIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register, 81 FR 60129, titled the International Entrepreneur Rule. The proposed rule is open for Public Comment for a Period of 45 days. This new rule is intended to allow certain international entrepreneurs to be considered for parole (temporary permission to be in the United States) so that they may start or scale-up their businesses here in the United States.
In announcing the proposed rule, USCIS Director León Rodríguez, commented: “America’s economy has long benefited from the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs, from Main Street to Silicon Valley. 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.”
The proposed rule is being issued by the USCIS under its discretionary statutory parole authority (for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit) provided by Section 212(d)(5) of the INA or 8 U.S.C. 1182 (d)(5).
Under this proposed rule, DHS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startup enterprises, who meet the following criteria:
• Who have a significant ownership interest in a startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;
• Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years;
• Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
o Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
o Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
o Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup 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 (2) years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States. A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three (3) additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.
This proposed rule should encourage foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities with high growth potential in the United States, facilitate R&D in the U.S., create jobs for U.S. workers, and benefit the U.S. economy through increased business activity, innovation and dynamism. Given the complex considerations involved in entrepreneur-based parole requests, DHS also believes that this proposal will provide a transparent framework for the exercise its discretion to adjudicate parole requests.
GLF will continue to monitor the progress of this Proposed Rule and issue an update when the Final Rule is published by the DHS. Please do not hesitate to contact GLF if you have any questions or need additional information regarding this announcement.